Hello friends,

I'm a long time lurker who's trying to get back into building after many years away. I have a question about scale length on a bass build.

I got my hands on an old Kimberly beetle bass with a scale length of about 32". It was in rough shape so I thought I would use it to experiment with adding a piezo p/u and weedwacker strings. I bought a set of Slap Happy Ultralights with sizes of .155, .130, .105 and .080. 

I now realize that these are not going to tune to standard EADG bass pitch without being ridiculously loose. So, now I'm thinking I'll take the opportunity to build a fretless bass of some sort to use these strings. My question is, how long do I need to make it to bring these strings to reasonable tension? I figure I'll think of it a mainly an electric with a smallish box body and a long neck, but how long? Does it have to be around 41-43"? I'm pretty tall with fairly large hands but that seems way too long unless I'm going upright. Should I buy an other heavier string and shift the whole thing down a size? 

I'd really appreciate any insights into these kind of strings you fine people could offer. 

Thanks very much. 

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Hi Steve, I think you will find that bass strings come in scale lengths as well as diameter gauges, for example long Scale 32 - 34". What are your strings designed for? might be a starting point.  


They are meant for upright which is around 41-44". I'm basically hoping for someone with first hand experience who can say that if I try to make,a CBB with a scale length of say, 36" and try to use these strings, they won't just fall off because they are so slack.

you could set up a test rig. run the string over 2 "bridges" you just need the contact points to have a bit of a break angle dont need to worry about action.

start with a 36" scale length. tune it up till you think its not too loose. then stick a tuner on it and see what pitch it is.  you might be surprised what it will tune to. if you make the jig with a moveable nut then you can also test shorter or longer scales....

you might not get EADG but it may come out DGBE ?? 

I used .100/.080/.065/.045 light guage on my 34" bass Tuned E/A/D/G. The heavy guage use .130/.105/.080/.065.

The heavier guage on the shorter 32" scale is your problem. I would try a G/C/F/B tuning range.


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