String length

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Kathy Welliver, Feb 18, 2018.

  1. Kathy Welliver

    Kathy Welliver

    Dec 9, 2017
    I am very new to bass building. I am working on my first build and doing most of the work by hand so it's taken me many months of binge watching Netflix while shaping the components to my bass. I am to the point of getting strings for it without killing my budget. Mind you, I started building the bass because I want to play one but can't afford one. I play bass guitar but really want the feel of playing an upright. From the bridge to the tuners is 60 inches, can you tell me what strings come in that length that would also work with an active pickup? Thanks for your help
  2. 60" bridge-to-tuners seems long if I'm understanding correctly. What is the string length bridge-to-nut? Gollihur shows a typical Innovation set as 51 1/2" from ball end to nut, plus a 17" wrapped section. The classified section will help you find decent used strings at a fair price.
  3. The usual scale from bridge to nut is around 41 inches for a 3/4 bass, which is the standard.
    To that is added the bridge to tailpiece lenght, and the nut to tuners.
    There's a good lenght of silk up there.
    james condino and csrund like this.
  4. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    You've gone about this backwards. You should have researched availability of strings and then designed the instrument to that length.

    With a bridge to tuner measurement of 60" you're looking at a scale length over a foot longer than any commercially available bass.

    Are you sure you're measuring bridge to tuner and not tailpiece to tuner?

    As for active pickups...any string that works with a passive pickup will also work with an active one.
  5. And what is that active pickup, by the way?
    Bass guitar magnetic type?
    If so there are several DB strings that won't work at all, or poorly, with magnetic pickups.
    the_Ryan likes this.
  6. Kathy Welliver

    Kathy Welliver

    Dec 9, 2017
    Agreed. I did do it all backwards. I am measuring tailpiece to tuners.
  7. Kathy Welliver

    Kathy Welliver

    Dec 9, 2017
    Agreed. I did do it all backwards but I had a lot of fun doing it that way. I am measuring from tailpiece to tuners.
  8. I have Innovation strings on my 4/4 5-string with 110 cm vibrating string length. This is a rather large instrument, the largest ones I have seen have 5 cm more of vibrating string length. The Innovation strings are rather long, maybe Pirastro or Thomastik 4/4 string are a little bit longer, but not much.

    I'm afraid you won't get strings fitting your bass, you might be able to trick with elongation a on both ends, but the silk should not go on the vibrating part. The only other solution would be custom made strings. But would you be able to play such a large scale instrument and carry it around?
  9. Kathy Welliver

    Kathy Welliver

    Dec 9, 2017
    I guess I can cut it off and move everything up. It's a stick bass so that would be doable. I just wanted to avoid that if I could.
  10. What is the distance nut to bridge?
  11. Kathy Welliver

    Kathy Welliver

    Dec 9, 2017
    Bridge to nut is 48 inches.
  12. As I wrote above:
    The usual scale from bridge to nut is around 41 inches for a 3/4 bass, which is the standard.

    A bass 4/4 scale is 110cm, which is 43.3 inches, so your scale is much too long.
    Even if you find strings long enough to fit your design, their tension would be extremely high, since they are designed for a much shorter scale.
  13. Kathy Welliver

    Kathy Welliver

    Dec 9, 2017
    I guess I can shorten it up a bit by moving up the tailpiece and the bridge.

    Attached Files:

    mtto likes this.
  14. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    You can also get around length problems by joining two lengths tying a double fisherman's knot either between the bridge and tailpiece or between the nut and tuning machine. It works fine; I do it all of the time when I break a string at the pegbox or guts shred at the tailpiece.

    Good luck with the string problem and high props to you for tackling your own bass build!
    Povl Carstensen likes this.
  15. I think the larger problem is not the strings itself but fingering them.
    A lot of bassists don't like to play my bass if I told them it has a 110 cm scale.
    The basses of the WDR radio symphony are 115 cm (45.3 inches) and are monsters.
    48 inches are definitely too much. It's hard enough to find strings for the 115 cm monsters.

    Something between 41 and 43 inches (rather the shorter end) should be fine.
    The neck heel (if you have planned to have one, which would be helpful for position orientation) is usually at the fifth test means at a third of the vibrating string length. If didn't have one by design you can make a fake heel later at the right position.
  16. Kathy Welliver

    Kathy Welliver

    Dec 9, 2017
    Thank you all for the advice. I ended up cutting down the bass and fingerboard to a reasonable length. I have strings on it now and am happy with the results. Now I am thinking about what type of pickup would work best for it.

    Attached Files:

    Reiska likes this.
  17. I'd try an old Fishman BP-100 pickup with the elements wedged under the bridge.
  18. Which is basically the same as putting a piezo disk under each bridge foot. You will need a high input impedance preamp for it like the HPFpre.
    The Fishman disks (similar ones are also available from Shadow, probably a bit cheaper) are OK if you don't like to solder yourself (and piezo crystals don't like heat for more than one or two seconds).
    A Shadow SH-965 NFX is a bit more expensive (but not too much) and has a high impedance buffer built-in. Just remember to pull out the cable from the battery adapter if not in use, otherwise the battery might be empty after one or two days. (IMHO better than the Realist.)

    The problem with most solid body EUBs is that they need a sensor under each bridge foot and need them coupled with one sensor phase inverted. Flipping the sensor won't do it, since they are pressure sensitive under the bridge foot. Inverting the polarity of one sensor works, but puts hot on the brass disk which better should be avoided.
    If you are lucky only one element (most often under the bass side bridge foot) works for all strings equally well.
    The closer the pickup to the string the more direct but also electric sounding and arco sounds loud and scratchy. The more to the body the better the bowed sound but less direct the pizz sound.

    For my solid body Clevinger EUB I made pickups from piezo disks sandwiches in hard wood with a cardboard frame around the cutted disk to hold the two wood pieces together (with glue) and let the pressure work on the piezo disks. I added two impedance buffers and a phase inverter on one and a mixing pot for both signals and this sounds nice, just a bit quiet.

    Just dial out some bass because a double bass doesn't radiate the low frequencies as well as higher ones. Too much bass and it sounds electric too.
  19. Kathy Welliver

    Kathy Welliver

    Dec 9, 2017
    UPDATE: Thanks to everyone from your insights. They helped tremendously. I finally finished my project. It is very different than what I set out to build, but since this was my learning project, I am very happy with it. I cut down the length and then found that I needed more body for the pickups so I added wings. I went with EMG P pickups, and my wife wired it up since she has done electrical work before. I played it amplified for the first time yesterday and am really happy with it. I even made the knobs and inlayed them by hand. I have never inlayed anything before. I loved doing this project and now I am hooked on instrument building. Hope you like the pictures.

    Attached Files:

  20. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Congratulations to you for taking this on and doing so well with it!