Master List Of Medium 32" Scale Basses Only - Not For Short Scale 30"

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BassHappy, Jun 1, 2016.


  1. Hey Stranger

    If there is a medium scale reference list, I couldn't find it and since these puppies seem scarce - it's a great idea whose time has come. I decided to start a new thread on this so the topic can be searched and found much easier. Since I am a bit of a medium scale historian, I can get this started, but the other medium scalers need to chime in with additions as we go. I wanted to elaborate a bit on the available models, rather than just list the names.

    DISCLAIMER: MEDIUM SCALES ARE NOT SHORT SCALE. THE SCALE LENGTH IS APPROXIMATELY 32" AS OPPOSED TO SHORT SCALE WHICH IS APPROXIMATELY 30". MEDIUM SCALE LOPS OFF ONE FRET AT THE NUT WHILE SHORT SCALES LOP OFF TWO FRETS AT THE NUT - WHEN COMPARED TO THE STANDARD 34" SCALE. PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH AND DO NOT CONFUSE THE ISSUE.

    FOR THE SAKE OF THIS THREAD, WE ARE POSTING MEDIUM SCALE INSTRUMENTS ONLY. PLEASE SAVE THE SHORT SCALE OFFERINGS FOR THE SHORT SCALE THREADS. THANKS FOR UNDERSTANDING.

    Here are three Fender Japan Jazz basses superimposed over each other so you can see the difference, from L to R. Fender Japan actually took the time to re-tool and reduce the body sizes according to the slightly shorter necks to provide the ultimate ergonomics:

    This is an actual Short Scale, Medium Scale, and Long Scale Fender Japan Jazz Bass:

    BassComparison.jpg

    FENDER:

    FENDER JAPAN PRECISION BASS

    They are available used only, and were only made during a brief time fro 1984-1987 - but I have found them in very pristine condition for being over 30 years old. Please note: There is no difference between the medium scale Squier Models and the Fender models. They were all made at the same factory, with the same woods, with the same parts and electronics - built and assembled by the same craftspeople. When Fender US finally authorized Fender Japan to build the P basses with the "Fender" logo, the only difference was that the more highly figured neck blanks and fingerboards went into the "Fender" pile. Other than that and rumors about a swamp ash body and a couple of custom finishes - there was no difference.

    The amazing thing is that Fender Japan completely re-tooled and reduced the body size right along with the neck. I have full size bodies with medium scale necks and they are wonderful - but there is something about picking up one of the Fender Japan mediums, I always marvel at how the ergonomics are perfect.

    This is the one I picked up a number of years ago:

    !BRILsBw!Wk~$(KGrHgoOKiYEjlLmfE,TBJ8bO-dZ+Q~~_1.JPG.jpg

    I shipped the body off to my custom car shop in Fort Wayne - and asked them to fill the pick guard screw holes, sand it, seal it, prime it - and spray it Hot Rod Flatz to match my 1929 Ford Model A Hot Rod. I also asked them to get my pin striper in after the body was good and dry - and he pin striped the body to basically match the car. Please note, the Fender Japan models only sport the cavity rout, no other annoying and silly routing holes in the body under the pick guard. As far as I can see - they pretty much thought of everything.

    Hot-Rod-Bass Sideways.png

    FENDER JAZZ BASS SPECIAL

    Fender Japan produced some "not so standard" very special medium scale instruments during the mid to late '80s. This Jazz Bass Special is one of the models and there were at least five Jazz Bass Special configurations released. It's actually a P Bass body with a Jazz neck and a P/J pickup configuration. The commonality would be the 21 fret rosewood board and PJ pickup configuration and electronics. Usually, those with hidden pole pieces had active electronics while those with exposed pole pieces had passive electronics. The passive models would generally have three knobs and a pickup selector switch - and the active models had Fender-labeled active pickups - with four knobs and no pickup selector switch. They also have gold plated hardware and sealed tuners. I found a 1986 medium with a swamp ash body and a translucent finish. It is marked "Order Made" inside the neck pocket, which is Japanese speak for "custom made".

    JazzSpecial%20Sideways.jpg

    This particular model was only available in Japan - in both long and medium scale configurations - and only a small number of medium scale basses were made.

