Favorite scale for a 5-string

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Cliff Bordwell, Jan 20, 2006.


  1. 33

    3 vote(s)
  2. 34

    72 vote(s)
  3. 34.5

    10 vote(s)
  4. 35

    79 vote(s)
  5. 35.25

    1 vote(s)
  6. 36

    3 vote(s)
  7. 37

    7 vote(s)
  8. Other

    5 vote(s)
  1. Cliff Bordwell

    Cliff Bordwell Commercial User

    Jan 6, 2004
    USA , Orlando , Florida
    Owner of CB BASSES
    Which scale length is your choice for a 5-string.
  2. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    35" +

    Not so much for what it adds to the string in any tonal way, but because my large hands seem to prefer the longer scale lengths. My Dingwall gives some people trouble in the low end, but its great for me. 34" always feels too small to me.

    BTW, I voted 37" since thats what I currently and using and enjoy. However, only my B is that long.
  3. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    I have small hands, so I prefer 34" for most things. I've found that plenty of 34" basses have a perfectly good low B if you pick the right one. Also, I don't like the added tension on the higher strings on a 35" scale.
  4. g00eY


    Sep 17, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    34, cuz it's comfortable and i don't even like stretching my arms that far as it is.
  5. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Oh, I totally agree with you. I've heard plenty of 34" with great B strings. And I also agree with 35" making the higher strings a little tight, which is why I play fanned fret basses in the first place.
  6. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
  7. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    Interesting, I've got my lakland, so naturally I prefer 35" scale. But, I've never pondered the possiblities of non-standard scales, in half inch increments. I'd like to find a nice 34" tho, because transitioning between the Lakland & my Jazz, sometimes gives my finger positions fits.
  8. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    I voted 34", as I've yet to play a 33" low B. I depsise 35" scale basses, and prefer 32" scale instruments (nothing to do with hand size, more about feel) to 34" scale, but I've doubts about the low B at that kinda length...

    Plus, a Warwick Thumb Bo had the best low B I've ever played at 34" scale.
  9. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    As a Dingwall user, I also voted 37". But that is for the B-string only; it wouldn't translate well to all the strings. 35" is pretty good overall, but a little tight on the higher strings.
  10. IotaNet

    IotaNet Supporting Member

    34 inch here.

    As a newbie bassist (one year), I find it easier to stay consistent with the scale of my original bass, a Fender Jazz.

    I find that when I switch to a 35", I get discombobulated due to my inexperience. :rollno:
  11. 35".

    When I go from one of my 34" scale basses to my 35", I don't really notice the difference. But when I go from my 35" to a 34", it feels a little cramped to me.

    I wouldn't buy a bass on scale alone, but I seem to prefer 35".

    I don't remember playing anything longer.

  12. 35" Which is my current fiver. I've got long arms & fingers, so I feel right at home with it. I'd love to try 36". My next 5 string (an upgrade) however is a 34". I thought it would be a problem, but the B string feels amazingly tight ('cause of the string thru body, maybe?). I have a 35" scale 4 string as well. There should be more of those in the world. Unfortunately, I have to sell that one to obtain my next 5. :crying:
  13. DrSmaggs


    Oct 15, 2003
    Endorsing Artist:
    I like 34" because it's what I'm used to. I've played lots of basses, and IMO the scale legnth isn't what causes the B string to have proper tension. Sadowsky Guitars has clearly proven this point. It's all about construction and stability of the instrument... and of course, good strings!

    I've played many 35 and 36 inch scale basses and I just prefer the feel of a 34. Just an opinion.
  14. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    I voted for 35 because I like the tighter string tension, and the fact that my long monkey fingers don't seem to notice any real difficulty in adjusting from my fender to my lakland. However on frettless, I prefer 34, because I am so acustomed to fine tuning in that scale.
  15. DrSmaggs


    Oct 15, 2003
    Endorsing Artist:

    That's a pretty damn good point! I never thought of it that way with a fretless.

    DUH, it SHOULD be common sense, but I guess it went over my head HAHAHAHA
  16. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    I have a Carvin LB75 fretless and I beleive that is 34". That thing is so smooth to play, it really makes me feel good.
  17. I voted 35" and luckily I have no trouble at all switching between my 35" fiver and 32" 4-string...
  18. pickles

    pickles Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    34" for sure. No 35" hands down. No no 34!!!!

    I own and play basses with both, and love each bass for doing what it does really well.
  19. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    One interesting apparent gap is that so far, a fair majority of those voting seem to prefer 34" to 35"; however, my perception is that a majority of newer fives coming onto the market at the upper end of things are 35".

    I'm not taking sides, but either the luthiers don't have good market statistics or they aren't building for the folks voting here.

    BTW, my impression of the mechanics of the B string are that making a higher break angle at the bridge and nut are important for perceived playing tension on a 34" and not quite as important on a 35". Some of the less expensive 34"s have shallow break angle and "floppy" B's. I know there are other factors, such as neck stiffness; but, my point is that getting a solid B on a 34" is mainly a matter of paying attention to the construction - I don't think it is rocket science at this point. So, designing 35" vs 34" is a purposeful selection vs. a physical restriction.