Short Dilemma

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Swampish, May 13, 2022.

  1. Swampish


    Dec 31, 2015
    Quebec, Canada
    I currently have a Sterling by MusicMan Ray34HH in Stealth Black which looks and sounds amazing. However, almost since day 1, I've struggled with it being just a bit heavier than I'm comfortable with, especially for longer jams or shows. Recently, I've been pondering off-loading it in favour of a short scale SBMM. I've heard lots of good things about it, including the fact that it is quite a bit lighter. Part of me thinks that this would be a smart move for back and shoulder health, but it's really hard imagining sacrificing that big sound from those two humbuckers. Any thoughts on this dilemma (aside from keeping them both, which would result in a disruption of the current state of domestic bliss in which I live)?
  2. To avoid a major disruption in domestic bliss just try to emphasize that if the short scale works as intended you'll be selling the one you have now? You have to be sure you'll be happy with the replacement before selling something you like.

    I don't know anything about those basses, never even laid a finger on one, but I'm a short scaler all the way. Best of luck on this one.
  3. Swampish


    Dec 31, 2015
    Quebec, Canada
    Thanks and, yes, would sell the HH. I'm actually trying to find a place nearby that has the short scale in stock to try out for sound, feel on the strings (that I hear have a bit less tension than regular scale) and confirm the weight benefit.
    WI Short Scaler likes this.
  4. fu22ba55


    Apr 16, 2009
    Short-scales sound awesome.
    Long-scales sound awesome.

    But they sound different from each other. One will rarely sound like the other.

    If you want a short-scale, get it because you want the short-scale sound and feel.
    If you want a lighter long-scale, get a lighter long-scale.
  5. steveinohio


    May 27, 2007
    Get the short scale. Just make sure you know the weight before getting it. That model in particular seems to vary in my experience.
    mikewalker and Swampish like this.
  6. Swampish


    Dec 31, 2015
    Quebec, Canada
    I was looking at options along this line, though the humbucker would be a must and I definitely dig the Musicman sound (I think I was considering a G&L at some point, but again, wasn't able to get consistent weight info). Not having particularly big hands, I also am keen on testing something that might be a bit easier to navigate.
  7. Swampish


    Dec 31, 2015
    Quebec, Canada
    Yes! That's also been a problem! There is the "official" weight, then there's the actual that varies between colour and even within the colour. I know that they use 2 different types of wood depending on which colour you choose (nyatoh and mahogany, which can be pretty heavy depending on the species). So, yeah, verification is a definite must!
  8. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Short scale Stingrays are my main players now (I have a MM and SBMM), but I'm learning something. I also bring an Acinyonyx as well as a SS Warwick to some shows.

    If you are used to the HH, you will more than likely NOT be happy at the start. The single pickup SS is going to sound thinner, no matter what. If you are open to giving it time to adjust, as well as open to readjusting the EQ on your amp, I can almost guarantee you'll be happy in the long run. The SS Stingrays sound awesome and are much lighter than any of my log scale basses. I also agree with the above that weight varies, so be careful regarding that.
    Kubicki Fan, mikewalker and Swampish like this.
  9. J Posega

    J Posega Cat Dad and Dingwall Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2005
    Portland, OR
    You could also have the weight reduced on your current bass by replacing the tuners and having a luthier do some routing under the pick guard.

    There are also dual-shoulder straps. Think of it like going from carrying a heavy backpack hanging off one shoulder to using both straps: the weight is distributed across both shoulders, making it seem lighter.
  10. Swampish


    Dec 31, 2015
    Quebec, Canada
    I was considering the routing option at one point, but wasn't sure if it was worth it. Food for thought, though.
  11. Swampish


    Dec 31, 2015
    Quebec, Canada
    I'm keen on playing around with the SS to also get an idea about much easier it is or isn't navigating the fretboard. Had a regular Ray34 before and I liked the tone, even though it wasn't as versatile as the HH.
    Joe Nerve likes this.
  12. Anthony Buckeridge

    Anthony Buckeridge

    Nov 15, 2014
    What I have found is the weight of really hefty instruments can be successfully mitigated with the use of extra wide straps. I have found these markedly superior to typical strap widths, playing such instruments. They spread the weight over a larger shoulder area and reduce the cutting effect that accompanies thinner straps.

    I also have some straps family members bought me, specifically designed with modern material that is supposed to reduce the physical stress of weighty instruments. The material technology was originated for use by professional camera operators, who at times have some heavy pieces of gear to wield.

    Good straps are worth the investment and a good strap may be the simplest most effective solution for great instruments fabricated from dense, heavy woods.

    Ultimately, there are lighter instruments available to purchase, if you want to go that way, have fun finding them.

    However, the price of a strap seems an attractively cost effective first step to solving the issue.
    Huw Phillips and Swampish like this.
  13. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    Generally speaking, routing out of the body is not really worth it... find a nice paulownia-bodied bass instead :)
    Terry Farmer and Swampish like this.
  14. Swampish


    Dec 31, 2015
    Quebec, Canada
    Yeah, I've gone to wider neoprene straps that certainly help, but may try the suggested 2 shoulder models.
  15. funkinbottom

    funkinbottom Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2006
    Oregon Coast
    If you're loving the HH, get the the short scale SBMM and have a second pickup installed.
    Swampish likes this.
  16. Swampish


    Dec 31, 2015
    Quebec, Canada
    Could do, though for an SBMM, it seems a bit excessive. Also, I need to play one to get a better idea of the difference between my actives and the short passives.
    funkinbottom likes this.
  17. J Posega

    J Posega Cat Dad and Dingwall Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2005
    Portland, OR
    It probably won't make a huge difference. A few ounces, at most.

    Some people buy $100 basses and put $1000 worth of mods into them. If you end up with an instrument you love, then it's not excessive, it's worth it.
    Swampish, mikewalker and Nebula24 like this.
  18. Swampish likes this.
  19. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile, ਵਿਦਿਆਰਥੀ Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    Might I suggest a long-scale HH that weighs less? There's no reason IMO to get a short scale solely for weight. They sound and feel completely different, and there are lots of lightweight long-scale basses out there that won't break your back or the bank, e.g. from Ibanez.
    Swampish likes this.
  20. coy garcia

    coy garcia

    Jan 18, 2020
    I've been considering selling my EBMM 5 on talkbass...but I'm afraid someone will ask it's weight. :).
    bassdude51 and Swampish like this.