    FENDER 1962 JAZZ BASS REPLICA

    Jazz%20Sideways.png

    Fender Japan apparently never got the memo that medium scale basses are not on the menu. It was available new until recently. When Fender US took over Fender Japan it was apparently discontinued. You do see an occasional one new on ebay, but they are now very few and far between. This medium scale offering out of Japan is an exact replica of the 1962 model, with the exception of the fact that they do not arrive with bridge or pickup covers. It is absolutely my preference not to have the covers - as we all know, the removal of those covers is usually the first ceremony we perform on these instruments. Then we have ugly body holes. On this beauty - there are no body holes, so no corresponding ugliness. If you want the covers, buy 'em, drill the holes and put 'em on. Your choice. This model was available in black, red, white and burst as above.

    I have been trying unsuccessfully for almost a year to interview the older staff at Fender Japan about these basses, because historically very little information is known about the origin and evolution. What I have uncovered is that they started making the medium scale jazz basses at a least few years after they discontinued the P Basses. I bought an incredible burgundy wine jazz bass from the early nineties with a very rare maple board. I used it to make a custom medium scale 1951 P Bass.

    FENDER AERODYNE

    imgres.jpg

    They must have made an awful lot of these - even after the recent demise of Fender Japan as we know it, these are still in huge supply and available on Amazon and Ebay. Available in red, black, white and dolphin gray.

    FENDER URGE I

    Designed with Stu Hamm along with John Page in 1991 at the Fender Custom Shop, these were the first US Production model 32" medium scale necks. They are still the only medium scale production necks Fender ever made that are a full two-ocatve 24 fret neck.

    Screen%20shot%202014-03-22%20at%208.40.52%20AM.png
    Model Name: "Urge I" Bass Standard
    Manufacture Date: 1993-1994
    Model Number: 013-1400-(806)
    Series: Artist Signature Series
    Body: Poplar
    Neck: Maple, Special Profile
    Fingerboard: Rosewood (9.5" Radius/241 mm)
    Frets: 24
    Scale Length: 32" (812.8 mm)
    Width @ Nut: 1.590" (40.4 mm)
    Hardware: Chrome
    Machine Heads: Standard
    Bridge: Vintage Style
    Pickguard: 3-Ply Black or White
    Pickups: 1 J Bass Neck, 1 J Bass Bridge
    Pickup Switching: Pan Pot
    Controls: Concentric Master Volume (Top)/Pan Pot (Bottom),
    Concentric Active/Passive Tone Control: Active Treble Boost/Cut (Top), Active Bass Boost/Cut (Bottom)
    Color: Fiesta Red, (Polyester Finish)
    DISCONTINUED: 7/1999

    Here is mine, either a prototype or an employee build:

    Hamm Sideways.png



    FENDER/SQUIER VINTAGE MODIFIED TELECASTER BASS

    Happily, Fender/Squier U.S. remarkably released the first production 32" right handed, medium scale bass that I am aware of - excluding the two-octave "Stu Hamm" Urge I models. It is a new Fender Squier Telecaster bass. It is a bit unusual as it is the first Telecaster bass with a slightly enlarged Telecaster body. The early and original Telecaster basses were all based on the dual horn Precision Bass body style. This one is actually manufactured in Indonesia, but is now offered in the US. I believe that they have been discontinued, but I still see one popping up from time to time. There were two different models and two different colors. Here is the exact one that I purchased from Sweetwater:

    Tele.jpg

    And this is what I had Pat Wilkins do with it:

    NEW COLLAGE TELE 72.png

    When Pat stripped it and sent me the photos we were both amazed. Although the Fender literature says the bodies are basswood, mine was European alder. Pat knew for sure because he uses it a lot and he recognized it right away. I know it was much too heavy to be basswood. The workmanship is pretty darn good. Sometimes, you have to be creative when it comes to medium scale basses. There simply aren't many models to choose from and if you can't find what you want - either you have what you want built - refurbish it to your liking - or assemble your own from scratch. One of the most interesting features of these projects is that the old school necks have no fingerboards - and the frets are installed right into the neck. The Tele bass plays amazingly, has a Seymour Duncan designed original P Bass style pickup, and a three position tone switch. For $299. there are no excuses for anyone not to check out what a dream this 32" medium scale neck is. They do come with a warning - they are not light.

