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35"scale vs 34"scale


mro

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In the future I am planning on building a bass using a moses graphite neck. I did a search first and nothing came up. So...what are the advantages or disadvantages of going to a 35"scale neck vs a 34"? Explain in terms of string tension, more or less possibility of fret buzz,playability.Only because I picked up a 36"Conklin that had the low B hardly vibrate yet produced a nice sounding B.Modulus' are 35 but I never even seen one nevermind play one. Thanks in advance.
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I don't think much is different besides tension. I think its just a matter of feel.

 

You can always go String-Through-The-Body for more tension.

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String tension is a wacky thing. My MM Sterling is a 34" scale and the string tension on that bass is greater than the string tension on my Lull M5 and my Modulus Q4; both of which are 35" scale. I use the same strings/gauges on all my basses. I don't understand it. I don't claim to understand it. I just play the damn things.
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a 35" scale will help string tension but it also has as much to do with the neck joint, body make-up and general construction as the length of the scale. I have a cirrus 5 that is 35" scale and it is a really nice bass with great tension. I do however find a 34" scale a little more confortbable to play. F-bass makes their basses with a 34.5" scale which is a nice compromise. the main difference is in fretting notes within the first 5 frets. it can be a bit of a stretch for some people.
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The builders who build 35" scale say that the B string sounds better. The Novax fanned fret system has a 37" B string.

 

Other builders seem to get a good sounding low B string on a 34" scale instrument.

 

You'll have to make your own decision.

 

I don't want to change to a new scale length after 37 years of playing. But other people don't seem to mind.

You could read what Ralph Novak has to say about string tension.

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I have a Yamaha Nathan East (34") and Lakland 55-94 (35"). I don't notice a huge difference in B string capabilities as a result of the extra inch. I'm able to switch between the two basses without any problem. I'd say the Lakland is generally slightly easier to play (takes a slightly lower action and has a shallower neck) which compensates for the slightly longer stretches in the lower positions.
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Thanks everyone. One more thought based on your replies. Can you have lower action on a 35" because of a tighter string that won't vibrate as much? I asked questions concerning the low B because of the Conklin I played. But I do plan to build a 4 stringer-Moses.
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Originally posted by mro:

Thanks everyone. One more thought based on your replies. Can you have lower action on a 35" because of a tighter string that won't vibrate as much? I asked questions concerning the low B because of the Conklin I played. But I do plan to build a 4 stringer-Moses.

It really depends on the build of the bass. I have a Warwick Thumb 5 (the neck-through) that has one of the lowest-set actions I've ever played comfortably. It's 34" scale.

 

It is really a factor of neck, neck-joint, bridge, and strings. Also, the attack of the player is a major factor, obviously.

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There is a matter of physics which applies; with thicker strings, such as a low B, the longer the scale produces a ticker and fuller tone (those Dingwall/Novax systems have a B string to end all), yet at the time, the longer scale also thins out the higher strings (and this is one of the basic theories behind Novax' system...as well as the theory to piano strings and scale lengths.)

 

I use a 34" five string, yet I also use a high C rather than a low B string. I have found that with a low B, I don't often venture that low, yet the extra 1" of scale thins out the G string enough to be noticable.

 

Yet, I should add, I have played a Fodera AJ Presentation bass, and there the B string was easily as firm as the Dingwall..and the G was not thinned out at all!

 

I believe that, as with all things, it is a sum of the parts which creates an effect. Different builders, designs, scale lengths, wood densities, laminates of neck woods, etc etc all factor into the stability of the bass, and its' inherent tone.

Also, strings make a great deal of difference in percieved tension. The greater the mass the more tension the string will "feel" at pitch.

 

Max

...it's not the arrow, it's the Indian.
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Originally astutely contributed by Max Valentino:

I believe that, as with all things, it is a sum of the parts which creates an effect. Different builders, designs, scale lengths, wood densities, laminates of neck woods, etc etc all factor into the stability of the bass, and its' inherent tone.

Yup.

 

My StingRay5 is 34" scale and I like the low B very much.

 

I've played an F Bass 34.5" scale 5-string. I liked the B string very much.

 

I played a MTD 5-string w/ Wally, JeremyC, and Whappo in California. It was 35" scale, felt comfortable, and I liked the B string very much. Of several basses we played that afternoon, that MTD was my favorite in terms of both feel and sound.

