1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Full Scale or Short Scale?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bmoney1990, Apr 9, 2014.

  1. bmoney1990


    Apr 2, 2014
    What's your preference and why?
  2. raventepes


    Jan 7, 2012
    Reno, NV
    I play extra long scale (35"), but I play 5-6 strings almost exclusively. 34" is just not enough scale length to let that B shine, which is tragic that Ibanez hasn't figured that out yet. I love the tone of their SR basses, but those B's are just too floppy for my taste.

    Now if I'm playing a 4-string, I'll take full scale (34"). Short scale basses are just plain fun though.

    Wow. That made me miss my Dano...
  3. AaronVonRock


    Feb 22, 2013
    I prefer 34" but do have a 30" as well. The 34" gets used live, the 30" does not.
  4. blue4


    Feb 3, 2013
    St. Louis area
    I like 34" for my bass thats tuned B-G and I like my 30" tuned E-C. I think the G and D strings sound better on a 30". TBH I think I would like medium scale the best, but good luck finding a 32" 5 string with 16.5mm or less at the bridge that doesn't have to be custom made, or cost more than my first house.
  5. Dradder


    Feb 7, 2013
    Reno, Nevada
    I prefer short scale because it's what I've got. Thinking of getting a full scale, though -- I see kids and teenage girls on Youtube, with hands half the size of mine, completely wailin' on 'em, so I figure I should be able to handle one. :)
  6. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Shortscale 4 strings.

    I find them generally lighter, easier to play, sound like a bass, and (this is my favorite) the response of my short scales is more even and better at controlling hot/deadspots than long scales.
  7. RedHotFuzz


    Mar 16, 2014
    I think we can predict the feedback here, given the general dearth of high-quality-but-reasonable-cost short scale models on the market compared to full scale models. Being new to bass, I ordered a short scale Gretsch to learn on. Who knows, maybe I'll stay shorty forever. Why be all splayed out like an orangutan in a tree if you don't have to be? ;D
  8. warrplayer


    Apr 16, 2008
    Charlotte, NC
    My Warr guitar is basically a six string bass for each hand, so when I play bass I play four string basses exclusively. Definitely prefer 35 inch scale over 34 though. Anything in first position sounds like God talking. Not that I don't love a fast 32 or 30 inch neck, but never heard one that I would record with.
  9. Short. It's just more comfortable for me.
  10. So sorry neither....

    I DO enjoy my only 30" short scale - it's a Rob Allen Mouse - especially for marthon sessions when I am writing or drilling parts - tapes are easy on the fingers and the bass is so easy to play I don't get fatigued.

    But it's 32" MEDIUM scale for me all the way. Will never own another long scale, period. Absolutely no interest whatsoever....

    Play what fits you.

  11. 34" scale for me - I had a shorty once, and it felt like a toy. Besides that; one can get quite spoiled playing on a shorty - it was always awkward switching back to 34" ... for me anyway.
  12. stickynotes


    Jun 19, 2013
    I've found that there is a real lack of good quality short scale basses if you like a classic Fender jazz or precision tone. I've played a Mustang but it just feels like a toy to me. The Gibson SG bass plays good and feels good but it's not the right tone for me. I don't like the sound of most hollow bodies either so my options are pretty limited. There is a Fender jazz short scale made in Japan and available on ebay that will run you over a $1000 to have shipped here. That's too much for me to take a chance on so I'm in the process of having Michael Dolan make me a short scale neck for my American jazz with Fralin pickups. My hope is the tone will be maintained. It's a $400 experiment.
  13. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Squier Jaguar ShortScale, it's a P/J but it does an excellent imitation of a P. I use one for just that reason. I'm not a big fan of bridge pickups on any bass so I never use it.
  14. RedHotFuzz


    Mar 16, 2014
    Hmm. My AmStd Strat doesn't feel like a toy, and it's smaller & lighter than a short scale bass. Perhaps they only felt like toys because you were used to the 34" models? Basically there's an arbitrary view of "normalcy" based on market volume. Did 34" become the standard because it's "best," or did 34" become the standard because Fender was the big dog in the marketplace and 34" was their decided-upon standard?

    I've also heard the comment that short scale basses look goofy. As a guitarist, 34" basses look goofy to me. Different perspective I suppose.

    Please keep us informed. I'd love to know how this works out.

    I keep bugging G&L for a short scale Fallout bass. Maybe someday...
  15. Tanner5382


    Sep 26, 2010
    Canton, GA
    My Birdsong is my favorite bass I have.
  16. Uncle K

    Uncle K The custodian is your enemy Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2011
    Erie, PA
    Medium scale
    canuckshort likes this.
  17. MarkusBass

    MarkusBass Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2008
    California Coast
    Graphic Designer: Lakland
    I like them both! I play both 34" and 30" scale. I have some very nice short scales that really are a blast to play! Have a lot of great 34" scales too. I feel that the 30" scale basses have this underlying woolly tone that I really gig. I'm a big guy too, and both scales are very compy.
  18. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    I started in the 60's on a borrowed EB-2, short scale so when I bought my first bass, it was a Hagstrom shorty (with the world's greatest neck). I played that for many years, modding it now and then as I saw fit.

    Then moved to Long scale, with my USA P bass the first of many, and now I that my hands are slowing down I have been progressing back through medium scale and may go back to short. My back and my hands are asking me to.

    My 2 Hagstroms are great, but the sound is a little too aggressive for some things. Need to try the new Mustangs and/or look for a Birdsong and just be done with it.
  19. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Overall, long scale, but I love short and medium scale basses, too. I'll take a good bass no matter what the scale.
    BassHappy and RichSnyder like this.
  20. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    Absolutely short scale.

    I think the notion that a bass has to be the size of a tree for great tone is nonsense.

    Lots of bass players play a long scale bass - and then spend the rest of their lives chasing tone that they can only have - with a short scale.

    I play and market guitar-scale basses. Eventually more players will realize that there is great tone - and playing joy - to be had with a much shorter scale bass.
    BassHappy likes this.