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shortening scale length? is it practical?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Bibby, Feb 27, 2005.


  1. Bibby

    Bibby Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2000
    i've been playing the double a relatively short time but loving every minute!

    my bass is a pre war carved german pfretzschner (thanks ken smith!) with an Eb neck and a 43 1/8" scale length. quite long. the body dimensions indicate large 3/4.

    i get around the neck ok, but it seems to me that a shorter scale length would be more comfortable and playable with my smallish hands.

    so- would it be practical, or even possible for that matter, to have the scale length shortened closer to 41 1/2" as well as converting it to a more standard D neck?

    i'm sure if even possible this would be an expensive project, and maybe too pricey for an est. $7K bass.

    opinions? thanks!
     
  2. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    The quickest, cheapest and most reversible way would be to have a T-Nut installed.

    It might take some getting used to with the neck/notes...
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Bibby

    Bibby Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2000
    eroy,

    i must say i've never heard of such a thing!

    can you give me a brief description and pros and cons? do you have a pick of an actual bass with a t-nut? seems intriguing..

    thanks!
     
  4. Mudfuzz

    Mudfuzz

    Apr 3, 2004
    WA...
    I'm planning on doing this on my bass actually; my bass has a 43 3/16" scale & a Ed neck.
    Here are some of the examples I am using for what I am doing.
    #1 [​IMG]
    #2 [​IMG]
    The bass in question

    #3 [​IMG]
    The bass in question

    #4 [​IMG]
    #5 [​IMG]
    The bass in question [this is also one my favorite basses on the WOB site]

    Here is another way to go but it looks a bit crude to me.
    #6 [​IMG]
    #7 [​IMG]
    The bass in question
     
  5. Hey Aaron...what program did you use to post those pics!
    I hadn't been to that site in a while. Beautiful bunch of basses.
    I'll be spending some time in the bathroom with that bunch!
     
  6. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    LOL PAUL!!!

    Aaron, Nice pics you found...I'll have to document the next one I do in photos for the new string repair web site we are doing because the best I could come up with was a quick MS PAINT drawing...
     
  7. Mudfuzz

    Mudfuzz

    Apr 3, 2004
    WA...
    Safari; but you should be able to do this in most browsers.

    All I do is open a picture in a "new window"; you can do this to almost any image on any web site [on a apple it is control click], then highlight the http: address at the top of the page, hit copy, then select the "insert image" icon in the talkbass Reply to Thread interface [it looks like a small yellow postcard with a mountain] right above where you type in your post in talkbass, then select paste and hit OK.

    I hope this makes sence.
     
  8. Mudfuzz

    Mudfuzz

    Apr 3, 2004
    WA...
    That would be wayyyyyyy cool. I found your drawing to be fine; I was just expanding.
     
  9. Bibby

    Bibby Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2000
    aaron,

    thanks for the pics- thant cleared things up. t-nuts sem to be fairly common on older, longer scale basses. looks like we are both after the same thing with our basses!

    eroy, very nice website. i enjoyed poking around there a bit.
    :)

    is there a standard extension length for a t-nut? is it just long enough to make an Eb neck a D, or is it just long enough to shorten the scale?

    i wonder if any here played a bass with a t-nut regularly and how akward it is to get used to. it looks like there would be a slight learning curve but then forget about it pretty quickly.
     
  10. A little O.T. That first bass has more extra turns on the scroll volutes....are there two or just one? It's like the guy couldn't stop carving!!!!
     
  11. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    Looks like one full extra turn.

    In violinmaking school I started a scroll model trying to make it look like what a scroll would look like as if it where unrolled. I never finished...common sense and a good whack on the head by the teacher and I realized I was only taking away from my school instruments...but someday I'll do it just for fun.
     
  12. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    A caveat about the "t" or false nut: When you move the intonation starting point down like that, you also move all the notes down toward the bridge. Notes in the transition area between the fifth and octave can become very awkward. It works best if you move the nut down a bit and the bridge up about the same amount. This has the least effect on note placements. Also, many players find their starting point in half-position by touching the nut. The "t" nut takes away that opportunity.
     
  13. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA

    I don't touch the nut, but I would have the same issue. My teacher isn't that crazy about it, but has resolved to "if it works, it works" attitude about my "bounce."

    I picked it up watching Jim Mayers play. If I am returning to hP, I allow the top side of my thumb to bounce off the bottom of the pegbox/scroll and then return to hP.

    Although it's really just a muscle memory thing. I guess you would adapt soon enough to having the bounce just be a little higher - or lower? - Whatever. It works for me.

    My teacher doesn't like it because he thinks that it will ultimately slow me down, and I will be SOL if it is very quick descent. He's obviously correct. The wider nut would just slow me down all the more.
     
  14. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I get my feedback from the feel of the neck widening into the peg box. The extended-nut basses I've place take this away. Maybe a little notch or bump or something on the back of the neck would fix this?
     
  15. Mudfuzz

    Mudfuzz

    Apr 3, 2004
    WA...
    My idea was to shorten the string length just so that it becomes a D neck instead or a Ed neck; I did do a test by tuning my bass down a half step and used a cam clamp as a capo to see if it would impend my playing at all. And it took me around the same amount of time that it takes me to get use to as when I play any other D neck bass.Is there something I am missing?

    Although I don't do this it is a concern that I am thinking on.

    On my bass this starts 2" before the button. But a bump or stud sounds interesting.
     
  16. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I was talking at the bottom of the neck -- I can feel the end of the neck coming and this gets me within a few cents of the first stop on the strings -- close enough to 'slide home'. When I've played extended-nut basses I found that this physical cue was gone and I would end up trying to depress the string ON the nut. Ouch! Kinda like stepping off the 'last step' when you're already on ground level.
     
  17. Aha! I thought that's what they were doing!

    Last time I went to see our local band (the Royal Scottish National Orchestra), all the basses were doing this throughout the concert.

    Thanks for clearing that up.
     
  18. In 45 years of bassing, I swear i've never heardof this before!
     
  19. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Aaron--turning an Eb into a D neck by moving the nut up can work fine, as long as the body shape of the bass does not impede your playing in the upper register and transition area.
     
  20. Must be the way they teach orchestral players here in Scotland, Paul!

    I must admit it looked awkward to me. I've only been playing DB about a year, but I'd like to think I could hit low F right off the bat. But maybe not to orchestral standards...