    FENDER MODIFIED PAWN SHOP JAGUAR BASS

    Another exception is a fairly recent medium scale offering from Fender, called the Pawn Shop Modified Jaguar bass. Oddly, Fender reversed both the body and the head stock so that the tuning pegs and body point are on the opposite side - which makes the bass a little difficult to tune. To me, it is really what amounts to a left handed neck on a right handed bass. It's pretty screwy as below. No offense to anyone who might own this bass - but it looks like they had a bunch of Jaguar body blanks leftover in the warehouse, flipped the body and relocated the electronics and made a bunch of left handed medium scale necks. Before the Tele bass above was released, I asked my friends at Sweetwater to talk to Fender about the possibility of obtaining a "lefty" model of this exact $799 bass, which would give me a right handed medium scale neck. The price came back from the Fender Custom Shop in excess of $9000.00 for one. It was a simple matter at the time of flipping the headstock on a new neck, removing the original neck, and bolting that one on. Poor Fender US, I really do feel sorry for them at times.

    fender-pawn-shop-jaguar-bass.jpg

    FENDER T-BUCKET ACOUSTIC BASS

    T-Bucket%20Sideways.png

    The T-Bucket Bass is the first bass guitar in Fender's Hot Rod Design series. I will let Ed tell you about it, as he will do a better job than I can.

    EXCERPT FROM THE FENDER T-BUCKET REVIEW BY ED FRIEDLAND

    To be honest, I am not usually a fan of acoustic bass guitars. I’ve found only a few that I enjoyed playing, and I wouldn’t take most ABG’s to a real-world gig. But the T-Bucket is an exception: A modest, laminated acoustic instrument whose easy playability, familiar neck, and flexible electronics go a long way toward making this hot rod ready to race.

    PHIL KUBICKI

    kubicki_bass_black.jpg

    No discussion of Fender Medium scale basses would be complete without including the Kubicki Factor basses, which were actually developed at Fender when a few folks in the Custom Shop were desperately trying to solve the dead spot problem.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2016
  2. OFF THE RACK:

    GRETSCH


    Gretsch Sideways.png

    "What a strange case on this one. I've just gotten Guitar Center in Austin, TX to get a G5123B for me from their store in Minneapolis, MN. This was the closest available, and evidently it's one of a very few still ANYWHERE for sale new in the box... IN THE WORLD. I had NO IDEA what I was getting into trying to get info on this bass. Even GC employees, as many have pointed out, are clueless when it comes to this instrument. I called up Gretsch (FMIC-Fender) to ask just how rare my new bass was. I was told that the total number of Electromatic® G5123Bs manufactured is a closely guarded company secret, and that he couldn't give out that information."

    --From the Gretsch Website

    WARWICK

    Although I am far from well-versed in everything Warwick - my understanding is that they will build many of their bass models in medium scale. I see mediums on ebay from time to time, but a Warwick maven will need to weigh in to give us more specifics about their medium scale offerings.

    I do know that the Jonas Hellborg model - which has an MSRP last I looked of about $12K is only available in medium scale.


    1384959004bpfftfww2.jpg

    I have the high end Warwick Alien and it is really a special acoustic. For those interested, Bill Laswell has a complete album of solo acoustic bass using only the high end medium scale Alien - but he uses a fretless here, on "Means of Deliverance":

    Bill Laswell – Means of Deliverance | Innerhythmic

    Alien%20sideways.png

    HAMMERSMITH

    Marko from Hammersmith is making a number of his Fender-like basses available in medium scale. He builds his basses to order and - within reason - will customize whatever you are looking for. I spent a few weeks with one of his medium scale P basses and it was nice - VERY nice! This is the one:

    Screen shot 2016-06-01 at 9.53.07 PM.png

    CUSTOM/BOUTIQUE:

    ALEMBIC


    199909_044_depth1.jpg

    Stanley had a variety of Alembics as we all know, including short, piccolo and medium scale models. It's a wonder with his huge hands why he gravitated to the shorter scales. My impression is that Alembic will make any of their models in medium scale.

    KEITH ROSCOE

    Keith made these two medium scalers for me in 1999 - 2001. They are truly great and as far as I know, Keith will make anyone a custom medium scaler on most of his offerings.

    Roscoe-1-sideways.png

    Roscoe-2-single.png


    ANDREW DRAKE

    Andrew makes some really incredible stuff and is a very accomplished builder. He made this medium scale bass "Wilma", and I found it online one a few years ago. I knew I had to have it and it's really a nice instrument. Andrew builds a lot of medium scalers.

