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Short scale SX basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Michael Vee, Jul 17, 2006.

  1. I've posted about this in the Essex megathread, but it wasn't answered and quickly got buried, so I'm gonna try it out here in BG by itself.

    I'm interested in trying a short scale bass, for two reasons - 1) some interesting models are being built, like Alembics and the Birdsongs and 2) I have average-sized hands, and sometimes get frustrated with all the shifting I have to do on some passages.

    But I don't want to drop the $$$ for an Alembic or a Birdsong until I can see how well a short scale instrument would work for me. So- I'm thinking of getting one of the SX short scale J-style basses, then upgrading the electronics. I've got a set of Bartolini 9J pickups, and could either just do a CTS upgrade on the pots, or might do an Audere JZ3 system.

    I'd like to get some reaction from any players out there who own an SX short scale. How do you like the bass? Have you done a pickup or electronic upgrade?

    Also, will the Barts fit this bass, and is the control plate the same size as a standard Jazz plate?
  2. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    Personally, I would tell you to forget about that SX: it's nothing more than a toy instrument for kids.

    It is short-scale, but the body is also downsized to toy dimensions, so it is not an adult-size bass.

    I do have a Hofner copy short-scale, and that feels "normal" in comparison.

    In any case, you can try it and return it if you don't like it.

    Also consider the price of a fret-level job, as these have especially bad fret work.

    I'm not sure about the pickup size, but I recall they are regular-size Js.
  3. Lefty, thanks for the input. Did you own one of these at one time?
  4. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    Yes, I ordered one and had it for a few days. I also thought I could upgrade it and make it playable, but the body is just too small for anything but a kid.

    SXs have no stellar fretwork, but this one seemed to have no fretwork at all. . . it had frets, but that was it. So a $100 fret-leveling and dressing job would be needed. Of course, this varies from instrument to instrument.

    And don't get me wrong: I don't have anything against SX - I think they are the best deal out there in general, but this particular bass is, again, reserved for the elementary school crowd.

    I have also been in search of a short-scale alternatives to custom-made basses, but I don't see any options.

    I don't have any experience with these, but. . . :http://www.landingbass.com

    I have stucked with 34"-scale basses that have a long upper horn, and that is comfortable enough.

    I see you play Spirit basses, and those have shorter upper horns, which might give you fatigue when playing first position. (I also had a Spirit 5-string, and while they sound good, they tend to be heavy [maple body] and the aforementioned short upper horn made for an uncomfortable bass to me).
  5. chasfr


    Jan 4, 2005
    I own an SJB-62 short scale, and I'm long past elementary school. ;-)
    My experience is much different from lefty's. Yes, the body seems to be smaller than other basses I've played, but I'm a short guy with small hands and it fits me well. It needed very little set-up, the frets didn't need any filing, and the tuners are smooth. If I was electronically adept, I'd consider upgrading the pots and pickups, but I ain't, so I won't. Yes, it's a student instrument. But it's quite adequate for trying out a shortscale, and it won't dent the bank account.

  6. Glenn D.

    Glenn D.

    Aug 20, 2002
    Fort Collins, CO
    I've got a short scale SX, and even though I bought it for my son (only 4 years old right now), I don't consider it a kid's toy. It isn't my main bass by any means; I generally just play it while sitting at my desk in my studio. It's just a lot of fun to play. I've done no upgrades other than replace the strings.

    Glenn D.
  7. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    I've got the 3/4 P and don't consider it a toy. Fretwork on mine is good, small neck is fast and overall it's fun to slap. I added a Jackson preamp (almost all of my basses are active) and kept the rest stock. The size feels about the same as a guitar -- so yes it's small by bass standards but not childish. Most audience members don't know which guy is playing bass, let alone if his instrument is 1/4 smaller than usual. For the price, I'm happy. I gigged it once but I only play 5 strings now so it sits home a lot.
  8. I turned mine into a piccolo bass. Does a good job of it, too (and no obscene fret-buzz).
  9. Great input, guys- thanks! Anybody else?

