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short scale/beginning bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassnoob92, Sep 29, 2008.

  1. Looking to buy my first bass and am open to suggestions, espeically about short scale basses. From what I've heard, most people don't really like the sound of short scale basses. (I'm in the process of shopping around.)

    Is it any easier to play a blues shuffle, for example, on a short scale bass vs. a standard or long scale? (Think Jimmy Reed songs....e.g. stretching your pinky to the 8th fret while your index finger is on the 5th fret.)

  2. ysand


    Mar 26, 2005
    Since you haven't tried a bass with the regular scale (34") yet, why are you looking for a short scale one? I have typical sized hands and i'm playing on a 35er. It's all about practice.
    As for the fret thing you asked, you can always use the 3rd fret of the string above! Despite that, it's not hard to play the 8th fret with your pinky while the index is on the 5th. You should be able to do that with the 1st and 4th fret too. As i said above, it's all about practice!

    Also, tell us your buget so we can make suggestions.
  3. Grizzly700


    Mar 18, 2008
    Maryville, TN

    Stretching your fingers 3 frets shouldn't be hard at all....

    Just try a long scale and try a short scale... It's all about what you like.
  4. ..well I played around on a couple of basses in a store yesterday. I can stretch my pinky to the 8th fret on my guitar while my index is on the 5th -- although it is a stretch.
    The bass seemed a lot harder.

    I'd say my hand size is average. (You won't see me wrapping my thumb around the neck a la SRV or Jimi.)

    My main concern is if that type of movement is common in blues bass, then I might be better off w/ short scale basses.
  5. markdavid


    Jun 29, 2007
    theres nothing wrong with shortscale basses , you should definately try a couple , theres some nice shortscale basses out there and ime most have nice playability and fast necks
  6. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
  7. Thump Jr.

    Thump Jr.

    Jun 8, 2008
    SW FL
    I just tried an Epiphone Viola yesterday and it was loads of fun, and the short scale was a neat difference. I may have to get the black Douglas violin bass from Rondo when I have the disposable cash . . .
  8. I haven't had a chance to play one, but I really like the
    look of the Hofner Icon (Beatle bass), but in BLACK.

    Any other recommednations on short scales? I know there's
    a Gibson re-issue like the one Jack Bruce played.
  9. Alex E

    Alex E

    Mar 2, 2006
    If you like the retro-tone, I would definitely recommend a violin short-scale. They are very light and do feel kind of like a toy, but if you set them up well, they play very well. I'd definitely do the Black Hofner Icon bass, or a Transparent Red, Blue or Green.

    I saw the violin-burst finish in the stock Hofner Icon and it is starkly orange-ish in the middle. I didn't like it in this color.

    Again, this is if you like that 60's/McCartney type tone. I have a violin bass and once you set it up with the right action, intonation and with TI JF344 flats, it sounds so good for a retro-type sound. It's somewhat versatile too, but obviously, one is NOT going to achieve a trebly, roundwound, slap sound with it.
  10. Sorry I missed this part. Cheap is good, but I'd be willing to spend up to $400. My plan is to focus on playing blues. Think you can pull that off w/ the Hofner Icon Beatle bass?
  11. Thump Jr.

    Thump Jr.

    Jun 8, 2008
    SW FL
    Blues should be easy on a violin/"Beatle bass," especially, I would think, with flatwound strings.
  12. lmfreeman9

    lmfreeman9 Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2007
    Two years ago, I took up playing again after a 20 year hiatus and by chance started with a short scale bass. I also play blues, use flatwounds and I have average hands for a 6 footer. I strongly recommend starting out on a short scale because it does make it easier to develop good technique.

    I suggest Danelectro Longhorn '58 reissues if you can afford $400. Easy to play, light, cool looking and fun. For cheaper ones, Epiphone EB0 or Gretsch Electromatics are OK.

    I am also glad I switched to longscale after less than 6 months. Less string tension, better sound, better basses and better selection to choose from.
  13. plexibass


    Jun 30, 2005
    i play shortscales.
  14. I love the sound of short scale basses. The Fender Mustang bass is one in particular that seems to be consistently well thought-of by TBers in terms of tone and feel. I've tried out a few and generally enjoyed it, but I think maybe they vary a bit in quality between specific instruments, so definitely try out a couple Mustangs before you commit to buying one. That is, if you end up liking the Mustang well enough to want to...
  15. Alex E

    Alex E

    Mar 2, 2006

    I agree that you can get a nice blues sound with an Icon. However, the tone is better with flats on it. Otherwise, you get a lot of finger noise from round wounds. It's something about the semi-hollow body, the pickup design and the relative roughness of round wounds. You get finger noise coming through the amp. Flats are so smooth in design. You don't get finger noise through the amp with flats.

    The tonal characteristic of a violin shaped semi-hollow is very fundamental and bass-strong. With a good amp, you're going to get a nice tone out of it, but it won't be modern. For Blues, country, older pop and even some rock, the Icon will definitely do well, if that is the tone you like.

    Warnings though, if you test an Icon at a store, say GC, just make sure the volume balance is good string to string. Some come pretty good out of the box and some are dogs due to the famed chinese quality-control. That doesn't necessarily mean the bass is bad, it might need to be set-up properly and tweaked. If you encounter that, ask the store to have it set-up and go back later to give it another go-round.
  16. Well I tried a Hofner Icon last night. I also tried a couple of Ibanez basses....one was a Gio and the other was (can't
    remember...the one w/ the P and J pickups). Can't say I've found "the one" yet, but will keep looking.
  17. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Short scale basses can sound great... Paul McCartney, Jack Bruce, Stanley Clarke, etc.!

    I have an Epiphone EB-0 (with flats) that sounds nice for the blues--very deep, thumpy, and muddy. That would definitely fit your budget.

    Good luck!
  18. Alex E

    Alex E

    Mar 2, 2006
    Was the Icon a disappointing experience? You didn't say much. That's too bad if it was, but keep in mind that it might have been set-up badly and certainly, the round wounds didn't help at all.

    Good luck in finding the right short scale.
  19. I went to 2 different stores.

    At one store, the low "E" just sounded like a brown note when I played it. Probably the setup of the amp? (And, no, I didn't crap myself.)

    The other place was closing so I didn't have a long time there. I played the Ibanez Gio. It didn't seem like it was necessarily easier to play.

    Not sure if I'm wording this properly, but my concern is being able to stretch my hand/pinky far enough to properly fret the notes. Should it take time to develop even on a short scale?
  20. It sounds like you're more interested in avoiding learning proper technique than extracting the benefits of a short scale. I would highly suggest learning on a 34" scale bass and taking lessons. Learn how to play a regular bass first.

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