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Try a short scale!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ronlitz, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. ronlitz


    Apr 20, 2008
    Northern Virginia
    I have small hands and a bad back. I've been playing bass for about 20 years, and I've always preferred a jazz-type neck - since it is smaller and easier for me to play, and I've also tended towards light basses such as Ibanez. For some reason, I never once considered a short scale bass - I guess I just always thought they wouldn't sound very good. Well, I was in a music store last week just browsing, and I saw a Squier Jaguar short scale. Just for grins, I pulled it down. the first thing I noticed was that it was light - really light (6lb 9oz). The second thing I noticed was that the neck was extremely comfortable for my hand. The third thing I noticed was that it sounded good! (Well, with the P pickup soloed, that is). It was $179.00 - so I took it home. The fit, finish and hardware can't compete with a $1k bass - but it is actually very decent - especially considering the price tag. I played it at a jam session over the weekend, and I had an absolute blast playing it!
    In conclusion - if you have small hands and/or a bad back - get ye a short scale bass pronto! It will make playing bass more like fun and less like work - which is the way it should be, IMO.
    El Pelusa likes this.
  2. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    They're also good if you have large hands and a healthy back.
  3. ronlitz


    Apr 20, 2008
    Northern Virginia
    Good point!
  4. funnyfingers


    Nov 27, 2005
    I think Stanley Clarke plays a short scale. Maybe that is why he doesn't have a bad back.
  5. bassbully

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

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I was like you not long ago. I never really thought about SS basses and thought they looked a bit weird. My band plays in some close quaters gigs where room is hard to get so I thought..try one out?

    I fell in love right away and was super lucky to score a like new 97' Squier vista Musicmaster. Today I own a Fender 74'MM and a Dano longhorn. I love the SS basses and have small hands and bad shoulder not back.
  6. Uncle K

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

    Aug 22, 2011
    Erie, PA
    I never took short scale basses seriously until I played a Squier Jag SS last spring. I've been a convert ever since.
  7. Hopfrogg


    Jan 28, 2013
    Can't imagine playing anything other than a small scale.. so comfortable.

    I just wish they would stop calling them Junior models and stuff like that.... plenty of us non-juniors are loving them and probably plenty more would be enjoying them if they realized they aren't just for 'juniors'. Should just call them short scale and leave it at that. ;)
  8. ejaggers


    Aug 18, 2009
    Hurst, tx
    +1 on SS love. I own three.

  9. Boot Soul

    Boot Soul

    Feb 10, 2009
    I'm 6'6" and never would have considered a short scaled bass was it not for buying a SS Guild JS Bass II off Ebay that the seller incorrectly said was long scaled. When I first got it I was bummed, despite its beauty and build quality. It felt like a freaking toothpick in my hands, and it only weighs about seven pounds (which is good). But I got it for a fair price, and I just kept it for noodling around.

    And over time it grew on me. It sounds good and can be really deep and thumpy in a way my regular scaled basses just are not. The neck is narrow but deep with a soft "V", boat hull sort of profile that feels good to me. And it can really rock. Ron Asheton of The Stooges used the same model of short scaled bass (w/o the carvings) when Raw Power was recorded.

    These basses, without the Oak leaf carvings, can be found pretty cheap.

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    Ron Asheton from Raw Power era:

    Guild made a (very rare) long scaled version of this bass, and I have one of them too, shown here, that I am fixing up, but I can tell already that I prefer the short 30-5/8" scale more. This long scaled version has a completely different neck - maple (vs mahogany on the shortie), much wider, and much shallower "C" shape (no boat hull), much like a 60's P Bass. Even though both basses have the same size mahogany bodies, and the same pickups (spaced further apart from each other on the full scale), they sound quite different.

  10. LordRyan


    Dec 9, 2012
    Short-Scales were very popular in the 60's and were on many classic recordings. Somewhere along the way came the perception that they were mainly for Women and young Kids. Not something a real He-Man would play. There seems to be a resurgence of interest in the last several years with many major manufacturers and some upstart names offering models. If you are looking for light weight or something a bit less-common take the next step and check out some Hollow/Semi-Hollow/Chambered Short-Scales. I'm currently playing an Italia Torino and Epiphone Allen Woody and don't plan to go back to the J-Bass anytime soon. I've got my sights set on some other Hollow/Semi-Hollow models for future purchases.
  11. hsech

    hsech I'm not old, I'm just seasoned. Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 27, 2012
    Central Iowa
    I really like my Gibson SG/EB3. Good weight, comfortable play and those Gibson Humbuckers sound really good.
  12. I wish my Jag weighed 6lbs. Mine is a heavy SOB. No neck dive though. :D
  13. funnyfingers


    Nov 27, 2005
    Just because there could be some confusion, mainly I was confused.

    I could be wrong but here is what I could tell:

    Gibson SG / EB0 / EB3 - short scale
    Epiphone EB0 - short scale
    Epiphone EB3 - long scale and wider nut
  14. I just plunked down the coin for a used Epiphone Allen Woody, shipped to my local GC. Can't wait till next week.
  15. rockinrayduke

    rockinrayduke Supporting Member

    Dec 30, 2007
    Henderson, NV
    Just got a Hofner Club bass that I'm really digging. Feels like it weighs about 5 lbs and sounds great. The neck takes a little getting used to but once you get used to the smaller scale it's really fun. I'm also liking that Guild!
  16. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Shortie all the way for me.

  17. A-Step-Towards

    A-Step-Towards Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2009
    Los Angeles California
    My first shortie was a squier jaguar, now I have had 2 danos, another squier, 2 musicmasters and now I own a '76 fender mustang. I love shortscales.
  18. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    I'm 5'7... wanna trade heights?
  19. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Banned

    Jan 20, 2011
    Aria (Matsumoku EB3 copy) 1931 is the bomb. Reverend Dub King, also bomb. Musicmaster--bomb. Gretsch G5123B shorter but not that short. Still bomb. Then you go play a SR or P & it feels like yoga.
  20. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Banned

    Jan 20, 2011