Help a newbie choose a 35" scale bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Sekator, Nov 25, 2004.

  1. Sekator


    Nov 25, 2004
    Hi there everyone, I am looking to buy a new bass, something of good quality in the $500-$700 US range.

    I'm mostly a guitar player, but would like to improve my bass skills as well to be more versatile and to be able to lay bass tracks as well as guitar when I'm working on pieces at home...

    I'm mostly into metal, so downtuning is a must for me (B-E-A-D), so I know I have to buy either a 4-string or 5-string bass with a 35" scale, instead of the regular 34" scale. I have an ESP B-105 5-string right now with a 34" scale and frankly speaking the low B sounds like crap.

    So, I was thinking about either buying the ESP DF 404 or maybe any of the Traben basses...

    But I readily admit that my knowledge of bass guitars is limited, so help me pick one that's suited to my needs (i.e. 35" scale or longer) and of good quality within the price range I can afford (which probably means Korean, not U.S.-made...I can live with that).

    Thanks very much in advance for any advice....
  2. Laklands are 35" scale. U.S. and Skyline.

    But not all basses are created equal. My 34" scale Ken Smith has a better B string. And more importantly all five strings seem to flow, meaning it's not like a regular 4 string plus the low B.

    Also, the make/model/type of string really makes a difference.

    I'm using Clubbass strings which are available here in Toronto, but perhaps others can recommend a more readily avaliable brand.
  3. Fliptrique


    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses, Taurus Amplification
    35 isn`t requied. a good bass will have a great souding B string with a 34 scale, but it does take a while to learn how to play it. good right hand technique will make all the difference.
  4. A preowned Peavey Cirrus.
  5. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    A really great five string bass that can be found for around $700 new is the Peavey USA Millennium five. It is an extremely well made bass with graphite rods in the neck. These originally ran over $1,100, but they have been discontinued. If you like a Lakland 55-94/55-02 type of sound, this is a great, less expensive alternative.
  6. The Traben Phoenix in Black Shadow looked kind of cool. Can probably get something that sounded better for that kind of money. Gibson Nikki Sixx versions were mentioned by TB member and luthier "Kucklehead", who said they were built by the best in U.S. can be had for $700. Don't know if this is true. I do not think he means the Epi.

    I would consider a P bass for sound quality in metal, though it might not fit the image. An actified P pup really cuts through, but havn't heard it much lately.

    Doesn't have to be a 35, but it helps...I have had and played plenty of 34s with low B and my 36 smokes 'em all. It is just physics, plain and simple. Bigger is better. Some 34's are better made than others, but the principle holds strong.
  7. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    +1 (there is also a sticky thread on how to string a standard 4 string BEAD

    +100 :D I paid $700 for my bubinga Cirrus and it is just a fantastic instrument in every respect. I like the 35 inch scale, but all the talk of how the B is tighter because of the longer scale length is much ado about nothing. It is a VERY minor difference in feel for the tension, you would get similar differences in tension by switching to different string compositions or guages.
  8. petch

    petch Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    Medina, Ohio
    I second the used Peavey USA Millennium idea. Fine basses that sell for cheap. :smug:
  9. csholtmeier


    Feb 8, 2004
    omaha, ne
    I've got a 34" Thumb BO 4 (tuned BEAD) That has one of the nicest B's I have ever played. I used to think scale length was THE key to B string tension, but now I'm starting to think that build quality and bridge design are more important factors.

    This bass is for sale in the classifieds forum.
  10. Sekator


    Nov 25, 2004
    Thanks for all the info guys, as soon as I have the $$$ to go through all these options your input will help me a lot.

    Quick question: my main axe is an ESP George Lynch baritone tuned to A. With a good quality 35" scale bass can I downtune it
    further to A as well to match my baritone guitar, or it that way beyond what I could do and should look at some more custom (36" scale neck?).

    Just wondering if any of the fine folks here tune that low and if yes, how do they do it...
  11. I use a hipshot D-tuner on my 36". I tune it to low A. But you can actually tune it to lower. I just never do. I tuned it to low G one time when we played "This is the End" by the Doors. I could play little leads while letting it drone on open low G. But man, my amp was pumping hot air out like a hair dryer. Requires a new B string or you don't hear much intonation. It just barely holds. Thank God for subsonic cutoff circuits.

    addendum: You might really be a bass player and not even know it. The fact that you are looking past the 34" scale and the tunings you seek prove that you are already wired for the dark side. welcome.
  12. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    I have tried detuning to low A on my 5-strings (both 35" scale), but, yeah, it is really hard to hear any fundamental (it's all overtones) and playing live at high volume, most amps will be just farting - in the studio might be different..., but you can always experiment. :bassist:

    How about those 39" scale basses that go all the way to low E? You can tune the whole bass one octave lower than normal.
  13. those knuckle basses are the sheeee-aaat. I would love to have one of those and a cab and amp that could handle it. At least I admit those 39" scales outgun me.