What is 35", 32.5" I'm confuse!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by arvidgunardi, Oct 4, 2001.

  1. arvidgunardi

    arvidgunardi Guest

    Mar 18, 2001
    Jakarta Indonesia
    I've been playing bass for a while....but I have no idea about 35" or whatever. Can someone explain that to me......:(

    Cause it doesn't seem to affect my playing so far without knowing these stuff......or should it?
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    A standard longscale bass has 34" stringlength, for example Fender J and P basses.

    But you can vary it. E.g. you can make an extra-longscale with 35 or 36".

    Medium- and shortscale basses obviously have shorter stringlength, but I forgot the exact measures, 32" and 30" respectively or something like that.
  3. Luis Fabara

    Luis Fabara

    Aug 13, 2000
    Ecuador (South America)
    Audio Pro - Ecuador
    The Scale is the lenght from the Nut to the Bridge.
    It can be measured by using a ruler from the Nut to the 12th Fret and multiply by 2.

    Normally most basses have a 34" Scale, wich is the standard. This is considered to be "Long Scale"

    Very few basses have a 32" Scale wich is considered "Short Scale"

    Many modern 5 String basses have a 35" Scale to supposedly add some tension for the B String.
    35.25" Is the Aproach of Carvin for the same reasons.

    Other bass manufacturers use 36" or more, and in some special cases you will find a multi-scale bass with fanned frets, like the Dingwall.

    Hope that helps.
  4. arvidgunardi

    arvidgunardi Guest

    Mar 18, 2001
    Jakarta Indonesia
    That help alot!!

    Thanks guys.....:)
  5. uglybassplayer


    Aug 24, 2001
    New Jersey
    It is the "scale length" of your bass. Most basses are 34" scale (35" is becoming more popular on 5/6 string basses). Basically, it is the length (in inches) from the nut to the bridge. The longer the scale, the longer the neck (and the higher the string tension). Keep in mind that the number of frets are still usually the same, so that means the distance between the frets will increase as the scale increases. This is why some players with small hands prefer a shorter scale bass (30" or 32").

    - Frank
  6. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    Longer scale basses tend to have a more solid, focused tone, and shorter scale instruments tend to sound more "wooly" or "Muddy", or "fuller" depending on your preference. None of these are positive or negative, just different. Depends on what you wanna sound like.
  7. No they don't.

    Scale length has nothing to do with tone. It has no bearing on the vibration of the strings or the electrical current in the pickups. It is a matter of playability and B string quality(although there are well made 34"s that have better B's than 35" scales, due to better neck construction). I don't even understand how you could have gotten this notion into your head:confused:.
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    And then there's Stanley Clarke;)
  9. It does have some bearing on the vibration of the strings, because you've got a different harmonic series. Isn't it for this same reason that the same note played on different parts of the fretboard will have emphasis on different overtones and therefore a different timbre?
  10. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Actually, 32" is considered medium scale, and 30" is considered short scale.
  11. mgood

    mgood Guest

    Sep 29, 2001
    Levelland, Texas
    The low B-string on some 5- and 6-string basses is a bit floppy, and floppy strings don't sound like a musical note. They sound like a limp jump rope flopping against the sidewalk. The longer scale helps with this because a longer string has to be stretched tighter to produce the same note. That's why you hear people saying the longer scale basses have "higher string tension" and things like that.
  12. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Beg 'pardon, Pantera Fan, but string length DOES affect tone, and significantly. A 32-inch string will have less tension than a 35-inch string of the same diameter tuned to the same note. How can you possibly imagine that the overtones from the two systems will ring similarly when plucked? Each string length will preferentially enhance specific frequencies in the overtone series, and result in distinctively different overall tones. Further, my experience indicates that eli's assessment rings pretty true (pun intended). That's all.
  13. berklee46

    berklee46 Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2000
    I'm glad that this thread is going on, because I'd be interested in comments about 2 basses I'm considering...

    Both are Status Graphite "Mark King" model headless basses, but I've got to choose whether I want a 34" scale, or a 32.28" scale.

