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Pros and Cons for 34" scale 24 Fret?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dudemanbroguy, Mar 16, 2016.

  1. dudemanbroguy


    Mar 9, 2016
    I'm looking at getting a custom roscoe 5 string and I'm on the fence about getting a 34" scale or a 35" scale while having 24 frets. I love the feel of my 34" scale Fender (21 fret). My 35" scale (24 Fret) Ibanez is not as comfortable. What I'm worried about is if the 22nd, 23rd, and/or 24th fret will be too small on a 34" scale, and if it will effect the sustain at all? I am well aware that tone, feel, etc. comes from you, not the instrument. I'm just wondering if there is enough room for 24 frets to breathe on a 34" scale 5 string since they are apparently pretty rare to come by in my city, making it hard for me to go pick one up, play it, and decide for myself.

    Also, what are people's thoughts on a Pau Ferro Fretboard on a Maple/Wenge/Maple neck?
  2. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    I don't play up there that often and I don't currently own a 24 fret bass but they have plenty of room between frets, heck I've seen some 27 fret basses.
  3. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    Plenty of space between the frets on 24 fret basses, 34" - 36' scale.
    Is the 22nd- 24th fret too close for you on your Ibanez?

    Fret spacing has no affect on sustain.

    Some basses are made so the nut is closer in while hanging than others- you won't know 'til you try.

    What do you mean by 'comfortable'? The profile and width of a 5 string neck can be significant factors depending on the person's reach and finger length.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
  4. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    Nearly every 24 fret bass is a 34" scale, so you can pretty easily find the answer to your question. Look up any player that's playing in that position, and you're likely looking at a 34" scale player. It works just fine.

    Also, guitars have far shorter scales, so their upper frets are much closer together, and they solo up there all the time.
    KickingBass and Fat Steve like this.
  5. Flaked Beans

    Flaked Beans

    Sep 9, 2005
    This bass has 33" scale and 26 frets and it's just fine in the upper register.

  6. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I don't really know, but what I would wonder about is if a deeper cutaway to give access to the higher frets would affect neck stability.
  7. MobileHolmes

    MobileHolmes I used to be BassoP

    Nov 4, 2006
    The difference in high fret spacing between a 34 and 45 is negligible. And they are still farther apart than guitar frets
  8. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    Lefty Duke 1.JPG Well, I don't have any 5-string basses;all my basses with 24 frets are short scale basses (!?!?); and I almost never get up past the 12th fret at all - much less way up there; but...
    - I doubt that the frets will be too close together. It's the music I like to play that keeps me down on the "money end" of the neck; not the fret spacing. My short scales - especially the Kramer Duke - are perfectly playable up there. I would think a 34' scale neck would be even more so...
    - Sustain? That will depend on the bass itself, not how many frets it has. Personally, I'm not a fan of sustain; most of what I like to play doesn't need much of it - if at all. My concern is usually making it go away; and, again, the little Duke has waayy more than enough...
    - Neck stability? That, of course, will depend on the bass. If the one in Flaked Beans' picture is a bolt-on with a "normal neck pocket? It's probably as stable as any other bass; it does look pretty vulnerable to a lateral impact, though. I doubt that's how it's made, however. Still, it's a consideration... hope you find what you're looking for..:thumbsup:
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
  9. bridgecables


    Jan 11, 2016
    Here's the distance in inches between the 23rd and 24th fret at different scale lengths:
    34" scale - 0.505"
    35" scale - 0.520"

    The comfort difference you feel is potentially explained by a lot of things... it is not explained by these fifteen thousandths of an inch at the 24th fret. :)

    The only valid reason I know of to choose less than 24 frets for non-aesthetic reasons, is if you're dead set on having a pickup located over where the 24th would be. Best of luck.
    H2okie, T_Bone_TL, mech and 1 other person like this.
  10. dudemanbroguy


    Mar 9, 2016
    First off, Roscoe Basses that are 5 STRING are 35" Scale Standard. Most 24 fret basses are 34" scales for 4 STRINGS, as you might not have read in my post I am looking for a 5 not a 4. With the Custom Bart pickups I'm getting, the spacing between the fretboard and the neck pickup is where the issue lies for me. The 34" scale might give my plucking hand some claustrophobia haha here is an example. I'm going to save the 300 and go with the 35" scale (also gives slightly more punch to the low strings). Regardless, the Roscoe will be more comfortable than my Ibanez, for it has a thinner neck (remember, this is my preference so that may not apply to you).

