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Long Scale vs Short Scale

Discussion in 'The BASS Place' started by Telenator, Oct 31, 2020.

  1. jman72

    jman72 Tele-Afflicted

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    I played a Jazz bass for years in a jazz/blues band, and I picked up an Ibanez Mikro a few years ago and never looked back. It sounds great (I would challenge the average person to hear the difference between a long and short scale bass) and it is SOOOO much easier for my hands. Seriously, it's a bsss. Get one that's easier to play! I love my Mikro!
     
  2. screefer

    screefer Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Don't forget the guitar-scale shorties. Same scale as yer Tele and lots of fun once you get used to the nylon core strings.
    My cheapo Ibby PNB14e(lectric) is a blast!!

    IMG_1801.JPG
     
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  3. Peltogyne

    Peltogyne Friend of Leo's

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    When I got my first bass in the early '80s short scale usually meant hollow body with flats. Many were simply copied from a guitar model and most sounded like dull thuds.

    Now there are many short scales which are basically built like a full scale bass with just the scale being different. So now beyond the thud you can get a small short bass that will sound very close to full scale.

    I know a lot of people swear by high tension and think if a bass string can be bent it's bad. But IME with shorties I use the same gauges as full sized. Yes they are floppier but they sound better to me, short fat strings don't. If you can adjust to playing lighter the tone improvements are great and the potential for dynamics really opens up.
     
  4. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    There are no "disadvantages," IME/IMO. Just tension differences and everything that goes with them (in terms of feel, intonation, tone, required string height, etc.). You need to use thicker strings if you want the same string tension you have on a full scale bass.
     
  5. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    I much prefer long scale. You can get more variety out of it--you can hit harder or softer: a short scale tends to be too floppy.

    That being said I spend a lot of time on a short scale bass that I made, because I wanted a hollow body electric and it's almost impossible to avoid neck dive in a 34 inch scale hollow body. I was just playing it today with a local band. It takes a softer touch.

    I think Leo basically got it right with the 34 inch scale, and I keep thinking I'll make a hollow body out of some heavy wood that will balance
     
  6. Allan Allan

    Allan Allan Tele-Holic

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    I've been playing bass the longest of anything. I don't like short scale at all, I don't like those skinny jazz necks, p bass all the way. If you can't make the stretch move up the neck, go up an octive if you have to, nobody is going to notice. You're lucky if someone notices you at all.
     
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  7. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've got a SS Player Series Mustang bass. Just picked it up a few months ago.

    For me weight is a big factor, plus I don't have the long fingers that a lot of bassists seem to have. The only negative for me is an open low E seems to flop around - it's flabby. But other than that it's a blast to play.
     
  8. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    you want short?.. get a Kala bass uke.... it thumps through a big bass amp...:)

    Uke bass1.jpg
     
  9. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Afflicted

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    After 15 years of not playing a bass, my son became a bassist. When he was 10 I bought him a squire short scale bass. He eventually out grew it, but man I love to play that thing! He’s moved through a few instruments in the last 10 years, but I kept the short scale and play it occasionally. I think I paid $75 for it, plays and sounds great.
     
  10. drmordo

    drmordo Tele-Holic

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    I have a lot of experience with both, and I love short scale basses.

    That said, they definitely sound different. The lower tension makes the strings much floppier and you lose that bright twang you get from a long scale.

    The lack of twang is one of the things I love about short scales - I like deep, dark fat bass sounds.

    I think you have to play short scale a bit differently. It sounds better when played softly. I use a pick and just barely touch the strings with it.

    Finally, PSA - the Epiphone EB0 is not a great bass unless you want a fixer upper. The one I got (used for well under $100) needed a neck shim, significant truss rod adjustment, frets levelled, and both string height and intonation tweaked. It plays and sounds great now, and most folks on this forum could perform the list above, but it's not a great bass without a bit of work.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020
  11. CJM3309

    CJM3309 Tele-Meister

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    I bought an Ibanez Mikro bass a few years back for my son to mess with. Hes 7 and its just about the right size for him. My jazz bass is enormous on him so we needed another option. I paid about $100 for it and love it. New strings and a set up/once over and it was good to go. The E string is a slight bit floppy, but it plays great and sounds good too.
     
