Finding the correct string length for your electric bass.

Finding the correct string length for your Electric Bass is not always as easy as matching up the "Scale Length" of your bass to the "Scale Length" or "Winding Length" of the pack of strings.  There is no standard for "Winding Lengths" of strings between companies.  Even though your instrument is a certain "Scale Length" it may require a longer scale of strings. 

Here is our guide to the Winding Lengths by each specific manufacturer.

Find out what string lengths are ideal for your instrument here at our Bass String Length Fitment Database.

How does the "Scale Length" differ from the required "Winding Length" on your instrument?

The Electric Bass Scale Length is the measurement from the Bridge Saddle to the Nut.  This can also be referred to as the "vibrating length" of the string.  On a Jazz Bass (pictured) the "Scale Length" is measured at 34" roughly.  What the "Scale Length" does not account for is the distance between the Ball End and the Saddle as well as the Nut to the Tuning Posts. 

In the below images the length of the Green Bar represents the "Scale Length" of the bass which is the distance measured from the Bridge Saddle to the Nut.  The Red Bar shows where to measure to determine the minimum required winding length of the string needed to fit the bass.  This measurement is taken from Ball End to just past the Nut.  To find the maximum winding length you must measure from the Ball End to the Tuning Post for the thickest string.




Here is how to properly measure your instrument to find out the correct winding length.  There are two measurements you want to take note of.  

First measure from the back of the ball end to the tuning post side of the nut.  This will give you the "Minimum Required Winding Length" for your instrument.  

Then measure from the back of the ball end to the middle of the tuning post.  This will give you the "Maximum Winding Length" for your instrument.

The ideal winding length is going to fall right in the middle, but as long as you do not go less than or greater than these measurements then you are using the correct length strings!


On this Jazz Bass above the distance from Ball End to Nut is just over 35.5" while the distance from Ball End to the center of the E string tuning post is 37.25".  The ideal string length on this instrument is between 35.75" and 37.25" while longer strings will still work but will wrap around the tuning post like pictured below depending on the strings construction.



On some Electric Bass instruments like this Fender Coronado II (pictured below) the "Scale Length" is 30" but the distance from Ball End to Saddle is a longer distance than on most instruments.  This extra distance makes this bass require longer than "Short Scale" strings.


For the above instrument the ideal string length is between 33.5" and 35".  This bass is strung with Medium Scale D'Addario Chromes which have a 34" winding length from Ball End to Silk.  Even though this is a "Short Scale" instrument, "Short Scale" strings would have been too short due to the tail piece construction.

 

It is good to know the actual winding length your instrument requires.  The winding length is the measurement from the Back of the Ball End to just past the Nut.  For optimal fitment it is also good to measure from the Back of the Ball End to the closest tuning post (for B and E strings mainly).  Once you know this information finding the optimal fitment for strings to your specific instrument is easier.

For Thru-Body instruments to get an accurate measurement of the required length you must put a small marking on a string with a felt tip pen just past the nut and lined up with the thickest tuning post.  We recommend doing this with a thinner string (G for example).  Remove the string and measure from Ball End to the Marking.  This then gives you accurate measurements for the required winding lengths for your Thru-Body Electric Bass.

Each string company uses a different winding length for each "Scale Length" of strings.  Please see our String Length list to find out the exact winding lengths from each company.  Once you know the exact lengths your instrument requires you can select the strings that will best fit your instrument. 

To help us expand our database of instruments and their required winding lengths please email us your specs through our contact us page.

Please send us the following information: (copy and paste this please)

Bass Manufacturer:
Bass Model:
Build Year: (Optional) 
Number of Strings:
Top Load or Thru-Body:
Scale Length:
Ball End to Nut:
Ball End to Tuning Post:
Credit:

If you would like please send us a photo and we will use it on the page as well!  Please include how you would like to be credited for the photo of your instrument and specs... 

Example:

Bass Manufacturer: Fender Custom Shop
Bass Model: Jaco Relic
Build Year: 2008?
Number of Strings: 4
Top Load or Thru-Body: Top Load
Scale Length: 34"
Ball End to Nut: 35.6"
Ball End to Tuning Post: 37.25"
Credit: Jason Mendelson aka SLaPiNFuNK

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