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Scale Length / Tone/ String Gauge

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I'm not one of us who have all that scale length knowlege down-pat yet.

My current build is a bass, 6 string - and I want to tune it one octave lower than a standard guitar, like the Fender 30" scale basses.

My question lies in the scale length and string gauge I should be going for. It'll be tuned E-E with the high B and E having octave strings with them.

I'm thinking of 32" for a scale length, but I'm afraid I'll have problems getting the high E tuned up at 32" long. :D

Should I do a multi-scale - ? 30 and 32 with a 7th parallel fret sound doable?

or should I do a 27 - 30" fan ?

Any advice will be appreciated - I'm still in the body glue-up phase. I have a few days to ponder it.....

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I'm currently playing a Teisco TB-64, a 6-string 30" scale guitar/bass. I had to special order a couple packs of D'Addario XL156, "Designed specifically for use with the Fender Bass VI". String gauges: .024 , .034, .044, .056, .072, .084. The standard tuning for this set on that scale is EADGBE, all one octave lower than a standard guitar. I'm surprised this setup is not more common! I'm having a lotta fun playing mine and am considering building one. The guitar/bass features are right on the line its certainly both but also neither, hard to fathom. 3 single coils ~ 6Kohm each, 3 lever switches (so I can dial in any combination) and a tremolo arm, cool setup.

What should YOU do? Whatever you decide on, you need to balance the string gauge with the scale length. There is definitely a "sweet spot", ie. range of gauges for each scale where your string tension is responsive and comfortable to play. Consider how much playing is done and how often you would need to change strings. I expect these to last a little longer than regular guitar strings but still see added expense and more special orders down the road.

Edited by Southpa
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Thanks for the reply - I figure there will be some trial and error , but it's a bolt-on neck design, so I can always experiment with different scale lengths until I figure out which one works best for me.

That string gauge range you provided gives me a huge insight towards the gauges and their tension at length just comparing yours @ a 30" scale to my 4 string gauges @ a 34" scale. I can see how the thinner strings when shorter, arrive at the same note, but with a different ( slightly ) tone. So tension and tone will be the key factors in my final outcome.

Thanks again for the reference. :D

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I think a 30" scale 6 string is far more like a guitar than a bass, if you went to 32" scale it will start to become difficult to play normal chords. Baritone guitars work well with a higher string tension imo, think 11-52 on a strat kinda tension.

well, its tuned to the same pitch as a Bass guitar so, baritone, bass, call it what you will its a work in progress.....

I've definitely ventured into the "guitar" range with the extra high string and the octave strings. The first fret board I layed out and slotted is a 724 - 762mm fan .

I figure getting that high E on a 28.5" scale will be easier than with a 30" , vice-versa for the low E.

will post results once complete.

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