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Carl Thompson called me yesterday....

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by J Gold, Nov 12, 2018.

  1. J Gold

    J Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2011
    He gave me his rationale as to why I should get a 36” scale as opposed to 34” which I specified back in May.
    Who am I to argue with a master??
  2. Teacher


    May 3, 2012
  3. Snaxster


    Nov 29, 2008
    Hello. In case your question was not only rhetorical, the answer is that you're the one has to play the thing and will be paying for it.
  4. J Gold

    J Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2011
    He has compelling arguments for why 36” is better, most specifically intonation . He said he’d do 34” but doesn’t feel it’s the best, it’s just the size Leo Fender decided upon.
    I play 35” regularly on my 6 strings, and I do love the feel and sound.
    I hate 32”, which is Carl’s other go-to scale.
    I’m not yet sure I could handle 38”, which he says is on his main bass, even though he’s about 5’8 and quite older than me.
    Anyway, it’s my money, and who knows how many more CT basses will be built, so I’m taking the risk and going for 36”. If I hate it, I’d bet someone here will make me a fair offer for it and I’ll go buy 20 Squiers instead.
  5. ModuMan

    ModuMan How many is too many? Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2007
    Bristol, CT #19
    If you are comfy on 35" scale basses you may barely even tell the difference.

    Might be worth a flight to go play one and be sure?

    Whatever you go with, congrats on getting a CT!
  6. cataract

    cataract Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Richmond, VA
    The longest scale I’ve played on was the ‘73 Gibson Ripper I owned years ago, which I believe was 34.5”— the neck was cozy enough to not really feel any different than the standard 34” Fender Precision I’d been playing for several years prior.
    When it comes to overall comfort, in my experience it really all depends on the nut width & overall taper of the neck.
    I’d take Carl’s word to heart— I can only imagine owning one of his instruments (let alone putting my hands on one) but if he called me with any sort of advice in a build he had going for me, I’d let him take the reins for sure.
    There must be a specific reason for his opinion on this matter, possibly preferred tuning involved.
  7. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    limeupwrit. :)
    Spidey2112 and saabfender like this.
  8. Bassist30

    Bassist30 Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2004
    There are many 36" scale players. Carl Thompson said its the best regarding intonation. What makes all luthiers different is their beliefs and their differences. I like longer scale on 5 and 6 string basses. But for 4 string I like a 34 scale. If intonation is an issue you can have a 0 fret which would give it a Buzzy Feiten tuning. If you have a newer Peterson floor tuner you can get a somewhat of a buzzy feiten tuning without the 0 fret. Close but not the same. I have a 34 scale 5 string sadowsky and love the B. There are many great sounding 34 string basses as well as 35 and 36. But keep in mind the G string will also be effected by the scale length. I don't mean to confuse you but experiment with a 36 scale bass before making a choice if you never played one.


    May 24, 2011
    Just curious how many years have you been waiting for the call?
    HypersoulRocks likes this.
  10. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    You gave someone several thousand dollars to make something for you and now six months later he thinks he should make something you didn't ask for? You are the one who should argue because it's your money. If he didn't make this suggestion in May than he never should've made it at all.
  11. Axstar


    Jul 8, 2016
    East of Eden.
  12. J Gold

    J Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2011
    He told me in May when I gave the deposit to check with him in November, it took a few weeks for him to call me back after I texted and left a voicemail and once got him briefly on the phone. He called me this past Sunday and we talked for a good 30 minutes.
    JeffC23 likes this.
  13. A paying customer, that's who. But if Carl thinks he knows better than you what you want...

    I don't have any objection to a 36" scale bass but they don't feel like a 34".
    groooooove likes this.
  14. Kelly robinson

    Kelly robinson

    Dec 30, 2014
    Interesting dilemma you have here - if you are a professional musician playing out regularly as I would assume if you are spending that much on a bass - I would wonder if your hearing is good enough to detect the differences . Several of my friends are heavy players who have noticeable hearing loss after years of exposure . So in a sense - you are trading the scale comfort off for the potential intonation improvement that you may or may not be able to hear - Kelly
    TonyP-, K-2, EdO. and 1 other person like this.
  15. fretno

    fretno Supporting Member

    May 10, 2009
    Los Angeles
    I have no problems taking advice from a master even if at first it’s outside my normal comfort zone.
  16. Turxile


    May 1, 2011
    It's true that intonation is better in longer scales. However I doubt you will hear the difference between 34" and 36".
    For example, I have a 26" scale bass which doesn't have significant intonation problems, but I also have a 17" scale bass which is a pain to tune let alone intonate.
    There are tonal advantages to 36" for sure, the B string should sing.
    I'd be very tempted to go along with a 36", just because it's not conventional :)
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
    TolerancEJ, K-2 and BluesWalker like this.
  17. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Wasn't the time for masterly advice before money changed hands?
  18. ezstep


    Nov 25, 2004
    north Louisiana
    My main bass is 36" scale. You will like it.

    However, I cannot help wondering if CT has a few 36" scale necks lying around and no 34" scale necks - hence the call. lol
    Ronzo, Chrisk-K, joebar and 14 others like this.

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    New York
    With all my respect, I'd go with a multi-scale bass instead in that case. Good for the B but I'd prefer less than 36" on other strings.
    pudge, BassikBrad, NeckPickup and 6 others like this.

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    New York
    With all my respect, I'd go with a multi-scale bass instead in that case. Good for the B but I'd prefer less than 36" on other strings.

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