Bass guitar scale length – what you need to know

Bass Scale Length Header

Scale length for bass guitars can be a rather grey area and ensuring that you choose the correct length strings for your bass can often prove troublesome. But fear not, we’re here to help guide you through the murky waters of bass scale lengths.  Let’s get to it….

First things first, when it comes to understanding the length of strings we need for our bass, it’s important to know the difference between 3 important measurements.  These terms can at times be misunderstood so let’s clarify these from the start by taking a look at each in turn.

  1. Scale Length
  2. Speaking Length
  3. Ball End to Nut

Scale Length

For all bass guitars, if you take a look at the specifications on the manufacturers website you’ll see a scale length quoted in inches e.g 32”, 34” etc.  But what exactly is this and where are these measurements taken from?

Our good friend of the Strings Direct fold Chas Johnson describes scale length as “the distance that has been mathematically divided up to position the frets correctly so that the instrument plays in tune along its fingerboard.”

“The 12th fret is the centre of the scale length and so the scale length is measured by doubling the distance from the fingerboard side of the nut to the centre of the crown of the 12th fret. If you measure that distance and then add that same distance again from the crown of the 12th fret towards the bridge then that will tell you where the end of the scale length lies. For example if the distance from the nut to the centre of the 12th fret measures 17″ then you double this to find the end of your 34″ scale length.”

Bass Scale Length 9
Bass Scale Length 10
Above: As you can see the distance between the nut and the crown of the 12th fret is 17″. If we then multiply this figure by 2 we get the scale length of our bass. In this case our P-Bass has a 34″ scale length.

Not all basses have the same scale length and depending on the measurement you get by carrying out the exercise above, your bass will generally be categorised into one of four groups; short scale, medium scale, long scale or extra-long scale.

Short Scale – 30-32” Scale length

Medium Scale – 32-34” Scale Length

Long Scale (standard) – 34-36” Scale Length

Extra Long Scale – 36” plus

It should be noted that these measurements are a rough guide and whilst it’s handy to know roughly how our bass is categorised, it doesn’t really tell us the whole story when it comes to buying bass guitar strings.  More on this a little later on.

Speaking Length

Speaking length is the distance between the take off points of the fingerboard side of the nut and the top of the bridge saddle for a given string, i.e. the length of the section of the string that is vibrating in the space between the nut and the bridge saddle and the part of the string that is said to be ‘speaking’. 

Chas explained further; “The speaking length will be slightly longer than the actual scale length because it is compensated. In order to set the intonation of a string so that it plays in tune at each fret along the fingerboard we need to ensure that the fretted note at the 12th fret is exactly the same pitch as the natural harmonic played over the 12th fret. To do this we have to compensate for the thickness of the string, its height above the fingerboard and the physics of how a string vibrates at each end nearest to its take off point.

In practice this means we have to move the saddle back slightly from the end of the scale length to get the intonation spot on. The saddle of the thinnest string will be positioned closest to the actual end of the scale length and the thickest string will have to be moved back the most from that point to intonate it.

Bass Scale Length 8
Above: Speaking length is slightly longer than scale length. Our saddles are compensated and need to be moved back slightly in order for the bass to play in tune and intonate properly. As you can see our thickest string (at the top in the image) sits furthest back away from the scale length.

Again, whilst it’s good knowledge to know what ‘Speaking Length’ actually means, it doesn’t really help when it comes to sourcing the correct length of strings for our bass guitars.  Instead, the next measurement we’re about to discuss is the one that we really need to know about…

Ball End to Nut

Here at Strings Direct, the measurement we insist on players taking is from the ball end of the string to the headstock side of the nut on their current set of strings (if your bass has a set on there) and this is how it’s done;

Bass Scale Length 5
Bass Scale Length 6

**PLEASE NOTE** If you have a bass where you cannot see the ball end i.e. a thru-body bass, you will have to measure your string once it has been removed. Before removing the string be sure to make a mark on the string with a permanent marker just behind the nut so you know where to measure up to. Then once you’ve unwound the string and taken it off the bass, you can measure from the ball end to the mark you made on the string.

