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does size affects scale length?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by tbassist4, Aug 28, 2005.


  1. This just recently hit me. My school is purchasing a bass that I can use there so I dont have to bring mine back and forth. My bass is a full 4/4, and the one that the school is purchasing is a 3/4. I was just wondering, does the size also affect the scale length of the strings? Or will I have no problem playing both and switching back and forth? I'm a guy who knows what he's doing when it comes to electric basses, but I'm new to double basses. If I'm not mistaken, the regular scale length of the strings is 42"? Will this change from a 4/4 to a 3/4?
     
  2. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    4/4 import size can mean anything. A real 4/4 Bass may be difficult for anyone to play. I have a few large 7/8ths Basses that are bigger than some new basses they call 4/4. I guess they forgot that the next size up from a 3/4 is a 7/8. Many new 3/4 Basses are actually small bodied as well. I have a 3/4 Italian Bass that will not fit a Chinese 4/4 case. My Bass has bigger shoulders than the Bag allows. Sizes are not accurate at all with Basses from today as compared to yesteryear.

    Get all the standard dimentions and we can tell you the actual size or close to it. Use the measurements I list. They cover almost everything. Example;
    Upper Bout: 20 3/4" *Belly Length: 44 1/4"
    Center Bout: 15" *String Length: 42 3/8"
    Bottom Bout: 26 7/8" *Overall height? (without end pin)
    Rib Depth: 8" (Upper Bout tapers from 8" to 6 1/4")
     
  3. well thats not what im asking exactly, i meant, if i switch between a 3/4 and a 4/4 bass will it be any different to play besides body size? Will my fingering spacings all be the same or what? Or if you still need my bass's dimensions to know please post back.
     
  4. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    If yours is a "real" 4/4 bass and your school is buying a typical 3/4, then, yes, the string length would be greater on your bass as would the spacing between notes. What Ken is telling you is that the nomenclature is not reliable. What one source calls a 4/4 bass may not have a string length any greater than what another calls a 3/4. That's why Ken asked for the measurements on the two.

    Ken also pointed out that a "real" 4/4 is difficult for anyone to play. He is quite correct. I have rather large hands and have played-- rather have TRIED to play-- real 4/4 basses. No way I could ever get very far. This leads me to wonder whether you have a "real" 4/4 and brings us back to Ken's point.
     
  5. considering that i bought the instrument online, i assume that its rather a 7/8 or a large 7/8. I need to track down a tape measure...hopefully i'll find one..
     
  6. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I have a 7/8 with a 42 3/8" String Length that is easier to reach the upper notes than a 3/4, 41" String length of mine. Besides all the numbers I posted, the shoulders matter as well. I will show 2 examples from my website. You are welcome to view all my Basses and ask questions about playability vs. dimentions as well.

    7/8, 42 3/8" ; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/MorelliBass/MorelliBass.htm

    3/4, 41" ; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/GilkesBass/GilkesBass.htm

    Note the Shoulder Slope on the front of each Bass. The String length matters until you reach the Thumb position. Then the Shoulders and Neck Stand (another MAJOR topic) comes into play.

    Here is a 7/8 that plays like an easy 3/4. Note how long the Top and Back are and how far down the Tailpiece is from the Bridge.
    Here; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/Mystery2/Mystery2.htm

    This Bass was just converted into a 5-string. I will post pics asap. I will also edit this post and pic link as well when I update my website and show the new pics instead.

    This is another 7/8 that was so huge to play, it was abandoned for almost 100 years. It is getting fully restored and cut down to a playable 7/8 size. I thought this was a 4/4 Bass but my restorer said it's a large 7/8 only. Here; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/MysteryBass/name_that_bass.htm

    Here is another large 7/8 with high shoulders but for all the right reasons it is extreemly playable. I have to reach a bit to play the harmonics past the Fingerboard in the Dragonetti but I can reach them. Here; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/Dodd/DoddBass.htm

    And last but not least, a large 3/4 or small 7/8 Bass that is everyones favorite. Playable, big dimentions but very playable up to the Bridge, a huge dark, deep colorfull Italian tone with robust maturity. This will soon have a Low C extension. Here; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/MartiniBass/martini_bass_2.htm

    Now, like the old TV show used to say... (so old that only a few of us remember the ORIGINAL Show of the early 60s) "and remember, 'You asked for it'! "

    This is not an advertisement. I gave valuable information in my first post/# request BUT, I was questioned. So here, with my Pics, you can see better what I am talking about. I don't need the dimentions of your Bass to size it. It was just to help ID the size and answer your question which cannot be answered without pics and measurements unless I play it myself..THE END......Now, to a commercial and then the late night cartoons......
     