    I know that it's not a major difference, but would I really notice much difference in tone/feel? I play with light gauge strings and low-loose action.
  14. arvidgunardi

    arvidgunardi Guest

    Mar 18, 2001
    Jakarta Indonesia
    Exactly, this is my point infact. I've been playing bass for a while now without this specific knowledge; however, I don't think it has affect my playing so far. The thing is, I think these are very important and valuable informations on bass that I can use to enhance what I already know. But again, when buying all my basses, I just pick it up, try it out, and if it feels right, I buy em.:D
  15. mgood

    mgood Guest

    Sep 29, 2001
    Levelland, Texas
    When I first tried the Kubicki X-Factor, I thought the playability was amazing. It felt really good, almost played itself. Very easy for me to do things on that I had struggled with on many other basses. It was quite a bit later that I found out that it was a 32" scale. I guess that's why it was so comfortable to me. I wish there were more 32's around.
  16. Sheldon D.

    Sheldon D. Commercial User

    Oct 3, 2001
    IMHO that's a pretty big difference. Try putting a capo on the first fret of a 34" and then re-tune to pitch. Now you will have a scale length of 32.1638" which is close enough to see how you like it.

    PanteraFan, scale length affects not only tone and tension as was mentioned, but also how in tune a bass plays, how dense or transparent the tone is, how much the pitch rises after the string is plucked... the list goes on.

    You're right on the money with regard to neck construction. A more rigid neck structure will have less of a damping effect on sustain and high frequencies. The result being a clearer sounding B string and more overall sustain. But is more rigid better? For some ears part of the magic of tone has to do with the resonance of the instrument. When you start to add rigidity and mass, you start removing resonance and therefore tone. So too much rigidity can be as bad for tone as not enough. The challenge facing all designers is how to achieve the desired clarity and response on the B string without sterilizing the tone and response of the rest of the instrument.
  17. berklee46

    berklee46 Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2000
    Hi Sheldon, thanks for the info and Welcome Aboard...

    The capo on the 1st fret helps me visualize/feel the difference between the two, but in your experience, is there a significant difference in sound / muddiness?

    With regards to the above Kubicki example - I seem to remember getting my first Kubicki and not being able to get the action as low on it as I was able to get on a 34" Sadowsky and still have the same 'feel'... I also thought there was a muddiness in the tone, but that could have been just my ears and had no scientific reasons...
  18. mgood

    mgood Guest

    Sep 29, 2001
    Levelland, Texas
    The Kubickis I tried had pretty low string action. They were mostly pre-Fender though. So there might be a difference, I don't know. I never found them to be muddy at all. Listen to some older Stu Hamm recordings, those are all played on Kubickis. If anything, his tone needed a little more "mud." I thought it was a bit sterile, but very clear.
  19. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    There's always that "mojo factor", isn't there?

    Seriously, my original staement should have included the qualifier "all other thing remaining equal", includung neck construction, wood choices, pickups, strings, cables, etc., etc.

    Your point reminds us that all things AREN'T equal. My bolt-neck Conklins have a somewhat more focused low B (same Elixir strings) than my neck-thru Carvins did, though all of these basses are 34" scale. The Conk necks are 7-piece with two truss rods whereas the Carvins were 1-piece mahogany with one truss rod and two reinforcing bars. I chose mahogany for the Carvins because I wanted a warm sound, and I got it. Also the Conk Bartolini electronics have a somewhat brighter tone than the Carvins', which also contributes to the difference.

    While not saying that either is better than the other, it should be obvious that you can't completely predict the difference between two basses on paper, either by scale length or any other characteristic -- you just gotta try 'em out!
  20. bazzanderson


    Oct 7, 2002
    Austin, TX
    "IMHO that's a pretty big difference. Try putting a capo on the first fret of a 34" and then re-tune to pitch. Now you will have a scale length of 32.1638" which is close enough to see how you like it."

    could I try this (for s's and giggles) on a 35" scale 5 string and achieve a 33.1638" scale 5 string? Would I have to Capo the 1st or 2nd fret? I know it could and probably would sound muddy...just curious.