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Short Scale or Jazz Neck? (P-Bass)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DavidLopezJr, May 6, 2010.

  1. Hello I have an issue. I'm mostly a guitar play but I love playing bass. So I got this great P-Bass that I love. But the issue is that the neck is just to wide for me. It strains my wrist after I play for a while. Yes I play with proper technique I had my teacher make sure of that.

    Now I heard of a bunch of guys who switch to Jazz necks on their P-Bass but I noticed that they also make 30' short scale basses which are really close to guitar scale length.

    From you're experiences, what do you think would work better? Going to a smaller Neck or Smaller Scale? Now I've studied that having a 34' bass scale is great for standard tuning, will having a smaller scale affect my intonation greatly?
  2. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    What's your teacher's definition of proper technique? If it hurts, maybe it's not the proper technique for you.

    Does it feel better if you use a different technique or wear the bass differently (perhaps with the neck more vertical)?
  3. BloozBass


    Oct 29, 2008
    Charlotte, NC
    David - Back in the early '80s I bought the bass of my dreams, a P in whatever shade of light blue was Fender's color at the time. I was playing in a variety band and unfortunately we were doing way too much disco as part of that. The repetitive octave jumps caused me severe hand cramping halfway through each tune. I figured it would eventually go away, but I was never able to get used to it, as much as I loved the color and sound of the bass. I eventually sold the P and bought a Peavey Foundation, which solved all my problems at the time.

    Fast forward 30 years, and I'm now playing musical theatre more nights a year than I ever have. I also have mild arthritis in both hands, which makes it a challenge. I've gone the short scale route, and don't have a bit of trouble with the hands. I keep a long scale around for fun and nostalgia, and I can't play it for more than a few minutes without hand trouble.

    I should add that every bass I've owned since then has a very thin neck, which makes it much easier on my small hands. I currently have 2 shorty SX P's, and 2 shorty SX J's, strung differently depending on the show I'm playing.

    The usual disclaimers apply - YMMV, IMO, IME, etc. Just sharing with you what worked for me. Hope you are able to solve the problem!!!

    Blooz :bassist:
  4. sir juice

    sir juice

    Sep 11, 2006
    London, England
    I say it depends on the shape of your hands, I play a bass with a really fat (front to back) neck, tight string spacing and a short scale that's perfectly comfortable.

    I also find jazz necks easier to play on the p bass necks, but the difference is marginal.

    My short-scale doesn't sound like a p-bass, it sounds like a short scale. I also have a p-bass (with a p neck) that I use when I need to, its just less comfortable.

    Try some jazz necks, try some short scales and see what you like, with a short-scale neck, your P won't sound quite like it does now.
  5. recreate.me


    Apr 2, 2010
    I have smaller hands as well, i had a P bass and it was really hard to play on, after a while it hurt my hand and wrist from playing. So i bought a Jazz bass, about a week ago i picked another P bass and slapped a Jazz neck on it and found that Jazz necks give me no discomfort at all.
    I would try the Jazz necks at the store first as well as short scale. Then decide after a while of testing each.

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