Marking the string

A little tip if you need to do this, make sure you trim the top of the string before you pull it through the bridge.  Trim after your mark but before the straggly bits that were previously around the machineheads….  if not removed these can easily get tangled up in the bridge and scratch the top of your bass if you’re not careful.

But why is this measurement so important?

The ‘ball end to nut’ distance you measure is the minimum length your strings need to be before any silk wrap or tapering should start. You’re aiming for the wound portion of the string to pass over the nut before the silk winding starts or the string starts to taper down.

If the silk starts before (or even in) the nut, it is a big no-no (see the image below). If this happens, the string simply won’t sound as it should, not to mention the strings may not even be long enough to reach or wrap around the posts of your machineheads.

Too Long Too Short

You see, if we were to buy a set of strings based off our ‘scale length’ alone, you are potentially neglecting a few extra inches of string that crucially need to be accounted for.  For instance, some tailpieces sit further back from the saddles than others, whilst some basses are strung through the back of the body. Having your strings anchored several inches further back like this inevitably means you’ll require a longer set than your scale length would initially indicate.

A great example of this is the Hofner Violin ‘Beatle’ Bass. The scale length of this iconic bass according to Hofner’s website is 30” putting it well and truly in the “short scale” category. Logically, you would assume that this bass would therefore need a ‘Short Scale’ set of strings. However, the strings are anchored approximately 3-4 inches further back from the saddles in its trapeze-style tailpiece. As a result, most “short scale” sets turn out to be too short and medium scale sets are usually the order of the day in this instance.

Hofner Violin Bass 3

Incidentally if you have a Hofner Violin Bass, check out our blog post on finding the correct length strings for this specific instrument.

How do I know which sets will fit my bass?

It’s a great question. After all, nearly all bass sets are only labelled as short scale, medium scale, long scale and extra long scale with no measurements given. As we’ve seen, without being told the specific length of the strings, you are really taking a stab in the dark and hoping that a ‘long scale’ set of strings will be long enough to fit your ‘long scale’ bass.  Unfortunately, there aren’t any firm “rules” on scale length that bass makers and string manufacturers stick to and as a result we often end up with conflicting interpretations of scale lengths where the length of one brand’s set will often be different to another brand’s.

So how do we overcome this issue?

Under the bass string section of our website, we categorise bass strings into ‘short scale’, ‘medium scale’ etc. depending on how each string brand labels them.

However, we’ve gone one further and we have made every effort to include the measurement from the ball end to the start of the silk winding (or taper) for all of the sets that we sell.

In fact, to make life easier we’ve created a handy filter that shows you all the bass strings that will fit your bass.  Simply measure your bass up and select your measurement from the filter…. the website will then display all the sets that are suitable for your bass.  Check out our Bass String Set Finder below;

Bass String Set Finder 1

Where the information is available we also include the full length of the strings. If any sets have silk windings, we’ll include the colour and if there’s silk down by the ball end too.

A few extra things to note….

Bigger is better, right!?

“If bass players run the risk of selecting a set of strings that are ‘too short’, what’s stopping me buying a longer set and just trimming them down to the length that I need?

On face value, this is a logical question, and yes this can work for some people. That being said, string manufacturers will create their sets specifically for certain scale length basses and often the gauges they select are carefully chosen to help give optimum performance and playability.

It’s also worth noting that when a set of bass strings has been created solely for a specific scale length, often the thicker gauge strings will taper at a certain point so they can be threaded through the holes in the machineheads. This might sound crazy, but we do come across instances where some strings just won’t fit through the machineheads because they’re simply too thick.

For more information on this subject, check out our blog post here.

Flatwound String Fans

Ideally, we only want the silk winding of our string to be wrapped around our machinehead, not the wound portion of the string.  Therefore, we need the silk to start after the nut but before it reaches the post of our first machinehead.  

Bass Scale Length 7

This is really important if you are using flatwound bass strings.  The windings on a flatwound string are wound seamlessly next to one another, and if you wind the wound portion of a flatwound string around the post, these windings can separate, exposing the inner core of the string which can make the strung vulnerable to breaking or unravelling.