    Jondog, I've meant to tell you this before. I love your sig! Cracks me up every time. I might buy a short scale and dewire it and see what the mothership can do for IT.
  10. Purchased a SX short scale Jazz recently as a practice bass and for use primarily as a couch player only. The body is smaller which contributes to its lighter weight. It needed a pro setup including reworking the nut plus adjusting the bridge and pickups as well. The frets were acceptable as is although some dressing might be required on some individual instruments. The stock strings are junk and I replaced them with GHS BriteFlats which have so much tension that they are somewhat uncomfortable to play compared to TI JazzFlats for example and would not reco using those particular GHS strings for this application. On another note, the pickups are extremely quiet with almost no hum unlike my passive Fender Jazz. I would have to say that the standard 34" SX jazz would have a much broader appeal for those looking for an inexpensive instrument that can be used for more than a beginners axe or bedroom player. Bottom line is that it's well worth the money although limited in its potential without sufficient modifications.


  11. K-Frog


    Feb 6, 2002
    Camden, AR, USA
    i bought my 7 yr old daughter the red J bass pictured.

    It was fine right out of the box, i just had to tune it.

    Same with my first full-size SX J bass as well as friend's SX.

    i've had only good luck so far with them.

  12. I'm going to bump this thread to ask again if the short scale SX jazz basses' control plate is the same size as a standard Jazz plate.

    I've purchased an SX SJB-75 3/4 LTD 3TS, but since I don't have a Fender Jazz, I don't know if the control plate size is the same. I would like to pick up an Audere JZ-3 to drop in.
  13. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    Got this a week ago:
  14. eots


    Dec 18, 2004
    Morris, IL.
    I've got the 'jaguar' shorty jazz bass and it's no 'toy'. This thing has a tone as huge as any of my other basses. Frets are perfect and previous owner steel wooled the back of the neck for a nice soft feel.
    The control plate is smaller than a standard jazz and will not fit an Audere. I have one of those too . Won't fit.
    I did however, install a pair of dimarzio model j's. They fit perfectly. I also made a custom control plate so I could experiment with all the switching options that those pickups offer(3 p/p pots and 3 dpdt sliders).Yea, it was tight spacing. I ended up putting the stock pups back in and wired them permanently in series with one vol. and one tone pot. Simple and no hum. I have played out with this but it does have a little neck dive but at least the thing is light enough to tolerate.

  15. SX shortscale
    made into a piccolo bass but you get the idea
    make your own judgement
  16. alexnw


    Feb 1, 2008

    Nice choice, I have the SX SJB-75 3/4 NA.

    I'm afraid I have no idea on the control plate size, the only thing I've changed on mine are the strings; put some heavier gauge flats on, and I couldn't be happier :D
  17. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Hopefully someone here can tell you, but if you call Kurt at Rondomusic, I'll bet he'll tell you the length from tip to tip. That's really the only measurement you need. I had a couple of dealings with him over various SX's, and found him very helpfull.
  18. Thanks all.. anybody else?
  19. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Earlier today I ordered the SX 3/4 J in black/rosewood. Hopefully I'll get it next week and try to post a little review after I take it for it's shakedown gig NYE.
  20. I own an Essex Jazz Bass clone fretless in the short scale. I needed a short sclae fretless to play in the longer sets I occasionally do, and my arthritic fingers are having more and more problems playing long periods of time. I am also quite fond of fretlesses, as you might imagine, so for the price I felt it might be worth trying.

    I was quite surprised. It sounds really good. I had envisioned making extensive mods like changing out the bridge and putting in a new set of pups, but I like it the way it is. Even the cheap set of flats it comes with sounded great. It remains a totally stock bass. Since it is fretless I cannot vouch for the workmanship on the fretted ones.

    The bass sounds nice and fat. Not thin as I thought it might, and feels like a solid, well made bass to me. Not a toy, although folks used to really full size ones might think of it that way.

    The bass feels good to a short 5'5" guy like me and fits my short fingers well.