Cheap 30-32" scale 5-string?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SebbyNC, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. SebbyNC


    Mar 17, 2005

    I'm looking for a shorter scale (30-32" range) with 5 strings (or maybe 6, for a 5-stringer I would tune it EADGC), but for less than $800. Seems like I can't find anything like that in this price range.
    Maybe if not really shorter scale, a bass that "feels short" would be nice. Currently I own a Lakland 55-94 (35") but being 5'7" tall and having short fingers, I think I'd like to try something else (but I'd still keep de Lakland, because it sounds so good).

    Any idea?
  2. honestjohnny


    Nov 24, 2006
    Why not try a 30 or 32" 4 string tuned BEAD, just use a 5 string set as heavy gauge as you can. That would be alot easier in that price range. The only one I know of doing short scale 5's is Birdsong Guitars. They're $2000 at least. But talk to Scott, he might work with you.

    Kevin @ could probably help you out, but his thing is pretty "niche" so check out the pics on the website before you email him.
  3. I'm even shorter. It's all about using good form and reasonable basses. Nobody really makes a short or medium scale 5er stock. Without an experienced luthier, it's hard to get a good B below 34" scale.
  4. SebbyNC


    Mar 17, 2005
    thanks, but the BEAD tuning is not what I want, I want to have access to the upper register, and ADGC lacks the lower register to me.
    And I don't want to go the custom building as it will take too long to get the bass made.

    I just asked Kurt of RondoMusic, but they don't plan to add 5-string basses to their short-scale collection, unfortunately.

  5. If one more string isn't too much, there have been several 30" scale 6 strings made in the recent past. Budget models included ones by OLP and BC Rich. Most have been called "Baritone Guitars" although most baritone guitars are 28." There have been threads here in the past on 30" 6 stringers, I named the only 2 that came to mind immediately. These are often tuned E-E, like a guitar but an octave lower.
    Max Bogosity likes this.
  6. SebbyNC


    Mar 17, 2005
    Thanks, I'll look into that.
    BTW, I just found out taht the OLP brand has retired from the market since this year.

  7.'s unfortunate. They turn up from time to time on Ebay. The BC Rich is also discontinued, but still has an info page up

    This is currently available I believe, and 29.75" scale:

    Schecter's take on the Fender Bass VI, also currently available:

    I've messed around with the OLP and found it fun, should have bought one when I had the chance.

    The only other alternative I can think of, besides having one custom made, would be to modify an existing bass with the long discontinued, nearly impossible to find Wilkinson 4+1 bridge. This was made to convert Fender basses from 4 to a narrow 5 string. Originally included a new nut, special string tree, and the bridge itself. The extra string went on backwards; teh special string tree held the ball end of the string, while 1 of the saddles on the bridge had a tuner mechanism. It worked on non Fender basses, as long as the taper and string spread at the bridge were within acceptable parameters.
  8. SebbyNC


    Mar 17, 2005
    Thanks guys... I don't want to go the baritone guitare/piccolo bass way (I still want the regular low range of bass tuning).

    I actually found what I would want on eBay: a 6-string 33" scale bass ( but the bridge is quite to the left, and more importantly at under $200 I don't really want to try, particularly since it's a hollowbody bass (thus more fragile construction).

    I guess I'm left with a shortest overall length I could find for a bass, i.e. with the right-most bridge position giving an easier reach to the first fretting positions, still under the $800 price.
  9. honestjohnny


    Nov 24, 2006
    You could always do the tune-down-a-whole-step-capo-2 thing. Makes the bass 30.3".

    Seriously, Kevin @ could probably do it for that price. You'd have to send him the hardware you want, but the lutherie would be very inexpensive.
  10. SebbyNC


    Mar 17, 2005
    Yeah but all the dots would be totally wrong and make it hard to become used to. Plus I would loose 2 frets -- I want a 2-octave neck...

    I had a basd experience with Wishbass for cheap custom building, I'm not sure I want to try again. No offense to Kevin, but if the build is cheap it's probably going to have a number of flaws.

    Thanks anyway for your insight!
  11. honestjohnny


    Nov 24, 2006
    His lutherie is very good. He doesn't use the most expensive hardware or electronics, unless you supply them, and he only does oil finishes. Still, he did a very nice EUB for me with a bridge, tuners, and stand that I supplied for $300. I'm sure he can accommodate your budget. But to each his own. Cheers!
  12. The side dots still work if you capo the 2nd fret, except for the 12th, of course.

    Sounds like a pretty tall order for an $800 bass...
  13. cyclopathic


    May 6, 2009
    2nd this big time!

    put extra heavy gauge string to ADGCF tuning for low B or extra lights for DGCFBb for high C.. plus permanent marker for alternative dotting above 7th fret :)

    As for capo for most you'd end up playing close string to control sustain anyways and if you don't need open string no need for capo, except maybe on rare occasion
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