Long scale strings on short scale bass?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Shortie, Nov 27, 2015.


  1. Shortie

    Shortie Boom! Inactive

    Nov 15, 2015
    Brooklyn USA
    When I bought my Hofner last spring, I went out looking for some good flats to put on it. Guy in the music store told me I've got to put special short scale strings on it - long scale strings will break off if I cut them down and wind them onto the tuning pegs. OK - having no experience with shorties it made sense.

    Now I just scored a Fender Japan "smart size" J bass - scale is about 29.5 inches - almost too small for me, but it's a niece piece and sounds good. I had a new set of GHS Brite Flats for 34'' hanging around here so I decided to put them on the new JJ - I had to cut down the E and A strings past all the silk winding, because with that little Fender neck and the tuning pegs down so far there was way too much string to handle. Anyhow, I got it strung up and it sounds great and I don't see any cracking or breakage in the strings.

    Is this going to screw me up at some point? Will those strings damage the bass? They are 49-108. I have heavier gauge LaBella Beatle Flats on my Hofner. Are they going to shatter one day in the middle of a session and send pieces of metal flying around the room? Or was that guy in the store just trying to unload his stock of short scale strings?
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2015
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I've always just cut them down and used them on shorter scales without too much problem. Never tried it with tapewounds though, not sure sure, might have to do something to keep the end from unraveling.
     
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  3. Shortie

    Shortie Boom! Inactive

    Nov 15, 2015
    Brooklyn USA
    I never use tapewounds. Tnx.
     
  4. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2005
    san antonio, texas
    it's a bit of a crapshoot. when the non-silk part of the string gets stressed by being wound around a tuning peg, it can cause the string to become unstable. it may last years that way, or be ruined immediately. i use primarily ghs pressurewounds and over many years only ever lost one string (that i can remember).
     
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  5. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    As long as the strings don't break when you install them, you're OK.
     
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  6. Shortie

    Shortie Boom! Inactive

    Nov 15, 2015
    Brooklyn USA
    They did not break - everything looks and sounds good. Tnx.
     
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  7. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Mission accomplished, then.
     
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  8. Shortie

    Shortie Boom! Inactive

    Nov 15, 2015
    Brooklyn USA
    I was worried a little about the long term impact on the bass - maybe too much pressure on the nut or something like that, because the thick string is wound right onto the post.
     
  9. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Machts nichts. It won't hurt a properly functioning neck.
     
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  10. Shortie

    Shortie Boom! Inactive

    Nov 15, 2015
    Brooklyn USA
    It's a little bitty bass but it's been a day already and the tuning and intonation are spot on, like when I set it up. It does have good tuning keys. So far everybody weighing in here agrees that it's OK, so I'm good with that. I was expecting somebody to say Take them off right away because tomorrow morning the strings are going to pop and the neck is going to look like a pretzel! I guess not.
    Tnx
     
  11. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    It's really pretty hard to twist your neck like a pretzel unless you remove the truss rod and soak it in ammonia for a few days. ;)
     
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  12. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    If you do that, the result is referred to as "A Wishbass."
     
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  13. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab HELIX user & BOSE Abuser

    Feb 11, 2004
    Texas
    I run light gauge strings on all my basses and the short scales get fed the same set as long scales so they FEEL the same. As long as your setup is correct and don't accidentally "over tune", you're good. Current short scales are a Greco VB(solid body), Gibson faded SG bass, a Daisy Rock bass, and an SX Jazz clone. They don't mind the long scale sets.

    Over tune example: tuning up from a drop D to standard tuning quickly between songs and tightening the E string to much. Been there, done that, pulled the rear retaining piece out of a 1964 T-Bird and launched it...so I picked up the other one(1970's, long hair, spandex, loud stages, had to tune by ear using harmonics between the 2 songs).
     
    Shortie likes this.
  14. Crazy thought here...
    Can you do something at the bridge end to make this work?
    Some kind of string extension?
     
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  15. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab HELIX user & BOSE Abuser

    Feb 11, 2004
    Texas
    I guess you could add washers or convert your bass to a strings-through-body but it's not really required. The main things a the nut slots being OK with "normal" strings and getting the strings into the tuners. Since you're bending the actual string "playable" area around the tuners, it does require pushing on them to get them to bend correctly. Pics later if I get time(of the Greco & SG). Some basses here have Kahler trem bridges so I'm used to "bending" strings to fit turning corners.

    I just cut them about 1-1/2" past the tuning key same as I do on long scale basses. You may find some basses don't like having the full diameter of a .105 E string shoved into the tuner center hole. My E strings are .095 and only one bass requires that the cut string be perfectly round to fit into the tuner hole.
     
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  16. danomite64

    danomite64

    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    The tapewounds will definitely unravel, leaving you with roundwounds.
     
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  17. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Vermont
    Ditto on the tapewounds - been there. Otherwise, you should have a lot of latitude if you're careful and keep an eye on the wraps. I've never had one fail for that reason - they tend to fail at the bridge/wire loop end more often.
     
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  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    If the pegs are wide enough, long scale strings on a short or medium scale are no problem. It's only with basses like Hofners or Danos that use guitar tuners where you'll run into a problem.
     
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  19. Shortie

    Shortie Boom! Inactive

    Nov 15, 2015
    Brooklyn USA
    Yeah the Fender has nice big solid pegs - maybe the same as a full size Fender - the peg handled even the cut down 108 E string with no problem at all - went in and wound up without issue. I would not try it on my Hofner. Tnx.
     
  20. zontar

    zontar

    Feb 19, 2014
    J-5
    Long scale strings won't work on my short scale EB 3 copy--the E string won' fit in the slot--and the others don't wrap as well.
    But mostly the low E is the main issue.
     
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