    Wilma%20Sideways.png


    BRIAN MAY FROM QUEEN - THE "BRI-BASS"

    Brian May of Queen and House Music is proud to announce the latest – and lowest – addition to the world renowned Brian May Guitars product line. The Brian May Bass is a ‘medium’ scale instrument, made in the same spirit as Brian’s ‘Old Lady’ 6 string guitar. It features a compact, bound mahogany body and 31.5” scale neck, topped with a 20 fret ebony fingerboard. Tone is supplied by vintage-styled chrome-covered hum bucking neck and rear-position single coil pickups hooked up to a classic, passive volume/volume/tone circuit. Hardware comprises chrome high-mass roller-bridge, ‘Retro’ control knobs and state-of-the-art Hipshot tuners. The ‘BriBass’ is strung with Bass Centre Elites Flat wound strings for super-smooth fundamentals and in-keeping with the classic Brian May styling it’s finished in a deep Cherry Red with a one-piece black scratch plate.



    bassic-facts2.jpg

    GODFREY GUITARS

    I really like the design of these basses by Les Godfrey. They remind me of the era of troubadours and roving minstrels. He does make a few medium scalers here and there upon request.

    Screen%20shot%202014-04-24%20at%2010.13.27%20AM.png


    JERSEY GIRL

    An amazing team of Japanese Luthiers are cranking out a number of really nice looking instruments as below. They call themselves Jersey Girl Guitars, and it looks to me like they offer guitars and basses and even double necks and specialty instruments in whatever scale you prefer.

    JerseyGirls.png

    BLAST CULT "THIRTY 2"

    OK, they cut their teeth building rockin' uprights, but here comes the "Thirty 2" You have to love a bass named after its scale length and wow, don't those individual EMG Pickups look sharp? Company founded by noted California bass maker Jason Burns. The basses are highly customizable with finishes, custom woodworking, and electronics. PS: NOT available in long scale!

    Blast-Cult-Thirty-2-2013-Optional--big.jpg

    261527_448496705213716_1173478112_n.jpg

    Teye Guitars

    Not for me - but you have to marvel at the medium scale work of Teye. He started with a medium scale bass and decided later to add a long scale - you gotta love it.

    Screen%20shot%202013-01-21%20at%209.52.02%20AM.png
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
  3. lug

    lug Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    I have the Pawnshop Jag....being a lefty, it works great for me. :D
     
    punchclock and BassHappy like this.
  4. JENS RITTER

    I was fortunate enough to spend some time with Jens last October at his shop in Deideshiem, and he does make a few mediums here and there such as the one below. He would custom make most of his models for you in medium scale - but probably not all of them. Jens is a real stickler when it comes to balance and ergonomic considerations. Some of his body designs would have a hard time adapting to the shorter neck.

    1142-1.jpg


    RICK TURNER

    Rick made this acoustic "Renaissance" for me in early 2000. He is an incredibly skilled luthier and one of the pioneers in building medium scale basses, going way back to his days with Alembic. I sold this when I realized I wasn't a fretless player. Also have to love his really nice Model One medium scalers as below.

    Front.jpg

    url.jpg

    KEITH HORNE

    Keith is an incredible up and coming luthier who cut his teeth at EchoPark, GuitarViols and has been busy establishing his own custom guitar company "Marvin Guitars". Keith works with Bruce Johnson on many projects. They built the neck for this medium scale Performer replica for me, Bruce doing the truss rod and fingerboard glue up - and Keith doing the fretting, shaping and all the rest. One of the best necks ever. They both work out of the Secret Underground Bass Lab in Fillmore, California. Keith is putting the finishing touches currently on a pair of hollow body Fender twins - a P and a J - and is also working on a special medium scale hollow body Les Paul bass for me. It's a bass replica of the LP Supreme guitar that Roger Giffin designed while he was at the Gibson Custom shop. Keith and Bruce are perfect candidates to bang out the medium scale bass of your dreams!

    Transformer 2.jpg

    PAUL REED SMITH

    As most of you know, I consider Paul to be one of the Grandfathers of medium scale basses. He made me two in the late seventies, simply fantastic iconic instruments. He recently made a shortie for Garry Talent of Springsteen's band and will make medium scalers upon request.

    1 PRS.jpg

    DIY WARMOTH

    Of course, you can also assemble your own from Warmoth parts, who now have medium necks available. This is great option:

    Screen shot 2016-06-01 at 10.23.23 AM.png

    BRAD LOWE MEDIUM SCALE CONVERSION NECKS

    Or you can take any full scale body and get a conversion neck from our friend Brad Lowe - which will convert the instrument to medium scale without any bridge modifications.

    Ridler 32 34_zpsehodyiqo.png

    Better yet, snag one of Brad's really sleek full scale body designs- and with one of his conversion necks you are off and running! Maybe Brad will come around and post the best links to see some of these beauties! Also a really great quick and painless mod for the curious long scalers - who really want to see for themselves what the fuss is all about.

