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Advantages and Disadvantages to Short Scale?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Kavorka, Jul 28, 2004.

  1. Kavorka


    Mar 28, 2002
    Austin, Texas
    I planning to order a Read Custom Model J 4-string with a lined fretless fingerboard. :hyper: I'm considering asking the scale length to be 32 inches as opposed to the regular 34. I'm toying with this idea because I think it would make it easier for me to scoot up and down the fingerboard and generally be fun to play.

    However, I've not had the chance to play anything short scale but the one time I played a Hofner at the store. Do you think a shorter scale will impact the sound, playability, etc in a negative way? Any insight is appreciated!
  2. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    Tension on the strings will be lighter. If it bothers you, put on heavier strings.

    I like my short scale Kramer fretless and many of the short scale basses I have played.
  3. I don't think there will be a big difference ...
    The difference in scale length between 32 and 34 inch is only 5.88 procent.

    As for trying it out, take a 34 inch scale bass, drop the tuning one half-step and put a capo on the first fret ...
  4. to me, its easier to wank with a short scale, not as much of a reach for me.
    my short scale sounds like a long scale as far as sound goes...

  5. mnemonix


    Apr 27, 2004
    Love my 32" Thumb. Super playable, great sound, none of the ergonomic problems people often complain about with that particular model.
  6. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    I have lots of 34"scale basses and lots of 30"scale basses, and two 32"scales. To me the 32" ones are much closer in feel, string tension, sound, etc. to a 34" than to a 30".
  7. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    With fretless it won't make as much difference.
    with fretted, 32 scale tends to cramp notes after 12 fret.
    Tighter hand position.
    One of my fav basses is Gibson EB-1 32 in. scale.
  8. Kavorka


    Mar 28, 2002
    Austin, Texas
    Thank you for the great information everyone! Good suggestions and it seems like I shouldn't suffer any significant downsides to downsizing.

    Now I just have to sell some equipment to be able to afford a custom order. :meh: