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Short Scale Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by farewelltowords, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. farewelltowords


    Jul 22, 2006
    Alright, so I'm a short guy and my G&L is way bigger than me. I love it though. But these basses have always intrigued me... So can some of you answer some of my questions? Since they are not that easy to find here...

    How are they in terms of versatility? Would I feel a lot of difference from my G&L Tribute L2000 or Squier P-bass? Are they good to use in jazzy chords or rock distortion tones? Do they have less low end than a "normal" bass?

    Sorry for all the questions, but I've decided once and for all to learn more about these basses. They might be the ideal ones for me and they are usually cheap... Are the Epiphones any good?
  2. Hi, Im a short guy too. My first good bass was a Rickembacker 4001 but it was really hard to play for me. Then I bought a Yamaha SA-70 (I allways wanted a hollowbody). I owned that bass for 11 years until it was stolen :(

    Now I have a Musicmaster Squier Vista series, an old japanese hollowbody, a Danelectro Longhorn custon made and I used to have a Eko Cobra. All these basses are short scale (30").

    The big difference with a 34" scale bass is sustain and "punch". The string's tension is different. I think you have to try one before take a desicion. The good thing its that you would be a lot more confortable to play.
  3. I'm average height but for most of the 70's and 80's I played a Les Paul Recording Bass. Short scale and heavy.

    Great bass though/

  4. acleex38


    Jul 28, 2006
    "How are they in terms of versatility? "
    As good as a long scale bass, but different. They can do "their version" of the same stuff a 34" neck bass does. Not the same, often very close, sometimes better, sometimes worse, sometimes, just different.

    "Would I feel a lot of difference from my G&L Tribute L2000 or Squier P-bass? "
    Maybe. Don't know - probably.

    "Are they good to use in jazzy chords or rock distortion tones? "
    Yes, very.

    "Do they have less low end than a "normal" bass?"
    Some people here less low end, others don't. I have no problem with a short scale when it comes to losing low end. If anything, I notice a loss of more high end - playing a short scale fretless 80%+ of the time, I tend not to get the same kind of bright tone that a lot of fretless players go for. But that may also be largely due to pickups and my eq, which leans heavy on the low-mids.

    Good luck - I LOVE the feel of short scales and don't have any plans to go back to 34".
  5. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    An important factor: short scales do not all sound similar to each other, and they do not all play equally well, and they do not all fit the same ergonomically. A well-made shortscale will have qualities that a poorly-made shortscale does not. Reading through other shortscale threads here (and there are tons of those threads BTW) you'll see a lot of posts like "I played an Epiphone at Guitar Center once and it sucked" or "I played an EBO throughout the '70s, but when I bought a P bass I never looked back" etc. Playing one or more shortscales that were not designed, built, or set up well does not mean shortscales have so many drawbacks. The challenge though is to find a shortscale bass that was actually designed, built, and set up really well. You may have to kiss a lot of frogs, unless you can afford a nice custom bass from a designer that specializes in shortscales.
  6. andinapalm


    Nov 14, 2006
    I used Fender Mustang for all songs in our debut album. You really can't tell the difference between P-bass and the 'stang. It's all there: low-end, punch, warmth... I can post soundsamples later on after we get the mastered version of the album.
  7. BassBob185


    Oct 25, 2007
    Rocking Chair
    I've owned a Mustang and Musicmaster and I really liked them however, sometimes its hard to get them heard through the mix especially if there is an overly aggressive guitar player in the band. Eventually sold mine but they were fun to play.
  8. I have an old short scale sg style bass that sound amazing, almost like a double bass!!
  9. How short are ya? I'm 5'6" and have been playing 35" scale basses since day one. If you're struggling with your G&L, maybe talk to an instructor and see if there's something that you're doing that's making your bass uncomfortable.
  10. acleex38


    Jul 28, 2006
    +1 - thank you for filling in a big gap.
  11. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Washington, Utah
    John K Custom Basses
    in my experience, most short scale basses have less overtones (harmonics) and less sustain than their long scale counterparts. this is not bad, just different.

    For example, when comparing single coil split pickup Fender basses, a Fender Mustang bass vs a P bass, the Mustang has less overtones and sustain but makes up for it in each note's fundamental and punch. in the studio they seem more even up and down the neck and IMO track better.

    2 cents.........
  12. rfclef


    Jan 19, 2007
    Gervais, Oregon
    My shortscale semi-hollow Epiphone Viola does not have a lot of sustain, but my shortscale Birdsong has tons of it. NO LOSS OF LOW END!
  13. Love those birdsongs !!!!:hyper:
  14. farewelltowords


    Jul 22, 2006
    I'm 5.4. I'm not unhappy with it, I love the bass! It's huge and heavy but I got used to it long time ago. Nonetheless I would love to have a short scale just to counterbalance and to play in other tunings... which brings me to a question I forgot:

    Do short scale basses handle alternate tunings well?

    What are the best short scales you played or heard (or even heard about)? I have no knowledge at all on these basses. Is the Epiphone Bass Cherry any good?
  15. neonrust


    Jul 25, 2008
    For lower tunings you will need heavier strings IMO.....not many choices for short scale. Labella has some thicker sets(54-111).

    I use 50-105 and go standard or the occasional drop-d.
  16. acleex38


    Jul 28, 2006
    When it comes to higher alternate tunings - ADGC or piccolo - short scale are awesome.
  17. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Washington, Utah
    John K Custom Basses
    Personally, for short scale basses, i like Gibson EB-3's and EB-2D's, Fender Mustang & Musicmaster basses, and I have cool old hollowbody Gretsch 6072 (like Peter Tork in the Monkees used to play), that sounds awesome.
  18. farewelltowords


    Jul 22, 2006
    Well, I have songs that go to Low C and the G goes to E. Can a short scale handle this?


    Nov 24, 2001
    New York,NY

    Find an old Kramer aluminum necked version(I have an XL24)& it will serve you anyway you like tuning wise...


    PS: Sustain for days & tons of punch, very underestimated & unknown piece these days for the short scale thing etc...
  20. Bluesdog


    Apr 24, 2006
    Gold Coast

    Once again, yeah they will, easily . . . . . .but you need to find out if they are going to sound good to your ear by trying them out.

    I have an EB3 and it plays great in standard tuning, but I used an Ibanez with a custom made Brass Bridge ( got a local engineering shop to make it in about 77) and modded to string through with a brass Plate on the back for low tunings , i think it did help with getting that "piano like" ring and also sustain, it also brightened up that bass which had a solid one piece mahogany body and was a little on the muddy side (compared to the EB3) -:bassist:
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    May 7, 2021

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