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might be going back to 34" from 35"

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bigfatbass, Dec 28, 2006.

  1. bigfatbass

    bigfatbass Banned

    Jun 30, 2003
    Upstate NY
    Endorsing Artist: Karl Hoyt Basses
    As I get, ummmm, "better seasoned" I've been having more and more pains in the hands. Nothing serious, just the general wear and tear from playing 200+ nights a year. I've been playing five-string 35" scale basses for over a decade, but I think it might be time to go back down to standard scale and save that little bit of extra stretching.

    I'm a fan of p/j models that don't cost over $1000, and look reasonably fender-ish, ergo no pointy-ness or radical cutaways etc.

    It's been years since I've even thought about looking for another bass, my current mains are a Lakland 55-01 sunburst rosewood fretted and a Mike Dolan-defretted MIA Fender Jazz deluxe.

    Any suggestions for a 34"-er with a nice tight snap to the B-string? The biggest reason I went to 35s was the extra tension, and I worry about losing that growl.

    So there ya go. I now sound like a complete noob, lol. I've bought and sold a hundred cabs/amps over the years, but when it comes to basses I am still clueless.
  2. diptixon


    Oct 29, 2004
    Fender Roscoe Beck?
  3. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    How about the Fender Precision Deluxe? Great b string and the same electronics as your Jazz Deluxe. While places like GC sell them for over $1,000, I have found several new ones in local music stores for under $1,000.

    There was one for sale recently in the classifieds. It's my old one, black with a gold pickguard. I don't know if he sold it or not.
  4. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
  5. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA

    Or the also mentioned Fender P Deluxe. The Marcus Miller 5 string should get a look, also.
  6. ibz


    Apr 14, 2005
    Columbus, OH
    Sounds like my Valenti PJ... mmmm

    And as said above don't cound out the RB5's
  7. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    IMO, if you're playing 200+ shows a year with a 35" scale bass, you will be used to it by now. The pain may be something else.
  8. Jim Dombrowski

    Jim Dombrowski Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Also, for someone dealing with hand pain, the Fender Roscoe Beck has a huge neck.
  9. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Experience with the 39.5" Knuckle QUAKE (and fairly short reach/fingers) lead me to believe that neck profile (depth, width, shape) has more bearing on comfort and ergonomics (for me) than scale length. The long Quake has a nicely manageable neck, but some chunkier 34" and 35" Fives with wide-spacing have made it work to do what is play on a more slender neck.
  10. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    You can always pop a capo onto the first fret and retune (effectively making your bass a 33" scale) on the nights when the reach seems to be hurting you.
  11. perfektspace6


    May 9, 2006
    Perhaps a used Pedulla? 34 inch scale and a great B.

    An extra inch goes a long way...but I don't think it makes much difference on a bass.:p
  12. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    I've been playing my 55-02 for nearly two years and still have some trouble with long reaches or passages that require me to play faster. I thought it was the scale length, so I bought a Stingray 5 so I could compare the two and decide which works better for me.

    So far it seems to me that the the SR5 is more comfortable to play, but now I'm wondering if the scale length was actually the real issue for me. After playing the SR5 for a few weeks I'm thinking it might be the narrower spacing. Greenboy might be on to something.
  13. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Sorry to hear about your problems, BFB. IIRC, you have had bouts of pain in the past...but I thought they might be related to your upright playing, etc.

    Lets be honest, you're a 'little' guy. I'm always amazed at your mini-mitts and I'm guessing your arm-span isn't huge either. I know you're looking at 'traditional' looking basses for your gig, but my instinct is to look at basses with long upper horns that bring the neck as far to your right as possible, but with compact bodies. That way the bass will hang in a place where you won't have the stretch for either arm, wrist or hand. That leaves the field pretty far open, but you might be able to stick with a 35" scale if it 'hangs right' for you.
  14. BOOTZY


    Mar 4, 2004
    Amal, Sweden
    Take a look at one of these: http://www.sandberg-guitars.de/

    I own a California PM-5 and love it. A great bass, It gets more playing time than my Lakland 55-94 and my MIA Jazz 5 dont stand a chance...
  15. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny... Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I did the same switch, but for different reasons. I had Modulus basses and they were great, but switched to a Status Emapthy 5 and never looked back. Now granted, that was a bit more, but it proved to me that 35" is okay, but 34" can certainly keep up.
    I got a USA J Dlx and it's B is really nice when it has Ken Smith tapercores on it. I had a Steinberger XQ5 and it was pretty decent as well. The 35 adds twang, but with the proper break angle at the nut and a beefy bridge, any 34" 5 will shine.
  16. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Sure, look at MIA Fenders.

    How are you wearing the bass? Tried adjusting that to see if it helps?
  17. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    While a longer horn might help, having a bass that's designed with everything oriented more towards the right will accomplish the same thing.
  18. jim nolte

    jim nolte

    Oct 26, 2006
    I would try an SR5, 34", very narrow neck for a 5ver, maybe the HH.
  19. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    It could also be the neck profile. I have a Lakland DJ5 that has the characteristic Skyline beefy neck. It's less comfortable for me than other 35"s I've played, including a Modulus I used to own a lifetime-and-a-half ago, also a 35".

    I'd recommend the aforementioned suggestions, but also look at anything else you can get your hands on, even if it IS a 35". If it has a shallower neck profile or tighter string spacing, you may notice a WORLD of difference.

    Also, as Brad mentioned, if your bass is worn fairly low, you may strain your hand less if you raise your bass.
  20. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I have not played a 35" (w\18mm, 19mm spacing) scale for 10 years but I have tried a few and it just wasn't for me. My hands and fingers almost instantly fatigued on me. Got me a 34" scale Peavey Millenium and am now happy as a camper! Not sure what the string spacing is but it's perfect for me.

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