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short scale or 24 fret, SX or Mustang

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by audiotom, Jun 21, 2005.


  1. audiotom

    audiotom

    May 31, 2005
    new orleans
    I have a 78 fender p with j neck and an 82 j
    Im looking for something - either short scale or 24 fret full scale (should be tighter spacing) to play as a third bass
    I've older, mid forties, been learning for a year - jazz, pop, etc
    and alternate between 1 finger per fret and simandel ring and pinky playing the third fret.

    I have carpal issues in my forearms so those lower frets are a stretch and sometimes a little painful. Jazz A type necks work for me, p's do not. looking for a shorter scale spacing for a fun third bass to play away on those days that I don't feel like stretching

    I would like good tone - heard most short scales are wanting in that. I search the archives - seems the reissue fender mustangs are nice but vintage a little better. Also I saw the mega SX thread but got to page 72 of 182 - I now see they have short scale and 24 fret - both of which should have shorter fret spacings

    has anyone bought either the short scale or 24 fret SX's

    the sx's seem like a real bargain - I'd love to hear how the short scales are and how they compare to the Fender mustangs (reissue and vintage)

    thanks

    Tom
     
  2. A9X

    A9X

    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    Hi Tom,

    I understand well your issues with carpal tunnel, as I have it in both hands and I also have a badly damaged and repaired left shoulder from an accident that was mistreated and set and consequently has healed wrong. To make things more comfortable I've been using short and medium scale basses to help with the comfort aspect and make it easier on my short fingers. This significantly limits the number of different instruments you can play; the cheap ones tend to be not as good build/tone wise and the really good ones are expensive. I've found the shorties' quality to be more dependent on build and implementation than 34' basses.

    So, before you buy another bass, in any scale, I want to suggest something that I'd discovered and used a while back, before segueing off into shortscales. If you like your basses, or find another you like, but the ergonomics are an issue, take a look at this site. Now, I don't like the aesthetics of his basses, but the ergonomics are correct. I achieved this on some of my instruments either by drilling holes and moving the strap mounting points to where I wanted them, or made a bracket that did the same so that there were no extra holes but I got the same effect.

    The first option, drilling holes is easy. Experiment with the strap mounting positions with some duck/duct tape first. Small difference in position can make a difference in both the angle the bass sits at (one example), as well as where the bass centrelin sits relative to your body, so you can also have the bass hang a bit more to the right to make first position fretting easier as well as give a much more relaxed angle on both hands when playing.

    Version two involves more work. Get a piece of thin ply or other scrap that will cover the back of your bass' top half from strap pin to strap pin. Use a couple of L brackets to hold it to the back of the bass into the original strap pin holes. Now try various positions for your strap screwed into the board; when you have it right, make another in the smallest shape possible that gives you the same mounting attachment points. It can be made of anthing that works for you; aluminium, wood, acrylic/perspex etc and if shaped to the body won't hardly be visible at all.

    For some of mine, I use a neck pin mount similar to the TBird fix, and the RH mount isn't down near the bridge, but up above the top 'waist' of the body about in line with the front pickup. This gives me the 1 o'clock angle my wrists like, positions the body a bit further to the right and hangs the weight of the bass more evenly down the centrline of my body so that even a heavy bass shouldn't pull on the left shoulder. I've never found these strap mounting points to interefere with playing.

    I'll get a camera when I make the next one to illustrate it more clearly if the words don't create an adequate picture. I've also just recived a vintage P bass and a friend says he'll be able to fabricate a steel replacement neck plate that incorporates the TBird neck pin position and the other, so no irreversible mods.
     
  3. audiotom

    audiotom

    May 31, 2005
    new orleans
    thanks Dharma, interesting concept

    My carpal issues are much more in the forearm and not the wrist so when I tried air bass simulating that more upright bass setup there is a bit too much stress on the forearms (but nearly none on the wrist as you mention) I do always wear a strap and I keep my neck fairly high (Beach Boys not low rider Jimmy Page)

    I really have issues with the lower fret spacing - the wider grip on a fat neck puts a lot of tension in the forearm. I used to have problems stretching for guitar but now that I play bass the guitar necks in 1 finger per fret mode are a breeze

    My Jazz neck 78 P is very comfortable - but some days I ache a little for hand stretching in low positions. Just wanted an inexpensive bass to tool around on and keep me practicing more


    Has anyone tried the SX short scale basses? Is the J neck and P neck similiar to Fender J and P? It appears their P neck may be a little smaller. Also how does the sunburst finsih look?

    Thanks again Dharma
     
  4. pointbass

    pointbass Semi-Retired Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    Hey Tom,

    Not too sure this will be a big help, but I have fooled around with the short scale SX's quite a bit (however only at the store ... no "real-life" experience with them).

