Any special considerations for making a short scale bass?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by mslatter, Nov 7, 2003.

  1. mslatter


    Apr 8, 2003
    At the top of my 10 year old daughter's Christmas wish list is a bass guitar. She also wrote me a note explaining that she'll continue to play sax in school band, but really wants to learn bass, and the best thing is, it won't cost ME anything, since she's asking Santa for it!! (maybe it's time we broke the news....)

    So I'm thinking if she can hold off til Spring, I'll make her one. She enjoys woodworking with me, anyhow, so it'll be good for the both of us.

    Any special considerations in making a short scale? I'm thinking a 30" would fit her well and probably a bolt-on in case she trashes the neck (a Sherman tank would be no match for my children on a rainy Sunday.) So far, my biggest concern is that I don't know of any guitar places in the area that carry short scales, so I don't know where I'm going to steal measurements from!
  2. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Ha! My 11-year-old now says she wants to learn the bass too. Guess we should be flattered, right?

    A 30" sounds about right. I had my daughter put on one of my basses, and even aside from the fact that it was a 6 and hence wide, the neck just seemed too long for her. Now, she's not particularly big for her age, but I'd think a lot of 10/11-year-old girls, if not most, might find 34" a little difficult. I'm thinking maybe one of those DaisyRock basses, if she doesn't find that too dorky, or maybe one of those short-scale import Gretsches, might be the ticket.

    Of course, there's always Wishbass.... actually not a completely terrible idea ....

    As for scale measurements, would Stewart-McDonald have any info on scales and fret placement?

    There must be somewhere where you can get the needed measurements. Good luck.
  3. joeviau


    Jul 9, 2002
    Rhode Island
  4. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Why don't you just order a fingerboard pre-slotted from LMI? It's WELL worth the extra $7 or whatever they charge. Then your measurements are all taken care of, and more importantly, you don't have to cut the slots!
  5. mslatter


    Apr 8, 2003
    Thanks for the replies, guys! I guess buying a preslotted fb would save some trouble, though I don't think slotting the fb would be that much more difficult than doing a 34" (except I couldn't go to stewmac for templates, so the precision would be entirely up to my skills.)

    I'm really more concerned with finding good reference points for nut width, fb radius, etc. for some common short scales. I just haven't found any locally I can measure (rumor has it there was a Daisy about 20 miles North, but I haven't checked.) I'm thinking in addition to making the neck shorter, it oughtta be proportionately narrower. I'd like to check out the bridges to see how wide they are, and possibly even measure some varying pickups placements.