No silk on the saddle

We’ve discussed in pretty great detail how we want to prevent the silk winding of our strings from starting before the nut of our bass.

However, we should mention that when strings have silk down at the ball end, it can be problematic for some basses with toploading bridges as there’s a risk of the silk being too long and it becoming part of the speaking length of the string.

Silk on Saddles 1

In the same way that we don’t want the silk to start before our top nut,  we want to avoid the silk winding from running over our saddles too.  If this does happen it can dampen the sound of the string and it won’t resonate and perform to its maximum potential.

Unfortunately, some brands can be inconsistent in how long the silk wrapping is so whilst we cannot be definitive with the length of silk at the ball end for any given set, we always mention if there is any silk winding down there.

Chas Johnson suggested a nice little tip around this topic; “If you find your strings do have the silk creeping over the saddles, depending on string gauge you might be able to thread an old ball end metal ring over the string to use as a spacer behind the back of the bridge and for Gibson style bass bridges there is always that ‘mod-bar’ device to stand all the ball ends back a bit from the back of the bridge.”

Conclusion

As you can see the bass string landscape can prove baffling at times, but it really doesn’t have to be that way. Knowing your ‘ball end to nut’ measurement will always serve you well when it comes to getting the correct set you need.

We do hope that we have been able to explain the concept of scale length and demystify the world of bass strings a bit more here.

As always, we’re here to answer any further questions you may have so feel free to send us an e-mail or comment below and we’ll be happy to help out wherever we can. Also if you have any suggestions for topics you’d like us to blog about, let us know and we’ll see what we can do. Thanks for reading and we’ll see you on the other side

Bass String Set Finder Banner 2

81 Comments

  • Chris Rees

    Thanks for this article. Very helpful.

    • stringsdirect

      You’re welcome 🙂

      • Fred Cottee

        I am looking to put a set of flatwound strings on my acoustic bass. The speaking length is 34 inches. Will the Hofner violin bass strings fit? Please let me know what you think.

        • Nando

          Tuning my bass 1.5 steps down
          What would be the best measure for my bass strings?

          • stringsdirect

            Hi there, thanks for your question. If you are tuning down, there would be no change in the length of string needed, however, you may have to consider a heavier gauge set to compensate for the lower tension as a result of tuning down. If you need any further guidance, please feel free to email us at guitartech@stringsdirect.co.uk Thank you

          • David Winter

            Hi I have a American Mustang short scale bass which I brought secondhand so I don’t know what make the strings are. I find that tone wise the E string sound is a little on the heavy side and the G string on the light side. The string sizes that are fitted at present are, 0.095, 0.075, 0.60, 0.40. With a speaking length of 32 inches.
            I would be grateful for your advice as to what strings would give me a more balanced sound/tone.

            Regards David

          • stringsdirect

            Hi David, we actually did a blog on Mustang Bass strings here. There is a link to all the relevant strings that fit a Mustang with a thru-body stringing configuration. Does your Mustang bass use strings that go through the back of the body? It’s our understanding that some newer models use a top loading tailpiece where the ball end sits in the tailpiece on top of the body. Thanks

        • Colin Stuckey

          Thanks for explaining scale v speaking length, it’s taken the angst out of bass string choosing. I guess this was why when first ever replacing my Hofner violin strings, the guy at the music store suggested MED scale chrome’s. I have never looked back…but now understand why I needed to go longer.
          Cheers,
          Col.

      • Peter Millington

        I have tried and tried to find flats that fit a Fender Jaguar Baritone Bass guitar. The low E I’d like to be 100 or 105 gauge with the A being 85, the D being 70 and the G 60. The B and high E 50 and 35 respectively. Of course a bit of latitude on these preferences.
        Black nylon covering would be ok as well.
        Any help and suggestions welcome – Thanks

        • stringsdirect

          Hi Peter,
          Sure happy to help here. I’m sure we can get something to suit your needs. If you can measure the ball end to silk length of your current set of trings we’d be able to give you some options that fit your bass. You can email the measurements over to guitartech@stringsdirect.co.uk and I’d be happy to help from there. Thanks, Lee.

    • Ralph Nelson

      Excellent information.

