Are Short Scale Basses Really Easier To Play?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jalen Fuller, May 15, 2020.

  1. So I made a thread asking which short scale bass. So a couple months back I got the chance to play some short scales in Sam Ash and Guitar Center. I notice that I don't have same level of fatigue when I play one of those compared to when I'm playing my P bass. I also notice that I tend to play more 16th note chromatic runs on a short scale than my P bass. I was wondering does this have something to do with short scales being easier and comfortable to play even If one has experience playing a 34inch scale?
    Happy Face, fdeck, gotly and 3 others like this.
  2. Nebula24


    Nov 23, 2017
    Norman, OK
    Feels comfier to me. Just feels right. Can find my way around without looking more than on full scale. Less stretching. Fits me for whatever reason..

    Wish I knew of them earlier.

    As a kid don't recall knowing and variety lacked locally. Never bonded with a full scake and it fell into disuse. Until I discovered shorties few decades later and now can't stop playing.

    So many more full scales locally so would love if I liked them but I just don't. Want to try a medium scale (jaguar) but quarantine and probably not local yet.
    Happy Face, Low8, dmt and 2 others like this.
  3. Jim85IROC


    Mar 26, 2020
    Try it for yourself. Tune down to D standard and capo the 2nd fret. That will get you close to a short scale length.
  4. I find them easier to play. Many do not. It's one of those things where you have to give it an honest try. People either love 'em or hate 'em. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground.
    WI Short Scaler and gln1955 like this.
  5. I like them but too when it comes moving a kronur while standing and looking away from it or being in a situation where I have to look at the chords or bass notes while playing on the fly
    Nebula24 likes this.
  6. For me I like the models most similar to long scale models like the JMJ Mustang or The Music Man Short Scale compared to the small miniature nature of the the Hofner body’s tho I for some reason can feel at home on the Epiphone Viola
  7. I think it depends on what suits your body. People with small hands and short arms may find short scale basses easier. I can manage on standard 34" scale just fine, but some things are still easier for me to play on short scale. You may be able to improve your reach and finger spread with exercises.
  8. Evzs


    May 11, 2020

    Sounds like you found your perfect bass. Stick with the short scale. If it feels better to you, it’s probably right.
    gotly, Nebula24, dmt and 3 others like this.
  9. TrustRod

    TrustRod Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2016
    Northern California
    I say yes. For me at least. I sold my 35" 19mm bridge bass as it was just too big. I'm finishing up a 32" now and think I may end up around 30". I have a 28.6" and that's too small for me but fun and still usable.
    Jalen Fuller likes this.
  10. Try playing with a frozen shoulder and you won't even have to ask.
    rockinrayduke, ajkula66, 40Hz and 4 others like this.
  11. eagle67


    Nov 12, 2010
    Short scales are usually lighter, so that adds to the comfort.
    Jalen Fuller likes this.
  12. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    No, of course not. As someone playing everything from DBs with scales over 40", to 35", 34" and 30"...once I even had a 25" scale Airline...the scale length is a factor in ease of playing but it's not the only factor. Neck shape, string tension and setup/action all contribute. Beyond the scale length itself, the overall ergonomics of the instrument matter, too.

    My Peavey Palaedium (34") is the easiest to play bass I have ever owned. My long-gone Reverend Rumblefish 5 (35") would be #2 if my memory is reliable.
    GravyGoodness and red_rhino like this.
  13. k5koy


    Oct 27, 2008
    Dallas, Tx.
    I had always played long scale. Still do from time to time, but earlier this year, I ran across a brand new MIM Mustang in a hard case $200 off Sweetwater. It was a local sale, so I couldn’t pass. Scooped it right up!
    It was love at first song! It just plays so much easier. But what I like is the great tone you get with short scale. Less tension on the strings allows it to stay tuned alot better. Some say the strings are “floppy,” and they are, a little, but for me that just allows a little more range in articulation. Also gives a richer tone. At least for me. I liked it so much that I got a custom short scale from American craftsmen at Ferner fine instruments. The Cadet.
    I still have my long scale basses, but I don’t tend to reach for them much anymore.
  14. roccobass

    roccobass Still funkin’ in the free world.

    Jun 25, 2014
    Yes and no.
    Yes easier in some respects, but others not. It’s hard to put into words, but here goes. There is a bit a difference in the “feel” for sure. I’ve had a a few in my stable in the past but none hung on. For some reason, the feel wasn’t right. (Chandler, EBO, even a Birdsong) I always liked the fact they were lighter. Pushing 60 so that’s becoming more important. However, I would like to check out the short scale Sting Rays and see if that might be the keeper.
    Jalen Fuller likes this.
  15. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Yes, short scale basses are definitely easier for me to play.

    I've played both long and short scales since the early 70's. It wasn't until about 20 years ago that I started moving to playing only short scale basses. For the last several years I've played short scales exclusively with the exception of briefly playing my remaining long scale at home which only has the effect of reminding me why I switched to short scale.
  16. I have very long arms and longish fingers, but I feel comfortable on a SS. I have three of them, and two 34” scales. I did start out as a guitar player, so that may have something to do with it. I also play mandolin, and it’s easier to switch from mando to ss bass.

    Fender Jazz
    Epi Jack Casady
    Hofner Club
    Epi EB0
    Fender Mustang

    My fave is my Jack Casady. If it was SS I’d probably like it even better.
  17. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    Generally yes, unless it’s shorter than 30” and fretless. Then it becomes more difficult to play in tune.
    Jalen Fuller likes this.
  18. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Definitely easier for me in general. I played 34" for years and still do some. When I picked up my first SS, a Squier Jag, it was a revelation. It felt like driving a sports car after years of SUVs. I've since bought a couple of higher quality SS basses and that's what I play 95% of the time. I will say, not all SS basses work for me. I tried a Honer violin bass and some Gibson SS models and the ergonomics were terrible for me.

    You just have to play what works for you. The nice thing is there are more really nice SS basses being made these days.
    Jalen Fuller likes this.
  19. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Everyone is different. I've been playing about 40 years - almost entirety on 34" basses with P necks. Smaller bassists and thinner necks are uncomfortable for me.
    rllefebv likes this.
  20. MustangWally

    MustangWally Inactive

    Feb 5, 2019
    San Marcos TX
    For me a short scale just feels right. I am older and I have small hands which leaves me with fatigue and eventually pain if I play a long scale, but the shorty lets me get down without any hand pain. I used to play a MM Sabre long scale back in the day without issues but not any more.

    Come to think about it: a related issue is that the shorter case fits into my car a lot easier too!
    Last edited: May 16, 2020
    dmt likes this.