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local bass guru gives shortscale advice... Do you agree?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ::::BASSIST::::, Aug 19, 2005.

  1. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    I was in a local shop with probably one of the most well known / respected bass guys in my area.

    I was asking him about shortscale and this is what he said:

    -maple/maple neck is better for shortscale because the string tension on shortscale tends to be low.. maybe even slightly floppy. Lower string tension gives a darker (I dont know if that's the correct term) sound to the bass. To counter that maple is better on shortscale b/c it is brighter.

    -string thru body is advisable with shortscale because it causes the strings to have more tension.

    I dont have any issue about the maple neck as I like maple anyway. However after searching TB I found many opinions that say that a string thru body design isnt noticeable in terms of tone. That said, I am sure these TBers were referring to the more common 34" scale.

    I just bought an SX p-bass shortscale and I am contemplating whether or not to mod it so it is string thru (this of course means drilling holes) or just leaving it as standard. I want the bass to sound as close to a regular scale p-bass as possible.

    Thanks in advance for your input!
  2. The guy may have a point about the wood selection. Also, another way to raise string tension would be to use a lighter gauge string. This would also change the tone, however.

    If you haven't yet received your short scale P bass, you might wait and play it a bit before you decide to modify it. You may find that the tone is close to what you're looking for.

    Making a standard bass string-thru is no small mod. This would require a new bridge and some good drilling to make this a nice conversion. With SX, you can afford to take that risk, so you should be fine. It's your call, but definately play the instrument before you mod it.
  3. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Sorry, that's incorrect. Lighter gauge strings tend to have brighter tone, but they also have less tension, not more.

    Folks tend to talk as if "feel" and "tone" werre the same thing, for some strange reason...

    I do agree that a maple/maple neck would probably give a clearer tone that might benefit a short-scale bass. An in general, the stiffer the neck, the better in terms of maintaining clarity.

    Folks do disagree on exactly what the effect of running strings through the body is--technically, it can't be changing the tension (this has been explained lots of times here on TB) but it may change the feel and tone a little bit.

  4. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    I think i am going to put the gotoh 206 bridge it which allows STB & top-loading. This will give me the option of drilling holes later if I think it is required.

    I prefer playing low tension so hopefully the tone will be ok.
  5. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Sounds like a plan. I've strung both my Celinder and Lakland through the bridge and through the body with the same strings and feel/hear no difference... so I wouldn't worry about that too much.
  6. Ian Perge

    Ian Perge Supporting Member

    May 11, 2001
    Evansville, Indiana
    Your well-known/respected bass guy is quite simply, wrong. As mikezimmerman pointed out, running string-through-body can't affect the string tension from a scientific, physics POV, as only the "speaking length" (i.e. from nut to witness point on the bridge) and string mass can do so.

    It can affect "tone", "feel" and my favorite, "perceived tension", but those are all independent to the actual tension of bass. I'm not saying do/do not run string-through (some people like the "body coupling effect", some don't) - just that it *can't* affect string tension.
  7. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    hmmm.. maybe he was talking about tone. He told me so much I may have got something confused or forgotten.

    So how does tension affect tone?
  8. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    I am on the verge of buying a gotoh 206 bridge. However, I am not 100% sure it will fit a shortscale bass. I saw a pic of a BA II on a regular 34" SX and it looked like it barely fit without hanging over the edge.

    Can someone assure me that a gotoh 206 will definitely fit a shortscale?

    Thanks as always!