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How come no manufacturers make a 30" scale acoustic bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by MakoMan, Jan 31, 2014.

  1. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    I'm serious. Why are there virtually no 30" scale acoustic basses available?
    I'm a short scale player. There are many, many 30" scale electric basses one can buy ( I have 6), but finding a 30" acoustic to noodle around with on the couch is almost impossible. I know some manufacturers offer 32" scale acoustics, but sorry, I want a 30" just like all my others basses.
    With all the short scale electric basses being sold, there has to be SOME market for a 30" acoustic bass. I know I'd buy one. You'd think Fender at least could graft a 30" neck onto an existing guitar body and give us short scale guys something acoustic to play :help:
  2. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    The Ovation/Applause AE40 is short scale. I had one.
    edit* here is what I found on the same one I had (it was the inexpensive version with the pointier tip headstock, not the full blown Ovation version with the round tip headstock).

  3. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    The Ovation is one of the two short scale acoustics I of which I am aware. The other being an Alvarez. If there is an Alvarez available withing 100 miles of here, I am unable to find it and I`m not sure I`d want it if I could (reviews seems somewhat mediocre). The Ovation I could see if I could find one at a reasonable price. I`m not wild about the round back, but I could live with it if I used a strap.
    Surely there has to be more choices than that. After over a year`s search I finally broke down and ordered one of the cheapie `Sky`acoustic basses on Ebay. After an extensive setup it`s a pretty decent shortie. I like it more than any other acoustic I`ve ever owned ONLY because it is a short scale and the transition back and forth to my other basses is seamless. I play it a lot and the ability to pick it up any time for 5 minutes or more has really helped my playing. The electrics even sound pretty decent. Great for practice and an acoustic jam, but I`d be hesitant to play out with it plugged in. Of course I can always use an electric for that, but I`d still like to be able to find a really nice shortie acoustic.
  4. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    Have you thought about even shorter? There are a whole bunch of micro basses hitting the market.
  5. Raf Seibert

    Raf Seibert

    Dec 16, 2013
    It's simple physics. A true acoustic bass needs all the oomph it can get. A 30" scale reduces the tension on the strings. An acoustic bass needs that tension to drive the top. This doesn't cause a problem on an electric bass, because the power comes from the amp, but when there is no amp, the acoustic needs that power.

    I know many acoustic basses have pickups, my Martin does, but acoustics are made to be able to be played without an amp.

  6. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    While I do agree with you Raf, the fact of the matter is no acoustic bass has enough volume without being plugged in. At best they have enough volume for solo practice and to keep up unplugged with one guitar.
    I use it acoustically for practice and to maybe jam with one guitar. I will plug it in for an acoustic jam if there are more than that, or I`ll plug in an electric.
    But for the most part it`s for practice. I can pick it up anytime and it has enough volume to hear it. You can get that out of a shortie... it may not have quite the acoustic volume of a 34`or 32`but it`s not enough to make a difference.
  7. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    It boils down to:

    - No acoustic bass design is really worthy of group acoustic play.

    - So, acoustic basses get plugged in. They're not acoustic basses. They are basses with different tone.

    - Now that we have the power, it opens up other scale possibilities.

    - Plugged in, some of the biggest bass tone on the planet comes out of 20 sumpin inch scale basses.
  8. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    Just as a guess, I would say that there are 2 reasons.
    1. Manufacturers don't think there's a market for them. If they did, you would have more than 2 to choose from. As it is, those 2 are probably all the market will bear.
    2. Most (if not all) short scale hollowbody electric basses are loud enough to practice with unplugged, anyway. I have 4 of them, and I know mine are. In fact, my '71 Epiphone EA-260 might able to play along with an acoustic guitar, unamped, with the right strings. That little sucker is loud. The Broadkaster is no slouch, either, and the violin basses aren't far behind.
  9. fjadams

    fjadams Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2011
    Danbury, CT
    I have one of the Applause. It's not a very good guitar, but passable.
    Ovation made one for a while, the CC74, but they are rather rare and show up on eBay occasionally.

    Guild made one, the B4E. Also see them on eBay and usually go for around the $1,000 to $1,500 depending on condition. I've thought about getting one, but just never pulled the plastic out. After my Starfire gets here it's about the only other one that I want.

    I'd really like to see a SS ABG come out in the $500 to $600 range. Not sure I'd be able to help myself.
  10. Dan Knowlton

    Dan Knowlton Sarcasm: Just ONE of the many services I offer! Gold Supporting Member

    I was Seriously impressed by the Ohana Bass Uke at NAMM. They don't have it up on their website yet but it was acoustic, with steel strings and onboard electronics - really nice tone both acoustic (not very loud) and electric (loud with little feedback). Street should be under $600 per the rep.

    Dan K.
  11. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    The Guild B4E would be a dream bass. But probably a bit of overkill for practicing on the couch. It would be nice though :D
    I will check out the Ohana too.
  12. I can understand the need for a short scale ABG. If you look around you might catch a used Fender BG 30 or Bg 32, which are both short scale and sound fairly good. Rob Allen makes a short scale which is impressive. I banez has a 32 inch bass (AE 10, I believe) which has sold well for years and has a lot of e cellent reviews.
    Due to health issues I have gone to even more compact basses, and use a Kala spruce top fretless bass uke, which gives a very upright tone. Granted it is not even loud enough to play with a single acoustic guitar, but it's plugged in sound greatly makes up for it. There are also new microbass sized competetors such as Gold Tone, Morgan Monroe, and others to choose from.
  13. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    The Ozark Dobro is fun and sounds great. You need to replace the POS bridge piece though, an inexpensive mod that will make it heaps better.

  14. aquateen


    Apr 14, 2005
    here's one that's a little shorter than 30" but supposed to be loud enough unplugged to be heard when playing with others. there was a thread about these a while ago.

  15. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    What's the scale of that?
  16. ghstheyj


    Feb 1, 2014
    I know many acoustic basses have pickups,[​IMG]
  17. 770 mm. I'm too lazy to do the math.
  18. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I'm not...approximately 30.3"
  19. rfslick


    Dec 31, 2008
    Benicia, CA. USA
    I have two options for you. I would have bought a Hofner Contemporary bass, they are beautifully done, but, they are virtually a solid body. So, I bought an ignition Hofner Club bass and it's great. I had 2 Hofner 500/1 violin basses in the 60's, and they were great to play acoustically. None of these would keep up with guitars, but, I have a Danelectro Nifty 70 amp for that. It's small and sounds great.
    A year ago I bought a Rogue VB100, the version that's been out for a few years now. You can recognize them because the sides are curly maple, versus the earlier ones are solid black. The solid black ones have sidewalls that are about 3/4 inch thick. The later ones have sidewalls that are the same thickness as the top and back, with kerfing like an acoustic instrument should. The bottom line here is that they are every bit as good as the Hofner Ignition series at half the price.
    I keep the Hofner Club and the Rogue VB100 next to my chair in the living room and play them all the time, because I can hear them.
  20. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    Thanks again to everyone for the suggestions. Violin and hollowbody basses are certainly options worth considering, and I've looked at a few. It may come down to an Allen Woody, Eastwood, or Gretsch hollowbody.
    In the meantime I've got my cheapie 30" scale acoustic Sky bass to fill the acoustic practice need.