      • Does it matter how far the frets are from one to another? What I think I’m asking is, if its 1 3/16″ from F# to G on my 4th string (E) but on my 1st string (G) from A to b- it measures 1 5/16″ from fret to fret do I need to compensate for the extra ahhhhh……..”finger play”? Not sure what to call that. Other than poor carpentry. I made the guitar myself and I slanted the frets hoping that my hands won’t cramp up as easily. But I don’t know the terminology for better research and I’m just winging it as of now. I suck, yes, I know.
        Thanks,
        Antipicks

      • Sebastian Tan

        I had a epiphone viola and switched to Fender Bronco. Both are short scale bass. Now I thinking of getting a Fender Mustang. I do hv still a Yamaha 414 and a Gregg Benett 34 in.
        Between the Bronco and Mustang fenders are there any differences in sound since both are short
        Scale?

    • Malcolm

      Now I know why my Roto Bass 40-5 B string would not fit in the post-Because I cut it! That being said, where can I purchase one .125 B string? I realized my mistake before ruining the other 4 strings. I have another 5 String bass that the strings will fit-otherwise I’ll have to donate them to a worthy 4 String Player.

    • Andrew Prentice

      Could you recommend some flatwound strings for a 1951 reissue fender precision bass please ?

  • Geoff Walker

    Thanks for that – interesting to read.

    • stringsdirect

      Thanks Geoff

    • Stephen Lochhead

      I’ve measured from the ball end to the nut. Exactly 36 inches. Does this mean I need extra long strings?

      • Dan

        I’m learning this the hard way. Ibanez acoustic bass. PCBE12MH. LONG SCALE TOO LONG.short scale too short.. Rotosounds. So I guess I need medium!

        • stringsdirect

          Hi Dan,
          FYI the Rotosound medium scale sets measure 35.25″ from the ball end of the string to the start of the silk winding. Just in case you wanted to measure your bass before you buy this particular set 🙂
          Hope this helps. Thanks

        • Framus Star Bass, scale length 25” approx?
          Anything? Also 2 per side headstock.

          • stringsdirect

            Hi Ray,
            Thanks for your question, 25″ is very short indeed for scale length… more like a standard 6-string guitar. Can you measure the length of your current set of strings for me please… the crucial measurement is from the ball end to the back edge of the nut. Many Thanks

    • DonutHeaven

      What string length would be good for my 28.6″ scale Ibanez mikro bass? As I see the shortest strings listed here are the 32″ ones
      Thanks in advance.

      • stringsdirect

        Hi there, thanks for the question. Do you know where the 28.6″ is being measured from please? Just to be sure, if you could measure the length of your Mikro bass from the ball end of the string (at the bridge) up to where it crosses the nut? If you provide us with this measurement we’ll be sure to let you know which strings will be most suited.
        Thanks
        Lee

        • JIM SYMINGTON

          IM HAVING THE SAME PROBLEM AS DONUTHEAVEN, MY P-BASS JR MEASURES 28.6″ FROM TAILPIECE TO NUT…THEN APPROX ANOTHER 1″ DUE TO THE STRING THRU….IVE HEARD ONLY FENDER 4250 OR 4250M STRINGS ARE THE ONLY SIZE THAT FIT PROPERLY…THEY’VE BEEN DISCONTINUED FOR ALMOST 10YRS 🙁

          • stringsdirect

            Hi Jim,

            Thanks for your comment. The shortest strings we supply are 32″ from the ball end to the start of the silk winding. All D’Addario and Jim Dunlop short scale sets measure this length. Would this be too long? Sounds like the string needs to be 30″ (ball end to start of silk) in order to reach and clear the nut. Using the 32″ set would mean there is a chance the low E may be the only string that could have some portion of the exposed string wrapping around the post.

            Does this sound about right?

          • jim symington

            YA, 30″-31″ WOULD DO THE TRICK…..GUESS MY HUNT CONTINUES FOR A SET OF FENDER 4250’S 🙁 THX ANYHOW, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

          • stringsdirect

            Hi Jym,

            Yes really sorry about that. My only recommendation would be to contact somebody like Newtone Strings in Derbyshire who may be able to make you a custom set to the specifications you need.

