Scale length

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Kasper007, Mar 15, 2006.

  1. Kasper007


    Feb 9, 2006
    How much does a 35 inch scale differ from a 34 inch scale in terms of feel and playability? Is it true some people get cramps in their hand when playing on a 35" when they are used to a 34" ?

  2. mariner


    Feb 18, 2005
    Front Royal, VA
    I played a P style bass for 18 years that had a 34" scale. I recently switched to a 35" scale on a 6-string and to be honest have had no issues. I think the biggest difference is the number of frets on the neck and not so much the spacing. My 35" neck has a full 2 octaves while the 34" neck has something like 20 frets or so.
  3. tonynoriega

    tonynoriega Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    I thought longer scale lengths were for more than four strings, but I just saw an ad for a 4-string ASAT bass that was 35" so I don't really understand why some are longer.
  4. I have a BTB400 - 35" scale 4 string.

    You can tell the difference.
  5. The 35" scale will result in slightly tighter string tension, all other things being equal (which of course they never are!). I assume some builders feel the extra scale 'improves' the E string on a 4 string similarly to the impact on a B string in a 5 string instrument. I don't really notice much of a difference at all between the feel of 34's and 35's... string spacing at the nut and the bridge and neck profile have a much larger impact to me, along with how the bass is positioned when played (i.e., the length of the upper horn and how far the neck 'goes into' the body of the bass).
  6. Kasper007


    Feb 9, 2006
    That's why I asked this question because I'm thinking of buying a BTB 550 but the 35" scale scared me off a bit.:meh:
  7. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    It may have something to do with hand size. I have smaller hands... actually my hands are normal sized, but my fingers are short. I have a 35" BC Rich that is OK for me, but my Rickenbacker with 33.5" is far easier.

    The longer the string the higher the tension and thats just phyiscs. I'm pretty sure it would take an unusual bass to have a low 'B' and a scale length less then 35". I mean there probably are examples of shorter scales with the low B, but I wouldn't buy without hearing it.
  8. I play both and IMHO 35" scale seems to keep my fingers in a more proper position.Then when I go back to 34" basses I, feel a little cramped.So,IMHO dont be skeeeered, go to a shop and widdle away on both scales....See what works for you.
  9. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    It depends. Those with large hands dont often notice much problems. Another thing is the bass itself. If the body is smaller, and the bridge is at the VERY back of the bass, it moves the playing position closer to you and in turn, more in reach. So if you went from say, a 34" Fender Jazz, to a 35" Skjold, you likely would not experience too many issues.
  10. Kasper007


    Feb 9, 2006
    And anorther thing (I hope this isn't a stupid question):
    Do you need longer strings I mean longer than on your regular 34" scale bass?
  11. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Depends on the string manufacturer. For DR's for example, you'll need the XL strings. Most string packs say on them what scale lengths they fit I believe.
  12. Grooveminister


    Jul 12, 2005
    I've been playing Schack Basses which have a 36" scale for over 12 years. I have small hands, but I've never had problems or felt uncomfortable. The string tension is higher which gives me a better feeling and the ability to play more "precisely" and gives me more control. And the B-String realy is a killer!
  13. MrWalker

    MrWalker Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2002
    The tighter string tension and the slightly different "stretch" was uncomfortable for me due to all my other basses being 34". I had no problem playing or getting used to 35", but it always felt odd going from one scale length to another. So I decided to stick with 34".

    If all my basses had been 35", it wouldn't have been a problem.
    I'm sure there are guys who deal with the scale length difference, so this is a personal observation only.

    The B-string on the 35" was outstanding, though (Peavey Cirrus).
  14. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    For me, 35" is a bit uncomfortable (small hands) and just requires more moving around than a 34" scale. 32" is just fine for me, but I personally prefer a 34"
  15. jazzbo58

    jazzbo58 Bassist for My Man Godbey Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2001
    New Orleans, LA USA
    I've gone from a 34"Jazz to a 35"Modulus Q4 and I haven't notice any difference. I don't see what all the fuss is about.

  16. I'm a rather smallish dude and have not have had any issues as far as hand cramps.

    One thing I did notice is that in the first position my wrist is at a sharp angle. I wouldn't describe it as uncomfortable at all, but a 34" might be a little better for me.

    The only way to tell what is right for you is to go and try as many as you can. Be it a 34" or 35"
  17. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    I can't stand 35" scale basses. I have large hands, and everything is in proportion (IE, I don't have stubby short fingers) and I much prefer 34" and especially 32" scale basses, it just makes playing so much easier.

    I do a lot o tapping and chording and it's so much easier to get those shapes and fluid runs down on a 34"-or-less scale bass.
  18. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    Different players have diff opinions. You really need to check out a few instuments to judge for yourself. Some 35" dont feel it, some do. I prefer and play 34" scale 4 and 5 strings. I arrived at this after trying 100's and OWNING over 80 quality instruments from many different makers. Take the time, judge for yourself

  19. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    My first 35" bass was a Modulus Quantum 5. At first I thought I could feel the difference in tension immediately... I had to adjust to the Q5. But when I got my MTD 535 and strung it with DR HiBeams, I realized that the Quantum was tougher to play because the OEM D'Addario strings are stiffer than DR HiBeams. Also, the string spacing of the Modulus is narrower than my other fivers (Fender RB5, MTD), so maybe that came into play as well.

    So... while I think the difference in scale length might be noticeable, it wasn't a big deal for me.

    I suspect that some who dislike extra-long scale basses might actually be put off by other factors: difference in string spacing, neck profile, string brand, etc.
  20. BadBass


    Aug 11, 2005
    My teacher has an Overwater Elite with a 36" neck on it and the low B has the most fantastic punchy sound!!!:eek:

    How come Ken Smith makes 6 strings with 34" necks??