 

I also played a 35" Lull 5-string at that same location w/ the same friends. The B-string was nice but my left hand was not as comfortable on the neck as it was with the MTD.

 

I have played a Modulus 5-string that was 35" scale. The B string was nice, but my left hand was not comfortable on the neck.

 

Roger Sadowsky is a firm believer in the 34" scale bass -- 4 or 5 strings. Just try to get him to build you a 35" 5-string...I dare you...tnb has tried and failed to convince Rog otherwise.

 

In terms of how a longer scale affects the G string...I agree with Max (and I guess also w/ Ralph Novak and Sheldon Dingwall)...it begins to get a little thin.

 

If one day I am lucky enough (or actually get to put some money aside) to order up a custom bass, I will potentially go with 34.5" scale.

 

However, if Seismic gets off the ground, those fellahs can make my Sweet Willie Sugar Bass #001 prototype whatever scale they want as long as it has monster tone and great feel! :thu:

 

Peace.

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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Originally posted by Max Valentino:

the longer the scale produces a ticker and fuller tone ... yet at the time, the longer scale also thins out the higher strings

That's why 30" scale basses RUMBLE.

 

That's also why short scale basses are short on note definition.

 

But, if you want to move some "thick as molasses" bass, pair up a 30" scale bass with a sealed cabinet (ala Ampeg) and rumble your way to midrange mush in waves!

 

However, please don't try to grab Tom C.'s old Gibson... you'll have to yank if from the clutch of his cold, dead hands! :D

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I've played 34" scale 5 strings that had solid B strings, and 35" scale 5 strings that had floppy B strings that were terrible.

 

If you are using a Moses graphite neck, and have a solid connection to the body, you might do fine with 34" (how's that for hedging).

 

A few guys (mostly Canadians) have moved to 34.5" scale to find a compromise. I own a 34.5" Kinal that feels different from my 35" Aslin-Dane (which is not a great bass). But I like Carvin's 34" (note that they are also doing neck-thru).

 

My 30.5" Gibson definitely has vibration issues that I was able to fix by using TI strings. The rumble that Maury talked about comes as much from pickup design as the string length. It's not as mid-happy as he says...

 

Willie, some day I hope to have you hear me play a ballad with an interesting bass part using my Gibson (and why not - my old Kustom 2x12 as well) and show you what it can do. While everyone mentions Jack Bruce (and why not), listen to what Peter Cetera did with one of these babies on that first Chicago album (ever hear of Chicago?). And yes - it goes underground with me...

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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I have not noticed the thinning of tone on the G and C string of the 35" scale basses. Of course since I bought my beloved Sadowsky I haven't looked around much. The only 6 string I have ever considered buying was a MTD 635. The AJ model Fodera sounded great but it was too much bass for me. That having been said, there are a few basses I am anxious to try, like the Nordstrom and the F Bass 6.

 

And since Roger is being so stubborn, I want to try a Mike Lull 5. Roger, if you are lurking out there, don't be mad. I still NEED your P bass. Maybe Maury will tell us more about his Sadowsky P.

 

Ironically, I put a set of Ken Smith Rock Masters on my bass - without the tapered B. The B string sounds and feels freaking great. I should know in a week or 2 whether or not this will be a permanent change.

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Originally posted by getz76:

Originally posted by tnb:

My bad Maury, I meant 57pbass.

No problem. I'll gladly take delivery of the said instrument. :D
You'll gladly take delivery of a Sadowsky P or of a '57 P bass? :confused:

 

...or both? :D

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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Originally posted by Sweet Willie:

Originally posted by getz76:

Originally posted by tnb:

My bad Maury, I meant 57pbass.

No problem. I'll gladly take delivery of the said instrument. :D
You'll gladly take delivery of a Sadowsky P or of a '57 P bass? :confused:

 

...or both? :D

Yes. :D
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I have no problem making the B in my Yamaha five string sound good. Perhaps it's the pickups and preamp doing a nice job for me, or it's my amp. Or the strings I use on it; the low B is a .130. It is 34 inch scale, and that's a plus for me as my hands aren't too big. I can drop it to a low A, and it's still tight sounding.

 

For the way I strap that on when standing, it's also nice, as I can do the occasional wide three note interval without straining my left fretting hand. Like doing a Gaug9 without the 3rd note of the chord.

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