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Shortscale Question?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by MoreBeer, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. MoreBeer


    Jan 5, 2014
    I own 2 shortscales, a Fender Mustang and an Epiphone Viola. The other basses I own are longs and normally play those, although I've been liking the shorties lately since they're very easy to play with my aging hands. The shorts are recent purchases, within the past year.

    The thing is, when compared to my other basses, the shorties, especially on the first and second fret of the E and A string seem to lack the clarity of a traditional bass, such as my Fender J's and P's. The Epiphone slightly more so than the Mustang.

    Is this the "norm" with shorties? Just wondering. Playing from the third fret and above there seems to be negligible difference.
  2. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    Disclaimer: I've only switched from guitar to bass during the past year, so my experience (compared to most anybody else here) is limited.

    That said, all my basses are shorties. I have found that the problem of which you speak does exist, but exhibits itself in a more pronounced fashion with round-wound strings. That's what my Mustang had on it when I bought it. I changed to 45-100 D'Addario Chrome flats and found that this mitigated the issue quite a bit.

    Also have noted that if I crank the volume a bit more and focus on using a lighter, more uniform, right-hand touch, that this also helps. I also have a (much-maligned) hair band around the neck, right at the nut, which acts as an almost imperceptible mute, further taming any E-string flabbiness.

    That's what works for me, but like I said: I'm pretty much a newb. Your results and everyone else's may differ.
  3. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    I've owned several shortscales, including the mustang. I never had the epi viola, but I had a rumblekat and I've had 2 hofners, and neither had that problem.
  4. ejaggers


    Aug 18, 2009
    Hurst, tx
    What he said, plus you may want to try heavy gauge high tension strings.

  5. zontar


    Feb 19, 2014
    One of the advantages of having short & regular scale basses would be the sounds you get.

    the mud sound can sometimes work for you.

    I love my shortscale EB3 copy
  6. I've owned and played MANY short scales. These days i gig a '77 Univox HiFlyer. In my experience, the muddyness of the lower notes can be lessened by EQing on my amp.

    Dialing back the lows juuuust a bit gives plenty more definition on the lower end of the register.

    Strings are a bit of a mixed bag... I like flats on my (regular scale) MiJ 62'RI P... but i actually have found that i prefer rounds on my shorties. Specifically, i tend to use short scale DR Sunbeams, and i like them a lot!

    In any case, mess around with your amp's EQ a bit before you go out and drop $$$ on new strings. :bassist: