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Why the love for the Short Scale axe?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by blowabs, Mar 17, 2009.


  1. lawsonman

    lawsonman

    Dec 19, 2005
    NW IL
    My SS Gibson SG Reissue is almost like cheating it's so easy to play.
     
  2. I've always thought short scales feel like toys tbh. I haven't played a wide variety but at this point I have no love for the short scale.
     
  3. heroesofalma

    heroesofalma

    Jul 4, 2008
    I too have small hands. I have three long scale basses I usually use live, so it's a revelation playing some lines and genres on a short scale bass. Especially recording. I've looked back and realised I used a short scale bass on half an album! Live performances can become easier however I wouldn't recommend swapping back and forth during a set. Sometimes it takes a few minutes to get your head around the change in tension and string spacing. Sometimes scale length and murky intonation can make playing with other instruments (eg horns and fiddle) a bit of a tuning effort, but I'd suggest regular setup and intonation for live work. Pickup heights and position are crucial.

    I have a short scale '70s Japanese Diplomat Violin Bass with real F holes. Paid $500NZ so about $250US
    I bought it to ease my entry into fast rock & roll walking lines with a new band. Wish I'd had it back in Jazz School ten years ago! Great with a pick and I'm all over Jamerson fingerstyle with Chromes flats. I record frequently with this bass and a Countryman DI, it requires little EQ to achieve the sound in my head.

    My recent purchase a '74 Guild JSII is a medium 32 I think. $300US. It has a Fender Jazz width at the nut and a medium scale making it stupidly easy to play. I've put some long scale RS66LF Rotosounds on and the tension is pleasing. Huge humbuckers provide heaps of output and the sound is thick with harmonic content. Loves heavy music, but has a quirky sound perfect for pop. You can record this bass and EQ in all sorts of directions on the board. My engineer pals love it

    I can't imagine not having a short scale bass in my quiver. I can see how people could have had a bad time with one, but I'd suggest careful selection, attention to setup and components.
    Rob
     
  4. I also play a short scale bass. I'm a really small guy, not only my hands, but a full size bass looks/feels ridiculous on me.

    Also, you don't need to put short scale strings on a short scale bass. Long scale strings will work just fine - you'll just have to trim more off of the end.
     
  5. blowabs

    blowabs

    Apr 7, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
    Well....you guys are great with the help.. The TB community always shines when needed. I am gonna get my feet wet and save my somewhat numb fingertip (with the less string tension) with a foray into SS bass world with this ditty:

    http://www.rondomusic.com/product1578.html

    ....and of course i have some Duncan Design J pups laying around ready to go in it down the road)......:)>

    Thanks again folks....I will have fun i am sure...
     
  6. rfclef

    rfclef

    Jan 19, 2007
    Woodburn, Oregon
    I have big gorilla hands and the arms of Kevin McHale, and all my basses are short scales. My first was the Epiphone Viola, and I have stuck with em. I love the feel and sound of my main bass: my Birdsong Cortobass. Tons of bottom, tons of sustain, and awesome variety of tone.
     
  7. As everyone else said: easier to play. From time to time the arthritis sets in and having a couple (SX jazz freless clone, Epiphone Allan Woody) make it tolerable to play. The reach is easier, and I can play faster.

    Short scale strings are not that hard to fine if you shop the internet. www.bpstrings.com has a extensive line of D'Addario and GHS short scale strings, as well as www.juststrings.com. You can get just about any string type or gauge as in the long scale types on these two sites.
     
  8. MaddAnthony_59

    MaddAnthony_59 Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2006
    Columbus, IN
    I Channel Surf During Commercials. (Drives my Wife CRAZY!!!)
    I've got this little Ditty:
    DSC00066.
    DSC00067. DSC00073.
    DSC00072.

    At 32", 7.7 Lbs, it's a JOY to play for HOURS!!! The Nordstrand DC/Aguilar combo makes it sound Huge!
     
  9. +1. A lot of production shorties sometimes have a weak E and a lack of definition. A decent chunk of 'em have neck dive and high action, which often doesn't make 'em as comfortable as a lot of standard 34" scale basses.
     
  10. TRob1293

    TRob1293

    Feb 1, 2008
    Louisville, KY
    Nice 32" - looks waaaaay out of my price range :(

    Bring on your cool 32's!
    (especially if it is a Fender Aerodyne 'only sold in Japan' but wanna sell to me cheap 32")
     
  11. bassman10096

    bassman10096

    Jul 30, 2004
    MKE
    It's a 30", but since the bridge is farther up the body (about 2" farther than on an EBO) you have to reach farther to all the frets. That makes it feel like a medium or long scale.
    Some cheaper production shorties do have poor feel, weak E string and even intonation issues. But many inexpensive long scales have the same problems too (OK, probably fewer). Despite all this, you can definitely find good, inexpensive shorties. They sound different, but I like the sound enough to have built a short scale Alembic. Actually --- shhhhhhh --- don't tell anybody who doesn't already know the good things about short scales what they've been missing. I'd rather keep the demand down in the used market and be a little more unique than the last six bass players who stood on stage where I'll be tonight. :D
     
  12. Vercingetorix

    Vercingetorix

    Jul 5, 2003
    Univox Hi-flier. I absolutely love mine. It does have a couple issues, but they are solvable.

    1) Don't get the single coils. Just. Don't. Get a humbucker model.

    2) Most of them have crappy 2-saddle bridges. This is a big sticking point, and the 4-saddle bridges are somewhat rare. Make sure to ask, because it's hidden under the bridge cover. A 4-saddle bridge is actually worth about $100 extra, but most sellers just found the thing in the basement and have no idea.

    3) Neck dive. The inverted strat style makes this baby dive hard, but you can drill a hole at the top of the neckplate and move the strap pin there. Problem solved.

    4) Just a personal thing but I just don't like 3-way pickup switches, so I rewired mine for V-T-V-T.

    The tuners are ok but not great, I've been considering a set of grovers. Considering you're buying a really cool looking bass for $200-300 though, these little things just aren't a big deal. I liked the thing so much I bought a guitar model too.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. OK

    32" CT
    CTFull.

    32" fretless CB
    CBFront.
     
  14. Basstovsky

    Basstovsky Stuck on those 4-strings Supporting Member

    Feb 29, 2008
    Massachusetts
    The feel is quite different, lower tension (commonly) strings and shorter neck makes complex fingerings much easier too (for those not-physically-possible on a standard 34" scale chords) I had a 70s japanese clone of a Gibson EB-3 as my first bass, so the joke was on me when I got a new bass for christmas when my parents saw I was serious about it! I had no clue about scale, and it was quite a leap from 30" to 34" scale! :eek:

    These days going back to that old bass feels like going on vacation :D
     

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