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Switching to Short Scale - Your Experiences

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by wisconsindead, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. Hello,

    I plan to make the switch to short scale bass with my next purchase. Along with other reasons for this decision, I find the regular scale length a bit difficult for chords and my left hand tends to get sore after 2 hours of playing. (squire P bass)

    I'd like to hear how the switch went for others who've done the same. I think I might feel a little constricted in the smaller space, but ultimately it should make it easier for someone like me (im no big guy) as time goes on.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Scoops

    Scoops Why do we use base 10 when we only have 8 fingers Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 22, 2013
    Sugar Creek, Wisc
    I am me
    I switched to a 32 inch scale. It was an easy transition. Almost inspiring! I did get some flack from a fellow bassist. "That's not a real bass". He shut up when my lines got better:p
  3. AaronVonRock


    Feb 22, 2013
    I go back and forth between a long scale and short scale at band practice. I notice that many songs are much easier to play, some songs almost seem effortless. But come gig time, I always use the long scale. I'm 6'4" and the other guys in the band tell me the short scale looks like a toy when I play it.
  4. I'm a convert. It seems perception is the hardest thing to deal with on shorties. If you're the kind that cares about what other people think then the transition will be crappy for you. If not, then give it a try. I found I enjoy playing more on a shorty. That is me. I'm 5"10 and a shorty looks fine on me. But much like how everyone expects the bassist to show up with a Fender 3ts precision, when you have something different, expect there to be some degree of razzing.

    Honestly, razzing is one thing, but of your band is so locked into "A Look" over whether or not the members have the best equipment for them in order to make the best music then Lord help you Jesus.
  5. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    It was easy peasy..loved it. For a big guy with tiny hands it all made perfect sense.
  6. Cool thanks guys, good to hear. No worries about looks or others perceptions. Its all about more comfort and a better sound.
  7. Uncle K

    Uncle K The bass player doesn't get a sandwich Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2011
    Erie, PA
    When I started playing I had a Fender P. The neck was so big that playing it was a chore. Then I got a short scale and found myself playing bass till 3 in the morning because I was having so much fun. These days I think medium scale (32") is where it's at.
  8. I went from a full scale Fender Jazz (34") to a Rick (33.25") to my PRS #11 which is technically medium scale at 32.5". When Paul built the medium scale for me in 1977 it was like coming home. Everything about my playing - including my stamina - improved dramatically. I wasn't aware of how much I was struggling to get around on the longer necks until I no longer had to. The realization was like a big blue bolt of lightning and I would never even consider going back to full scale. There is simply no reason to.

    I have 15 medium scales including 8 Fenders in my collection - and a lone 30" Rob Allen Mouse. I DO find these days, that if I am playing for an extended period, like all day - I use the Mouse. It has tape wounds which are very finger friendly and the short scale virtually eliminates serious fatigue. Great for songwriting or drilling parts.

    Best of luck - I would certainly check out both short and medium scale and see what fits you.

    Here is long medium and short scale superimposed so you can see the difference:



  9. LOVE my short scales.

    I have an MiJ 62 RI Precision that i can't/won't get rid of, and a sentimental '95 Ibanez ATK300... but i started playing short scales about 10 years ago, with a Squier Vista Musicmaster. The switch was pretty easy, going from a P to the Musicmaster. The shorty had a fairly wide neck. So, it wasn't too tactile-y different, at all. I bought/traded lots of basses since then. But, all the basses i've purchased in the past 4ish years have been short scale.

    These days i mainly play a '74 Univox Hi-Flyer (30"), and i love everything about that bass!

    Additionally, i had bought/sold about 6 Fender/Squier Jazz basses in the past decade. Not a single one stuck with me. In 2010 i jumped the gun on a short scale SX Jaguar (J/J)... and that bass has consistently blown me out of the water with it's tone and quality. I even used it to record a quick 2-song e.p. last December, with my band, and i LOVE the result.

