Luthier to Convert a Long Scale Bass Into Medium Scale?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by LenMinNJ, Feb 21, 2018.


  1. LenMinNJ

    LenMinNJ

    Dec 22, 2010
    Can someone recommend a luthier who would be able (and willing) to convert a Warwick Thumb NT4 from a 34-inch long scale to a 32-inch medium scale?

    I've checked with Warwick and their dealers: a new, custom-made, medium scale, 32-inch Thumb NT4 costs way, way too much!
     
  2. Capo at 1st fret.
    Done.
     
  3. Trouztrouz

    Trouztrouz

    Feb 6, 2013
    NoVA
    Came here to make a dumb joke about a luthier named Capo and you took that away from me.
     
  4. LenMinNJ

    LenMinNJ

    Dec 22, 2010
    Thanks for the creative suggestion. I never would have thought of it.

    I tried it. String tensions are a bit strange. I guess that I should experiment with different gauges.

    It would be nice if the dot markers were in the right places. Any suggestions for that?

    I guess that I'm still interested in finding someone who could really convert the bass.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2018
  5. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Other than the capo idea, to convert the scale length will, at the very least mean a new fingerboard unless you want to go fretless (and a blindfold).
     
    cchorney likes this.
  6. LenMinNJ

    LenMinNJ

    Dec 22, 2010
    Thanks.

    Maybe it'd make sense to use a bass with a bolt-on neck, and then order a customized neck for it with all of the markers moved up one fret. I'd miss my Thumb NT4!
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2018
    nice_hat likes this.
  7. Low8

    Low8 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    1. Remove bridge.
    2. Re-position bridge closer to neck.
     
    Qlanq likes this.
  8. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    If you don't mind the extra length being out there, a competent Luthier could make a "permanent" capo. Basically, install a slightly taller fret at the 2nd position and take out the 1st fret. What was the 2nd fret becomes a zero fret. Then move all the dots, by plugging and redrilling. Of course, you'd be losing two frets at the heel. It might look a little odd to some folks, but it would play and feel about like it does now.

    If you want to really convert it to 32" scale, just like what a factory custom would be, that will be fairly expensive. Probably in the range of $800-$1000 by most Luthiers. It means a new custom neck-thru style neck, matching the Warwick construction and dimensions. Then the original bass get sawn apart and the wings transferred to the new neck. A lot of fitting and matching the finish.

    Yes, if you chose a bolt-on Warwick model to start with, that would make things easier. A custom conversion neck for it would be more like $400-$500.
     
  9. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    ???? If you did that, you'd also have to replace the fingerboard and all the frets. And, there isn't 2" of space behind the bridge pickup anyway, so you'd also have to fill and move the pickups.
     
  10. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Unless I'm missing something, it seems like it'd be a lot easier to replace the fretboard with one slotted to 32" scale and relocate the bridge. No?

    I guess that wouldn't be as 100% tidy as replacing the entire neck-through, since you'd have the plugged holes from the original bridge location, but I'd think with some careful wood selection for the plugs it could still look nearly undetectable.

    Still wouldn't be exactly cheap, anyway.

    Edit - ooops, I wasn't thinking about pickup placement. Nevermind............. and I'm sure I'd have noticed that before breaking out the power tools. Really :)
     
  11. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Yeah, that could be an in between solution.....if the bridge pickup wasn't so close to the bridge already.
     
  12. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Yeah, I just thought of that and edited my post. Thankfully, no basses where harmed by this brain fart :)
     
  13. Low8

    Low8 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    I never said it would be pretty. :roflmao:
     
  14. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Dude, just save your pennies and get yourself the short-scale that's already perfect........

    Justin Meldal-Johnsen signature Mustang
     
  15. Trouztrouz

    Trouztrouz

    Feb 6, 2013
    NoVA
    Just mount the bridge on top of the bridge pickup. Bada Bing Bada Boom - piezo.
     
    scuzzy likes this.
  16. LenMinNJ

    LenMinNJ

    Dec 22, 2010
    That's not the perfect bass for me.

    I've played everything and this Thumb NT4 is the one that I love!
     
    gepettus likes this.
  17. Chrisk-K

    Chrisk-K

    Jan 20, 2010
    AZ, USA
    Just play the NT. Even Tina Weymouth had no issue playing a 34 inch scale bass.
     
    Great Hobo and Mr. Sound like this.
  18. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I disclose nothing
    If that were a fender style bass then a new neck and moving the bridge would do the trick
     
  19. LenMinNJ

    LenMinNJ

    Dec 22, 2010
    Life is short. Why not play the bass that you truly love, instead of putting up with one that could be better?
     
    gln1955 and Jeff Scott like this.
  20. Converting a bass, especially one with that kind of value, seems like a huge disaster. Have you considered having a custom builder (not Warwick) make you something similar? I’m not sure if you know this already, but the same bass in medium scale is going to sound pretty different. So to me it doesn’t seem like a big deal to just have something built that’s similar. If you sold your thumb, and put that money with the money you were willing to spend on the modification, you should have a pretty nice instrument.
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jun 13, 2021

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