Taking my first plunge in 35" territory!

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by The Ethanator, Oct 3, 2016.

  1. Sometime in the next week or so I'm tentatively trading a fretless Geddy Lee jazz for a Spector Legend 6. I currently use a Bongo 6 in my death metal band which tunes to drop G (G-D-G-C-F-Bb), but a number of factors have me leaning towards using the Spector in its place - including not bringing a $2000 instrument to gigs in my nearby hometown of St. Louis, which unfortunately has developed a horrible gear theft problem these last few years.

    Anyway, I've played a few but never owned a 35" scale bass before, so I'm completely unsure of how the extra inch will affect string tension vs. the same gauge on a 34" scale. I have my Bongo strung with a D'Addario .45-.130 5-string set with a .160 for the low G. I'd like to step down in string gauges as it is especially for my C and F strings, but will a 35" scale bass facilitate smaller string gauges in that tuning or is it likely that I'll need a heavier set?
  2. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Inactive Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    sorry to hear about St. Louis - I've never had gear swiped at a gig and it must really stink!

    I moved 35" about 15 years ago - then I moved back. I don't like swapping between 34" and 35" - confuses my untalented hands!
  3. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    You use .160 .130 .100 .080 .065 .045 for GDGCFBb ? The top 5 strings are extremely tight, i'd say dangerously so considering the total tension on a 6 string. Thats's a 5 string set tuned up 3 semitones.
    I strongly recommend designing a custom set with more even and lower tensions. Here your D is very much tighter than the low G.
    Or, use a heavy 4 string set for the middle 4, add singles for the highest and lowest. .160 for low G is okay.

    > I'd like to step down in string gauges as it is especially for my C and F strings

    I assume you mean 'especially tight', and i'm not surprised.

    Tension is proportional to the square of scale, so 35" will multiply tension by (35/34)^2 = 1.06
    6% increase, not much, but this allows reducng the gauge of the lower strings by .005 while keeping the same tension.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2016
  4. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    I didn't find the additional inch on my Spector 5-string to be a physical challenge at all when I first got it. I'd only notice it after a couple of hours of steady playing at first. Later on, it was just another neck. And anything that's shorter than an upright will always feel shorter to my hands and arms. Didn't even take long before I could hit any note I wanted on the fiver without needing to look at the neck at all, just like with a 34" 4-string.

    It did take a little getting used to having that extra string however. I'd be going for one string and discover myself on the one below it a few times until I acclimated. That was the only weird part for me.

    But it's really no big deal. At least it wasn't for me or a good many other multi-length scale players. YMMV. Luck!
  5. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    A method for designing a custom set is:
    Find the 'string tension pro' app at the D'Addario website.
    Independently retune each of your strings until each one feels the right tension (don't retune every string by the same amount). You will end up in a weird tuning.
    Use the app to find the tension (in pounds) for each string.
    Use these per-string tensions to choose new gauges for GDGCFBb.
    The Ethanator likes this.
  6. I haven't had any problems with the bass, but recently our writing has me going into the upper registers more often so it has come to be a problem with both my basses (the other being a SR505 tuned up to drop C). I just re-discovered bassstringsonline.com, and after messing around with the D'Addario string tension calculator and looking at the gauge differences of Kalium balance drop tuning strings, I'm looking at ordering a custom D'Addario set at .170-.125-.090-.067-.050-.035, and that should get my problem under control.

    Fortunately my band has never been a victim of the St. Louis Scourge, it seems that FUBAR and the Firebird (popular venues near north city) had a period last year where someone was getting a trailer or van stolen almost weekly. There was actually a group that had their trailer stolen last year, and a week later the trailer with all their gear itemized was up on ebay - but go figure, ebay refuses to work with authorities to return stolen items, but we almost caught them! Cars with one mans worth of gear haven't been being targeted, and a few of us in the regional metal scene have started a system where at least one or two people stay out side during sets to watch the cars, and it's been working reasonably well
    4StringTheorist likes this.
  7. Sid the Kid

    Sid the Kid Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2013
    I opened a show with Nonpoint and Failure Anthem at the Firebird not long ago. During Nonpoint's soundcheck Failure Anthem's van got burgled, happened in like 5 minutes.

    Played a show at Fubar and was very cautious with my gear. Naturally someone got shot there a few days later.

    It's a real bummer of a scene. Rondo music has some inexpensive fanned fret 6 strings which would handle the low tuning like a champ and wouldn't require an armed guard.
  8. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jun 16, 2021

Share This Page