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Does short-scale weaken your technique?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by project_c, Aug 16, 2019.

  1. project_c


    May 8, 2008
    London, UK
    Been holding off on getting a short scale bass for years, because I'm worried that if I get used to playing SC, I'll find the switch back to regular scale difficult, and I'm worried about making my other basses - which I love - redundant. A bit like getting used to a J neck and then going back to a P. It's ok, but it takes some re-adjustment. So short-scale people, has your technique been compromised? Are you able to switch between short and regular without issues? Or is it a struggle to go back?

    (This is the only thing stopping me from buying a Mustang, the GAS is strong so please answer wisely).
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  2. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2008
    Different people have different levels of difficulty in adapting to changes of instrument scale, both in terms of length and width. You won't know unless you try
  3. GBBSbassist

    GBBSbassist I actually play more guitar... Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2010
    Yes. It also weakens your muscles, and your will, and lowers your charisma stat quite a bit. Drinks at the bar will cost you twice as much.
  4. tb4sbp


    May 9, 2017
    North East
    I always felt the instrument should fit the persons body
    And if the player was using a bass to get a certain tone
    So for me practicing what technique works best for what situation always is the answer
  5. Bodeanly

    Bodeanly Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2015

    I'm just sorry that someone, somewhere gave you any reason to even entertain this notion.
    DrMole, farshore, groooooove and 16 others like this.
  6. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Play a G Major scale. Now move up 2 frets and play an A Major scale. Finally, move back down 2 frets and play the G Major scale. Did moving up 2 frets "weaken your technique"? Because that is the difference between 34" scale and 30" scale: about 2 frets distance.
  7. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    It's people who can't easily switch between scale lengths who have poor technique.
    Same goes for those who lose sleep over fractions of a mm difference in string spacing.
  8. Mvilmany


    Mar 13, 2013
    Upstate NY
    I have (2) 34” scale basses and one 30.5” scale bass. I only notice any difference when I switch from one to the other.

    Going from my 34” with rounds to my 34” with flats (which are higher tension), THAT’S when I notice a difference.
    Inconnu likes this.
  9. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    I played a short scale bass about a year and a half ago and am now homeless. Also my dog and wife left me. Said I wasn't a real man anymore.

    OK, seriously, I do have an issue with switching back and forth between short, medium or long scale - but it's not the issue you're worried about. I play nothing but fretless and am very used to playing a 34" scale. I've been doing it for a LONG time, and really rely on that muscle memory to keep me in the ballpark, with ears doing the fine tuning.

    I get on a short or medium scale (fretted, fretless, does not matter) and it's a catastrophe. Bum notes everywhere. Even if I'm hunched over staring at the fingerboard the whole time, I'm generating more clams than a chowder factory.

    Obviously this would not be an issue for you. My guitar player, for example, is switching pretty constantly between a Les Paul (24.75 scale) and a Strat (25.5 scale) and he doesn't have a problem with it. I don't see why you would. As someone above noted, the difference between 34" and 30" scales is just two frets.
    gebass6, Nebula24 and JC Nelson like this.
  10. I swap between a 41” Double Bass, 34” Bass, 30” Bass and 24.75” Guitar. Hold my beer......
  11. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2008
    I've had no real problems going between 34" and 35", and my left hand doesn't seem to have issues with occasional EUB work or picking up the odd short-scale bass. But for whatever reason, my right hand (which is huge) isn't happy with strings being too close together. I loved how my 35" Schecter Stiletto sounded and looked, and it was a dream for my left hand, but the 16.5mm string spacing proved impossible for me to adjust to for my right.
    gebass6 likes this.
  12. project_c


    May 8, 2008
    London, UK
    So basically you’re all saying I should buy the Mustang immediately. Can’t argue with that.
  13. greggster59


    Oct 31, 2006
    New Jersey
    In a word, No.

    I have two Birdsongs (31"), a Kala UBass and three standard scale (34") basses. When I switch them up it takes about three minutes to adjust to the change in neck length and fret spacing. Then it's just playing.
  14. ShortyGetLow


    Aug 6, 2019
    Some scales are shorter than others.
    DrMole, Winky and giacomobass like this.
  15. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    As to your second concern, my short scales did make my 34" basses redundant. I found myself playing the SS more and more and finally sold my favorite Aerodyne Precision to help fund a Maruszczyk short scale. You'll figure out which scale you like best and buy and sell appropriately. Why worry about it?
  16. I go from 31" to 34" and vice versa with no issue whatsoever, as long as the bass fits you well I think it's a non issue
    funkinbottom likes this.
  17. Doctor Intrepid

    Doctor Intrepid

    Dec 27, 2017
    My guitar players are both 6'4" and I'm 5'10". Should we switch instruments? Maybe they should play tuba instead?
    DrMole and Anders Barfod like this.
  18. MCF


    Sep 1, 2014
    No. Once you get used to going back and forth between basses, you probably won’t notice it. Unless you worry about it. Get a Mustang!
  19. Mordamir


    Oct 19, 2018
    MCF likes this.
  20. Cutter8

    Cutter8 Admittedly in need of adult supervision... Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2018
    Cutting to the chase... you might as well buy the Mustang now, ‘cuz that’s how this movie ends.;)

    On a more serious note, apprehension about problems switching between scales is very real (I had the same concerns/questions), but the imagined problems aren’t. No need to worry, just jump on in, the water’s great!:thumbsup:
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019

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