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first 35" 5 string

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Gaetano Paul, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. Gaetano Paul

    Gaetano Paul

    Nov 25, 2009
    Sarasota, FL
    Hello, a few months ago I switched over to a 5 string, 35' scale, Ibanez BTB. This thing is long. I really feel the wear on my wrist and hands after playing it. I am thinking it might be a bad shape, the way it fits me, or the 5 string extra long neck is a bad thing for me. I am short, very stocky, and have no neck at all.
    I switched from an Ibanez SR, I am not exact on the scale size, but much smaller I think.
    Anyone good advice.
    Also Iwear the bass up high where it belongs =D:help:
  2. dj5


    Sep 17, 2009
    I found the best thing was to make sure your bass sits on the strap at roughly the same height standing as when you have it on your lap. I suppose you have your left thumb on the back of the neck rather than trying to stretch around like a guitarist, because that won't work too well, and after that I think you'll get used to the extra stretch in time (it's not really that much, but I know it makes a difference)
    I try to keep my left hand correctly positioned as much as I can, but I think if your going to get used to it, it will depend mainly on LOTS of practice!
    All the best
  3. Bocete

    Bocete My E string is 36 1/4" long

    Sep 30, 2006
    I think it's not a scale issue, but that it's an ergonomics issue. I've played a 35" peavey I found reeealy uncomfortable, it just felt long, but play my 34"-37" Dingwall with no problems whatsoever. It's more about how does it hang and how far the nut is when playing then about inter-fret distance.

    Don't forget that, comparing a 35" bass to a 34", the frets are only 2% more apart. The distance between the first two frets on a 35" is less then the first fret and the nut on a 34". Shouldn't make that much of a difference, right? Let alone make an instrument unplayable.. I'd say that you shouldn't blame the scale, but the design. Try some other 35"er when you get a chance.

    Maybe lowering it a small bit so you don't have to reach that much.
  4. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    I'm not picking on you or anything but how did you not notice this when you testing it? You did you play it before you bought it right? If not, consider it a good lesson in why you should always try it before you buy it.
  5. +1. A big chunk of people who hate 35" scale hang the bass too high, which simply isn't very ergonomic and the minimal extra reach is more than they can handle. Lower the bass and it should be fine. It's better for your right wrist anyway.
  6. MKoby


    Jul 14, 2004
    MD/Metro DC
    Similar. Lowered bass a little (3 inches).
    Made all the difference to me.
  7. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    I have very small hands and have played 37" scale dingwalls and 5 and 6 string 35" scale basses with no problems.

    I really believe the hieght of the bass and the angle you hold the neck makes all the difference in the world.
  8. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD Supporting Member

    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    Perhaps it felt fine in the store, but over time has started to wear on him? Is that entirely inconceivable?
  9. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Not entirely inconceivable but it's something the OP said, "This thing is long. I really feel the wear on my wrist and hands after playing it" and "the way it fits me"

    Those statements make me think the OP didn't spend much time or any time playing it before purchasing it. If he did, then more than likely he'd had instantly known the bass felt long, awkward, and uncomfortable, or didn't fit him.

    Sorry but we know if a bass also fits us or not. That isn't something that develops over time, we know this because we play them. Even the most novice of players knows what feels comfortable and what doesn't when trying out basses.
  10. Gaetano Paul

    Gaetano Paul

    Nov 25, 2009
    Sarasota, FL
    Good word cassanova. I did not spend much time with it at all. It was one of those Craigs list deals were you spend 1 1/2 hour driving a few citys south to get an Ibanez BTB 405qm for $120. Then when you show up, the house and people just kind of say "party house" and everyones all hovering around you and such hoping you buy this thing so they can...... do whatever they are doing, Also I talked him down about $100 before I ever made the trip.
    One of these kinds of things. Big upgrade from my Sr100, or whatever it was, I then was able to rent that bass out to a first time player/student. Now I have no problems selling this bass, though it sounds so nice, plays great. It is not the fingering that gets me, its the way my wrist has to wrap around to play in the low register, my arms are not that long. Maybe it has nothing to do with the scale, purely ergonomics. It is a funny shape to me, especially when it sits on a strap, it just fits me kind of weird.
  11. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD Supporting Member

    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    Fair points. I just think some tolerance can be allowed for people being unsure if the 35" scale or wider 5-string neck will work out for them over time, if they will get used to it, what kind of adaptations in technique would help, etc.
  12. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I disagree. Novices struggle with pretty much any bass, and are less likely to know the difference between poor setup and a bass that simply doesn't work for them.

    More importantly, showroom auditions don't reveal everything. It often takes awhile to recognize that something isn't quite right... and that can be true even for experienced players. For example, I've been playing for decades: my first 35" bass felt fine initially, but my hands were more fatigued than usual after a 3-hour gig. I eventually realized the problem wasn't scale length, it was because the OEM strings were tighter than my usual brand. The reason is irrelevant: the problem could have been neck profile, ergonomics, weight, or even scale length. Another example: it took me months to accept the fact that my right hand can't get comfortable on fivers with narrow string spacing. I figured I could just get used to it after awhile, but every time I picked up a wide fiver it felt like home, so I decided not to bother with narrow ones.

    Anyway... maybe some folks can recognize subtle pros and cons immediately, but it can take awhile for others, like me.
  13. ahollowhd

    ahollowhd Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2009
    Gainesville, FL
    I find that I only feel stretched with my 35" 5-string Elrick when I'm playing on the lower frets which I try to only do on the B-string where you have to for the lower notes. If I stay around the 5th fret or higher the bass actually plays shorter than any 4-string I use. This should be true for any 5-string bass. The ergonomics of where the bass hangs do make a difference, but good use of the fret board helps a great deal, too.
  14. Gaetano Paul

    Gaetano Paul

    Nov 25, 2009
    Sarasota, FL
    WoW good call ahollowd. I guess I am not ready to put that level of practice and work shifting my playing into that method, maybe I will subtly work it in as I play every sat night.
    makes great sense, I am a huge opened string guy.
  15. I would also suggest not attributing the issues you are having to that tiny scale length increase from 34 to 35. Yes, the frets will be ever so slightly wider in the first position (you won't even notice once you hit the 4th fret or so), and many 35" scale basses aren't any 'longer' than 34" (many just move the bridge back in inch more toward the end of the body).

    A much bigger impact is how the body is constructed and how the bass 'hangs' on you. Some bass designs (regardless of scale length) push the neck farther away from the body, which makes first position playing feel very stretched). Other basses design the body and horn to move the entire bass to the 'right' (assuming you are right handed), bringing the neck closer to the body.

    As an example, the MTD basses move your hand WAY out there, while the Lakland 55-94 doesn't. Most don't even realize the Lakland is 35" scale when they play it, while the MTD (IMO) feels very 'distant and stretched' in that first position, even though they both have the same scale length.

    My guess is, this is much more of the issue you are having than the small absolute difference in fret distance due to that slight percentage increase from 34 to 35.

    That was my typical long winded way of saying that if this bass doesn't work out, don't automatically eliminate all 35" scale instruments from your consideration set.:)
  16. Gaetano Paul

    Gaetano Paul

    Nov 25, 2009
    Sarasota, FL

  17. Yup. Play up higher on the neck, and play across the fretboard. You'll like playing a G on the low B, it has extra fatness.

    It takes a while to get use to 35" scale. I know it's only fractions of an inch or whatever. But I found myself misfretting notes because I didn't reach enough. It can be done, I think it's worth it for the tone.

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