Question regarding scale length

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by pgurns, Aug 14, 2004.

  1. pgurns


    Dec 26, 2003
    Northern, IL
    I am currently in the design and research phase of building my first bass. As it stands now the plan is to make it a neck through design strung through the body. One question that I have pertains to scale length. I have read that 35" scale length is preferred on 5 string basses because it provides for a more well defined low B. Is this true? If so what would it do for A 4 stringer? I prefer a higher string tension when I play would the longer scale provide higher tension?

    Any constructive comments are appreciated. This is my first endeavor and so far all I learned is that I still have much more to learn :)

  2. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    The type of string can really affect your tone as much as scale length. Since I switched to Labella Hard Rockin' Steels (not an endorser!) I don't need the longer scale. Their "B" string sounds amazing. I find 34" much more familiar and comfortable. I may even make a 33" scale next!
  3. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I'm sure it has been discussed many times on this site as well, but long story short - all other things equal (strings, tuning, etc), a longer scale bass will be under greater tension than a shorter scale bass. All other things equal (scale, tuning, etc), a heavier gauge string will be under higher tension as well.

    I agree with Laurence as well - some strings seem tighter on shorter scale instruments. I shipped a 32" scale bass with SIT Silencers on it and for some reason the tension seemed higher than other medium scaled basses I have produced.

    If you do a 35" scale bass string-through-body, you're going to have a hard time finding strings wound long enough.