A friend wants me to build him a cigar box bass with a short neck.  Shorter than the 34" scale length of his Pbass and use regular electric guitar bass strings, because that is what he is used to.  I took him to our local uke shop and he didn't like the floopy strings on the Kbass.  So, the question is, how short can you make the scale length using regular strings and still have it not pop the neck in half and still have a good sound?  Both things are importent.  There maybe more 'things' involved, so please advise me.

Views: 783

Replies to This Discussion

a 30" scale length is fairly common - Paul McCartney is one example of a famous musician who commonly plays a bass that short.  Ibanez has made one that goes down to 28.5" scale length.  Those are the common mass produced scales, undoubtedly people have experimented with others.  I'd say you could do 30" easily but take note that standard bass strings may not fit properly.  They sell short scale strings that are identical in all but the length that will work better.  They are common and can be found at any good music store

Thanks for the advice Chris.  My friend has an extra set of strings for his bass, so I measured them, shortest 43, longest 47 inches, so they must by for 37 inch SL bass.  I noticed that the string taper down near the end, about the last 6 inches, then have a smaller wound peice about 6 inchs long.  I think he bought the wrong strings for his 34 inch SL bass.  After reading all the questions and replys here, I think I am going to sit down with him in front of the computer and go over them all will him, so he know what to expect.  Thanks

Hi, I,ve made short scale basses with scale length as short as 24.5 inches. Years ago Japanese builders built small basses with very short scales. I build them with 25.5 inch Scale and they play very well. To make it easy, use an old electric guitar neck, and graft it to a reinforced cigar box body. Make it a 3 string and use bass strings ADG. The old guitar necks are strong and will easily handle the strings as they have a truss rod. I remove the guitar tuners, plug the holes and redrill and install bass tuners. If you want some pictures let me know.

Hi Richard....Please send some pics....Thanks.....Will

Hi Will. Here is a picture of my latest conversion, Scale is 25", Fretless. The frets were machined off, and a little wood ramp installed.

There is a 4 string bass with a 18" scale length. Sometome back Fender made a bass called a Ashbory, the rights were sold to DeArmond. It had a piezo pick-up in the bridge, and it used silicone strings. The bass is really cool and sounds a lot like a stand up bass. I recently bought one on ebay and it is a very unusual guitar. The strings and the bridge are available on ebay. Check it out, this should solve your issues.


Well....I got a nice looking Fender Strat style neck here in Sacramento yesterday for $15 with a 25 1/2 inch scale length.  I traced the headstock on paper & laid out the huge tuner pattern....3 up 1 down....the tuners are reversible, so that is not a problem.  I am going to fill the holes & paint the headstock before drilling the new holes.  The body is going to be a Master Blend Liga Maestra dark box.  It's on hold now, so I can finish some other uke builds.  Thanks guys for the help.

I think Fender made a 28" scale....the Mustang.


The Essential Pages

New to Cigar Box Nation?How to Play Cigar Box GuitarsFree Plans & How to Build Cigar Box GuitarsCigar Box Guitar Building BasicsCigar Box Guitar Parts Store

Site Sponsor

Recommended Links & Resources

Discussion Forum

My first bass build

Started by Bryan Putnam. Last reply by Ron Doran Sep 15. 14 Replies

3 string bass questions

Started by Euraquilo. Last reply by Euraquilo Aug 3. 17 Replies

3 String Cigar Box Bass Guitar Parts

Started by Will T. Last reply by Murdoc_420 Jul 16. 3 Replies

Bass strings??

Started by jeffrey ross. Last reply by jeffrey ross Mar 25. 13 Replies

Magnetic vs Piezo pickup

Started by PhilUSAFRet. Last reply by Murdoc_420 Mar 25. 8 Replies

Weed eater strings and tuning.

Started by Poppy. Last reply by Murdoc_420 Feb 29. 7 Replies

Bass Uke string question(s)

Started by Lane Martin. Last reply by Where's Uranus? Jan 7. 6 Replies

UBass strings

Started by Bobby Fields. Last reply by Bobby Fields Dec 11, 2015. 3 Replies

First bass build got a few questions .

Started by Piht Bull (Delta Dawg Guitars). Last reply by Scott aka Farmer Ted Apr 23, 2015. 23 Replies

bass frets...

Started by john mackay. Last reply by john mackay Feb 4, 2015. 4 Replies

Do's and dont's of CBB-making?

Started by Ben. Last reply by JL Jan 13, 2015. 4 Replies

Need parts for CB Bass

Started by Larry Epstein. Last reply by eK Aug 26, 2014. 3 Replies

Two String Slide Bass—Neck Material?

Started by Jon Witsell. Last reply by Jon Witsell Aug 6, 2014. 3 Replies

Bass string action ?

Started by Jonathan Clark. Last reply by Jack Bo Jul 31, 2014. 7 Replies

Fretless from fretted? Or should I even bother...?

Started by Brian Revels. Last reply by Wichita Sam Jul 11, 2014. 8 Replies

some general issues

Started by Jack Bo. Last reply by the anonymous pick Jul 7, 2014. 3 Replies

CB Bass help

Started by jeffrey ross. Last reply by JL Jul 3, 2014. 4 Replies

Blog Posts

Quick bridges

Posted by Michael Fred Johnson on October 22, 2016 at 8:04am 4 Comments

z Mragowa

Posted by Marek Dłużniewski on October 19, 2016 at 1:33am 2 Comments

Tea Chest Bass

Posted by Hal Robertson on October 16, 2016 at 1:09am 2 Comments


Posted by Monterey on October 15, 2016 at 8:39pm 3 Comments

Latest Activity

the anonymous pick posted a video
23 minutes ago
the anonymous pick commented on Chris Lyons's photo

under the hood

"yupper ! "
30 minutes ago
Kalmario liked Rob wrobel's photo
31 minutes ago
Kalmario liked Rob wrobel's photo
31 minutes ago
Kalmario liked Andries D. EKER's photo
32 minutes ago
Danocatster posted a video

Cheese Curds Song Live Open Mic

3 String Guitar. DGB tuning. Thanks Tanner!
48 minutes ago
Chick Who Tinkers commented on Chris Lyons's photo

under the hood

"Some young'ns minds are going to be blown when they see + hear it :-)"
54 minutes ago
Ken Mayfield posted photos
56 minutes ago
sasquatcher commented on sasquatcher's photo


"Belt clip from an old tape measure, so you can wear it to town "
1 hour ago
sasquatcher commented on sasquatcher's photo


"Belt clip from an old tape measure, so you can wear it to town"
1 hour ago
Gary W aka Rev. Bluejeans commented on Gary W aka Rev. Bluejeans's photo

New Shirt!

"Thx, Rick!"
1 hour ago
sasquatcher commented on sasquatcher's photo


"Sadly, this battery was not compatible with the preamp. For transistor radio only."
1 hour ago



© 2016   Created by Ben "C. B. Gitty" Baker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service