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Short scale bass vs. 34" scale

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by princeadr, May 2, 2005.

  1. princeadr


    Apr 29, 2005
    Just coming back to the bass. Used to play a Hofner which I believe has a 30" scale. I've been playing some guitar in the years since I last played the bass. The 34" is a bit of a stretch for my hands up by the nut so I was wondering what would be the disadvantages to playing a short scale bass? Besides Hofner what other basses have a short scale? I think I might gain a bit in speed of playing with a short scale but what am I giving up?
  2. bigbeefdog

    bigbeefdog Who let the dogs in?

    Jul 7, 2003
    Mandeville, LA
    Two things come to mind:

    - All things being equal (they rarely are, of course), a short-scale bass tuned to pitch will have lower string tension than a longer-scale bass.

    - Obviously, you have fewer purchase choices among short-scale basses than 34"-scale basses.

    Outside of those two relatively minor issues, there's no reason not to go with what you prefer. There are some excellent-for-the-money (and VERY price-friendly) short-scales at www.rondomusic.net, if you prefer to ease back in gradually; I bought one of these (the J-style) for my son, and it's a nice instrument.
  3. psi


    Mar 11, 2005
    New Jersey
    If you're looking for a pro quality short scale, check out Landing Bass.
  4. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    Inherently the gains you make in playability you lose in over tones on any given string at any given note.

    It's a tension/gauge/scale length deal. A thick or loose string is heavier on the fundamental, whereas a tight thinner string carries more harmonics and upper transients.

    Short is relative as well. Some consider Rics short, where others push it toward the EBO, Mustang and Hofner lengths.

    To my mind nothing is a compromise if the sounds that are in your head come out of the bass you are playing.
  5. Also check out:

    Jerry Jones longhorn - Good basses

    Birdsong basses - Their Corto bass looks cool

    Fender Mustang - now made better than ever

    Gretsch Broadkaster - cool archtop

    Hamer Slammer -good + cheap

    Alembic -Stanley Clarke plays a short scale ;)

    Epiphone Viola bass - 1/4 the price of a Hofner, 90% as good

    Jay Turser 'Beatle' bass - Ditto

  6. princeadr


    Apr 29, 2005
    Lots of good info in these responses. Does anyone make a Hofner Club bass copy? It's not the violin shape but has a single cutaway design. I always liked that better.
  7. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    If it feels good, and sounds good ... then it feels and sounds good ;)

    Kubiki Ex-Factors ar 32" scale ( "medium" I suppose ).
  8. Hate to resurect an "Old Thread" but... my 9 yr old daughter is looking to follow in daddy's footsteps and play bass :)hyper:). I have been looking at Ebay and at GC for Short Scale Basses. I am hoping that she will not just play it for a couple of weeks then just forget it, so... I'd rather not spend a whole lot. Say... $250 and under *if* possible?

    Ibanez GSMRM20

    Fender Bronco

    EPI EB-0

    Anybody have any other links to check out?:confused:
  9. pbass2


    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    I highly recommend a JJ Longhorn. Mine gets as much studio time on pro sessions as my Sadowsky and Lakland. Producers and engineers love 'em too.
    It's a boutique bass, really, for 700-800 bucks.
  10. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    You should definitely check out the shortscales on Rhondo. I have SX shortie P. They're decent quality for the $100+, but with upgrades a pretty bloody good bass... alder body, rosewood/maple neck etc
  11. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    What he said.

    Short scale basses tend to sound more tubby or even 'muddy'.

    Longer scale basses have more overtones, and clarity. If the scale gets too long, you can lose too much of the fundamental, which is why some 35" or longer basses have thin sounding G, C, and higher strings.
  12. If 34" scale is giving you great difficulty, I'd recommend having a teacher looking at your form. I'm a little guy who plays 24 3/4" guitars up to a 35" scale bass and I'm comfortable with everything in between.
  13. Buskman


    Apr 13, 2007
    Jersey Shore, USA
    Yup... Eastwood Guitars makes a pretty decent copy.
  14. EpicSoundtracks


    Mar 10, 2006
    Oakland, CA
    Lollar Pickups, Dunlop Strings

    pickups & electronics determine much; if you heard my Bass VI clone, muddy and tubby are about the last things you'd say to describe it.
  15. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I own the EB-0 you cited, and it's a nice instrument. Minor neck dive, but nothing that a good strap can't handle. I've been playing it for a few weeks now and it isn't as muddy as some people claim - I'm really enjoying it.

    For a bass that's even lighter, has no neck dive and is a fabulous value, I suggest the Rogue VB-100, a Beatle Bass copy that has been the subject of rave reviews on a number of forums (fora). I own this instrument and it would work very well for your daughter if she likes the cosmetics. I have two daughters and I've learned that the looks of "things" are EXTREMELY important to them.

    There are actually three or four Beatle Bass clones out there - Turser, Rogue, Brice and others. I've seen positive reviews of all of them, but I can attest to the build quality and sound of the Rogue.

    One note - the stock strings on the Rogue are tinny, nasty, horrible things that will scare you they sound so bad. When you order it, also order a set of Labella Hofner Custom flatwounds from some vendor like Juststrings.com. They're the correct length for this instrument (longer than a standard 30" scale because of the adjustable bridge and tailpiece) and they completely change the sound of the instrument. It's a wonderful improvement. I venture to say that the same would be true for all of the Beatle Bass clones.

    Here's the Rogue at $199. Check the excellent user reviews - and get the hard case with it.

    Having said all this, if your daughter likes traditional solid body basses, the Squier Bronco is a very nice little bass for even less money. I wouldn't hesitate to go that way if she likes the looks better.

    About the overall sound - I own four short scales, three of them hollowbodies. I don't find the sound of any of them to be "tubby" or less listenable than my solid bodies. Strings have a big effect on the sound of a bass, and I think that short scales are a viable option for anyone who enjoys them.
  16. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Tell us more about this Bass VI clone.

    Pics... link?
  17. Rob Martinez

    Rob Martinez

    Sep 14, 2005
    Check out the Waterstone Indra series:


    They are great short scale basses and sound amazing. The single PU Indra I is thumpy, but what do you expect? I use it a lot for 50s rock music.

    The regular 2 PU Indra has AMAZING tone versatility, and looks cool too.

    I was gonna get a Hofner Club bass, but these Waterstone Indras do the job at 1/3 the price.
  18. Rumblin' Man

    Rumblin' Man Banned

    Apr 27, 2000
    Route 66
    I just got off the phone with Eastwood. A Club bass is on it's way.
  19. The Squier Bronco is a great bass for the price. It's not muddy at all (mainly because it uses a guitar pickup!), but to my ear it has a great tone.

    I have compared the Bronco with the Fender P-bass Jr, and I like the Bronco much more.
  20. Assumer


    Mar 26, 2003
    Anyone ever tried to use a neck like a warmoth baritone and make it into a short scale?

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