    So, if you're SUPER use to one specific bass, you may have issues... but if you play many different kinds of basses, the switch to a shorter scale isn't too bad at all. :bassist:
  10. I started on regular scale basses. To kill time one afternoon, I played on a bunch of basses at a local GC. One of them was a Squier Bronco. It had the worst sound by far. It was also the most comfortable by far. After buying a Sky ABG, which also is short scale, I came to the conclusion that I am a short scale guy. I am a short guy with long arms and tiny hands. I play strictly as a hobby. I'll never buy another regular scale bass.
  11. HosMan

    HosMan Los! Zum dritten Mal denn!

    Aug 24, 2009
    Northern CA,USA
    I recently purchased a new Squier VM Mustang Bass and I think I am now stuck on the whole short scale thing. I`ve always liked the idea of the ss due to my small "lady hands";always loved the look of the Fender Mustangs as well.

    The ss is definately easier,faster and more enjoyable for this bass-player-as-a hobby "bassist" to practice,learn and play.
    Honestly? The only time it(ss length) is an issues is when I when I feel like learning/playing JOY DIVISION songs.(Peter Hook`s cool 17th-21st fret basslines.) You should experiment with a variety of scale sizes if possible. Personally,I am hooked on short scale basses.

  12. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
  13. I played a Mosrite 30" scale as my only bass for almost 30 years. I then bought a Carvin 34" and Modulus 35" scale and didn't play the Mosrite for allmost 20 years.

    This fall I bought a Hondo 32" scale bass and it felt like old times because it was much easier to play than longer scales without sacrificing much tone. About a month ago I bought an early 70's Mosrite and it is so easy to play I feel like I've come full circle. The 'new' Mosrite may become my main player, at least for a while.

    There isn't a tremendous diference between short and long scales but if you play without looking at the neck your muscle memory will probably get thrown off.

    Rick B.
  14. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    Anybody have a 32" scale with a low B string? How does that sound?
  15. 32" five string. I love it more every day. If the bass is made from quality materials and workmanship, it lessens what some consider to be a floppy B string. This bass is amazing:

    FWIW, BassHappy is my hero because of his collection and knowledge.
  16. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    My first foray into SS-ville was on a Squier Mikey Way Mustang. The neck was quite comfortable to my hands (I prefer narrower Jazz necks) and fretting was a bit easier. However, I traded it away for two reasons; sonically speaking, it was very monochromatic…too much so, for my tastes. The other was it's ergonomics; as comfy as the neck was (as well as the overall size of the instrument), the body was incredibly ass-heavy and kept dragging to the right.

    Maybe someday I'll get to try out a Squier Jaguar SS and see how it feels. Now, if only Fender/Squier made a short-scale Jazz…that'd be awesome!
  17. Uncle K

    Uncle K The bass player doesn't get a sandwich Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2011
    Erie, PA

    BassHappy's pinstriped Fender P is my screen saver.
  18. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I own 34", 32" and 30" basses. Switching back and forth between them has never bothered me at all. I find the shorter scales very comfortable to play, but I don't even think about it when switching back and forth. To me it's pretty much a non-issue.
  19. My short scale experience is mainly with semi-hollows like the Fender Coronado (vintage) and Eastwood Classic IV, Hofner Icon violin basses, and Danelectro Longhorns.

    As a guitar player, I immediately have a familiarity with the shorter scale, and I can fly around the neck. I can get around a 34" scale pretty good, but those shorties feel like guitars to me. Very comfortable.

    I'm now in the market for a Gibson SG bass. Tom Scholz used something similar on the Boston records, and he plays some pretty tight, articulate lines. I can't quite nail his lines with a full scale bass.
  20. MusicBear


    Jan 22, 2010
    East coast, USA
    It is interesting that no mention has been made previously in this thread of Stanley Clarke's use of short scale basses. His Alembic that is referred to as the "Brown Bass" is a short scale bass.