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STRINGS: 'Standard' Sized Strings on Large-size Basses
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Most of the basses on the planet are 3/4 size, so when somebody refers to "full size" one should usually assume the instrument is 3/4 size. As I mention in my Sizing FAQ, there are no strict guidelines for basses that are commonly called 7/8 and 4/4 size. So, you can't assume that two different so-called 4/4 sized basses will have the same dimensions. They can, in fact, vary a great deal.

It is for this same reason that we won't know if a "standard" set of strings will fit your 7/8 or 4/4 size bass - since the dimensions of 4/4 basses can vary, a particular set of strings may fit "4/4 Bass A" but not fit "4/4 Bass B." So how can you be sure?

You'll see two measures in the image on the right:
  • Scale Length (mensur) - the speaking (vibrating) length of the string from the nut to the bridge
  • Afterlength - the distance from the bridge to the tailpiece

An "average" 3/4 size bass has a scale length in the neighborhood of 41-42 inches with an afterlength around seven inches. However, the afterlengths on a 3/4 size bass can vary, as the size of the tailpiece - and its placement in relation to the bottom of the bass - will affect the numbers. Therefore, if your larger bass is close to those numbers, a "standard" length string will probably do.

Most "standard" strings are designed for 3/4 and 4/4 size basses. If you have a larger than normal bass, measure the Scale Length and Afterlength as defined in the image to the right, and add them together. If the number exceeds 49 inches, let us know which string interests you. We can then measure the string and verify that it will be ok with your bass (or suggest an alternative that will).







The Fine Print:

The information contained herein is based on what's in my brain — and/or my observations and opinions from my personal experiences (and those of Bob, before me) — as of this moment today, and is subject to change. I'm sure that a great deal more information and detail could be added — but the intent of these writings is to present easily understood, quick FAQs, to address common questions and improve the reader's general knowledge.

What's written here is by no means any kind of authoritative absolute answer, for I am not the world's greatest authority on bass (not even close), or on much of anything else, for that matter. So, by all means, get a second opinion, and know that all the information provided here is for general informational purposes only. I am not providing professional advice; be aware that, where applicable, any information acted upon is at your own risk.

I simply and sincerely hope the information and opinions here are helpful to you on your quest for knowledge about the bass and related subjects... that's the point!

I welcome email with dissenting and additional viewpoints/information/updates that help improve my personal awareness and these content pages. If you have a question that you think belongs here, please let me know.
Mark