View Full Version : Bass banjolele scale length

Ben Mulleman
09-20-2016, 04:52 AM

After seeing demo's for Buzzards bass banjolele I decided to make one myself. The only issue I'm having is with the scale length. I have a tenor sized banjolele with an 8" pot/rim/head, which makes the scale length 17 inches.

In order to have the proper tension for ubasa strings I'd need at least 18/19 inches. With the floating bridge, would it be possible to use a 10/11/12" pot/rim/head to increase the scale length, or would that mess up the intonation because of the difference in distance from the nut to the 12th fret and from the 12th fret to the (extended) bridge? And if so, is there anything I can do to rectify this without ripping out all the frets?

Thank you!

09-20-2016, 05:41 AM
You're stuck I'm afraid. The scale length is set by your fretboard (2 x nut-> 12th distance plus compensation of 2-3mm). Try moving the bridge to the tail on your current setup and you'll see the effect.

For an 18 or 19 inch scale you need a new fretboard. You could make a longer neck, setting the frets directly into the neck, to match the existing pot, or just build a whole new instrument - I'd say the larger the pot the better for a bass banjolele.

Practically, to get decent acoustic sound you probably need a bass drum sized pot, which means a full scale neck. Even a 12 inch pot is very small to make bass tones.

09-20-2016, 05:44 AM
You would need a new fretboard to change the scale length. What determines the scale length is the frets. • Nut to 12th• You can put any size rim on there and the scale doesn't change.

Just make a new one. Mainland sells a baritone neck and fretboard combo for $46, drill and insert a dowel stick and mate it to a 10" rim, or hand drum. Would be a fun project.