            Many Thanks

  • Jonathan Underwood

    Very interesting article. Will keep for future reference. Thank you

    • stringsdirect

      Thanks Jonathan. If you do need any guidance with this in future, please don’t hesitate to get in touch

      • Brian Norris

        Wow, 58 years playing bass, never had a scooby about this, explains how I broke a new E on an EBO in ‘66

        • stringsdirect

          Hi Brian, thanks for the feedback and glad you got some good info from the article 🙂

  • Christopher Yrarrazaval

    Very informative, keep up the good work!

    • stringsdirect

      Thanks Christopher 🙂

  • Leon Heinimann

    Great bit of info. I have a Warwick $$ Corvette 5 string and I always struggle to get the b to fit the neck – manufactures states long scale yet on buying various long scale brands I end up trimming way to fat into the B and it hardly sits in the neck.

    Warwick black labels strings are the only definite strings that fit. . What brands do you suggest that are for tapered long scale that might work?

    • stringsdirect

      Hi Leon, thanks for the comments. How Long is the string from the ball end to the nut? If you let us know then we’ll be able to help you out.

  • John carlisle

    Hi guys
    I have an Ibanez fan fret 5 string bass and having a bit of bother trying to find a replacement set

    Cheers

    • stringsdirect

      Hey John! Sorry for the late reply.

      If I remember rightly, on this bass the top four strings are standard long scale and the low B is super long. If you could measure the bass as per the directions in the blog above, I’ll be able to tell you exactly.

      Thanks,
      Sam

    • stringsdirect

      Hi John,
      So sorry for the delay in replying to this. Did you get in touch with us any other way…di this get sorted?
      Thanks
      Lee

  • HATTER

    I have an Ibanez Gio GSR 190 4 string bass. the speaking legnth is 35 1/2 inches while the scale length is 34 inches. can you suggest an affordable set of strings? my strings are too close to my frets and the clatter when I try to play, can you tell me what is wrong with it?

    • stringsdirect

      Hi and thanks for the message. Sounds like you’ve just got a standard ‘Long Scale’ bass there. If you take a look at our site, you can filter out the scale length of bass strings down the left hand side. If you select ‘Long Scale’ most of the popular brands should be suitable. We try to specify the ball end to silk length on each set so as long as that exceeds your 35.5″ measurement you should be fine.
      With regards to your strings being too close to the frets, it could be one (or a combination of a few of the following factors). You could need more relief in the neck (this is adjusted via the truss rod). It’s a fairly standard adjustment, however, if you are at all unsure about adjusting this, we’d highly recommend getting these things looked at by your local music shop where a guitar repairer could advise you on the best way to proceed.
      Fret height is another thing that may need looking at. If your frets are all at different heights then one my be catching the string which would cause buzzing.
      Another thing that could need adjusting is your saddle and/or nut height depending on where exactly your strings are catching the frets.
      Without seeing the bass itself, it’s difficult to say which one of these things need addressing but I hope this has given you some ideas.

  • Sam

    Cheers – I wish I had read this before getting Rotosound RS88S’s on my Fender Mustang… I suppose the Rotosund Medium would be the correct fit for the Mustang, any opinion or fact for this?

    • stringsdirect

      Hi Sam,
      One of our guys here has a Fender Mustang bass too. If yours is the exact same sizing as his, the distance from the bridge saddles to the top nut is 30.75″ / 78cm, however, because it’s a thru-body bass, the ball end to the nut is 33.5″ / 85cm (which is the important measurement here).
      The Rotosound RS88S (short scale) Bass set only measures 32.5″ from the ball end to the start of the silk…with this in mind I gather that the set you bought turned out to be about 1″ short of the nut? The medium scale set measures 35.25″ from the ball end to the silk so yes this would be the correct scale length to go for. Hope this helps clear things up.
      If you need any more help just send me an email at lee@stringsdirect.co.uk.
      Thanks

      • Sam

        Yup, you’re correct about that ~1 inch short of -part. I’ll go for the medium scale set next – thanks for the fast reply and for the very clear and informative article!

