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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. pgurns


    Dec 26, 2003
    Northern, IL
  3. 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!
  4. 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.