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Scale Length

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by arcobigj, Nov 26, 2005.


  1. arcobigj

    arcobigj

    Sep 14, 2004
    Easley, SC
    Question, how can you determine scale lenght on a DB? Do you measure from the nut to the notches on the f holes, from the nut to the trapeeze, or ...? I am trying to set the intonation on my DB, but since I aquired it second hand and it is an off-brand student model, I do not know th specs of the instrument. Question two, is there such a thing as a saddle adjustment for each individual string in the DB world. Not for height adjustment, but for dialing in length once the bridge is set to a common point. Any information will be appreciated.


    abj
     
  2. Ken?
    abj you're going to have to be more specific with what you mean by scale length, dialing in, and some of the other terms you're using but Ken Smith should have the answers you need.
     
  3. ajb, you need to be aware that the word "intonation" has a different meaning in the BG and DB worlds.

    You don't "set" the intonation on a double bass. As a general rule, you just put the bridge right between the notches on the ff holes. Since there are no frets on a double bass, there's no need for extreme precision as far as I know. It's up to the player to play in tune and this is what "intonation" really means to us double bassists.
     
  4. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    We use the term 'string length' and not 'scale length' on a DB. It means the same but only the 'vibrating string length' is measured from the 'nut' to the 'bridge' (trapeeze??). I am not sure what you are referring to by the word 'trapeeze'.

    What you need is some general knowledge of the DB, its terms and nomenclature and a good DB Teacher. Read a few 100 posts on TB and you're on your way but the DB is NOT a 'do it yourself' type instrument.

    The Bridge is usually set at the notches of the F-holes. Measure from the nut to the bridge and see how long it is. It is usually 41" to 42" but some are 40" and some 43". Basses can also be 37" on real small models and 46" on giant sized Basses. The length determines how wide your fingers have to stretch. Imagine that the BD is a large violin. Forget everything you have learned with the guitar and look at it with a clear open mind. What ever similarities the DB has to the BG will fall in place but don't look there for any answers as you are learning. The DB is a serious instrument in my mind. You can spend more for a Bow than you do for a great hand made guitar. Yes, the Bow. Get one in the $3-500 range to start. It will make a difference later on when you get a $3,-5,000 Bow. You will have less bad habits to break if you start of with a better bow. The bow also helps to train the intonation of the left hand.

    Get a DB Teacher from your local Symphony Orchestra. They will teach you correctly. Anything less may be a 'crap shoot'!!
     
  5. Ken,
    I think you meant to say the bridge is set at the notches at the inner side of the "f" holes.
     
  6. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    thx.. fixed.. early morning post.. sry
     
  7. arcobigj

    arcobigj

    Sep 14, 2004
    Easley, SC
    Thanks for your replies gentlemen. Ken, the information that you supplied is what I was looking for. Do you include the nut or measure where it joins the fingerboard? I guess the word "tailpiece would have been a better option than "trapeeze". I had a brain cramp at that moment and I reverted back to guitar terms. Please forgive me. Thanks again.

    abj
     
  8. As Ken said, it's the vibrating string length i.e.: the length of string from the bottom of the nut where the string exits the nut''s slots (and joins the fingerboard as you put it) down to the top of the bridge.
     
  9. Heifetzbass

    Heifetzbass Commercial User

    Feb 6, 2004
    Upstate, SC
    Owner, Gencarelli Bass Works and Fine String Instruments, LLC.
    abg-

    I am a teacher in Pickens county. I would be happy to look at the bass for you. If you are interested shoot me a pm.

    Brian