Scale length for 5-string tuned E to high c?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by focusbob, Nov 22, 2020.

  1. 28.6"

    0 vote(s)
  2. 30"

    1 vote(s)
  3. 32"

    3 vote(s)
  4. 34"

    6 vote(s)
  5. 35", multiscale, other (please comment)

    1 vote(s)
  1. focusbob


    Jan 28, 2019
    I'd like to get an inexpensive 5-string bass for EADGC tuning (i.e., high c instead of low B). Having a bit of option paralysis, though, as there are viable options in the $200-$300 bracket ranging in scale length from 28.6" (ibanez mikro) to 34" (with 30", talman, and 32", mezzo, in between). For folks who play in this tuning, I was wondering which scale length you prefer and why?
  2. Aidil


    Dec 4, 2014
    Jkt, IDN
    Strings for the high-C are relatively limited in options (compared to the BEADG). A problem I've been having with the high-C on my current 35" and previous few 34"s is the tonality which is rather thin/tend to sound twangy. I've used as low as .028 and most others are .032 gauge for the high-C.

    Then not until I got my first multi-scale bass, which high-C is 33.6" scale, I realized using the typical .032 gauge on shorter than typical 34"/35" scale would thicken the tone and would make the high-C nicer sounding.

    My point is, get a shorter than typical 34/35" scale for the high-C and it doesn't have to be a multi-scale bass. Amongst the options, probably the SR Mezzo or the TMB35 will do the job nicely.
    focusbob and Ricky Rioli like this.
  3. ShadowGroover


    Aug 16, 2020
    Simply look to your 6-string electric bass compatriots for the answer.

    Consider the gauges in their string choices, and then realize that in just about every 6 there resides a 5-string configuration identical to your inquiry, assuming that B is the lowest tonality.

    Remove the B from the 6-string equation to reveal the solution.

    I chose 35" scale in the poll. You have a good marketability chance if you abandon your 5E quest and revert back to low B. Of the many basses I have tried, 35 scale sounds best up and down the neck according to my ear.

    Personally, if I had to have high C in a short scale, I'd just go for a 6-string electric guitar, 25 inch scale, and produce low notes with a synth interface and/or 8va pedal : )
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020
  4. focusbob


    Jan 28, 2019
    I'm not sure I agree...

    Assuming a single scale length for all strings, a 6 string bass must balance between the optimal scale lengths for the low B and the high c, making the resulting scale length a compromise that is not ideal for either extreme.

    I'm hoping to learn from others' experience, with the tuning range from low E to high c, what they feel the best compromise scale length to be?

    Or, maybe I misunderstood your post?
    Ricky Rioli likes this.
  5. focusbob


    Jan 28, 2019
    Thanks! I have been going between sub-34" options (non-multiscale) as my preference. I have a mezzo 4 string which I like, I also have a 30" 4 string (dano longhorn) which I like a lot (along with a handful of 34-35" scale basses). I guess I'm still hanging on to the thought of a mikro (28.6" scale lenth) because I don't have one. But, that doesn't make it "ideal" for 5 string high c tuning. I guess the key question there would be, how does the low E sound (but that sounds like a separate post that probably exists ;) )?
    Aidil likes this.
  6. Aidil


    Dec 4, 2014
    Jkt, IDN
    I'm pretty sure the Mikro 5 would also perform well tuned in E to C. But, you'll get somewhat more limited string choices with the Mikro, especially with the E to C tuning, at least when compared to the SR Mezzo 5 which in certain cases could get away with standard long scale strings if no particular medium scale strings could be found.
    focusbob likes this.
  7. focusbob


    Jan 28, 2019
    It's difficult to choose one without being able to try either... I have a 4 string mezzo, so that's a pretty known quantity. But I've never tried a Mikro.
  8. Gsnorgathon


    Jan 15, 2020
    Sea Addle
    Based on my experience with 35" vs 34" 6-strings, the C can be kinda zangy on the 35". I'd lean toward multi-scale or 34" or shorter for a non-excessively-zangy C.
    focusbob likes this.