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  12. spellcaster

    spellcaster Tele-Holic

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    My basses are a few different scale lengths. I have a 25 1/2" scale I built from a Tele guitar, a 30 1/2" violin bass, and a 34" Tele partscaster. In the last little while, I've sold my Ricky 4001 33.25", and my Gibson 30" EB3. For comfort, the 30 1/2" violin bass is almost effortless for arthritic hands but a Gibson EB3's comfortable if the radius of the neck agrees with you and probably more tonally versatile.
     
  13. Nozebleeds

    Nozebleeds TDPRI Member

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    Work on your technique. I’ve seen my mate who is a 5ft women play a 35” 5 String like it’s no ones business.

    The tone is definitely different on shorter scale basses. Not really better or worse, the feel of the instrument changes a lot and definitely not as solid lower register tones in my opinion.

    maybe work on the setup of your instrument and try some other strings, for me steel round wounds are so hard to play and I have rough fingers. Same with nylon tape wounds, the feel just doesn’t sit right with me.
     
  14. drmmrr55

    drmmrr55 Tele-Holic

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    I had a difficult time playing a 34" scale P-bass, because my hands are small, and (now) arthritic. I get along very well with a 30" scale bass, and it is easier to play, less string tension, frets are a bit closer together, and in my case, I finally settled on a Hofner Ignition Viola bass. I would have rather got the Club bass over the viola, but the viola was less expensive, and they otherwise are the same.

    It's extremely light being a true hollow body, (no center block), and it's a lot easier to play for me, than the Fender P-bass. It has a narrower neck than the Fender, and with flat wound strings really has a nice deep thump. If you want to play slap/pop however, a hollow body will not be a good fit. I LOVE this short scale bass! YMMV
    Hofner1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2020
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  15. DHart

    DHart Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    I say play what feels right to you.

    I bought a bass just to use for recordings (I'm not truly a 'bass player'). I found a Squier Jaguar Short Scale bass that combines P- and J- pickups, the size feels right to me, and the tone is fine (to my taste). I like the short scale! Very comfortable to play.

    Price was right, too!

    2013 Fender Blacktop Tele HH with Dimarzio PAF Master pickups with the Jaguar SS Bass. Both are Candy Apple Red.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2020
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  16. 53Strat

    53Strat Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    If you have a jazz bass you've got one of the best and easiest to play.
    Yeah, the scale is a little longer but the width at the nut and the taper makes for the best formula.
    My first Fender was a 1964 Jazz Bass way back in '65. I've played many others and I can't believe how good Leo got it.
    Just stick with it, short scale won't make that much difference. If it does bass is probably not for you.
    Buy a Octave pedal and stay with your guitar.
     
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  17. Kevin Wolfe

    Kevin Wolfe Tele-Meister

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    This one’s a 43 1/2” scale. Makes a Precision seem like a Ukulele. 2D6B4BE3-9CF7-47CE-8CFF-214A7454E02A.jpeg 95E245A6-1B08-4172-8F01-9F6CFD489E2F.jpeg
     
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  18. 63telemaster

    63telemaster Tele-Meister

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    Cool, but even cooler is that half fretted P bass. Never seen that before :cool:
     
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  19. peteycaster

    peteycaster Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Saw this thread yesterday. Later in the day I spent an hour or so doing a setup on my son's P bass copy and whilst setting the intonation I realised just how long the neck is. I have bursitis in my left shoulder and reaching for the tuners was actually painful. Did a quick check on my short scale and no problem. Nor do I have this issue with other guitars.

    Not that this is an argument for short scale basses just an aside.
     
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  20. aging_rocker

    aging_rocker Tele-Afflicted

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    Me neither! So cool...:cool:
     
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