Moving to Short Scale Permanently/5 String Short Scale?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by PotsdamBass8, Jun 8, 2020.

  1. This can certainly be filed under "hypotheticals that can't/don't need to be decided soon". But I'm just curious if anyone has thoughts.

    Quick background: I'm 36, I teach music for a living, and have had wrist/tendon issues for a few years. I've been seeing a doctor, but the bottom line is we're treating the symptoms right now, without a real clear answer for what's causing the issues beyond probably overuse and maybe a tendency to get inflamed easily.

    I've been playing 34" scale forever (tried 35" 5 string for a year but found it to be too much), and my main bass was a 5 string Carvin that I love and works great for everything. In January I got a short scale to see if that would relieve my issues, and along with lower tension strings, it has been much easier to play without having issues. I'm playing this bass full time now.

    I don't need a 5 string a lot, but I like having it for when I need it. And I like the idea of using one bass that can do everything, which is why I got the Carvin. I keep on coming back to the idea that I have this bass that I just don't know if I'll use again, and I hate the idea of it just sitting here. I've contemplated selling it and getting a short scale 5 string, and probably the things that are keeping me from doing this are 1) there aren't many options in the ~$1000 range, and 2) They seem to have pretty wide necks for some reason, which I'm not sure I will like. My favorite 5 string to play was an EBMM stringray 5, I love that neck. I got used to playing the Carvin, but now when I pick it up, compared to the 1.5" Mustang PJ neck, it feels like an aircraft carrier.

    So now that I've dumped all of these thoughts out, what do you think? If there was a $1000 short scale 5 string with narrow string spacing and a narrow nut width, I think it would be a no-brainer for me.
    B-Mac likes this.
  2. TrustRod

    TrustRod Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2016
    Northern California
    It's way under your budget but the Ibanez Mikro has a nice 5 string and it will leave you with tons of cash for mods. 28.6" scale feels weird but once you get used to it works well even for the B string if you have good technique. I have the ESP B5-JR with the same scale but I think the Ibanez sounds much better.

    It's also super light.
    BarfanyShart likes this.
  3. BarfanyShart


    Sep 19, 2019
    DC Metro
    Mikros are dope, you can get them in orange and purple ... what more do you want?
    OrvCraig likes this.
  4. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    Ibanez basses typically have narrow necks. The Ibanez Mikro scale length is 28.6", if you find that too short, there's also the Ibanez Talman TMB30 or TMB35 which is 30" (note, the neck is wider on the Talman line of basses). The next tier up is the Ibanez Mezzo, the five string version is new and scale length is mid-scale at 32".

    There are some pretty good shortscale basses out there, G&L Fallout, Sterling Ray shortscale...however only a few of them offer five string versions.
  5. Naviiin


    Jun 2, 2019
    5 string short scales are rare indeed...

    Check out the Ibanez TMB35 in the 200-250 range, the Ibanez AGB205 on the used market in the 300-400 range and the work of Serek basses at about 2500.

    I think that's it for easily found options? Looking for one myself, I'd love to hear if there are basses I've overlooked.
  6. Sid the Kid

    Sid the Kid Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2013
    It will cost a little bit more than the 1k budget, but you can have Kiesel (Carvin) make their Vader bass 5 in a short scale. I will be going this route personally. I’m becoming dependent on my short scale for pain relief.

    Ibanez now offers a very affordable Talman bass in a 30” 5 string version. This is the cheapest/best option out there for short 5ers.

    Menisnger makes some really unique 30” 5ers. Maruszczyk will make any of their Basses a 30”. Atelier Z makes a nice short scale 5 with a Mustang body style. Serek makes some truly unique vintage inspired Basses, and now he does a 5. You don’t hear much from Birdsong any more, but they make a Superb short scale 5 string as well.
    ajkula66, TrustRod and gln1955 like this.
  7. dralionux


    Feb 3, 2009
    Savannah, GA
    Tune your Carvin 5 in D Standard (A - D - G - C - F), put a Capo on the 2nd fret. Now you have a 30" scale bass.
  8. ejaggers


    Aug 18, 2009
    Fort Worth, TX
    You may have narrowed your audience waaayyy down by requesting a 5 string.
    Most shorty players play 4 strings.

    I own five, so when you want recommendations about a four, we'll talk.
    123Nil likes this.
  9. gigetto


    Sep 25, 2019
    Ibanez mikro is the best short scale for the price.
  10. The Kiesel is the only one I've found around that price, and unfortunately that shape is just a little too wild for me. I wish they would make their Zeus short scale. I'm also a little nervous that between the wide spacing and the nut being the same width as my 5er, it'll be too big of a stretch long term.

    Those Sereks look awesome, I would get one in a heartbeat if I had the cash. I'll check out the Atelier Z too.

    I tried this. The sound is good, but the width of the neck is just a lot. It's worse because it's further down the neck of course, a 30" 5 string would be more narrow.

    I already have a Mustang PJ, I'm a big fan.
  11. I'm leaning toward getting one of the Ibanez, either the TMB or the Mezzo, and just seeing how it goes. At least if I decide I don't like it or do want to upgrade, I won't take as big a hit on a flip.
  12. dominus


    Oct 30, 2009
    Houston, Texas
    If you can find an old Spector NS5CRFM they were 34" scale. I had one and loved it. But ultimately got used to the 35" scale and sold it. They're your best bet IMO
  13. I have a 34” 5 string I like, actually. When I say short scale, I mean 30-32”.
  14. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    Mekana likes this.