Short Scale vs. Long Scale

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Luke S Mouse, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. Luke S Mouse

    Luke S Mouse Guest

    Jun 5, 2009
    Hey, guys just wondering what you guys think of short scale basses verses they're longer counterparts.:bassist:
  2. BassyBill

    BassyBill Still here Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Lots of folks here like them, but I have a real problem adjusting my playing style to the lower string tension. It's a shame, because in some ways they're a lot easier to get around on, for obvious reasons. But I'll stick with 34", personally.
  3. TomA1234


    Jul 27, 2009
    Fareham, England
    AAAAAAGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!! I really hate shortscale basses e.g. 19 fret. I started on a standard scale (21 fret) and am moving up to full scale shortly. But I will NEVER go down to a scaled down Bass. Anyway I think bigger basses have better sound and feel better to play!
  4. BassyBill

    BassyBill Still here Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Tom - are you confusing the scale length with the number of frets?

    The scale length is the (nominal) distance from the bridge saddles to the nut. Standard "long scale" basses are 34" (some go to 35" or 36", which could be called "extra long"). Medium scale basses are around 32-34" and short scale 30-32". People's opinions on these boundaries will likely differ a little, as always. :D

    A bass could have, say, 19, 21, 22, 24 frets et cetera at any of these scale lengths, depending on the design. It is true that some well known short scale basses are designed with fewer frets, though (e.g. Fender Mustang).
  5. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    Wouldn't be my thing all the time. But I find they are fun and easy to play. And they have a different sound - more punchy and "vocal". (Nice to take a break from the darker vibe of full-scale sometimes.)
  6. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
  7. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    Shorter scales have more midrange, less highs and lows. Scale length has more effect upon tone than almost anything else but sadly few basses vary far from 34".

  8. Woodwolf


    Aug 18, 2008
    Short scales are good is certain situations. It depends what the band is made up of really. It's good with Gretsch guitars and acoustic Pop type music, or small club blues. I think they all sound unique some better than others. I've played a few lately that were affordable and Phat. They can be good, it just depends. It's good to have the option.
  9. RonChase


    Aug 15, 2008
    I go back and forth an artist uses different colors why should'nt a bassist use different colors?
  10. funkytoe

    funkytoe In Memoriam

    Jan 17, 2008
    Northern California
    I gigged standard scale (34 and 35 inch) basses for more than 25 years. Never even considered a short scale bass.
    Then, my wife bought me a Hofner Icon Beatle Bass for our anniversary. I did not care for it right out of the box, but with a string change and proper set up, I really started to enjoy playing it. In fact, I liked it so much, I started getting rid of my other longer scale basses.

    Today, I only own 3 basses -- all short scale. The Hofner, a Gibson SG reissue and a Rob Allen Mouse 30. Don't foresee ever going back to standard scale. I can get any sound I want from these 3, they are lighter and easier to get around on.

    All I can say is go out a play a lot of basses. Eventually, your hands will tell you what bass(es) you should play.
    El Pelusa and rallen like this.
  11. jworrellbass

    jworrellbass Commercial User

    May 17, 2009
    Colorado Springs CO
    Owner, builder: jworrellbass
    Have any of you guys tried a 36" scale. The string tension is higher, so it opens up the low end a bit more. It sounds give more definition to the low end. You have to reach more.
  12. You should definitely use the search feature for this question, because there are a billion other threads about the topic already, where anything you might be wondering has probably been addressed multiple times.


    Jun 21, 2009
    What do you guys think about 35" scale basses? because im thinking about getting a peavey cirrus and i want to know how the feel and tone compare to a 34"
  14. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I assume you searched this short/long scale topic extensively......not?
  15. DeanT

    DeanT Send lawyers, guns and money...

    It's not like this hasn't been discussed here ad nauseum. It's the age old debate, sort of like paper vs. plastic.
  16. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I personally don't hear a significant difference between them, if they're decent quality basses. I like both...I own some of both...I play them interchangeably.
  17. Greevus


    Apr 15, 2009
    I've tried to like the Shorties, but I'm all about the 34" and ups. No doubt, I prefer the LONGS.


    Jun 21, 2009
    Ok, I've looked into it, it's just that i have never actually played a 35" scale, I don't have any first hand experience.
  19. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Unless you've been playing for 10 years on 34" exclusive basses or you have small hands and 34" feels like a struggle to you, you really wont notice the added inch except maybe in string tension. If your muscle memory is decent and you can play without looking, you'll be thrown off sligthly for a week or so, but that's it.


    Jun 21, 2009
    Thank you FunkMetalBass, I have heard that there is greater string tension. My hands are on the smaller side, but I do have good muscle memory and i don't need to look when playing, so hopefully I'll adapt quickly.