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Antonio Alemanno 10-11-2017 03:52 PM

String lenght, volume and playability
Hey guys,

I have a mid size hand, not big nor small ether. here a big doubt about string lenght and its effect on sounds. I always played on 104cm string lenght. But today I tried first time a bass that is 103cm and felt much more comfortable playing on first position and on thumb and throughout the higher register. I play oud as well and there, the string lenght effect very much on the volume of the instrument and the tension of the strings (and so the playability). I believe that would happen on any instrument.
So my question is what would be a good string lenght for a 3/4 5 strings double bass (with high C) that would work best 103, 103.5 or 104 (because of my hands, wouldn't go over 104)? Is 104 the most common?

Ken Smith 10-11-2017 04:20 PM

5s are usually with a low B for orchestra. For jazz with high C, not so common as most use a 4 string.

For length, 104 is just under 41", the 'minimum' for most players. 103cm is just over 40.5" and the length of many 3/4 and 4/4 Pollmann Basses. I am currently using a 4/4 Pollmann with a 103 and find it comfy. I also play basses the day before or after at almost 106.7 or 42" so I use basses currently from 40.5 - 42" with very little problem.

What you need to do is have a good set-up. Flatter fingerboard than cambered for less tension. To me, the set-up is more important than the length. Length I can get used to but camber with more then 1.5-2mm overall in the center is way too much pressure for my hands. My basses are about .5mm cambered for the first octave.

I was once playing a bass for a concert with a 41.45" and a few days before bought a bass with 44 1/4" and played the concert with that. No problem! Just adjust to play in tune.

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