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32" Scale - Pros and Cons?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DeliriumTremens, Jul 26, 2007.

  1. I've seen this rather lovely looking Fender Japan medium scale Aerodyne Jazz. What are the pros and cons of a medium scale bass? Cheers

  2. If you want to get an idea for the feel of a smaller bass, tune your current bass down a whole step and place a capo behind the second fret, which will put it at standard pitch, but with a shorter scale. This will not be exactly 32 inches, and using the capo at the 1st fret might be closer to that (I don't have a bass handy to measure), but it should give you an idea of the feel of the neck.
  3. bryanonbass


    May 13, 2001
    Northern NJ
    I have owned a few different short, medium and long scale basses.
    This is just my 2 cents on the subject.

    Fender Mustang and musicmaster 30" scale. Super fast and comfy to play, but not too much definition. I thought they both sounded better with flats on there. More thump less punch.
    I also had a dean EVO xm bass I think that was 30" as well. That actually sounds really good. The 2 pickups offered a lot of tonal options. Neck was a little too thick for me though.

    I had a custom made Stambaugh (dolphin inlay, zebrawood top, lane poor p and soapbar setup, bart preamp)
    This bass felt amazing. Total slap monster. Easy to play. sounded great by myself, when I played with a band it just got lost in the mix. Im sure there could have been things I could have done to remedy this. But Im the type of bass player that plugs into an amp, sets everything flat and goes.

    I also had a Stu Hamm Urge I bass. 32". This thing ROCKED. Feels amazing, TONS of tonal options. I never played this in a band setting so I can't say if it cuts through or not. But man what a sweet bass. I wish I had that one back.

    After the 135+ basses I have gone through in 16 or so years of playing, I settled on the 33" scale for my 5 string (e-c tuning). Sounds AMAZING, cuts like a hot knife, super comfy to play.
    Originally this bass was setup b-g tuning and I didn't like the way the B sounded. Of course I have owned a few roscoe basses and they have the best B's in the business, IMO.

    So i think medium and shorter scale basses are easier to play (usually), but start to lose certain tonal characteristics. Nothing wrong with that. Many amazing bass lines were recorded with medium and shorter scale instruments, so YMMV.
  4. bryanonbass


    May 13, 2001
    Northern NJ
    BTW is that aerodyne blue or black?
  5. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I've also owned a few different short and medium scale basses, and I have to say the difference is all in how well the individual bass is designed for that scale. For example, you can increase the string tension by increasing the stiffness of the neck, and the rigidity of the connection between the neck and the body. For that reason, neck-through instruments with hardwoods sandwiched in the neck, and baseball-bat neck profiles, will have a lot better E string tension than Fender-type basses with one-piece maple necks that bolt on with less of a rigid connection. This is what I've observed in general; of course there will always be exceptions, since we're dealing with natural materials that vary, and human error. :)
  6. blue


    Nov 24, 2001
    New York,NY
    My Kramer 'lumie XL24 is 32" & has a Kahler tremolo, it kills...

  8. nippes


    Jul 25, 2006
    I´m playing a Cliff Bordwell Ball Bass 4-string with a 32" neck and have to say, that is by far the easiest playing bass I´ve ever played. It´s very defined and cuts through the mix, absolutely no backdraws. The most positive thing is playability.

    I´d go again for a 32".
  9. Kitsapbass

    Kitsapbass What key is this?

    May 26, 2005
    Bremerton, WA
    My Kubicki Ex-factor has a 32" scale..personally, I think I get the best of both worlds as far as playability and sound with it, but that's just me...but the one thing I have to say (and so does everyone that has heard me play) is it cuts like a frickin knife.....:hyper:
  10. thumpbass1


    Jul 4, 2004
    I had a Kramer metal neck and it was at 32.5 inches if I
    remember the specs right. The scale felt great in all honesty.
    I had no playability issues with the scale of that bass and
    it had a bright tight piano tone to it but that could have been
    a result of the koa and maple body and aluminum neck
    structure. It was comfy to play.
  11. As long as a low B isn't involved, most stock 32" scale basses are nice. My 32" and 30" scale basses play very nicely. My 35" scale basses tend to have lower action, but the 32" scale basses have much less tension, so it works both ways.

    With a custom builder, you can still get a killer low B, but it won't be cheap!
  12. I'm not fussed about a B
  13. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    Another Ex-Factor owner chiming in here! I really dig having a 32" scale bass. It sounds good, and it plays excellently! I've noticed with 32" scale basses that they often feel very responsive for slap, but this could just be in my head. Needless to say, I'm a big fan of 32" scale basses!
  14. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003
    I agree with the above.
    Also, to me 30" scale basses. do not sound as good above the 12th fret.

    I just got a Stambaugh 33" fretless. EADGC
    I like this scale a lot.
    Very defined notes, tight tone.
    Have been told, that 33" scale also is great for BEADG tuning.
  15. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    I have very small hands and after recently playing a short scale Fender Mustang, I decided that my 34/35 scale EBMM, Fenders and Lakland suit me just fine.

    I didn't see any reason or benefit to switching to short or meduim scale. My playing didn't improve and the fretboard didn't seem any easier to move around.
  16. Fortunately my 32" scale Urge sounds great from open to the 24th fret.

    My 30" scale Mouse 30 sounds great in every position, although it's made by Rob Allen and fretless.
  17. Hey

    If anyone is interested, I have a nice top end collection of medium scale basses in a gallery here:



  18. OK, we get it.:D
  19. Nearly anything that could be considered a con about a medium scale bass could be considered a pro by someone else...all a matter of perspective.
  20. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    Just saw this is a 5 year old thread, but IMO KingRazor is correct!

    I personally don't understand why everyone doesn't just play 34/35" scale basses, but that is just me.

    Seriously, I am a small guy (5'6") and I have small hands... I can play a 34" 4 string and a 35" 5 string just fine. In fact, I prefer them to 30 or 32" basses.

    I have owned 30" Gibsons and a 32" Stu Hamm Fender. Didn't like the string tension on either (the Gibson was the worst) and strongly preferred the feel of standard scale basses.

    To each their own, but IMO every bassist should at least try 34" before believing they should get a 30/32 just because they are short and/or have tiny hands.

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