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Wrong scale neck?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Builda ba5s, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. Builda ba5s

    Builda ba5s

    Aug 5, 2012
    My bridge is too close for the scale of the neck so does this render my bass useless? I can't relocate the bridge cos its as far back as possible
  2. The neck must be the proper scale length. If the bridge is not moveable then you must get the correct neck, or the correct body.
  3. PlungerModerno


    Apr 12, 2012
    Maybe - We'd need more info.

    If the neck is fretless or you're going to make it fretless it's probably OK...

    If it's fretted the frets will be out of proportion with the string length (with very pronounced intonation issues with any major shift in string length).

    There are also concerns even if the bass is fretless: Intonation and setup - if the bridge saddles can't accommodate the intonation you'll have notes in offset positions, also the neck may need more or less tension if the string gauges are swapped to make up for the change in stiffness due to scale change.

    That's my understanding. I'd look at a luthier resource for more complete theory - I'm no expert.
  4. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    If it is fretted, yes. If it is fretless, no.

    If you really cannot move the bridge and it is a fretted neck then you could try to find a neck of the right scale length or at least close enough to allow the bridge to be moved to accommodate it. I'm not sure how easy it is to come by short scale bass replacement necks. The notion to buy an appropriate replacement body and use the parts on the existing bass to build up a new bass may also be viable and perhaps easier, although we do not know what bass you have, how it got into this condition, or if the neck is likely to fit any replacement body. Most of them are built to Fender standards. If you can get a working bass by either method you can sell the old body or neck and recoup at least a little of the expense.

    If the neck is fretless or you are willing to defret it to save the bass then it will work with pretty much any scale length. Set the G string saddle on the bridge to a reasonable location and then intonate that string using the "fretted" and "finger held lightly on the string" G note an octave above the open G. This is the method Fender suggests for use with their fretted basses. Now use a thin strip of tape to put a temporary fret line across the neck at the location of that octave G and intonate the other three strings against that "fret". The problem will be that any existing fretlines (the slots where the frets used to be or fretlines on a wrong scale fretless neck) or side dots will be in the wrong places. You will have to learn to ignore them or disguise them and replace them with corrected markers -- somehow.

    Either way your bass is in a bad situation and the solution will be either difficult and/or unsatisfying.


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