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Definitely, what are the differences between 33 ", 34" and 35" Scale Basses??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by FunkyMan, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. FunkyMan


    Nov 27, 2007
    it changes the tension of the strings?, more loose? more tense? the distance between fret and fret varies? or only reduces the distance from the bridge saddles to the last fret? Why people choose between different scales? Thanks
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    All of the above. :) The distance between frets changes, the distance from the nut to the bridge changes, and the amount of tension needed to tune to a given note changes.

    People choose a scale length based on what they are physically comfortable with, balanced against the tone they want.

    Tone is affected by scale length, HOWEVER there is not one easy or correct description for the effect of scale length on tone, from one bass to the next. If you read a post saying "all 35" scale basses are this way, and all 34" scale basses are this other way" then don't take that post seriously--they are mistaken.

    The very best thing is for you to try them out and see what you think yourself.
  3. becker4567


    Jul 26, 2008
  4. Two inches ;)
  5. To be serious though, I'll be collecting my 32" custom built 5-string tomorrow. I chose the 32" scale because I tried one of the luthier's basses and was amazed by the b-string (32"). The shorter scale gives easy of playability among others, less stretch needed for your left hand.
  6. FunkyMan


    Nov 27, 2007
    So you need to cut the excess of string a lot? or there is strings for each scale length?
  7. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Both are done. For 35" scales that also are "string through"---the type of attachment that passes the bridge end of the string from the back of the bass up through holes in the body (like Lakland Skylines)---one needs to find very very long strings, as ordinary 35" scale strings are too short.

    BTW, there are many small and medium sized people who comfortably play double bass (upright) with a ~42" scale length. Its all about having the right technique, IMHO. :bassist:
  8. As KJung will probably add sooner or later, there is a lot of variation among different manufacturers, different models, etc. Long story short, there's the potential for enough variation that it's hard to isolate a single variable like scale length, neckthrough vs. bolt on, etc. How would a 33" Fodera compare to a 34" Fender or a 35" scale Peavey? What about a 37"-34" Dingwall?????

    Just because something is shorter or longer scale, it's hard to determine the first position reach, but bridge placement and top horn will make a big difference. For many years, I used to have a 32" scale Fender Urge and it blew my mind that on the strap, my Rob Allen MB2 35" scale 5 string was a shorter reach. Long story short, a scale length doesn't necessarily mean it's better or worse as ergonomics can make any bass feel better or worse.

    As Dr. Jim noted, technique is important! Almost all of the time, if someone is complaining about 35" scale, they either are trying to use all fingers instead of 1,2,4 and quite often hanging the bass a little too high. I'm a small dude and quite comfortable on 35" scale 6 strings.

    I won't go into detail about the low B aspect, since that's an entirely different argument.

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