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short or medium scale?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by kittens, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. kittens


    Oct 30, 2013
    Nanaimo, BC
    Hi everyone, I'm Braden, i'm new here :D

    I used to have a fender p-bass full scale but I'm looking for something smaller seeing as I'm only a small guy. I found I struggled a bit with the size.

    Had my heart set on a maple neck short scale listed on rondomusic but they don't have it anymore. The closest thing they have is a medium scale jazz, although they do have a short scale with a rosewood neck.

    What do you guys think, should I try the medium scale or go right ahead and get a short scale?

    Also I'm a southpaw so my options are even more limited :meh:

  2. rapidfirerob

    rapidfirerob Fusion rules!

    I have an Alembic Spoiler, medium scale, and a Danelectro Longhorn reissue, short scale. Completely different instruments, of course. As far as scale goes, I like both. I have smaller fingers and I like shorter scale instruments. When I first played the Spoiler, I was hooked in every way, and the medium length neck was perfect for me. The Dano is a lot of fun to play as well, and the short scale length is fine too. I think you should try both lengths out if you can. Good luck!
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I like them all, too. I kind of disagree that a small dude needs a short or medium scale, though I have a couple short scales and used to have a medium scale bass and they're cool as heck. But for the largest part, I stick with long scale. You can get used to anything, really.
  4. I have nothing but respect for Jimmy, but there is no reason in the world why you should bother to "get used" to something that doesn't fit you properly. Basses are just like shirts, they come in S-M-L-XL-XXL etc. Find what fits you properly and feels like home - and go with it.

    Being a lefty, it is much more challenging for you to shop around off the rack, but I would go on a mission to try both scales and find what is truly comfortable for you.

    There is a lot of information on my site about this very subject here:


    Best of luck to you!

    RedHotFuzz likes this.
  5. I'm another short musician with really small hands. For many years 35" scale 5 and 6 string basses were what I played almost all of the time. With impeccable technique, you can do well on these basses. The bad news is that small hands will mean that your technique needs to be dead on while someone with big hands can get away with a lot of sloppy technique.

    I'd highly suggest making sure technique is up to par before closing the door on full scale basses.
  6. Welcome to TB!

    Try them both when the opportunity arises. I've been into bass seriously for only about 5 years, and went from 34" to 35" with a 30" here and there; I basically went bass crazy for a couple of years.

    Then I discovered 32" medium scale basses. I've sold almost everything else and have decided that's it for me. Medium scales seem to bridge the supposed sonic gap between short and regular scale basses.

    PS: Nice username. ;)
  7. mtsens1

    mtsens1 Merle Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2011
    Kennesaw, Georgia
    Back in the 70's, I used a PBass with a maple neck. Recently had a SS version made by Jimmy Wilson at Landing guitars. Give his website a look, he make medium scales too.

    Attached Files:

  8. GM60466


    May 20, 2006
    Land of Lakland
    short scale--easier to find strings
  9. JoeWPgh


    Dec 21, 2012
    I recently got a Lakland SS hollowbody. It not only blew away my preconception of what you can get from an E string on a shorty, but on a hollowbody as well.
  10. ebonalley


    May 17, 2010
    I have 5 medium scales and my sx has one of the most pretty and articulate tones of them all. Rings like a bell. Worth the 120 for curiosities sake.
  11. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003

    I just got a Roger Fritz Bass. It is medium scale.
    My first try at one. I was blown away. great even defined tone.
    Quite surprised the difference 30.5" to 32" makes in comfort.
    Playing above the 12th fret just feels better.
  12. BassBuzzRS


    Oct 18, 2005
    Try some in the stores!
  13. Hello GM60466

    Another myth. I have 15 medium scale basses and they ALL use standard LONG SCALE strings. I have used nothing but long scale strings on my medium scales since 1976.

    Just so you know....

    Never had problem one and I use strings from all over the place. all the major players, from tape wounds to flat wounds to half-rounds to acoustic bronze.

  14. Hey MojoMan

    Nice to hear. Yes, the difference all the way around between short and medium scale is more than just remarkable.

    It's night and day. Not even in the same sentence.

  15. Uncle K

    Uncle K The bass player doesn't get a sandwich Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2011
    Erie, PA
    I like short scales, but I like medium scales more. Not a decision I can make for you tho.
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    :D Actually I feel about the same way as you do. I just think that you can get used to it, although you certainly don't have to.
    But nobody would ever listen to you play with Happy The Man or listen to someone like Stanley Clarke and think there's something deficient about short or medium scale, for sure.
  17. Ken J

    Ken J Hartford Hot Several Brass Band

    Aug 19, 2011
    Middlefield, CT
    Love shorties
    One of the advantages that is not mentioned is the weight.
    My Cort Action Junior is in the 5 pound range

    Attached Files:

  18. Ken J

    Ken J Hartford Hot Several Brass Band

    Aug 19, 2011
    Middlefield, CT
    This one is fretless and I preformed a couple of up grades
    Through body stringing and an EMG active pickup.
    This junior bass kicks butt

    Attached Files:

  19. Hi Jimmy

    I would not have a problem getting re-acquainted with a long scale - but i could never play some of the really demanding and speedy 1st-3rd fret HTM stuff super cleanly - and with the same perfection I have become used to.

    My technique is pretty solid but I would get fatigued much sooner and there are definitely some chops in that lowest area that would go south a bit!

    Since I am slowing down a bit at 61 myself -maybe I could just slow the track down a little. Is that allowed? :D

    What I love about my Rob Allen, which is my only short scale, is that with the tape wounds - it is great for embarking on a multiple hour writing or noodling session. It is easy to play and easy on the fingers - great for the repetitive stress of going over and over parts. It is also a very inspiring instrument all the way around. I just find the bass - and short scales in general - to be a little cramped and I prefer to stretch out a little more with the medium scales as a rule.

    Funny, you mention Stanley Clarke along with Happy the Man.
    Ken Scott produced him as well and when he came by the studio to say Hello, Ken played him the snapping intro I recorded on the PRS to "Steaming Pipes". After he heard it he looked at me and said "Wow, Paul who?" And "Where is this beast of an instrument?"

  20. 77stingray


    Oct 6, 2010

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