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Why do we need special strings for a short scale bass?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by bassmeknik, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. I've been a bassist for 40 years this year (I'm 55) but am a noob to short scale basses. I have played them but not taken them seriously until I met my current GF who is a bassist and a little lady with very small hands. She currently plays a Rogue Beatle bass copy (30" scale). I am researching short scale basses to bring myself up to speed with current bass trends and noticed that string manufacturers make special "short scale" string sets. Why? There are apparently several common scale lengths (28.6", 30", 32") with 32" being considered "mid/medium" scale. I have used wire cutters for 40 years to trim my excess string length, what am I missing here? The short scale sets aren't cheaper and you still need to trim them in most cases (IME). Why are there special string sets for short scale basses and are the sets available in all scale lengths? Just another sales technique? :confused:
  2. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    If you put a long scale set on a short scale bass, you'd be wrapping the fat part of the string around the posts, rather than the thinner ends. This would put too much stress on the tuning peg and could break it.
  3. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    Actually I think it is the string that breaks. The fat part of the string does not like being bent in as tight a radius as the radius of the tuning peg. Strings are wound in such a way that the outer winding(s) stop before the string reaches the tuning peg leaving only the core and perhaps an inner winding to wrap around the peg. This means that there really is a difference between the different scale length strings. Unfortunately the only scale length that has an excellent variety of string choices is 34 inches.

    Some short scale players do just use long scale strings and they report success. Others use one method or another to shorten long scale strings to fit short scale basses. I don't play a short scale so I am not endorsing either opinion, I am just repeating what some others say here.

  4. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    That too. Also, whatever you might want in short scale is available most of the time, with few exceptions.
  5. pbass2


    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    I've had various shorties over the last 20 years--seems to me there's more choices than ever for strings for 'em!

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