Short Scale bass for Acid Jazz/Detroit Funk

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Platinum, Jan 4, 2015.

  1. Platinum


    Jan 4, 2015
    First post! I haven't touched a bass in years, but I'm thinking about it now that I'm producing a lot more.

    I am vertically challenged with limbs to match. I cannot play a 34" Fender, or else this thread wouldn't exist (I'd just get a MIJ passive J and be happy all day long).

    So what I'm wondering is, what is the closest I can possibly get to the classic J bass sound with as few as possible compromises in a short scale size?

    I have always sucked at slap bass, so I'll probably stick to my finger style that is still funky, but more reminiscent of Tower of Power or early Jamiroquai. Lots of slides and bends and hammer etc. I'd rather not have to avoid the low notes, which I know is a difficult proposition on a short scale, but surely some heavier gauge strings and a decently engineered SS is out there?

    My local bass shop has recommended the Classic Player: Rascal Bass. I've also heard good things about both the '65 Mustang Reissue and the Pawn Shop Mustang, but I'm here to get a variety of opinions and advice so I can march on my way and spend a few hours test driving the short list.

  2. Platinum


    Jan 4, 2015
    Thanks for the lead, lefty! Some really nice looking workmanship over there. I'll see what Jimmy thinks the best setup would be for one of his L30T models. :)
  3. Platinum


    Jan 4, 2015
    I might be cheeky and add another question: What kind of strings best suits this style of jazz/funk? Definitely not after that ultra bright 80s slap bass sound. There seems to be mixed minds about flat vs half-round vs tape-wound etc. Cheers
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2015
  4. Antisyzygy


    Dec 8, 2014
    There's a short scale Jaguar bass from Squier in the Vintage Modified line (decent products). That would give you the P pickup in the neck, and the Jazz pickup in the bridge. You can get close enough to a Jazz sound out of that.
  5. Platinum


    Jan 4, 2015
    Thanks. I have seen them around for under $300. What strings are likely to give this bass the best pop, thwack and funky personality?

    I'm thinking I may take this Squier route while I save for a custom bass. I just don't want any of that high school rehearsal plectrum tone from it! haha
  6. Antisyzygy


    Dec 8, 2014
    Generally round-wound strings are better for slap. They're a brighter sounding string. You said you don't play slap though, so it depends on what you're going for. You could get a deeper/mellower bass sound out of flatwounds and save your fingers a bit of grief as well. It might be part of the mix in a unique sound for you. Or, you could get a brighter, more-aggressive sound out of rounds.

    I don't know enough about short scale basses to know if they need special strings, but I'd imagine you can at least find round or flat wound strings for it.

    A lot of people swear by one brand or another for strings, but I've never had a problem just picking something off the top shelf. I'll go with Elixir Nanoweb sometimes but they do lose a bit of brightness over a fresh, new set of non-coated strings.
  7. Platinum


    Jan 4, 2015
    Thanks again for the reply. Yep there are short scale flats. I do definitely prefer a more mallow sound, but I don't mind a bit of fret noise either. I've heard that the Thomastik Jazz Flats are fairly bright for flats, so they may be a good starting point, perhaps ... I'm not going to be used to any kind of string as it's been years, so I might as well start with flats if that's where I'll end up!

    Is it flat strings that are responsible for the fart-like noise that reminds me of an acoustic bass? In a lot of jazz-funk records I've listened to the bass lines have that farty popping going on that just contributes to the character of slides and bends so much. Cheers
  8. blue4


    Feb 3, 2013
    St. Louis area
    Why would you need to avoid low notes on a SS bass? Why would the Squier PJ have a high school plectrum tone? I don't know how long it's been since you played a SS, but with the string choices available now there's very little you can't do on one.
  9. The pop of an acoustic bass is partly from the follow-through of the finger striking the adjacent string (see clip below). For example you hit the E on the D-string and the plucking finger hits the A-string. There are articles and TB threads on how to make your electric bass sound similar (not "just like") a DB (this article's good).

    FWIW, I prefer the sound of flats slapped (though I know you don't intend to slap a lot).
    +1 for the SS Jaguar

    *NB: Speakers may fart out, but doublebasses do not.

    Welcome to TB!
  10. Welcome to TB :)

    At the top end of the scale, I'd recommend a 32" Status Kingbass with bendwell, but that's going to cost you a King's Ransom...

    So I'll second the Classic Player Rascal - I got one for Xmas/Birthday and it's excellent. I don't use the short scale strings. Mine's strung on DR Fat Beams 40-100 and sounds epic :)

  11. Mustang is a great bass. Another thought is a Carvin SB 40 or 60 if you like the Daptones sound.

    Just interesting to note that the 2 influences you mentioned played PJ.
  12. Wiegraf


    Aug 27, 2013
    New York, NY
    the low notes on short scale basses sound just as good as long scale/regular

    rondo music has a ss called hxb-405 or 406 something. had a pretty solid b, deec electronics all for 350 usd
  13. Antisyzygy


    Dec 8, 2014
    I'd say that might be a combination of playing technique, flats and the fretless neck. I have a fretless jazz bass strung with flats that get's that "farty" sound, though there isn't much of the percussive pop without adjusting technique.
  14. Antisyzygy


    Dec 8, 2014
    I just found this btw :

    It has a 6-way rotary pickup selector which tells me there's probably some coil-split sounds in there as well. Seems like a pretty versatile bass. They're going for 550 on and some other places, so if you're looking for a slightly "upgraded" instrument it might be a decent start.

    It's not a J configuration but you might be able to get some good sounds out of it. My guess is the neck is really dark/muddy/bassy. The bridge pickup looks like it's somewhere between the MusicMan position and a Precision Pickup position.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2015
  15. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Squire Jag SS fan. Supporting Member

    May 21, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic USA.
    Check out the Jag SS. If you want a ton of info, check out the club links in my sig. Don't let anyone fool you about the low notes on any SS, they keep up quite well. And I have a Hipshot Xtender on mine. No issues.
    Short-scale likes this.
  16. Ritchie_Darling

    Ritchie_Darling Bass @ AZ

    May 22, 2006
    Impulse buyer...
    I'm pretty sure the bass player from Average White Band back in the 70s used a 30" scale Fender Musicmaster or Mustang bass.
  17. macmanlou

    macmanlou Don't push it. Just let it fall. Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Washington, DC Area
    Thomastik "short scale" jazz flats (JF324) are 34" from ball to silk and are too long for most short scale basses. I use them on my Mustangs (one fretted, one defretted) and they just fit, since the Mustang is strung through the body. The Mustang sounds much more like a Precision than a Jazz, but the Thomastiks really sing on it.

    D'Addario Chromes are available in short scale, as are several varieties of LaBellas. The LaBella "white" tapewounds (actually, they are clear tapes) are very bright.

    There is a 30" scale Modern Player Jazz coming (it's in Europe now and is expected in the US this spring). There's a thread here. It's a PJ so it can sound "kinda sorta" like a Precision or a Jazz.

    The Squier Short Scale Jaguar sells for $180, is a PJ and gets a lot of love here on TB. They are a bit more neck heavy compared to the Mustang, but otherwise play and sound great.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2015
  18. xaxxat


    Oct 31, 2008
    A bass like this one should fill your needs:

    Rattman likes this.