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The Woman and the short scale bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Lowner, Dec 2, 2006.

  1. Lowner


    May 14, 2005
    Over Here
    I am a woman and I was inquiring about bass lessons at my local guitar store. They do not have any bass players that teach bass but rather guitar players that teach bass on the side. So I got to meet the guy who would be teaching me and he said that the majority of women need a short scale bass and dont know it. He then asked to see my hands. I held them up and he said yep, I need a short scale bass. He then asked me what kinds of basses I have and I told him I have a Yamaha bb3000 MA and a Yamaha RBX 375 5 string. He said that those basses are too big for my hands and recommended that I sell my basses and buy a short scale bass. He seems to think that I am having trouble playing my basses because my hands are supposedly small. I have no trouble playing either of my basses.

    Do you think that women should play a small scale bass because their hands are smaller than a man's hands or is theis guy just full of baloney?
    Bridget Nicole Rose likes this.
  2. that would of been the perfect time look at him and say, you mister guitar player dont know what you are talking about, go back to your little guitar player friends and leave me alone.
  3. yes. you need to find a DIFFERENT teacher.
  4. Go with what you feel confortable with !!!...I am a male 6'1" and have both long and short scale basses but prefer my beloved short scale Birdsongs....buts its a matter of preference....Go with playability,tone and balance....There are hundreds of female bass players out here that use long scale ...go with your heart and your hands....good luck and enjoy !!!:bassist:
  5. petch

    petch Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    Medina, Ohio
    Baloney filled for sure!:p Play what you want to! :D
  6. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Two rules for you:

    1) Never take bass lessons from a gui**** player. It's a waste of money.

    2) Never take playing advice from someone who's never seen you play.

    By any chance, was his store trying to sell a short-scale bass? While a SS may be easier for someone with small hands to play, I wouldn't consider it necessary unless your hands are freakishly small. You can learn to play a 34" scale bass, either with small hands; it just requires some adjustments.
  7. jamiefoxer


    Dec 2, 2005
    Depends on how you feel on your basses. Do you feel like it's a chore, or do you fingers glide effortlessly over your fingerboards. He could be full of crap...or...you may find you enjoy playing a shorter scale bass better.

    i'd say try out the shorter scale bass...listen to its tone, if you like it and it's a breeze to play, you got yourself a good bass.

    I personally play an Ibanez BTB405 5-string and an Ibanez SR506 6-string. The BTB 5 string has larger frets and more space between strings than the SR. At first, the 5 string felt harder to play than the 6-string. But, now...with years of practice, i really can't tell the difference, and I switch between both basses without much effort.

    However, just making a blanket statement about women and shorter scale basses is ridiculous. As with anything else with basses, it's personal preference that dictates what's "right".;)
  8. Newget


    Mar 10, 2006
    That is sexist crap. If you can play your current scale basses, then you are fully capable. Tell him to tell that sh*t to Me'Shell N'Degeocello. Here is another point, do you think this guy is trying to sell 14 yr old boys short scale basses? No, and they have similar to smaller hands and arms. However, try short scale basses, like a Fender Jaguar bass, to see if it feels right for you, but as far as being limited to short scale, thats crap. Keep searching for a new teacher, if you living in NJ I can recommend some good teachers.
  9. i am i pretty short dude with small hands and stubby fingers and i play a long scale lakland fiver and pretty soon i am looking at getting an extended range bass 8 or 9 strings .

    shorter scale or smaller instruments may be a little more comfortable but you will figure out how to get around those problems a bigger instrument may bring !

    moral of the story is play whatever bass you dig playing ! i have seen people with small hands tear it up on a full sized acoustic upright!
  10. circuitspore


    Aug 27, 2006
    Raleigh, NC
    Most definately. I'm a 5'8" guy that prefers shortscale. I don't particularly small or large hands. I can play my P-Bass just fine.

    I'd say it's 95% preference. There are only a few things I can play on my short scale that I can't on my full scale basses. If you can play your current basses just fine, then keep playing them. You'll be better off in the long run if you're practicing/taking lessons because you'll build the extra strength/dexterity/stretch/speed that you might not otherwise because you're using the short scale as a crutch from the very beginning.
  11. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    No, he's wrong. He's a guitar player and used to guitar fingering on his left hand. I have had a number of women students, and men too, some with very short fingers and as long as they use correct bass fingering and pivot using their thumb they can play any decent long scale bass easily.

    Carol Kaye, one of the top session players through the 60s and 70s who has played thousands of recording dates has very short fingers and can get around as fast as anyone without any playing fatigue. She's always used a 34" scale bass. Usually a Fender P during the 60s and 70s and now an Ibanez SRX 700. The secret is in the proper left hand technique. Check her "Playing Tips" on her website or email her for a personal reply. Her 2 hour "Bass DVD Course" explains it in detail and can be found in her "catalogue" at her website. Well worth the already lower price than the others out there, and you'll learn more from that DVD than from a year or more with your current misinformed teacher.
  12. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    Try short scale basses, see if you like them.
    Play what feels the best. I don't recall any female URB player having issues anyway.
  13. Play what feels best.

    My g/f plays bass on a normal 34" scale bass, she does play an aria which has a thin neck, but she could easily manage any other bass !
  14. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    That guy is...




    I know many dimminutive bass players none of whom play short scale.
  15. puff father

    puff father Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2006
    Endicott, NY
    Since you have no trouble playing either of your basses, I would have to take the "full of boloney" choice.

    If you were having problems like pain or just trouble reaching the first few frets you might want to check out a shorter scale or thinner, thicker, wider or narrower neck, different balance, but not because I (or he) said so. Does he also just happen to have just what you need hanging in the store he works at? That woud be quite a happy coincidence (for him anyway) wouldn't it?

    He reminds me of second or third grade when they measured kids arms to see if the could begin learning trombone or not. Unlike this teacher, at least that made sense.
  16. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    The girl in the picture below is my student (and one of my prides, BTW) and she has VERY small hands. She plays 34" basses without major problems. I taught her how to play "Portrait of Tracy" and I thought that the big 2-6 stretch for that artificial harmonic in the tune wasn't going to be possible for her, but she did it really fine. No doubt she had to practice a lot for that, but she showed me and her fellow students that it can be done.

  17. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    He knows not what he speaks of! Whatever feels comfortable to you is what matters most. Look at Rhonda Smith, MC Divinity, Gail Ann Dorsey, Me'shel! All play standard scale basses! Now look at Stanley Clarke! He's what.........6'5" give or take an inch, has huge hands and long fingers and he plays a short scale Alembic! Send your gui****/bass teacher to Talkbass.com so he can be enlightened!
  18. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    I don't want to sound sexist, but all women should play Rickenbackers. The one universal rule is...Chicks dig Rics.

  19. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Or, more importantly- Guys dig chicks that play Rics.
  20. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Another pic of my student (but with a drastically different haircut):


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