        • stringsdirect

          You’re welcome Sam, if you need anything else, please just give us a call or drop us a message again 🙂

  • Sander

    Hi, thanks for the informative piece. One question however, does it matter that the silk on the bridge side rests on the saddles, or doesn’t that matter as much as silk resting on the nut? I have tried a set of Rotosound 77 flats and they had the silk on the saddles. I thought it would matter to the sound and took them off. Was I wrong in that belief?

    • stringsdirect

      Hi Sander,
      No, you weren’t wrong, you ideally need the silk to end before the saddles as this would hinder the tonality and vibration of the string.
      If you need any further guidance, just let us know.
      Thanks

  • Peter Whitfield

    I am thinking of buying an Ibanez 2018 GSRM20B Short Scale Bass Guitar – Walnut Flat. I will need to order the strings seperately, as I think the La Bella 0760M-S 4-String Original 1954 Fender Style Short Scale Flatwound Bass Strings seem like a good choice, but are not offered by most guitar shops. I wonder if you have any knowledge of this instrument in regard to the ball-end to nut distance ? Websites all seem to go for the scale length.
    Many thanks for a clear and precise article.
    Cheers, Peter.

    • stringsdirect

      Hi Peter, unfortunately we don’t have any direct experience of that particular model bass. The strings themselves measure 32 1/4″ from the ball end to the start of the silk and La Bella always recommend ensuring the silk winding should be wrapped around the tuning post. If the shorts are a little too short, the medium scale set measures may be more suited to your needs as these measure 34″ and the long scale set measures 36 3/4″. We hope this helps.

  • Will

    Hi, love the article!
    I have a handmade acoustic bass and it has a speaking length of 36” and a scale of 34 1/4”. Any suggestion on string length would be much appreciated! Also, are there preferred strings for an acoustic over Electric? Thank you in advance!
    Will Penny

    • stringsdirect

      Hi Will,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes there are dedicated Acoustic Bass strings but there’s nothing stopping you using standard bass strings, you just may not get the bright resonant tone you’ll get from Acoustic Bronze strings.
      Here’s a link to our Acoustic bass set range. Each set has the ‘Ball end to silk’ measurement listed in there but you can use the filter down the left hand side… just scroll down for the left-hand side and locate the ‘Ball End to Silk’ filter.
      Hope that helps.
      Thanks
      Lee

  • Sty

    ok. I have a schecter Stilletto Stealth 5 string which is telling me its 35″ neck. I can’t work out if i need the Rotosound RS665LD strings or the RS665EL strings. I also have an Ibanez SR305E-MSS which is a 34″ neck. Ideally i’d like to use the RS665LD strings if they can acomodate both guitars to save confusing things. My question is, can these strings be used for both these basses? Thanks

    • stringsdirect

      Hey there, thanks for the question.
      With regards to the measurements you have kindly given us, are these measurements that you have taken yourself, or have you got these from the manufacturer’s website directly. In any case, we would recommend taking the measurements yourself. If you measure from the ball end of your string up to where it crosses the top nut, this would be ideal and give us a true representation of whether these would fit your basses or not.
      In any case, the Rotosound long scale bass strings RS665LD strings measure 37″ from the ball end up to the start of the silk and the extra-long scale set (RS665EL) measures 38″.
      Hope this helps
      Look forward to hearing from you soon.

  • This guide covers everything you would want to know about guitar scale length. It explains what scale length, why it s important, how to measure scale length, and FAQ.

  • Multiscale guitars offer a different solution. The lower strings have a long scale length (eg: 28 ) and progressively become shorter towards the higher strings (eg: 25.5 ). You end up with higher tension on the low strings and lower tension on the higher strings.

  • Steve Pena

    Thanks Guys for your information provided. However the grey just became a deeper shade of grey in my mind. I am guitar player who recently purchased short scale
    Bass ( Squier Bronco ) and want to replace the strings as part of a complete upgrade of electronics, bridge and P/U etc. I am measuring from the nut to bridge and coming up with 31.25″ and from Nut to first saddle I am getting 30″. So am I to purchase Short Scale Strings or Medium length ? Thanks in Advance, Steve

  • Julie

    Hi really interesting post so thank you but I think I still need help. A beginner bass player and just bought myself the fender mustang short scale. I’m after some flat wounds and am unsure of the size I need , can you suggest any please ?

