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Short(er) Scale and or Headless???

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DadBandBassist, Apr 29, 2018.

  1. Hello everyone!

    I'm still sorta new here.

    I'm considering a 30-32" scale bass, possibly headless, for reasons of transportability and convenience. My potential concern is that playing this instrument will cause me to feel less comfortable on longer scale "traditional" headed basses.

    What are others' experiences?

  2. pudge

    pudge Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    Lookup RICK at moonshine guitars a member here ,monnshinegrts.I sent him my warmoth 30" neck and a body I started at my friends shop.It was modeled after a rob all mouse.I saw he was doing a short scal headless and asked if he'd finish my project as my friend died and his wife sold his shop and all his tools.I'll dig up the link from the luthiers section.

    Attached Files:

  3. Hi Pudge,

    Thanks - I checked out Moonshine's site. Did you have them complete the instrument and how did you like it? How did going back to long scale instruments feel after you got the short scale?

  4. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Hmmm....I owned a Kubicki Ex Factor which was headless and 32" scale. I love the headless concept...the 32" scale not so much. It does feel different under the fretting hand which may or may not be your thing. The first thing that comes to mind is the Kiesel (Carvin) headless offerings...there are now 3 different models. The Vader has a 30" scale option.


    You can snag one for just over a grand provided you don't order every option in build-a-bass. The good news is you can return it within the approval period.

  5. @Zooberwerx: Hmm... I remember playing a Kibucki ages ago when they were hanging on the walls new in a guitar store. I think the scale felt short to me then - but the fretboard extender thing on the E string was kind of cool. Anyhow, sounds like you keep it to long scale - but do you have a headless now?

    Also curious to hear others' feelings about "scale swapping". I'm getting on 50 year old, so not sure how much longer the reach will feel okay. However, I do think there's something to where a bass hangs that can make that low F feel closer or further away.

    Thanks for the Kiesel links - irrespective of scale the Vader is not my thing. I'll have to see if I can find one of those other Kiesel basses hanging our somewhere - even used - just to check them out.

  6. Hi DBB - I can offer input from the opposite perspective- SS to full length. (Warning - am quite new to bass. Also warning that this reply will be lengthy. I started with short scales thinking they would be easier to play as I have smallish hands. I’ve had mixed experience with this - my main instrument now is a Fender Mustang PJ. I tried a Hofner that I did not find all that friendly.

    A while back, I went to a three day band camp for newbies, so they had full scale instruments available (mostly knock-off P and J styles). I found those quite hard to play and ended up bringing my bass - carrying it through an ice storm no less!).

    Then a couple of weeks ago, I had to take my Mustang in for a setup. So I was using my partner’s basses - he has a Gibson Ripper 1975 and a Fender Rascal (which is short scale). I automatically assumed I would not like the Ripper and would prefer the Rascal. But the opposite was true!

    Since I got my Mustang back, I have been altering between it and the Ripper. I find them both easy to play in different ways, if that makes any sense. I can switch back and forth between the two quite easily. And as I mentioned, I don’t have a ton of experience. But I would say if I’d bought a P or J - or the Fender Rascal - as my first instrument, I probably would not have persisted.

    Hope this is helpful - and good luck exploring options!
  7. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts

    I have both 30" and 34" scale bass guitars and play double bass with a 40"-ish scale. I have no problems moving between them at all. If you just need a compact travel instrument, the Steinberger Spirits are being made again, they are headless and full scale, not to mention smaller than most short scale basses.
  8. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Yes, a 34" Maruszczyk Frog headless 5. Got a really good deal which nosed-out the Kiesel...it still remains my second choice. I use 1-2-4 and am most comfortable with such on a 34" scale instrument.

  9. ronin614


    May 15, 2008
    New York
    Look into a Hohner Jack or full-body Steinberger Spirit (there’s one for sale in the classifieds for a good price). Both have full bodies and are 34” scale. They hang like a traditional bass and fit in a guitar gig bag.

    I love my Jack Bass, it’s built like a tank, and I would definitely recommend it as a smaller (but still full scale) bass.

    Good luck with your search.

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