Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

short scale basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by twiz, Jun 8, 2003.


  1. twiz

    twiz

    Jun 4, 2003
    Los Angeles
    is there anything "wrong" with shorter scale basses? why do people seem so opposed to playing 4 strings below 34"?

    i was thinking about getting a hofner until i noticed that their basses are 30" scale. aside from screwing up my "hand memory" for my 34"-basses, why is this bad?

    ...or is it not bad at all?

    trying to get some opinions on the subject.
     
  2. Ive never tried a short scale before...but i dont see how it could really be bad...
    Obviously the neck is shorter so i think you wouldnt have to stretch as much across the neck (which would be benificial if you have short arms i guess :p)
     
  3. tuBass

    tuBass

    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    I pick up my son's short scale all the time just to have fun with it. It's actually a lot easier than a 34" scale. I really can't see a disadventage to going with the short scale other than there is not as good a selection of fine instruments.
     
  4. rllefebv

    rllefebv

    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    Nothing 'wrong' with shorter scales... more of a personal preference. Some folks are of the opinion that they're inferior, lacking the depth and clarity of longer scales... Maybe it's the lower string tension, or the fact that many 'student' models are short scale... I know that back in '79 when I had my first Fender Musicmaster, I felt that it wasn't a 'real' bass as it was billed a 'beginner' bass... Whenever I'd gig, I'd borrow a bass from one of my buddies rather than be embarrassed by the Musicmaster :rolleyes:

    Nowadays, a '78 Musicmaster is my first choice when gigging... I've upgraded the electronics with a Raven P RetroFit and it sounds very deep and clear with the tone set to 3 or 4. At last night's gig subbing with my old band, the guys preferred the Musicmaster over the P... I love it!!

    [​IMG]

    -robert
     
  5. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Melnibone
    I have 30", 32", 34", 35" scale basses. I believe that the 30" scale basses lack the clarity of the longer scale basses. The Gibson EB series (which is the 30 incher I have) have a reputation for mud, of course that may just be the Gibson thunder.
     
  6. i played a 30" bass for 3 years before moving on to a 34". The 30" lacked a bit of depth (but it was a Samick), but was easier to learn on, since the stretches weren't as far. Surprisingly, the transition from 30" to 34" was fairly easy
     
  7. SBassman

    SBassman

    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    I think short scale basses have gotten a bad rap, largely because too many of them have been built with poor quality materials and workmanship.

    I have played many basses in my life now, and I am convinced a short scale bass -- built correctly, with good pickups -- can have just as much clarity and flexibility as the big boys.

    I love playing short scale basses. They are lots of fun, much lighter, and they don't make me feel like I am hugging a tree.

    My Main bass these days, is a Hondo short scale. Laugh all you want, but the tone I get is better than most 1K+ 34" scale basses.
     
  8. jondog

    jondog

    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    I'm going to check out a 30" p copy next week. Do you really need to buy short scale strings, or can you just cut long strings shorter? Will it be difficult to find upgrade parts, like a new pup or bridge?
     
  9. twiz

    twiz

    Jun 4, 2003
    Los Angeles
    interesting feedback guys

    main reason i ask is because of how cool the hofner violin basses look and sound (thanks Paul!)

    i wouldn't mind adding one to the stable
     
  10. Killdar

    Killdar

    Dec 16, 2002
    Portland Maine
    I'm usually a fan of very tight string tension, but slapping and popping on short scales is something else!

    and just to reassure people that not all short scales are cheapo, heres a link to a custom short scale Alembic.....I think it is VERY^8 nice.

    http://www.alembic.com/info/FC_duo.html
     
  11. tuBass

    tuBass

    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    you've got to be careful, or you could end up looking as stupid as I do with my son's bass. something's just not right about this,but I am 6'8"
    [​IMG]
     
  12. rllefebv

    rllefebv

    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    I hear ya TuBass!! I'm 6'2" and rather, uh... large boned ;) I tend to make the Musicmaster look a bit like a toy... It could be worse... I could play guitar!!!

