Floopy B in 34" Scale?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by guidobassman, Jul 27, 2009.

  1. guidobassman


    Dec 28, 2007
    To all those out there that have 34" scale 5 strings that suffer from B strings that are impossible to intonate and have bad tone, use a 125 B string instead of a 130. I just did that to two fivers that I have that are 34" scale. I had a Spector 5 that was a 34" scale that could handle a 130 B but my copy Fender 5 and my Ernie Ball S.U.B can't so I went with 125's and problem solved. They're like new basses all over again to me. I'm actually about to order a Traben Array 5 that is a 35" scale. I'll put a 130 B on it. Hope this works for you. Good luck.
  2. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    It seems a bit counter-intuitive that a lighter string would increase tension and "cure floppiness," but I'm glad the .125 works for you.

    I'd say that the construction of the bass and the construction of the string you put on (ie, core size, shape, nickel, steel, etc) are what fixed the problem. the .005 difference is probably rather subtle and would actually (according to physics) have decreased string tension.
  3. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    +1, but then again, I use a 125 B string on a 33.75" scale BEAD bass. No flop. It's not the smaller string that fixed you up, but maybe because it's a "new" string, oh, I don't know. Just happy it's all good.
  4. Woodwolf


    Aug 18, 2008
    I don't have a problem with .130 B-strings. One day out of the blue it hit me...its not the scale it's the setup and nature of a thicker string passing over the bridge saddle and the nut, the B simply can't bend at those places as easily as an E might. They need help to get seated or they'll be floppy. A bit of finger pressure to coax an accurate bend is all that's needed. People shouldn't have to buy a new bass with 35" scale to get a good B. We change strings much more often today than they did 20-30 years ago, so this B-string thing becomes more problematic due to exposure.
  5. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Unless you're like me and like the feel of 35" scales.


    Unless you're like me and play an 8-string with a low F# string.


    Unless all of the 34"-scaled basses spontaneously combust, leaving no other alternative.
  6. gimmeagig

    gimmeagig Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2004
    Coeur D'Alene,Idaho
    I switched to using a 125 B string many years ago and especially on my Atlelier Z I'm very happy with it.But still, the low D on the B string does not sound nearly as funky as the d-tuned low D on a 4 string.
    I've spent may years and a whole lot of money to find a 5 string Jazz that sounds as good as a 4 string.I'm probably as close as you can get but lately I've been trying to live without the 5th string and have been playing my 74 Jazz.
    I've seen a Marcus video where he played the tune Blast on his signature 5 string Fender.The tune is in D and instead of just playing the low D on the B string Marcus had the E string D tuned.Maybe because it is easier to play it that way but maybe because you just can't get that sound off a B string.
  7. My L2500 is very happy with a .130 B.
    I guess some 34" basses like it, some don't. I had a Squier Jazz V, and although the B did seem a bit looser than the G&L, it really wasn't all that "floppy".
    Since I have yet to witness a B that I don't like...maybe I actually like a floppy B...because everyone says a 34" B is floppy.
  8. guidobassman


    Dec 28, 2007
    Maybe flop is the wrong word but for sure I couldn't intonate the 130 and I couldn't get the "piano" tone but the 125 fixed that. I can intonate it and get the piano tone again.
  9. guidobassman


    Dec 28, 2007
    I've been playing over 30 years so I know about bending the 130 at the nut and the bridge and stretching it like crazy:) But like I said, my Spector 34" scale 5 handled the 130 no problem but then again that bass was over a grand.
  10. About the D sound, this could also be due to the fact that fretted (3th fret on the B) and open (an E detuned to D) notes always sound different. Unless you have a zero fret.

    At least, that's what I've read about zero frets, I don't have any experience with them.
  11. my yamaha BBG5a's had a little bit of 'wool' to their tone on the B.

    in the end, a taper wound string (smaller bridge contact point gives better root tone) for the B and remembering to change my attack on the B string helped wonders.
  12. Woodwolf


    Aug 18, 2008
    35" scale B-strings are better due to tension, and some prefer the scale for other reasons. I own a few. My point is mainly about making the best of the set up and nature of the B; the outer wire wrap usually is heavier than the E, and the limit of bending over a saddle or nut is less which is why the B requires forcing into the shape needed. Time, stretching and playing hours can do this too, but when dealing with a Fender type B tuner location this practice helps...that's all. No offense intended towards the 35 inch scale for any reason.
  13. The idea that this small diameter change made that much difference in tone and intonation is strange to me.

    Are you comparing the same brand and model of string in 125 and 130? If so, who knows? If not (i.e., if the 125 is one brand or model and the 130 is another), you are most liking attributing the change to the wrong thing.

    While I use 125's on all my 5 strings, I've on occasion used 130's and heard and felt very little difference. Intonating a B string is always difficult though, and I agree, a smaller diameter string seems to lock in a little better.

    Also, as many have said in other threads, and I agree with, the stiffness of the neck and quality of construction has much more to do with the 'feel and tone' of a B string (along with the string design), than the VERY small increase in 'tension' going from 34" scale to 35". All my 5's are 34", and the B feel and tone are as good as any of the 35" scale 5's I've owned IMO and IME!
  14. I use a D'Addario XL .135 B - the best tension/feel and tone I have had on any B string. This is on my 34" scale ATK305. No intonation issues, but I have also has a complete fret level and setup done which did wonders overall for the bass.

  15. murphy

    murphy Supporting Member

    May 5, 2004
    I sold my ATK years ago to upgrade to a SR5 and it really was not an upgrade at all and I missed my ATK (Korean)
    They really are great basses
    I like 125 B strings also, DRstrings
  16. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    Nothing but .135's on my 5 stringers.
  17. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Actually the increase in tension going from a 34" to 35" scale is not that small; it's as if you tuned up about a quarter tone. That said, however, my two 5ers are 34" scale and the B strings feel just fine.
  18. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    I've yet to play any bass with a "floppy" B syndrome. Everything from cheaper Washburns to several high-end boutiques that I've played all had nice tight-sounding B strings. Includes my current L2500 and tobias 6 string too.

    Pluck closer to the bridge with a lighter touch. Fixes the problem right up.

  19. That is relatively small where tension is concerned. I again find the correlation between neck stiffness and 'perceived B string tension' much stronger than scale length over the dozens and dozens and dozens of 5 strings I've played in both 34" and 35" scale.

    Put simply, like many other individual attributes of bass guitars, I would neither eliminate a 5 string from consideration because it has 34" scale, nor would I favor a 5 string in my buying decision because it has a 35" scale. Very minor point, and as the OP alludes to, the brand of string has MUCH more impact on tone, feel, and intonation than the roughly 3% difference in length.

    IMO and strongly IME.
  20. +1

    I "coax" my B every string change.

    P.S. Just buy a Warwick Thumb BO - it changed the way I think about 34" 5's!!!