    I know there must be dozens of other options out there, these are the ones that I am aware of and familiar with. Please everyone weigh in and lets make the list and the thread complete!
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2016
  5. Hey Lug

    i was hoping there were a couple of success stories out there about that bass! I can see where it would be tres cool for a lefty!
     
  6. lug

    lug Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    I learned on right handed basses (strung upside down to me) so I didn't even have to reverse the strings. Bass gets a lot of use and am very happy with it. Despite the shorter scale, the neck is still a bit chunky which I find I like for extended playing.
     
    BeeTL and BassHappy like this.
  7. blowinblue

    blowinblue Kind of not blue. Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2006
    SoCal USA
    So Pat put on the fancy top, did the drilling, routing, and installation of the hardware? What a great improvement. I was thinking of having something similar done to my P-bass but shipping it across the country to Chris Stambaugh is expensive and can be risky. Pat's shop is right down the road from me and we're familiar with each other. If you don't mind my asking how much did Pat charge you for the conversion? And did that price include the hardware?

    M. M.
     
  8. Hey MM

    No, it's the original body, which Pat stripped for me and laminated the saeple on. He then did the finish work which we call a "Smoked Copper Burst".

    RK1-2.jpg

    RK2-2.jpg

    sapele top.jpg

    photo.JPG

    photo1.jpg

    More here:

    Fender Vintage Modified Telecaster

    You would have to get in touch with Pat and ask him about the price - it was quite a while ago and I really don't remember....
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2016
    blowinblue and mikewalker like this.
  9. blowinblue

    blowinblue Kind of not blue. Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2006
    SoCal USA
    Thanks for the build pics. That's about how I envisioned it. Pat does awesome work. I'll give him a call. He's the guy who painted my Ken Lawrence back when it was built in 2000. :thumbsup:

    M. M.
     
    BassHappy likes this.
  10. arbiterusa

    arbiterusa

    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    On the other end of the pricing spectrum, our good buddy Kurt at RondoMusic has gotten into carrying 32" scale instruments. I got the last of the rosewood necked version of this:

    ursa2ltmncar1.jpg

    He's got them tagged as either "medium scale" or "7/8 size" which is a bit confusing, but he has a few different ones. Including at least one lined fretless. 30" instruments are labeled as "short scale" or "3/4 size".

    Two complaints: bodies are really made for 30" scale so they're a bit prone to neck dive, and the output jack on mine was unusable and needed replacing, so I did. For $119.00 I'm not going to bitch about that. Upsides are the tone is quite good and the thing can't weigh over seven pounds. Ridiculously light.

    Minor setup required but took ten minutes, nothing major needed. Even the supplied strings were just fine and I'll keep 'em.

    My very first bass was an old Kapa 32" scale bass, and this is a far better instrument than that ever was. May do a Warmoth 32" fretless later this year. I like the scale. It's not good for everything but it's good for a lot.
     
    BassHappy likes this.
  11. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    All of the current reissued S.D. Curlee basses are 32" scale (as were most if not all the originals).
    SD Curlee USA
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2017
  12. mbell75

    mbell75

    May 23, 2016
    Excellent list! I would love to get a hold of some of those 32" MIJ Fenders, especially the jazz! Wheres the best place to look? Ebay?
     
    BassHappy likes this.
  13. Status Graphite offers 32" scale with the Bendwell option. Not sure if it is available or will work on basses with headstocks.

    SGS301.jpg
     
  14. Subscribing...
     
  15. BritBass 2

    BritBass 2

    Jan 20, 2014
    image.jpeg Alembic 32" scale.
     
  16. Cataldo does 32' Thunderbirds.
     
    Count Bassie and BassHappy like this.
  17. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Philadelphia
    Most of Landing's basses have short scale as standard, but offer 32" scale as an option. I really dig the Strat-style L300, and would love an L32P:

    http://landingbass.com/MODELS.html
     
  18. Gully Foyle

    Gully Foyle

    Sep 28, 2014
    Near Boston
    Hey rick. I have a huge list, but cannot post it up now. Will do so though
     
  19. Great Gully

    Maybe someone could figure out a way to put these in "list" form, so we would have both an alphabetized list by manufacturer and some photos for reference. If I can get some time I will do it, but it will be a while before I can get to it.
     
    John Luka and DavesnothereCA like this.
  20. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jun 14, 2021

Share This Page