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small bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by boka, Mar 16, 2008.


  1. boka

    boka

    Oct 28, 2006
    is there such a thing as a smaller sized bass? I'm not sure, but the basses i've encountered fall within a certain size, but the guitars seem to have a wider range in sizes. im talking physical size.

    cause im a pretty small dude and im looking to have a custom bass made, im thinking maybe a smaller bass would be more comfortable to me?

    would the size of a bass affect tone? maybe it will have a less bassy sound? any thoughts on this?
     
  2. GM60466

    GM60466

    May 20, 2006
    Land of Lakland
    Fender makes a Mustang bass which is short scale and a small body.

    G
     
  3. Small body and or 'short scale?' The EBMM Sterling has a small body, but a normal length neck (though it's essentially a "J" neck, 1 1/2" at the nut). The Gibson SG Reissue (essentially a EB-X from the '60s) along with BirdSongs, etc., are "short scale," meaning the neck's not that long.
    Smaller body sizes may or may not have a different tone, depending on the material (wood), pickup type and placement.
    Shorter scale lengths have different tones - as the strings are (of course) shorter, under less tension, etc. They are generally considered "faster" as the proportional distances between frets are shorter as well.
    You should be able to find a Gibson SG Reissue in most major stores right now, and while you might not like that bass in particular, it would be representative of a short scale neck.
     
  4. boka

    boka

    Oct 28, 2006
    thanks for the replies

    like for guitars there are "baby" versions of them.. is there such a thing in basses?
     
  5. bassobsessed

    bassobsessed

    Dec 20, 2007
    NYC
    Then, of course, there are the ultra-short basses like the Ashbory or the Fernandes Nomad - usually piezo-equipped and trying to sound like an upright. Obviously not for everyone. Just for kicks, I'm having a bass uke built - see www.bassuke.com. Owen makes beautiful stuff!

    With regard to the tone part of your question, size and scale length have a big impact. Counter-intuitively, smaller basses often have a very bassy, throbby tone, but so many other factors are involved (pickup type and placement, body and neck wood and thickness) that you can't generalize too much

    Both Fender and SX make child-sized basses, often referred to as 1/2 or 3/4 sized. These have about 25" scales
     
  6. Steimberger????
     
  7. boka

    boka

    Oct 28, 2006
    are there any downsides to smaller basses?
     
  8. ehque

    ehque

    Jan 8, 2006
    Singapore
    Shorter scale means you'll need thicker strings or deal with lesser tension. Your bass will also be less bright.

    Smaller bodies may not let you rest your forearm well, or balance on your knee properly.

    Smaller string spacing might interfere with slapping and might be difficult to play if you have stubby fingers.

    Not all small basses have all 3 (scale, body, string spacing) but most have 1 or 2 of them.
     
  9. lug

    lug

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
  10. Ole Rumblekat

    Ole Rumblekat

    Mar 12, 2008
    Hi Boka - My advice would be to buy a nice short scale bass and probably stay away from the kid sized instruments, sometimes called travel basses. A short scale is the real thing, used to be pretty "standard" and lots of players used them, like Paul from the Beatles. Bassorama57 noted that shortscales have less string tension and he's right. So make sure the strings are high enough off the neck to suit you. I have tried the Fender Mustang, Epiphone Allen Woody, and EBO, and they're all different. Shop around, and as always - look for sound and playability.
     
  11. How small? It seems to be a concern of the shorter guys to play something small, but I started out on a 35" scale bass and continue to play them. I have a 35" scale 6 and a short scale 4 and I enjoy them all.
     
  12. low-endz

    low-endz

    Dec 18, 2007
    Miami, FL.
    I am a shorter guy @ about 5' 8" but I have been told by other bassists/instructors that
    I have very long fingers.

    Well my advice to you is NOT be to concered on how the bass length to your stature proportion, rather try different necks from super thin Ibbys to all esle.

    If you stick to standard 34" you can use much more different string types and also bring the action lower to the fretboard & more options over all.

    When I started playing in Highschool @ 14yrs old I was Barely over 5 feet and played/ jammed with my older bros crappy Korean BC RICH WARLOCK. ( Nikki Six was his hero)

    It looked like I was playing a widdled surfboard with strings.( But I was concerned on how I sounded & not how I looked & this is still true today)

    Besides there are many pros Like Suzy Quatrro that are 5' feet & under who rock standard 34" scale basses!

    Try some short and standard scale basses & deside on what is comfortable on your hands and ears.
     
  13. lola99

    lola99

    Jan 28, 2006
    I bought a violin bass for my son: Turser, smaller body, weighs about 5.5 lbs, 31" scale. Horrendous neck dive, but once you adjust that it's very nice.
     
  14. superfunk47

    superfunk47

    Sep 9, 2007
    If you're willing to get one made, check out Birdsong. They specialize in exactly what you're looking for. I'm tempted to get one, and I'm a pretty big guy. :)

    http://www.birdsongguitars.com/
     
  15. superfunk47

    superfunk47

    Sep 9, 2007
    A bit of elaboration on Birdsong, now that I have a bit more time...

    By far, most bassists are in the market for a long (34") or extra long (35+) scale bass. Because of this, there are very few short scale basses on the market, and even fewer ones of good quality. This is where Birdsong comes in.

    It is my belief that the vast majority of bass manufacturers grossly overlook the positive (especially playability) aspects of short scale basses, the market that is to be had with a higher quality short scale, and generally even the possibility that a high quality one can be made, because you just don't see them much. Birdsong knows this, and it is the basis of their business.

    They're serious basses for serious players, but are small enough for people shorter in stature, or for people who just like a smaller instrument to wrestle with. Their philosophy was created with people just like you in mind. I'd check them out. :bassist:
     
  16. Rob Allen's Mouse 30 basses are about the same size as a Telecaster guitar, have a 30" scale length, are very light, and sound big and rich. Wonderful bass guitars, I can't recommend them highly enough.

    Here's mine, as photographed by Rob Allen:

    peter1-1.

    For more information, pictures and sound samples, visit: http://www.roballenguitars.com
     
  17. boka

    boka

    Oct 28, 2006
    why do you advice i stay away from those kid sized instruments? any drawbacks to them?
     
  18. Triad

    Triad Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 4, 2006
    Europe
    Luthier - Prometeus Guitars
    Boka: if I needed a smaller bass I think I'd go for a custom build. Maybe the body shape of a Warwick Thumb bass with a 30" scale would fit you. I'm going to build a bass in this way for myself just for comfort (I'm pretty tall but I love playability of short scale instruments).
     

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