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Short Scale bass or baritone guitar?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TreehuggerG, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. TreehuggerG


    Mar 6, 2008
    There seems to be some debate over whether a Danelectro Six String Bass is a bass or a baritone guitar. What do you think?

    Here's a little background for you regarding short scale basses and baritone guitars:

    The Dano six string bass has a 30 inch scale length. It has six individually adjustable metal bridge saddles, and bass tuners. There are volume and tone controls for each pickup, and the three-way pickup selector switch. Dano also made a baritone guitar with the same scale length, except it had a single wood bar for the bridge saddles, and guitar tuners that would not accept bass strings. This means that you can use a Dano six string bass as a baritone guitar, but you can't use the baritone as a bass. I know, because I used to own both instruments, but sold the baritone because the bass functions as either instrument if the strings are changed.

    Just for the record, here are a list of instruments and their scale lengths:
    Fender Stratocaster: 25 1/2"
    Fender Jaguar Baritone Guitar: 27"
    1961 Fender Bass VI: 30"
    Fender Mustang Short Scale Bass: 30"
    1951 Fender Precision Bass: 34"
    1960 Fender "Deluxe Model" Jazz Bass: 34"
    Gibson Les Paul Guitar: 24 3/4"
    Gibson Les Paul Studio Baritone Guitar: 28"
    1961 Gibson EB-3 Short Scale Bass: 30.5"
    Rickenbacker 4000 series bass: 33.25"
    Hofner 500 "Beatle Bass": 30"
    Modulus Quantum Bass: 35"
    Jerry Jones baritone Guitar: 28"
    Steinberger Synapse TranScale guitar: 28 5/8"
    Warmoth Baritone Conversion Guitar neck: 28 5/8"
    Danelectro Long Horn bass: 29.75"
    Danelectro Six String Bass: 30"
    Danelectro Baritone Guitar: 30"

    I have capitalized the the words "Short Scale" and "Guitar" in the list above because this is the language that the manufacturers use in their product marketing literature. By looking at the list above, I would say that an instrument with a scale length between 26 and 29 inches is a baritone guitar. An instrument with a scale length between 30 and 32" is a short scale bass. An instrument with a scale length between 32 and 34 inches is a long scale bass, and and instrument with a scale length longer than 34" is an "extra long scale" bass.

    I have placed the Danelectro Baritone Guitar at the bottom of the list because I consider it an oddity. The "Dano Bari" is actually a short scale bass with skinny strings and a cheap bridge. The only reason people call it a baritone guitar is because that is what Danelectro called it in their marketing literature. Just because someone calls an apple a grape doesn't make it so.

    Besides... I don't hear anyone calling a Danelectro Long Horn bass a baritone guitar, even though the scale length of the Long Horn is shorter than the scale length of the Six Sting bass.
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Welcome to TalkBass! You'll find that this subject has been covered many, many times here. There is even a "megathread" all about short-scale six-string instruments. There are also many threads listing and discussing short-scale basses in general. You'll also find that debating whether an instrument "is" or "isn't" a bass generally gets you nowhere.
  3. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    No debate. If it has 30" (short)scale, 6 strings, and is tuned E-E one octave below guitar it's a 6-string bass. Baritone guitars are pitched between a bass and regular guitar(hence the name, usually A-A or B-B), and usually have a scale length between a guitar and short-scale bass.
  4. And don't forget that there are short-scale 4-string basses like the Epiphone Rivoli and Harmony H22 that have baritone switches that enable them to function in that capacity if so desired.
  5. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    No, not really. Some guy at Gibson way back when decided to call the mid-boost switch a "baritone" switch for some unknown reason. Flipping the switch doesn't change the pitch of the instrument from bass to baritone, it's simply a mid boost/bass cut switch. But, back then guitar companies liked to use flowery terms for features whether they were correct or not. For example the Fender Tremelo on Strats(which is actually a vibrato). The Fender VI had a similar switch, known unofficially as the "strangle" switch.
  6. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    I've got both Danelectro's and they both work as baritone or bass VI. I had to do a slight neck adjustment to get the baritone to handle the bass VI strings but they really are identical instruments. No probs getting the baritone tuners to take the bass VI strings though the bridge was tad tight. Same neck, body, electronics, just different tuners and bridge. I've currently got mine setup the way they were intended. Great awesome sounding instruments.
  7. I'm not implying it changed the pitch, but it changed the effective function of the bass guitar from that of a bass instrument to one more like a baritone guitar, i.e., with less low-end in the tone and more like a tonal balance of a standard guitar but at lower pitches. My Dillion bass has pickup phase switches which effectively kill just about all low end and make it useless in those configurations as a bass instrument, but great for baritone guitar parts.

    Both standard 4 string basses and standard six string guitars both overlap with one another, pitchwise, and they both reach into the baritone range... but you know this already, I'm just preaching to the choir! haha
  8. TreehuggerG


    Mar 6, 2008
    Regarding: bongomania: "Welcome to TalkBass! You'll find that this subject has been covered many, many times here. There is even a "megathread"."-- I see that now. Nice responses from a few folks, though.

    I like the photos I see here of the Music Man short scale 6 string basses, and the OLP copies. Has anyone tried both and written a review of the differences?

    Bongmaia: I see that you have a huge thread about compressors. What is your favorite compressor at any voltage?
    What is your favorite 9VDC compressor?

    My fave so far is the EBS BiComp.
  9. EpicSoundtracks


    Mar 10, 2006
    Oakland, CA
    Lollar Pickups, Dunlop Strings
    the answer is "yes"

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