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Shorter scale basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jrock111, Oct 28, 2000.

  1. jrock111


    Oct 10, 2000
    Due to my small hands and stature, I wanted to look into a medium 32" scale bass. 2 questions: Are there any disadvatages with a shorter scale bass and where can you find them in stock? Who manufactures them? Thanks in advance.
  2. bertbassplayer

    bertbassplayer Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2000
    Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
    I think Ibanez basses are 32"... If not they are a whole lot smaller than Fenders. The only disadvantage is you can't play as high because there isnt as many frets... I think you can go to Musician's Friend (http://www.musiciansfriend.com) and they have some.
  3. cole


    Sep 14, 2000
    I don't think there are that many basses out there with a 32" scale. most of the short-scale basses I can think of (EB-0, Longhorn, Musicmaster, etc) are 30 or 30 1/2. I believe Alembic makes some 32 inchers, but they're rather pricey.

    disadvantages? I've never actually played a short-scale, but the general consensus is typically that the E string is usually a little weak.
  4. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Nope, The Ibanez's are regular 34's, they just look shorter is all.

    Squire makes a 30' (Bronco?)and when I played it, it didn't see or feel anything bad about it. If that's what you want, I think they are a decent instrument. Other than that, zip on the experience with them.
  5. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Actually, bert, you can get short scales with 24 frets, Alembics being one of many custom shop short scale models with 24 or more frets.

    Most people consider the problem with shorter scale basses to be the clarity of the lowest notes. Oh, a 30" scale bass can handle an open E, but the note on at least inexpensive short scalers is muddy and undefined.

    It was this boomy thud characteristic of short scale basses that was partly responsible for the signature sound of Gibson's short scale basses, the other of course being their pickup design and placement.

    I know how you feel with small hands, I have really short fingers(no snide remarks, please, I'm not Italian but my wife swears I must have some in me!:D)but I play 34" scale 4,5 and 6 strings basses fairly easily, and according to the people I play with anyway, pretty decently as well ;).

    Unless you have hands like a child(no offense intended BTW!), you should be able to get used to a standard scale bass fairly easily, but if for some reason you can't, look for a used Gibson EB-0 or Fender MusicMaster, or a new Squier Bronco or Epiphone EB-0 bass. These are all decent short scale basses that are very affordable.
  6. I played an Epiphone Rivoli bass (30" scale) in a music shop yesterday, and felt that it had a lot of good tones in it (anda a few bad ones!) if that's the sound you go for. Narrow neck, too.

    The first generation of Fender Stu Hamm Urge basses had a 32" neck. They were fine basses (but too modern for my taste).

  7. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    Before Stu Hamm designed the Fender Urge bass he played a Kubicki Ex-Factor. The extended D on the E string is very innovative and comes in handy, while the bridge/tuners being in the body really balances out the bass well. The most playable bass I ever played was a Kubicki Ex-Factor. The basses have a 32 inch scale, which is probably part of the reason why they are so easy to play.
  8. BenDenny


    Sep 16, 2000
    I use a danelectro longhorn as my primary bass, for the reasons of being cheap at the time and all other short scales being much more expensive. to much money for my tiny-woman hands to dish out. Its a featherweight, mainly because its hollow pressboard. at any rate, its a decent bass, just has very cheap construction.

    I'd really like to see a short scale with decent construction and hardware for a good price, but the only one I've seen is squier and thats even worse than the dano.

    Back to my original point, though: if you can find a decent short scale, go for it. its downright liberating to play a bass that was designed for your build, especially if you have woman hands instead of their male counterparts.
  9. jrock111


    Oct 10, 2000
    The only high quality production
    bass I've seen so far that is a shorter scale are Rickenbakers. It's not shorter by much (33 1/4"). A friend of mine has one of those old Ibanez Ric copys that is virtually identical to the real deal execpt the name on the headstock and I must say its a high quality comfortable bass. I offered to trade my MIM Fender P-bass w/Barts and BadassII but he wouldn't. I don't blame him.
  10. jrock111


    Oct 10, 2000
    Getting back on the subject, I think my real problem is finger spread. I didn't have a chance to look yet, but is the fret spacing on a short scale alot closer or not much different?
    Regardless, I have to work on my fretting harder. Anyone with the small hand problem have any tips or refer me to a thread? Thanks
  11. DarkMazda


    Jun 3, 2000
    Well I wouldn't recommend a 32" scale.. I mean.. I thought the same thing cuz I have tiny hands as well... well my hands just grew on to the bass -=) :) but i guess its just up to you

  12. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    On a 30" scale, like an old Gibson, Epiphone EB-0 Squier Bronco, etc, it IS noticeably closer fret spacing IMHO.

    On a 32" scale, it is negligible.
  13. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    Try a Musicvox Spaceranger. That'll set you apart from the crowd...:)
  14. Skip


    Mar 22, 2000
    Bronxville, NY
    Gretch also makes a semi-hollow body that is available in 34" or 30" scale. And the Guild and DeArmond Starfire II basses are both 30" scale (though the latter is apparently being discontinued). The first two go for around $1500+, the third for about a third of that I belive.
  15. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    I am currently building a 30" scale bass for my son, as he wants to begin playing bass. If he shows a continued interest, we'll build another together, (This first one is a surprise for Christmas), as well as one for me to wrangle on. My first 'serious' bass was a Fender MusicMaster that was later stolen :-( and I highly recommend this bass to anyone looking for a short-scale. I also like to Danelectro Longhorn. Definitely built cheaply, but a cool and unique sound. Totally convincing through a large amp setup!

  16. dmaki


    Apr 29, 2000
    By finger spread, do you mean you can't reach far enough or that you can reach but your fingers aren't strong enough to fret the string? When I first started I couldn't fret a string without using all of my fingers, but now its been about a year and I have considerably more strength in my hands. If its just a matter of hand strength play as much as you can or even get on of those cheesy hand-exercisers, anything to strengthen your fingers. Even one of those stress balls will help a bit...

    Just my 2 cents,
  17. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Fender's early Stu Hamm models were 32" and if you check around you might be able to find an old SD Curlee, which was a well made, semi- neck through alembic lookalike 32" scale bass.

    Will C.:cool:
  18. Edgar


    Nov 4, 2000
    Montreal, QC, CA
    When I started playing bass I bought a Rickenbaker 4003 (I had no ideas what I what buying). It is 33 1/4 inch scale and let me tell you something, when you go for a full 34, you can fell the difference. It is not terrible but it will take you a couple of days to get use to it. I have small hands and 3/4 of an inch make a difference in the low register.
  19. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    Wow....you can tell the difference between those? I mean...
    3/4 of an inch...divided over the full length of the neck, is at best....minimal.
    I have small hands...and can barely tell the difference between a 30" and a 34" scale neck.
    Does anyone know...what the difference between the frets, actually breaks down to?
  20. Edgar


    Nov 4, 2000
    Montreal, QC, CA
    Like I said, I started playing with a 33 1/4 inch scale bass. You wont notice the difference pass the first two or three frets and I'm talking about one finger per frets warming up exercices. I know the difference is really small (where are talking about 3/4 of an inch...) but your fingering is easier nevertheless. Do you really think you would'nt fell a difference on a 35 or even 36 inch bass?

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