Short scale bass suggestions?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jongor, Mar 1, 2004.

  1. jongor

    jongor Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2003
    I'm looking to get a bass for my 11 year old, and I'm thinking it should be a short scale.

    I've looked at Fender musicmaster and bullet basses....any other suggestions?
  2. Coutts_is_god

    Coutts_is_god Guest

    Dec 29, 2003
    Windsor, Ont, Canada
    How about a Squier bronco.
    Or a Epiphone Eb-0. So when he wants to move to a bigger one you can give me the Eb-0:)
  3. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    I hated the EB-0 I owned. I wouldn't recommend it. The EB-0 is for the hardcore vintage people who want the vintage look but don't feel like paying the extra 2-300 for the EB-3 or even more for a vintage.
  4. Coutts_is_god

    Coutts_is_god Guest

    Dec 29, 2003
    Windsor, Ont, Canada

    I don't like you.
    (No hard feelings)

    What ever the kid likes.
  5. The Squier (Fender) Bronco Bass looks quite a bit like a stratocaster guitar, has a strat pickup in fact (!) but is very light and small and actually has a fairly good bolt on/bouncy sound although kind of tubby. There is a thread about installing a better aftermarket pickup-do a quick search...about 150 bucks.

    The EB O, once a Gibson model, now Epiphone, is a much heavier, wider necked (kind of like a 12 string guitar) mahogany neck and (bat shaped) bodied bass. It is infamous/famous for having a very muddy sound due to the placement of the one LARGE pickup at the bassiest end of the body by the neck. Maybe 50 to 75 bucks more than the Bronco. It's neck will also dive from gravity more readily than the Bronc. This may be a lot of work for a young kid to hold up the neck while learning to play.

    I'm not positive but I'm pretty sure that Hamer makes a short scale now and is for sale at Musicians Friend/Guitar Centers. (Well..all of these basses are...)
    Same general price range. A fairly light instrument and comfortable for a kid, but I wasn't enamored with it's sound.

    Gretsch makes a cool looking little bolt on that looks like a Les Paul Guitar kinda...great for a kid. More of a soapbar, humbucker kind of tone.

    The Squier has a 30" scale. The EB O, 30.5 or 30.75. With the wider neck/string spacing the extra scale length can be a bit more of a reach. The neck on the Bronco is like a toothpick!

    None of these instruments have great sound, just ok. I felt that the Bronco I tried had the best sound for general use...

    Unfortunately, almost all short scale instruments are cheapo crap/beginner instruments or very old/vintage designs that are IMHO very lacking compared to high end basses today. Although all of the older instruments can be seen onstage with famous blues performers, etc. I'm not saying that they aren't used professionally, but some even better designed instruments and pickups need to be placed on the market.

    This also unfortunately perpetuates the general concensus that short scale basses are "toys" or only suitable for "beginners" or people lacking somehow anatomically ;)

    I'm currently having a custom bass built that will hopefully be much better sounding than most short scales of the past.

    I'm an ex elementary music teacher (H.S. too) and I feel that the Bronco or the Gretsch Mini Jet (?) would be comfortable and unintimidating to hold and play. The EB 0 would be more of a challenge ergonomically unless your son is BIG.

    Hope that helps.
  6. I wholeheartedly recommend Rondo Music's SX short-scale P-bass copy. Here's the link to their webpage. I bought one for my sister. She's 13 and has small hands and a very short pinky finger. All of that really made it difficult for her to get around her MIM Jazz the school provided.

    I was more than impressed with this bass. It needed a setup as the action was high and the intonation was way off, but after fixing that, it was great. The frets seemed to be set well and level. My only complaint is that the E-string output volume is a bit low from the P-pickup (even when I raised the pickup). All in all, for $100 + shipping (and more if you get a gigbag or something), it was an incredible deal. I got her a Musicians Friend Gigbag which I was happy with and it all came to $165 for everything (shipping included). It's an incredible deal for an incredible bass. The short-scale really makes it easier for her to play.

    -Nick Park
  7. Two come to mind... Jay Turser makes a Chinese knock-off (model JTB-B2) of a Hofner violin "Beetle-bass" that's pretty neat and can be obtained new for around $260 with some careful shopping... And then there's a new shorty that may not even be out yet; it's called ZZRyder and it's light and probably will cost around less than $200... Don't know how the ZZRyder plays, but I just obtained a Turser JTB-B2, and it sounds good and is finished well. Turser also makes other basses as well, such as Fender knock-offs, but I don't know if they'd be small enough for what you want...
  8. bassmantele


    Jul 22, 2003
    Boston MA USA

    Rondo also has a short scale Jazz clone now. If you want the Fender look it would be the way to go. Read the Essex Megathread for info on Rondo.
  9. zazz


    Feb 27, 2004
    musicmaster!!...a classic bass to start on and keep.
  10. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    What he said... Mine sees time at nearly every gig, is a great player and has tone for days... It has seen an electronics upgrade, but that wasn't totally necessary...

  11. jongor

    jongor Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2003
    Thanks for all the input, I ended up with the Essex J-style short scale.

    The musicmaster would have been better, but for an 11 year old, and after seeing some of the reviews of the Essex here , I think this will be fine.

  12. bassmantele


    Jul 22, 2003
    Boston MA USA

    Let us know your opinion of the Essex.
  13. jongor

    jongor Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2003
    I am pleasantly surprised!

    This is a very nice little bass, it fits my 11 year old perfectly.

    30 in. scale, well put together, very nice finish. Cheap hardware, but no worse than MIM p's and j's. The neck and fret work are very good can they do this for so little money?!?

    And the best part....the tone is killer, deep and growly, I can hardly believe it was only $110!!

    I have a $1600 (list) Geoff Gould with EMG JV pu's that I'm dying to compare it sounds pretty close! DOH!