Does nut width, string spacing and/or scale length influence your bass purchases?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by FatStringer52, Sep 24, 2017.

  1. Yes. I specifically seek out basses with a narrow nut width.

    145 vote(s)
  2. Yes. I specifically seek out basses with a wide nut width.

    63 vote(s)
  3. Yes. I specifically seek out basses with a narrow string spacing.

    86 vote(s)
  4. Yes. I specifically seek out basses with a wide string spacing.

    78 vote(s)
  5. Yes. I specifically seek out short scale basses.

    32 vote(s)
  6. Yes. I specifically seek out medium scale basses.

    26 vote(s)
  7. Yes. I specifically seek out long scale basses.

    145 vote(s)
  8. Yes. I specifically seek out super long scale basses.

    19 vote(s)
  9. No. None of this matters. Put it in my hands and I will play it.

    54 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Sunday afternoon, too darn hot to go out and work in the yard, so here I am stuck inside with my music and you, my fellow TB’ers. And that is a good thing; I couldn’t be in better company. Let’s give this a shot and see where it leads us.

    We all look for certain features and specifications when purchasing a bass. And we all have our personal reasons for what we look for in a bass. I’m also quite sure that the reasons are vast and varied. So, just how important is the nut width, and/or string spacing, and/or scale length when you are buying a bass?

    I have allowed three votes, intended so someone would have the opportunity to vote once in each of the three categories: nut width, string spacing and scale length. But, since there does not appear to be a way to apply that restriction, the results of the poll may be somewhat skewed.

    The terms narrow and wide are ambiguous at best. But, when applied to the bass guitar, I think you all get the gist of what is being said. There is just no way to establish a finite measurement to divide the two.

    With regard to scale length, the standard Short Scale (30”), Medium Scale (32”), Long Scale (34”) and Super Long Scale (35” and longer) is used. I do know there are exceptions, but you can just use rounding.
    DavesnothereCA likes this.
  2. Nothing really matters to me other than scale. I'm happy with 32" on some basses but I prefer 34". I have gone off the 'stiff' feel of 35" scale.
    FatStringer52 likes this.
  3. StraffordMike


    Apr 25, 2015
    I voted the bottom option. I love playing anything but recently purchased an Epi T-Bird and I’m finding I can fly up and down that skinny neck a lot faster than my Precision or my Reverend. I’ll certainly consider nut width in any of my future purchases.
    physics and FatStringer52 like this.
  4. To answer the question:-

    Yes. On all three points.
    Bunk McNulty and FatStringer52 like this.
  5. Korladis

    Korladis Inactive

    I like narrow string spacing, wide nut width, and 33.25" scale.
  6. I adore the baseball bat warwicks
    Gizmot, Helix and FatStringer52 like this.
  7. user362432

    user362432 Guest

    Dec 27, 2002
    First, I limit myself on the price. $500 is the limit. I am not professional musician (thank God). so, it's pretty much wast of money, something like alcohol or fancy clothing.
    Second, I like to have diverse options in the sound range. Lately, I found 35"scale is not more for my fingers. For that matter 34" is also pain in the fingers.
    Third, I hate fat neck. But, I need to reconsider this. It might be easier for me to play fat neck, like it was easier to play short scale. Our bodies change and we need to go back and reconsider our dislikes sometime. You never know what you can find out.
    6Bass101, PoppaJoe and FatStringer52 like this.
  8. Flaked Beans

    Flaked Beans

    Sep 9, 2005
    No. None of this matters. Put it in my hands and I will play it.
  9. joel406

    joel406 Inactive

    Dec 27, 2013
    I try anything that catches my eye. If it feels good in the hands I can make it work.

    I consider nothing beyond that.
  10. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    Since my left shoulder has turned to dust, it's all about scale length and reach for me. More specifically, where first position falls. My Starfire, while short-scale, has its bridge set mid-body, which pushes first position way out there... beautiful bass that is essentially unplayed. My 32" conversion P is far more comfortable, and just about at the "reach" limit for me. It sounds wimpy, but that extra 2" for regular scale is a deal breaker. Sad because my old warhorse MIA P now resides with my son, and my J sits unused...

  11. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I have huge hands. I do have one 32 inch scale bass I built that has a J width neck; in my hands it feels like a toy. I keep it around for gigs on crowded stages, but every thing else I have is a P width neck on a 34 inch scale. Even my J has a P neck.
    DavesnothereCA and FatStringer52 like this.
  12. tonedeaf

    tonedeaf Supporting Member

    For 4 strings, anything is fine. With 5ers, I'm surprisingly sensitive to string spacing at the bridge. I bought then sold a really nice MM Sterling because I couldn't get comfortable with how close together the strings were. On the verge of selling my Roscoe Beck 5er because the strings are too far apart.

    Never cared much about scale length but been playing a Univox Hi-Flier lately and I'm really enjoying the shorter scale.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2017
    Bioflava and FatStringer52 like this.
  13. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    Yes, I do have my preferences, but if I find it cheaply enough, I would buy basses that doesn't check all my ideal criteria as long as the bass provides a special sound and uniqueness, I'm willing to tolerate any slight inconvenience, or perhaps even try to get used to it.
    However for the most part, yes - my selection is based heavily with comfort in mind - this is more true for 5 string basses than 4.
    FatStringer52 likes this.
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I can get used to anything. I have preferences but I'm willing to overlook them if the overall vibe is good.
  15. I feel like a beginner or novice can easily adjust to any configuration, but anyone who has spent a few decades on one particular instrument will find it hard to learn to accommodate a new physical arrangement. Personally, I remember a year and a half in another country without my main instrument, when I purchased a cheap substitute locally, of a different scale. Later, when reunited with my main instrument, my orientation had altered by a whole fret, and I could no longer find notes strictly by feel—an orientation I never quite readjusted to.

    I liken it to automobiles. The mechanics of driving are essentially the same between a Smart car and a Hummer, so it would be easy for most drivers to drive either, but if you spent your whole life driving one car, it might be hard to adjust to another.
    FatStringer52 likes this.
  16. John Freeman

    John Freeman Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2009
    Happy Valley, PA
    Not much matters on a 4 string except scale length. I prefer 34". Five string, I am much more proficient with 34" and narrow spacing (17-18mm). I struggle reaching the low B on a 19mm 5-string.
    2cooltoolz, Sartori and FatStringer52 like this.
  17. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    Westchester, NY
    I can get used to anything as well, but I do prefer certain specs over others and given the choice I'm going to purchase an instrument based around them.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2017
    FatStringer52 likes this.
  18. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Whenever I do decide to use my medium scale for a weekend, I play it the whole week before - it takes a while to feel natural.
    FatStringer52 likes this.
  19. I've always wanted a Warwick (German made.) Have only had one in my hands and it was for a very short time, about 15 minutes! Ran across it in a music store in Dallas shortly before closing time. By the time I made it back, it was gone.
    Helix likes this.
  20. packhowitzer

    packhowitzer 155mm of pure destruction

    Apr 20, 2011
    The only one of those specs that I feel strongly about is having a 35" scale on any bass with a low B string. The rest is pretty much a case by case (or bass by bass) basis.
    Ellery, Herrick and FatStringer52 like this.