    To me they are very small and light. The necks seem thinner (in all measurements) than the standard Fender Mustang necks. The bass body seems to be almost exactly the same as the Mustang IIRC.

    If you plowed your way through 70+ pages of the Essex/SX megathread you know by now about the set-up issues. However, if you didn't get to the last few months worth of posts you probably don't know that the QC issues are getting better and the set-ups are not quite so severe anymore. Even with that, you'll still need to plan on doing some work to make the bass playable.

    I don't play an SX of any sort, but a volunteer/charity thing I participate in gives me the opportunity to go to Rondo every few weeks or so and work with some younger players while they get their first basses. The SX stuff is generally quite a bargain for the $$, and as you probably noted in the megathread, SX has a massive following and tons of support here at TB.
     
  5. audiotom

    audiotom

    May 31, 2005
    new orleans
    Ed

    thanks for the response

    I read the first 70 pages and the last three or so, so I saw that some of the qc issues had been resolved

    no real world experiences? I think playing around with the basses in the store is probably more than enough for a general impression, so thanks for sharing

    you mentioned the neck narrower than a mustang neck, how does their j compare to a Fender J?

    I'd be pleased to pick up a short scale or 24 fret version and have my local bass tech put in a new bridge and a few other inexpensive mods - beats $500-800 for a hit or miss vintage Mustang on ebay

    thanks

    Tom
     
  6. audiotom

    audiotom

    May 31, 2005
    new orleans
  7. I understand that you're looking for less space between the frets, so a short scale might make sense. However, it's not quite clear why you're interested in a (full scale) 24-fret instrument--the string spacing for the first 20 frets is exactly the same as on a full scale 20 fret bass, so unless you plan on playing a lot on the highest 4 frets, I'm not sure I see how that would help you. :confused:

    Mike
     
  8. Collin.A

    Collin.A

    Jun 22, 2005
    I play an SX SJB 62 CT bass. I can't answer your questions about a short scale, but I do have some input on SX's.
     
  9. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mike is right. A 24 fret 34" scale bass will have the same fret spacing for the first 20 frets as a 20 fret 34" scale bass.

    If anything, a 24 fret neck will create a longer reach to the first position, unless the highest frets are on an 'overhang', like a Warmoth replacement neck.
     
  10. pointbass

    pointbass Semi-Retired Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    Agreed, not quite sure what it is that you're looking for in a full scale neck. However, the SX basses are extremely close to their Fender counterparts in all measurements. The necks are the same as the Fender J's & P's for all practical purposes .....
     
  11. Collin.A

    Collin.A

    Jun 22, 2005
    I play an SX SJB 62 CT bass. 21 fret 34" scale.

    SX's are defiantly bargain basses. I payed $139.95 plus shipping and handling for my bass. After making some minor changes to the neck, pods, and jack it makes a pretty good fender imposter. With that said its not going to feel as clean or as crisp to your fingers as a fender would (either vintage or reissue). I put probably $200 plus into the SX and I am fairly happy with it. It really comes down to how much you want to spend to get the real fender quality.
     
  12. audiotom

    audiotom

    May 31, 2005
    new orleans
    thanks guys

    yes I assumed a 24 fret neck on a 34" scale would be shorter spacing between frets when in reality the neck just projects farther on the body - thanks for the insight - please pardon my ignorance

    haven't got my hands on an SX yet
    but thought for a practice short scale bass it would serve the function as opposed to dropping $500 - $800 on a vintage mustang
     
  13. audiotom

    audiotom

    May 31, 2005
    new orleans
    has anyone owned the mustang and sx short scale

    could you please give a comparison on quality, workmanship and playability

    wondering if a modded SX short scale jazz would do or should I hold out for a Mustang

    thanks

    Tom
     
  14. audiotom

    audiotom

    May 31, 2005
    new orleans
    received my short scale SX Jazz today

    just the type of short scale bass I needed to bang around
    it's fun, probably has decent sound once I get these strings off it and actually came set up with real action

    the body is small - guitar size
    very light 7 lbs
    the sunburst finish is real nice
    and it appears to be a one piece body

    the only thing I didn't like is the 'SX "Junior" series' on the headstock (which was traditional fender not the larger one)

    at any rate a nice little bass to play around with when the arms don't feel like stretching - it's a real fast neck and great for playing around on. might even take it to work to play over lunch

    I've got a badass bridge set to go on it
    may change out the nut, pickups and pots
    quality wise it's just a little shy of my 92 MIA jazz bass

    one of these days I'll find a Mustang in the audition rack or on ebay. till then this will be a fun little project

    Tom