  7. That's a tough one man.......have you tried Wal-Mart, Target,
    or maybe your neighbor..........? ;)
     
  8. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    You know Ken this is the second time since I've come back to harass (um, contribute to) all the good folks here that I've seen you end up with some poop on your shoe LOL

    That's the problem with poop it doesn't care what shoe you're wearing

    It's too bad that basses aren't standardized mensure-and-shoulder-wise. Maybe all the other musicians and instrument makers got jealous when the bass was invented and found ways to make our collective lives more difficult.

    Speaking of other instruments, are the other stringed instruments (violin, cello, viola) standardized for mensure and shoulder profile?
     
  9. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I guess I have to watch where I walk. You know, I don't get paid to spend time here giving out free information that took most of my life to learn. I do it because I enjoy talking about the Bass.

    As far as your question about other instruments go, Violas vary a bit but Violins are usually 14" to the button on the back, +/_ 1/8th inch. This does matter to some degree to each player. Cello are fairly standard as well. I am not sure the dates of each instrument but 100-200 years or so for these sizes. The earlier you go, the more variation you will see. Basses however continue to vary as players ask for different things every day as far as size goes. D-neck is most common and Eb-neck is seen less these days on newer Basses. Also, the exact position of the D varies on each Bass and well as the reach for the F# which also depends on the shoulders of the Bass.

    Am I 'stepping' ok now Johnny L.?
     
  10. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    As far as I'm concerned you've always been right in step with the best of them.

    I just can't help laughing when I see all this attitude coming from people who (because they don't know ****) think you don't know ****.

    But then I don't know **** and might be laughing for the wrong reasons too LOL
     
  11. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Ok, I get it. Maybe if you completed your profile with your birthdate, we would know better your age and understanding of such things.. If you're 17, then we know you have years to learn but should mostly listen and ask. If you are 40-50 then you have catching up to do to hang with the older experienced guys and Qs are always welcomed.. Thx for the clarification on the **** thing!!..lol
     
  12. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    ***? :confused: So Nnick shouldn't post about Lluthiery because he still has all his real teeth?
     
  13. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    No.... Those are his teeth?.. You're.. ****en me, right? ...lol

    Cummon.. u get my meaning I hope.. Many Teens come up here with questions and it's sometime makes a difference how we answer... Too little information for some and they are still puzzled.. Too much and they think we are talking down to them like they were born yesterday...

    Rotary phone, Live TV, 10 cent Subway token.. U know.. the things that only the 'relics' remember..I remember when 'hippy' was a new word!!

    BTW, today is my birthday and I am now 54 years young !!.. TB sent me an Email to remind me.. Bad news comes in various ways..
     
  14. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Just checking, and happy birthday! For a minute it looked like you were saying that we had an age requirement for posting. Last Saturday was my 41st birthday, BTW...and I already have two gold molars.

    BLING......BLING!
     
  15. christ andronis

    christ andronis

    Nov 14, 2001
    Chicago
    happy birthday to you both.....now pass me the prunes....
     
  16. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Well, Happy Birthday! This explains why you said that if you're 40-50 then you still have some catching up to do. Of course, that's just "ageist" crap. I agree about 17 year-olds in the main but c'mon Ken, you can't be serious that in the age-range of, say, 30-80 age is directly proportional to knowledge about the bass.

    Experience and training are what count. You're an expert, not because of your age, per se, but because of experience and training. It would be pretty tough to amass those at age 17-- but by, say, age 45 they sure could be.
     
  17. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Please re-read my post about the age thing.

    If you are 40-50 and asking newbie type questions and playing Bass, then YOU have some catching up to do. If you do not agree, that's ok.. That's MY post of what I think!

    BTW, I am no expert but started playing Bass and learning about them 40 years ago. I still have plenty to learn but will never finish.

    This is NOT in relation at all to my other comment which refers to replying to ageless questions.
     
  18. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    Happy Birthday, Ken. At least we're even on one count. Now, to win the lottery and do some SERIOUS bass shopping.

    Ike
     
  19. azflyman

    azflyman

    Apr 24, 2004
    Astoria, OR
    I had my 44th on the 22nd and I received the same dreadful email. I guess it is really a blessing as I thought I would never make it to 30. Happy B-Day Ken! :hyper:

    az
     
  20. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Maybe if you were on another forum where I participate I'd say my age was 65 and do my dirty old man routine LOL

    Or perhaps another where I'm 17 and looking for a lonely housewife who wants to time travel :hyper:

    Here on this forum I'm just all about the bass, baby, with no age restrictions... :bassist:

    PS Oh yes and happy b-day congrats!!!