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Could a short scale be for me?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Evil Undead, Mar 18, 2013.


  1. Evil Undead

    Evil Undead

    Oct 31, 2009
    I love my P bass (MIA) to death, it sounds incredible. But, due to one wrist injury too many, playing lower than the 3rd fret has become quite painful.

    But do I really want to sacrifice the glorious tone of my P bass for a "nice but not quite as nice" sound of a Fender Mustang?

    I play all sorts (covers) from disco and funk through to hard rock and old school metal (maiden, metallica) but matching the tones of the bassists I'm playing along with isn't vital.

    Any thoughts welcomed.

    Thanks
     
  2. Nashrakh

    Nashrakh

    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    If a short scale feels better to you, by all means go for it. I think there must be short scale Ps out there too, maybe custom built as a last resort.

    But in my opinion, if you're struggling with health issues, ergonomics come first by a long shot. If matching tones is not a big concern, getting in the ballpark is a good compromise.
     
  3. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    Well, actually, back in 2006 there was a MIM 28,60" Precision Jr. bass in catalogue (I own a Torino red one on which I place a DiMarzio ModelOne neck pickup) and it's true alder body with
    19mm string spacin', so standard split pickup and Mark Hoppus stringthru tinfoil bridge, maple neck, 20fr rosewood fingerboard

    But it's no way as punchy as true full scale Precision especially
    MIA
    Whereas a MIJ Mustang, despite its appearance, deliver a true
    poundin' tone.

    Think about it.

    Cheers,
    Wallace
     
  4. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    I would definitely try to get a short scale. depending on your budget I would get a Fender Mustang or a Gibson SG reissue faded bass. I have seen both at Sam Ash or GC. go check them out. If you do drop tuning then a short scale may not work.
     
  5. Uncle K

    Uncle K The bass player doesn't get a sandwich Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2011
    Erie, PA
    I love my CIJ Mustang. It doesn't have the same overtones as a full scale but it has a sound all its own. I doubt the average Joe in the audience can tell the difference between a Mustang and a P.
     
  6. funnyfingers

    funnyfingers

    Nov 27, 2005
    Have you tried a Jazz bass? Not saying you shouldn't go with the Jaguar, but the Jazz neck would probably be a lot easier for you and still be 34" if you would concerned about keeping the longer scale. Also the P bass Deluxe is a P bass with a Jazz neck.
     
  7. ram936

    ram936

    May 29, 2002
    Massillon, Ohio
    I used to have a P-bass, but I sold it because my wrist and thumb on my fretting hand would start to ache after I played it for 10-15 minutes. I have 2 Jazz basses and a Squier Vintage Jaguar, though, and never have that problem. I also have other basses that I can play comfortably all night. There's something about the necks on P-basses that just don't agree with me. My first bass was a '68 Gibson EB-0 w/short scale neck, btw, and while it was a great playing bass, it didn't record well in the analog studios of the day (70's). Don't know about short scale basses in today's digital studios because all my basses are long scale now. That's my two cents worth.
     
  8. Have you tried raising the bass/ shortening the strap? This will allow you to lower the elbow and straighten the wrist. Might help...
    Other than that, it seems the Mustang will be a great option and offer the least change in flavor.
    Best of luck!
    =JR=
     
  9. Meddle

    Meddle

    Jul 27, 2009
    Scotland
    Maybe tune lower and capo your bass at the third fret to see how you get on first?
     
  10. JoeWPgh

    JoeWPgh

    Dec 21, 2012
    How about a used Squier SS Jaguar? They can be had for dirt cheap, and you can see how you feel about the scale length. They're not bad little basses either.
     
  11. Evil Undead

    Evil Undead

    Oct 31, 2009
    I wear it like a bow tie anyway :D I don't think I can comfortably raise it any more.
     
  12. IronLung1986

    IronLung1986

    May 19, 2010
    Exeter, NH
    ha! that's actually a pretty good idea.
     
  13. Try the Jag SS. To my ears it sounds pretty much like a 34" P-bass. IMO, once you're in the mix with the rest of band, whatever differences there are in the tone will be unnoticed.

    In the end, you'll be more motivated to practice if it doesn't hurt to play notes on the first 3 frets.
     
  14. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Try tuning DGCF and slapping a capo on the 2nd fret; that will give you a sense of whether short-scale is right for you. I personally doubt the average listener can tell the difference between identical 30", 32" and 34" basses in the context of a full-band mix.

    By the way, here's one of my favorite videos for safe left-hand wrist technique; whether you're on long scale, short scale, or ukulele, proper technique is essential... the pain is a warning from your body!

     
  15. backtobass

    backtobass Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2010
    Rockville, MD
    I actually was in the same boat. Started back at bass and was playing shorties to build my hand up. I have two of the Fender P Bass Jrs and they have really good punch if you can find them. But not as good as a 34".
     
  16. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I love my SS and they are a breeze to play, are fun and a cool change up for gigs. I would look into them and try the Squier line to see if you like them.
     
  17. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly. Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    Check this out:

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f126/birdsong-cbass-922505/

    This one, obviously, was sold. Scott Beckwith, the mastermind at Birdsong, told me he sold only 20 of them. If you asked, he might build another one for you. I have one (no, it's not for sale), and when they say it's a short-scale that sounds like a P-bass, they're not kidding. Not cheap, but not "boutique" expensive, either.
     
  18. Formula144

    Formula144 Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2011
    Yup. I've got one that sounds great. Standard pickups drop right in if you want to swap/upgrade.

    The Ibanez Mikro bass is another SS option that sounds surprisingly good, and is dirt cheap used.
     
  19. boynamedsuse

    boynamedsuse Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    I have both a MIM P with a Classic 62 pickup and a Mustang RI. I have hand/thumb/wrist problems that have been gradually improving over the last couple years (depending on shots/physical therapy, etc.). Although the tone starts slightly different between the two, it doesn't stay that way in a live setting IMO. I add some lows to the Mustang--moving the bass knob about 1:00 clockwise on my BDDI--to have them both sound the same to my ears. I play whichever one fits my mood and/or comfort levels that week.
     
  20. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    If they are easier/ more comfortable/ more fun to play for you. then, of course they are for you. Which one to get? I can't really help you there. I have 4 of them (all leftys), but they're all hollowbodys/violin basses. I got mine to fill niches in my collection (and yes, I do play them), but I much prefer long scale. Lots of good suggestions here so far; try to play as many different ones as you can and see what you like.the one for you is out there somewhere.
     

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