    -robert
     
  13. From what I remember, it's usually the earlier Gibson EB-0 that is remarked as having an incredibly muddy sound due to the single pickup being so close to the neck, and its short neck. The later version with the pickup farther away from the neck tends to have a clearer sound. The EB-3, which Jack Bruce uses, tends to be clearer yet, possibly because of its two pickup design. I read up in that once Cream established themselves as rock legends, everyone and their grandma wanted to get an EB-0 and sound like Bruce (as for why they didn't get EB-3's, I have no idea). But I dunno. It clearly depends on what kind of sound you're looking for. Want to sound like Cream? Get an EB. Want to sound like McCartney? Get a Hofner (or a Rick, depending on which era you're talking about).

    And don't quote me on any of those facts above. It's only what I've read in the past. I wanted an EB-0 at one time since they looked so awesome, but kept reading about their muddy sound, so I looked to others. Still have yet to try one out and hear it for myself, though.
     
  14. Bassbben

    Bassbben

    May 26, 2003
    LaSalle MTL
    Take a look at mine...


    [​IMG] :bassist:
     
  15. geezer316

    geezer316

    Jan 26, 2003
    NEW HAVEN ,CT
    my bass instructor uses a 72 mustang competition fender bass when he gigs(a pedulla when he records),he got it as a present from his family when he was a wee lad and kept it around for remeberence. years later he had to have shoulder surgery for a rotater cuff injury and decided to take his mustang out of retierment for practice untill his shoulder healed. after realizing how good it still played he decided to do some up-grading on it and now uses it exclusively when playing out,and if you did'nt know it was a shorty bass ,the sound would'nt give it away one bit. some are better than others,so with a little research you will be able to find one that can "hang with the big boys":bassist:
     
  16. ga_edwards

    ga_edwards

    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    I always wondered how Stu Hamm made those impossible looking 2 hand tapping stretches, (which i can just about do at a push on my regular 34" 5 string) look so easy. Then I found out he plays 32" scale basses, first the Kubicki X-factor, and now his custom Fender Urge.

    i now want a cheap shorter scale bass. Any suggestions?, must be cheap.
     
  17. jondog

    jondog

    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    I got my cheap 30" P copy at www.rondomusic.com yesterday. It's a lot of fun. Ever wonder how Stanley Clarke could do those crazy bends? Now I know!
     
  18. hey jondog

    did you get the SX Short Scale P already? If you did, I'd love to hear how you like it...action, finish, electronics, punch (assuming you're leaving it stock.)

    I have a 1970's Tempo short scale bass, made in Japan with the sweetest neck...a bit heavy so I'm wondering how the SX feels on the shoulders.
    Thanks for any feedback!

    Anyone who owns Musicmasters...how much is a 70's model in good condition go for these days?

    Peace out.
     
  19. jondog

    jondog

    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    I like it a lot. The site says 7 lbs., mine is 3 piece alder w/ nice 2 tone (orangey) sunburst finish. Action is great, I can bend like crazy and will learn to tap. A few very small flaws, like 2 drops of lacquer on otherwise great fingerboard and *slightly* miscut pickguard. Pups sound good and are reasonably quiet, height is easily adjustable. Tuners and knobs are solid. The pickguard is cheap one ply. The tone certainly isn't muddy like the Gibson short scale described above. I can maybe understand the "lack of focus" argument against short scales, but only for open strings. I've found that a new set of strings does wonders for focus on any bass.
     
  20. SBassman

    SBassman

    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    Anyone else out there buy the Rondo short scale?

    Last year, I tried to talk those guys into getting a short J Bass clone built -- ideally, with the same wood as their natural body J Bass, which is gorgeous. I think they will sell out immediately.

    They actually said they were going to do it, but I still haven't seen anything.