Short scale basses for children

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Matthew Bryson, Dec 9, 2002.

  1. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    I have a daughter who is seven years old. She has shown in interest in learning to play bass. I've started teaching her on my bass and she is willing to treat it as an instrument and not a toy - we are starting out real slow working on posture, holding the bass properly and open string exercises with proper right hand technique etc. I'm trying to keep it fun (letting her strum open strings while singing her favorite songs - after she's done her exercises)
    She is ready to get more serious about learning fretting technique, but at 4'4" she cannot handle a 34" 5 string so I think it's time she have her own instrument. We went shopping on Saturday - we went to three local music store and two pawn shops but we only found two different 3/4 scale basses. The one they have at GC was the Grestch 2200(?) "jet bass". She fell in love with this bass. I would love to give her the gift of playing music at a young age and I think I can keep it fun, keep her interested, keep it real and teach her how to do things the right way. My questions to the members of the forum are: Does anyone have any experience with the above mentioned short scale Gretsch? Does anybody have any other recomendations for 3/4 scale basses? AND Does anybody have any experience and or recomendations with teaching children at such a young age? I'm sorry this got a little long and also maybe a little misc. - but I'll post it to basses sinse I'm asking about a specific bass (among other things) mod's please move this if there is a better place for it. Thanks. Any advise is greatly appriciated.
  2. I haven't actually played the "Gretsch" Jet but I did play the Dearmond reissue version and it was terrible.

    A short scale bass that I was impressed with was the Fender Squier Musicmaster. It is solid alder, has a string thru body bridge, individual bridge saddles unlike the vintage ones (only had 2 saddles), std Fender tuners and a single coil pickup that was impressive. The bass was cheap, extremely easy to play and it sounded good. They are discontinued now but you'll find them on Ebay ocassionally.

  3. jdombrow

    jdombrow Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Someone has one for sale on BassGear or Harmony Central. I think it's a Fender child-size P-Bass, but I'm not positive.

  4. Actual 3/4 basses are nonexistent for the most part, but there are many nice 30 inch scale ("Shortscale") basses around

    ( Closer to 8/9th size, if you want to get technical! )

    Rickenbacker 3000, Gretsch TK-300, Fender Musicmaster & Mustang, all available used.

    Newer basses include the Squier bronco, and reissue fender mustang. Also the many 'Hofner 500/1' copies by Brice, Rogue, Turser, et al... small and reasonably light (though a little heavier than a hofner)

    If you had money to burn, you could get an Alembic Stanley Clarke model, short scale and small body to boot.

    for something REAL TINY, there is always the Guild (now DeArmond) ASHBORY ( )- a tiny fretless solidbody with 18 inch scale length and silicon rubber strings.. be warned, these little units really kick some low-frequency BUTT!


    or you could go for something realy 'ergonomic', like the custom built headless neck-thru shortscale I built a few years back:
    Basses like this (solid maple & ebony) are small, reasonably light, (thanks to the body being only 7/8th of an inch thick!) and pack a BIG punch :)

    I think some of the Steinberger clones are 30 inch scale too.. the Kramer 'Duke' for sure, and possibly some of the Hohners
  5. I bought a bronco (musicmaster) bass for my son, and spent a lot of time doing upgrades on it.
    There is no question im my mind the way to go is for you to get an essex sbp57 short scale bass for $99. I'm sure they are very close to full sized essex, which have to be the biggest bargain in the biz right now. Who knows? you might end up wanting to use it yourself.

    Here is the link to my son's bass pictures.
    click here for my web site
  6. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    Thanks for the replies. I've been shopping the web this afternoon and have noticed that a short scale will be easier to come by than 3/4 scale. I'm just not sure what to do - I had her try a Squire J and she does not want a full scale bass - she liked the 3/4 scale...the guy at GC said that there is no such thing as short scale that all basses are 34" (or more) :rolleyes: or 3/4 and they only had the one 3/4 :rolleyes: she hasn't had a chance to try a 30" scale - hey monsterweights - how tall is your little guy and how does he do with the 30" scale length? My daughter is 4'4" and growing like a weed. I'm leaning toward the Essex.
  7. jdombrow

    jdombrow Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Here's the ad from Harmony Central:

    Beginner's Bass
    Asking Price: US$N/A
    Condition: Good
    Age: N/A
    Anyone looking for a beginner's bass for a child? I've got this small bass hanging in my studio called an MX-N. It's all black and looks kinda like a miniature P-Bass. I've used it for years to lay tracks on my 4-track just for fun. It's in decent condition, a few scratches here and there and sounds fine. I can send pics if you're interested. Make me an offer!
    Seller: Frank F.,
    E-mail: fferriero97 at
    Post Date: 12/9/2002
  8. He was 4' 1" when the picture on my web site was taken. I fit him well then, but better now that he is about 4'4". The one thing he complains about is how the strap feels on his neck. any bass can get heavy for a little tike. I would recommend a very soft strap, maybe even a sheepskin padded one if you can.
    You also may want to look into some kind of strings that are easy on the fingers. I tried ground wounds, but they are too high a tension string. Maybe nylon wounds? THe fender nylon feel great, but they don't make them in short scale, and for some reason i had trouble getting them to stay in tune.
  9. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    I just placed my order for the Essex short scale at Thanks to all for the helpful advice. If I like my daughters Essex I might have to order myself up one of the J basses. I hope she's this excited when she gets it!
  10. Congrats!!!!
    Give us review when it comes in. You will be the first to post about this new model.
  11. that essex looks unbeatable for the money, and for 99 bux it also could be a good project platform (carve the body to be smaller and lighter, finish in your child's favorite color, etc ) :)

    here is the link for anyone else who is curious
  12. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    That's exactly what I was thinking rockandroller - It's something I won't be afraid to modify if I feel we need to. She's already told me that she thinks she'll like the sunburst better if we remove the white pickguard (like "that boy on the CD") I hope she doesn't notice what "that guy" did to his frets anytime soon ;)
  13. I can't remember if that Essex is top routed or not, so you might not be able to Jaco-ize the kid immediately. But if you are, promise us that at next Halloween, you'll make her wear an ugly sweater and hold her bass. It'll be a great (although obscure to the general public) costume.
  14. I would say forget a 3/4 scale and get an Essex for $99. If it is too long for her, let her just play in the middle of the neck. My take on it is that it's better for her to learn on a full size bass. She'll grow into it rather than outgrow it.
  15. nirvanaman


    Dec 8, 2002
  16. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    Well my little girl’s Essex Junior Series (sbp57) is here and the happy surprises continue! First of all, I was happily surprised to receive the package a full week before Christmas. Once I opened up the package I was happy to find that the fit and finish were very good. There is one or two very minor paint flaws – they are in place that are never seen, tiny and really not even worth mentioning. It’s a sunburst finish, has all chrome hardware and over all is a very handsome bass. The fretwork on this maple neck is good. (no sharp edges to file like some of the rosewood boards) It came from Rondo set up, and all I did was tune it and plug it in – it really doesn’t need any set up work. I was actually impressed with the tone. With the tone knob rolled off almost all the way it makes nice big bottom end, thumpy and defined, with sweet and mellow sounding mids. I have trouble describing sounds with words, but it’s a really nice classic sound - a lot more organic sounding than anything I can get out of my Ergodyne. In my opinion this is a wonderful junior/starter bass and would likely be appreciated by cross over guitarists or any bassist who prefers a short scale. I would have considered this bass an absolute steal at twice the price. At a price of $109.99 shipped to my door, well, I believe in Santa.
  17. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Fender Music Master if you can find one. Pretty good solid bass with good tone and should cost $200 or less.