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Why does some 35" basses feel like 34"?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Finbase, Aug 25, 2013.

  1. Finbase


    Oct 12, 2010
    Espoo, Finland

    Out of sheer curiosity...

    I had an opportunity to try out a several 35' scale basses a while ago, and noticed that some of those necks feel really huge and with some necks you don't feel any kind of differences if compared to "regular" 34' scale.

    For example: one of the basses was Lakland Skyline 55-01. It felt just like a "normal" 34" neck. It was fretless, and I didn't even have any kind of intonation problems, which I assumed to struggle with since I've played the 34" basses exclusively. Lakland's neck felt very easy and familiar.

    On the other hand MTD bass's neck felt quite massive. I could really feel the 1" difference, the string response and resonance was somehow stiffer. The neck was also feeling longer.

    So my question is that what kind of constructional differences can make the 35" scale feel longer or shorter? Hopefully my question makes sense to you, since I'm not a native speaker! :)

  2. Smilodon

    Smilodon Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2012
    I would guess the necks position relative to the strap buttons (if you played standing up) or the waist of the body (if you played sitting down) will play a large part in the feel. If the waist of the body is closer to the bridge than you are used to, the neck will be further away from you when you are playing. That would make the neck feel longer.
  3. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    And how the neck is positioned on the body.
    Ultimately, how far is your arm extended when you are playing in 1st position.

    My Elrick 35's feel "shorter" because of this.
  4. walldaja


    Apr 27, 2011
    Don't forget the profile of the neck and its radius. Makes a big difference in the feel of the fretting hand.
  5. A 35" scale bass only feels different if you know its a 35" scale before you play it and if you're thinking about it.That 2.94117% increase in scale length is not that noticeable.
  6. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    The position of the bridge make a difference. the further back on the body that the bridge is located,the shorter the reach to the first fret.
  7. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    This and strap button placement are the two easiest ways to affect the feel of the scale length. I generally like the strap button to be in the area of the 12-13th fret but that depends on the shape of the bass.