Do long scale strings work on a short scale bass?

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abcxyz
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Do long scale strings work on a short scale bass?

Post by abcxyz » August 23rd, 2011, 12:16 am

Hi,

I am getting interested in Hofner Icon Bass - http://www.musiciansfriend.com/bass/hof ... 2000015000

I understand that this is a short scale bass. So will this require short scale strings?

As far as I understand, scale simply means the length of the string. So can't the long scale string be shortened (by winding the extra on the tuning post or clipping it off) and used on a short scale bass?

Thanks,

Rahul

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Re: Do long scale strings work on a short scale bass?

Post by NoteBoat » August 23rd, 2011, 3:08 am

You're correct.

The differences between long and short scale is about 4". That's less than the difference between a full size guitar and a travel guitar - and you can use the same strings for both of them (just not at the same time) :)
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Re: Do long scale strings work on a short scale bass?

Post by Vic Lewis VL » December 12th, 2011, 7:23 pm

I bought a short scale bass a few years back - a cheapo copy of McCartney's Hofner Bass. played like a dream...only problem was, when I bought it, the strings were in pretty iffy condition and I really needed to change them straight away. Bass strings are a lot more expensive than guitar strings in this part of the world....fortunately, I had a spare set of Rotosound strings from an earlier experiment with bass. they were a bit heavier than the standard bass set....I think the bottom E was 105mm. But I put them on the short scale bass, and they sounded just fine.....took me a while with a pair of pincers to cut them down to size, though!

:D :D :D

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Re: Do long scale strings work on a short scale bass?

Post by Blue Jay » December 13th, 2011, 6:06 am

As they said, you can use regular strings. They are just made longer for full size basses.

So, clip them off as necessary and you should sound fine. My family uses Danelectro short scale bass, after selling shortscale Mustang; and 1 Harmony Precision maple, after selling/trading Jazz (X3) and other Washburn and Yamaha longhorns! :shock:

Oh, and hey yeah, I'd git that Hofner fer sure! The number of people using them for really cool bass line demos and covers on youtube is amazing. Day Tripper is a good example, and there are so many others. WOW! 8)
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Re: Do long scale strings work on a short scale bass?

Post by Nuno » December 13th, 2011, 10:41 am

I've played that bass (a right handed version and perhaps a contemporary series) and it is really cool. The feeling is completely different to a normal scale bass. It allows quicker riffs... or at least McCartney said it. You can get a lot of different tones by selecting the pick ups and the tone switches. And it has a hollow body. Awesome bass.

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Re: Do long scale strings work on a short scale bass?

Post by abcxyz » January 20th, 2012, 9:21 pm

Thanks for your inputs folks!

I got this bass meanwhile - http://www.musiciansfriend.com/bass/rog ... 9000015000

It saved more than 100$ and plays just fine. Now, I need to get a good bass amp. 8)

Rahul

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Re: Do long scale strings work on a short scale bass?

Post by Nuno » January 21st, 2012, 10:08 am

Congrats Rahul. Nice bass.

Enjoy!

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Re: Do long scale strings work on a short scale bass?

Post by Derek Wilkerson » January 25th, 2012, 3:08 pm

i avoided this thread for a while for the fear that i would sound like a nose up in the air-know it all.. but i thought that long scale strings on a short scale bass was a no no and that was common knowledge? it appears not everybody agrees on one simple topic in music, thats the beauty of it i guess.

if you use long scale standard strings (34" scale) on a short scale bass (30-31" scale) you end up having to clip the part of the string off that was thinned to improve sustain and hold the strings true tone (not to mention keep intonation consistant). wrapping the thick part of the string around the tuning peg destroys tone in my opinion, breaking the wrap away from the core and damaging the string at the tuning peg. then again i am a metal bassist and a high end/piano tone addict, so thats my preference. i guess the deadened tone would fit the stereotypical hofner "violin bass" sound. if it were me i would get short scale strings for that hofner and just be done with it. that being if i would even touch a hofner bass in the first place. just not my cup of tea. i own a peavey T-40 and an indiana P-bass. great basses for my line of work.

to each is their own, and i respect that. there are plenty of string sets out there for short scale basses by good companies. why you would want to put strings that werent intended for the instrument on seems just seems odd to me..i guess thats what im trying to say
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Re: Do long scale strings work on a short scale bass?

Post by Derek Wilkerson » January 25th, 2012, 3:10 pm

NoteBoat wrote:You're correct.

The differences between long and short scale is about 4". That's less than the difference between a full size guitar and a travel guitar - and you can use the same strings for both of them (just not at the same time) :)
you're correct in regards to normal guitar..but note that normal guitar strings dont have the thin portion like bass strings, they are the same thickness through the whole string (except the unwrapped portion on the very end)
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Re: Do long scale strings work on a short scale bass?

Post by NoteBoat » January 25th, 2012, 7:09 pm

Derek, think about it - the thin portion on bass strings isn't part of the "speaking length" of the string. If it was, it would cause tuning problems between frets. So on a full size bass, the thinner part has to be BEYOND the nut, and has no effect.