    • stringsdirect

      Hi Julie,

      So sorry for the delay in getting back to you on this. One of our staff members has a Fender Mustang. This measures 33.5″ from the ball end to the top nut. So basically you need a set that measures more than 33.5″ from the ball end to the silk or start of the taper to ensure this doesn’t start before the nut. (hope that makes sense!)

      I’ll send you an email.

      Thanks

  • A: Metal guitarists tend to prefer longer scale lengths (eg: 26.5? or higher) due to the increased string tension. Having high string tension makes it easier to create a tight and punchy rhythm. If you use a lower tuning (eg: Drop C), a longer scale length means you don’t need to buy super heavy gauge strings.

  • Paul

    Hello,
    I have an Ozark Professional 3385 Acoustic bass.
    I did a rough measurement and and get around 32.5″ scale length and 33.5″ speaking length So I guess I am looking for Medium Length strings.
    Do you sell something appropriate for that basis in Flatwound or Tapewound ?

    Thanks a lot.

    • Rick Williams

      Excellent information and very well explained.

  • Walker

    Hey,
    I’m trying to setup a 30″ scale length Bass IV to low C-standard. My guess is I need to get 5-string gauge (130mm for the low C) strings, and then buy a single for the high C, but they also need to be tapered to fit the tuning pegs and short enough to fit the scale. Does anyone make strings to these specs? Thanks for your time.

    • stringsdirect

      Hi there,

      Thanks for your question, yes if you send me an email to lee@stringsdirect.co.uk, I’d be happy to help here.

      Many Thanks

      Lee

  • Don Kersting

    Hi,
    I have an Ampeg Fretless Bass guitar ( model AUB-1 ). It has a bridge/membrane type pickup (sometimes referred to as he “Mystery Pickup) rather than the magnetic kind. This makes the Scale Length 35.25”.
    A website by Bruce Johnson, xstrange.com specializing in Ampeg Basses, recommends : “40 1/4″ from the ball end to the end of the outer winding (the beginning of the silk threads).
    45” in overall length.
    Unfortunately, I read on BassTalk forum, he was in poor health and there was no response in his contact options.
    He lists various string manufacturers , but I have received no response from any of them.
    I would like a set of 4 flatwound strings
    I hope you can help me?
    Don K.

    • stringsdirect

      Hi Don,

      Thanks for your question. I’ve taken a look at some images of the bass online and can see that the strings you would need would need to be fairly lengthy.
      Do you know what strings you have used on this before?

      Thanks Lee

  • RAFAEL MIYAMOTO

    Hello, I have a 5 string bass with inverted headstock and some strings dont fit on the nut correctly because the length of the real measure wrap of the string. The length of the D’addario 045-130 standard is the same of your chart (36 inches)? They will fit?

    • stringsdirect

      Hi Rafael,
      Thanks for your question, would you be able to send me some pictures of the headstock of your bass and I’d be happy to help.
      Thanks again
      Lee

  • Derek

    Hello – I have an Epiphone Vintage Pro Thunderbird and that means a 1960s claw tailpiece and a very big headstock – so the issue is getting enough winds around the G-String peg. Length from the ball end of the G-String to the nut is 36.3 inches – from the nut to the centre og the G-String peg is another 8.5 inches. Would Rotosounds ELs do it?

  • Richard O'Donnell

    I’m looking the exact set of strings that came on a Kay K-162 bass I just bought.
    The previous owner thought they were Rotosound TruBass black nylon wound flatwound strings.
    The bass has a 31″ scale length – and the strings on it fit perfectly, with the neon green silk windings starting just after the nut.
    (there is also green silk windings on the ball ends for about 0.5″).
    The ball ends to the start of the headstock end green silk windings is pretty much on 34″.
    Measuring with a digital caliper (but get slightly different readings on different parts of the string, so I’ve averaged multiple readings) are :
    53, 77, 95, 115

    Hoping you can help ! Many thanks !

