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Have You Ever Cut Down/or used Standard Scale Strings on a Short Scale Bass?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Jim T., Feb 28, 2004.

  1. If you have, did the windings unwind at the cut? Was the lack of silk ends disasterous to your tuning peg(s)?

    If you found it possible to use a standard length string on a short scale bass, was there tuning slippage from too many wraps?

    The reason I'm asking is that I'm having a short scale bass built with a low B. I'd like to use standard length strings for the low B on an extended headstock and through body stringing.

    Some folks have told me you can use a standard string on a shorty, but isn't that gonna be 6 to 8 inches of extra string to wind around the posts?
  2. rumblethump

    rumblethump Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    Pioneer CA. 95666
    For years I've been putting longscale strings on my Gibson EB3. I cut the string right near the end of the silk winding leaving maybe a 1/4" of silk. If you install the string properly you should have no problems. Just keep tension on the string as you wind it. Try to make sure that the windings end at the bottom of the tuning post to insure a good witness point at the nut. After its wound up to tuning frequency I pull the string up at the middle (12th fret) and retune until it holds tuning.
  3. Thanks Rumblethump.
    That's very helpful. I plan on trying to use a low B standard scale string on a short scale six string (yeah, yeah, I know, I've heard all the warnings before.... :( but, do you or anyone else here, expect any difficulties in the above described winding process or hardware damge using a low B and cutting it short? Any difference with such a thick string on a short scale? (We're probably going to move the low B tuning peg further up the headstock to allow easier standard stringing as well as extra angling to the headstock, through body stringing, etc.)... Is a quarter inch of silk REALLY enough to prevent tuner damage Rumblethump? What about those additional unsilked inches wrapped around the post above the silken part?

    Thanks once more.
  4. rumblethump

    rumblethump Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    Pioneer CA. 95666
    Jim, I'm not sure by "damage to hardware" what you are concerned with?

    I may have been a bit unclear about where to cut the string. What I meant is to cut it about 1/4" inside the smaller tapered/silkwrapped portion of the string. This will give you at least a little silk area to prevent it from unraveling. In this months BP there is a good article on how to string your bass to prevent the string from slipping on the tuner. I have never needed to do this if I leave a good 3" to 4" of string length beyond the tuner when cutting to fit.

    I find using larger diameter strings helps a short scale bass with string tension, which in my opinion helps focus the lower notes. This is just from MY experience with a bass that is notoriosly known for being muddy.
  5. travatron4000


    Dec 27, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I woulnt be worried about hardware dammage. If you're worried about string with out silk being wound around the peg and damaging it dont be, not all strings have silk, DR's dont and guitar stings dont. I'm not totally sure what you're working with, some pics would help. But if you're moving the tuners around and stuff i'm sure you know what you're doing.

    Travis Burleson
  6. R.,
    Thanks for getting back to me. By hardware damage, I just meant silkless string scratching on the tuner posts-eating through the peg, but sounds like that isn't a problem.

    I'd be doing this on a 30" scale six string bass (not a piccolo bass) so it'd be 1/2 inch shorter or maybe three quarters of an inch than yours. I'm having a 30" scale six stringer built with a low B and I'd like to use "standard" length Bs if I can as they'll be a lot cheaper and easier to locate than custom wound/ordered!

    I'm using a detuned light gauge E (down to low B) on a Bronco with a high C string added (!) and it's actually sounding pretty darn good. A little flubby but really, not bad. I think with attention to construction details and a really stiff neck with careful pickup placement, this can work, contrary to popular belief. ..I'll know for sure in 10 months or so.

    I need to find one of my buddies or run down to the local music store and try a full length low B string and see if I think it'd fit ok...(had to wait for Monday hence my post...) In the past, I've cut two different brands of strings short-through the windings and they did indeed unwind.

    Yes, the reasons I was asking this and was so concerned is that I've always left 3-4" of string after cutting in order to have enough to wrap around the post(s) on my 34" standard scaled basses. I guess I'd end up using a bit less on the 30"...than on your Gibson. I'll try to do a dry run tomorrow an see how much is left over and how many post wraps it looks like I can get.

    Thanks for your help! Jim
  7. EduardoK


    Jun 28, 2004
    I am a short (and medium 32") scale freak for sure.
    Have quite a few of these, included a couple 5ers and a 6er.
    Although this is an old thread, I wish it would come back to life :D
    Until now, I have been using spacial ordered strings made for my short/medium scale ERBs because I fear cutting 34 inch strings will unwrap (unwound)...
    yes, it has happened to me on a few occasions.
    IME, no manufacturer agrees on taking this special orders (only Fodera). And I really wish to try other brands (and gouges) as well without the always present risk of string unwrapping and spoiling the set.
    I know some TBers say they have not encountered this problem...
    Any advise will be most helpful !!!
  8. BmoreTele


    Aug 11, 2007
    I assume you're mostly having trouble finding short scale low B strings?

    Otherwise, there are a few Bass VI sets out there (Fender, D'Addario, GHS, Ernie Ball) and even some "baritone guitar" setups - Jerry Jones, Dano, etc. for 30 inch scale instruments.
  9. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Jim, get a string through bridge. That'll give you an extra 1.5" or so of string length used. If there's room on the bass, a two piece bridge a la Alembic/Warwick would use up even more, getting you much closer to the point on the string where it would be if used on a std 34" bass.
  10. EduardoK


    Jun 28, 2004
    Yep, there are no 30 or 32" low B strings (nor high C as a mattr of fact).
    At least not that I am aware of (and I have searched everywhere). Those strings you mention are Baritone gouges, I am talking about real Bass strings. There's always the possibility in trying regular 34" strings and cut them to the shorter length but there's a risk the outer wound will unwind or "peel off".
  11. FWIW - I use long-scale XLs (no silk) on my Mustang (30", string-through). No problem at all.
  12. EduardoK


    Jun 28, 2004
    A couple TBers said so too.
    I tried it once and did not work for me, . I'll try again sometime and take the risk of ruining a set of strings... :confused:

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