On a short scale bass, the thinner part is even farther beyond the nut. As a result, it has no effect. So I stand by what I said earlier.

In addition, some guitar strings also taper - I use Thomastik-Infeld strings that have a taper on the wound strings. If I played a travel guitar, I could use them on it too.
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Re: Do long scale strings work on a short scale bass?

Post by Derek Wilkerson » January 27th, 2012, 6:46 am

i was referring to the mass majority of guitar strings.

what i was trying to get at with the thin end of the strings is that when you wrap the large part of the string around the tuning peg the wrap separates from the core and the damage goes into the speaking range of the string. plus you can only wrap so much around the tuning peg in the first place which affects intonation. coming from 8 years of experience i think i may have an idea of what im talking about. ive done it before and have seen what it does. im not saying you shouldnt do it, im just saying I wouldnt do it.
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Re: Do long scale strings work on a short scale bass?

Post by NoteBoat » January 27th, 2012, 7:33 am

The number of wraps won't affect intonation at all; intonation comes from the speaking length of the string, which is just slightly shorter than the "scale length" of the string. Since the wraps on a tuning post are well beyond both, the number doesn't come into play. In theory, the only effect a greater number of wraps will cause will be slightly increasing the sustain (because you've added mass to the peghead). In practice, a large number of wraps may affect the stability of your tuning; when you have too many wraps, they form a second (and maybe even a third) layer around the tuning post, and the outer layers are always trying to force their way in towards the center - when they succeed, the string tension drops and you go flat.

Because of this, a string should be cut to the proper length. If you use the right tools, the core won't separate.

I appreciate the fact that you've got experience. I do too - I've been playing for about 40 years, and this is my 34th year as a teacher. For the last three years I've been using tapered strings (the Thomastik-Infelds), cut to the proper length, with zero wrap separation.

Core separation on the speaking length of the string will change the way it sounds. Two things come into play: the distribution of the mass will be uneven along the length of the string, which will change the intonation... but the difference in tension between the wrap and the core will create destructive interference in the string vibrations. The string will sound "dead" compared to the others. It's a pretty rare event - I've seen it happen maybe three times on metal strings - either on a defective string, or on one that's been physically damaged. It happens more often on nylon strings, where the thin wrap can be cut if the guitarist uses a pick.
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Re: Do long scale strings work on a short scale bass?

Post by sickstring » August 6th, 2012, 6:00 pm

Hi, I'm a guitar tech and there seems to be a lot of conflicting info on just about every topic imaginable out there when it comes to music; just wanted to chime in on this for a second because this thread is still coming up in search results for short scale bass strings.

I strongly recommend using the strings specified for your scale length of bass. While noteboat is right that the scale length of strings won't effect intonation IF the string stays intact when it's clipped, and on some basses you might be able to get away with using some brands of long-scale strings, I agree with Derek that it's very common for long-scale bass strings to break the wrap wire when being wound on short scale bass posts.

Wound strings have the wrap wire anchored to the core at both ends. On short scale bass strings, this anchor point, holding the wrap to the core, is desiged to fall between the nut and the tuning post, so that the wraps stay tight when the string is clipped. Long scale strings have that anchor point several inches further back than short scale strings, and if you trim long scale strings to fit a short scale bass there's a good chance of cutting the string lower down than its anchor, which will "kill" the string by decoupling the wrap wire and the core, so the string will not intonate. This problem is practically guaranteed to happen if you use higher end strings like DRs using a round core.

Even if you crimp the string carefully before trimming it, it's also common to see the wrap wire itself break when winding the thick portion of the string into the post if you put long scale strings on a short scale bass. It's more likely on short scale basses with 2 per side tuners, or tuners with smaller diameter posts.

I do thousands of string changes a year, and I've made the mistake, in a rush, of putting the wrong scale length strings on a bass more than a few times. More often than not it doesn't work out. You might get away with it in some cases, but in my opinion, telling people "there's no difference between long scale and short scale bass strings, just use long scale" is irresponsible. Bass strings are expensive and if you put the wrong scale length on and it doesn't work out, you'll regret that you just blew $30 for nothing. Believe me, if string manufacturers could make just one scale length for bass with no problems, they would. Do yourself a favor and get the right strings for your scale.

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Re: Do long scale strings work on a short scale bass?

Post by Derek Wilkerson » August 7th, 2012, 10:41 am

finally someone gets it.. but this is a semi-old thread
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Re: Do long scale strings work on a short scale bass?

Post by et1123 » January 1st, 2014, 11:32 am

Can I put long scale strings on a Short Scale bass, well, of course I can. I probably could put some bass strings on a regular guitar as well, but that doesn't mean I should, does it.

Short scale strings are designed for a short length of string. Scale length absolutely has something to do with the sound the string makes.

Yes, you could tune a long scale string on a short scale bass and have EADG, but the string will not produce the TONE that string was intended to make because it is not the right length.

People that say long scale and short scale make no difference either A) don't have a very good ear for the tone, or B)just don't know what they are talking about.

If you have a short scale, buy yourself strings designed for the length of scale you have, period.

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