  • Malcolm

    I have an acoustic 5 string bass. I HATE the bronze strings it came with. What other options are there? I have Rotosound 77s on my 4 string acoustic. I love the feel and tone but they are all but silent unless it’s plugged in. Also there’s a Lot mote tension with the flats versus the acoustic strings. I’d like at least some unplugged tone but i do NOT like the almost echoing ring acoustic bass strings produce. What are my options?

  • Roger Eve

    Great article. I have an Ibanex SRMS805 fan fretted bass. The E string needs to be 44″ how do I find strings sets to fit this bass? Thanks

  • If you have really small hands or the bass is for a child under 12, you might consider a short scale bass.

  • Brent Larson

    I have a 26″ scale (nut to bridge) bass, I’d like to re-string. Do you have any suggestions as to where I might find those types of strings? It’s a Kid’s style P bass.

    • stringsdirect

      Hi Brent,
      Thanks for the question. Strangely enough, another reader asked a similar question a few days ago. The shortest strings we supply are made by D’Addario and Jim Dunlop which measure 32″ from the ball end to the start of the silk winding. These would be longer than you need by the sounds of things with a likelihood that the low E could have some exposed string wrapping around the post.
      So long as you are careful putting them on, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Hope that helps

  • Simon Day

    Great article, thank you. Reveals the secrets of scale and speaking lengths.

    Question though: I have a Lakland 55-94 with a scale of 35″ with the option to be anchored through the body which I’m estimating adds another 1.5″ – 2″. My assumption therefore is that I need XL.

    I’m looking at lite Elixir nickel steel, 45-105 XL plus the 130 XL 5th. Does that make sense?

    • stringsdirect

      Hi Simon,
      The Elixir string lengths measure as follows;
      Long Scale – 36.5″ / 93cm (from the ball end to the start of the taper).
      Extra Long Scale – 38″ / 96.5cm (from the ball end to the start of the taper).
      If you measure your current set from the ball end to the back side of the top nut that will be the length that the string needs to exceed in order to fit. If that length is 35″ then the long scale set will be fine. If you wanted to thread the strings through the body, it may be safer to opt for the extra long scale set. Have a measure first though just to be sure. Hope this helps.

  • Fraser McAllister

    I love Thomastik Infel jazz flat wound strings and want to know if the short scale version will be ok on a Fender Mustang as they’re a little longer than the La Bella strings which are made specifically for Mustangs.. I’m particularly concerned about the E string. Thanks

    • stringsdirect

      Hi Fraser, thanks for your message. The Thomastik, short scale set measures 35.75″ from the ball end to the start of the red silk. A Fender Mustang needs 33.5″ of wound string to clear the top nut so these will be fine from that perspective.

      Rightly so, the low E string is the only sticking point…. on a Fender Mustang there is just 1.25″ of space between the back of the nut and the first machinehead (low E). Therefore because the silk doesn’t start until 35.75″ you will have a small portion of wound string (not silk) wrapping around the first machinehead. With the Thomastik Jazz Flats being flatwound, if you have a wound portion going around the tuners, you do run the risk of the windings separating which can cause further issues such as string breakage. There is of course no guarantee this will definitely happen but something you should ceratinly be aware of. If you would like some further guidance, please don’t hesitate to email me on lee@stringsdirect.co.uk. Thanks

  • Hi,
    I used to have an artist endorsement deal with JHS (such as they were) for Thomastik Infeld bass strings… and they were amazing! Having now exhausted my reserves, I’d appreciate your opinion on a similar string from a profile point of view. I still have a good few sets of Ernie Ball strings, but the wrap on them seems so heavy and ‘abrasive to the touch’ compared to the TEs. I’ve never liked Rotosound, but I was wondering if D’Addarios had thinner round wound wrap like the TEs. Any advice would be hugely appreciated. Kind regards, AB

  • michael chippendale

    is an american made fender jazz bass 1970 regarded as a long or medium fretboard when getting new strings.

    • stringsdirect

      Hi Michael,
      Jazz Bass’s are considered long scale.
      Many Thanks