    Does anyone have thoughts on the Pau Ferro vs the Cocobolo Fretboards??
  11. DavC

    DavC Supporting Member

    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    i've had several 34" 24 fret 5vers ... most are just fine for upper fret space ...

    my current 24 fret is very comfy , but has 1 small issue ... it has a fretboard extension , so the bass is not really cut out to give confy access to the last couple frets ... i have that bass strung with a high C string , so i rarely really need to get to the last few frets ...!

    all my other 34" 24 fret 5vers , were designed as such = no issues ...

    i have had 1 35" 24 5ver ... my old arthritic hands didn't like that .. !
  12. Burwabit

    Burwabit Likes guitars that tune good and firm feelin women Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2011
    Lubbock, TX
    I never had an issue playing my 35" Roscoe. That's their standard length, and I personally wouldn't deviate from that. Don't over think it... Roscoes are great at 35".

    If I was going to deviate from standard on the Roscoe, I'd get the 19mm bridge. That's just me.
    dudemanbroguy likes this.
  13. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    If it's truly a Custom made bass, why can't you buy what you want?
  14. dudemanbroguy


    Mar 9, 2016
    Have you ever heard of Newton's Third Law? Every customized tweak you make will have some sort of reaction or unique character to it. With certain customizations to specific parts of the bass you may have to give up something else in order to have that specified customization. For example the 35" scale is designed to help the low strings deliver a fatter punch on 5 String basses and to take less stress off of the neck with the extra string, obviously tone/feel come from the way you play but like Billy Gibbons said, "Work smarter not harder." Technique can always be changed in an appropriate manner for what you are trying to accomplish. It's all about having the right balance for what sound you are going for.
  15. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    It works fine one mine. It's not like the frets are on top of each other, there's plenty of room there.
  16. Just a thought: if it is truly a custom build, and you definitely prefer a 34", maybe you can request thinner gauge fret wire in the higher registers? That'll give you a fraction more space between frets.

    I understand the science behind B string tension, but even 34" 5ers feel too big for me. I really don't know how you guys and gals can handle a 35" 5er without discomfort. If I was ever going to get another 5er, it'd be a 32" tuned EADGC...!!!
  17. GMC


    Jan 1, 2006
    I've been a 34" scale player for 30 years....when ever I pick up a 35" scale bass..it just feels wrong and hard to stretch at the lower registers. But up in the higher notes...there's hardly any difference. I played a 35" scale unlined fretless the other day...it was a horrible experience for me...I just couldn't intonate on it...I was all over the place and out of tune...not nice at all. But the guy who's bass it was played it great and sounded good too...so I guess it's what you get used to.
  18. Catbuster

    Catbuster Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2010
    Louisville, KY.
    Both my Bongos are 34" scale 24 fret basses. I don't venture up there often, but when I do it's plenty comfortable. The only thing I really worry about is how the neck heel area feels. Because the difference is minimal between 34 and 35 inch scale fretted. Fretless is a different story.
  19. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    The big question is: _which_ Roscoe ?
    Century, SKB, or LG ?
    _Generally_ -- the Century will have less 'reach' to the 1st fret, so if comfort is a factor, that may be the body style you want. I'm an SKB guy and have no issues with a 35" scale, nor access to the upper frets (my fretted Roscoe is a 35" scale 24-fret board). But I don't play up there much, in part because I'm mostly a fretless player and a guy's gotta know his limitations...
    I think you would be well-served with a 35" Century unless you have some specific reason to specify a different body style.

    Pick whatever fretboard you like, but if you have doubts, just ask Gard - he'll guide you in another direction if it's better for what you want. Hint - you have to know what you want... The string doesn't really touch the fretboard anyway, so IMO it's mostly about what look you want.
    dudemanbroguy likes this.
  20. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    I had a 26-fret 34" scale bass until recently (Thumb bass) and never even thought about the frets being closer together, was not a problem!

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