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Long Scale vs Short Scale

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

  1. Kevin Wolfe

    Kevin Wolfe Tele-Meister

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    Thanks.
    Yeah, did those mods back in he 70’s when that wasn’t a vintage bass. Wish I hadn’t touched it now. I got the idea from Harvey Brooks, one of Dylan’s former sidemen.

    I still play that one on occasion, but a new StingRay Special 5H has taken over the #1 spot.

    937435D1-6360-4B7E-84FC-D86C3D0549BA.jpeg
     
  2. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    i prefer a 34" scale but there's really nothing wrong with short scale. a thing i found interesting as i was learning about bass is that a whole bunch of British rockers in the early '70's played short scale gibson basses and sounded good doing it. for instance, Jimmy Dewar isn't lacking anything in his tone:

    robin trower - little bit of sympathy - YouTube


    i borrowed one of those one time, it was a cool bass! i don't know, maybe it's a bit easier to sing while playing one of those.
     
  3. Bassman8

    Bassman8 Tele-Holic

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    Not to get off track but I love that performance. Robin and James are great and Reg Isadore looks like he could pound those drums into splinters if he wanted to. Nice cowbell touches too.
     
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  4. WingedWords

    WingedWords Tele-Afflicted

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    I'd be quite happy never to play anything other than my Precision and certainly wouldn't have dreamt of ever playing a short scale bass. But on a dull November Sunday afternoon here I've been browsing Ed Friedland's YT channel and heard him playing a G&L Fallout short scale bass which sounds amazing through a small rig. If it's good enough for Ed Friedland it's plenty good enough for me.


    And this is the Tribute series Fallout. I think I want one.

     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
  5. Taildragger

    Taildragger Tele-Meister

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    my arthritis-buggered old hands also find shorties to be more comfortablr:

    [​IMG]

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  6. howlin

    howlin Tele-Afflicted

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    Take your Jazz bass and tune it down to D-G-C-F and put a capo on the 2nd fret. Now you have a 30" SS bass with a shorter reach and lower string tension. The only difference is the nut width is 43mm [think Gibson EB-0/3] as opposed to 38mm like the Mustang and a lot of basses in that design category. The only problem with trying this is, depending on your strings, it may not sound that great. When I'm using TI Flats it sounds just fine but with GHS Pressurewounds it sounded like arse. So, don't give up without considering that as well.

    The other thing to consider is: BRIDGE PLACEMENT. Seriously. There are a ton of really great SS basses out there with their own sound and characteristics but they all have one fatal flaw IMHE and that is the bridge is placed too far into the body. Think Hofner, Allen Woody Epiphone, Epiphone Viola, Guild Starfire, Gretsch hollowbody, Fender Starcaster, etc. Because of the reach on the lower register is hardly, if at all, any different than your Jazz Bass. Gibson EB-0/3, Danelectro Longhorn and Fender Mustang/Bronco basses solve this problem. BTW, Have you ever considered a Sire Markus Miller U5? Great value with all the right features.
     
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  7. ctmullins

    ctmullins Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    How exactly is this a “problem” and a “fatal flaw”?
     
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  8. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    Well, sir, I did start out on Guitar in the 60s, but in the 70s I picked up Bass and I have made a big part of my living playing upright Bass and electric Bass also. P-Bass mostly for electric, but I have a couple of short scale Basses, so I'm familiar with them.
    Brother, I know several very petite lady Bass players ... pros, who get around on the upright Bass and on long scale electrics with no problem. Myself, I don't have big hands, but I do have a 7/8 scale string Bass. Your problem, if I can be honest, isn't the size of the instrument but the technique (or lack thereof).
    No offense intended, but lots of Guitar players play a Bass like it's a big Guitar ... it's not. Worse, a lot of teachers who know how to play Guitar start teaching Bass to get extra students, and they themselves haven't learned proper Bass technique.

    Here's a free short lesson ... maybe it will help a little. Two things: you don't want to "Maintain index finger position" with Bass. The frets are too far apart. You need to center you hand on every note, based on what the progression of notes is. What I mean is, if you want, for instance, to play a walking Blues line that goes G, B, D, E, F on the three lower strings, starting on the "E" string 3rd fret, move your hand as you go for the D on the 2nd string. Slide it up so the D is easily accessible. Then, move it back down to reach the E and F notes on the 3rd string. That way, you don't need to stretch to reach those notes.
    Second: this is the hard part, but so worth it ... learn proper Bass fingering. It's weird at first, but it makes the instrument so much easier.
    OK, you don't use your third finger (left hand, assuming you're right handed). Seriously, don't use the third finger. It can rest on a string while fingering it with the little finger, but it's not fretting any notes. Your functioning fingers are 1st 2nd and 4th. When you are tempted to use your third finger, use the 4th. If you have to go up a half step from that, slide up a bit and use the 4th again, or change hand position and use the other fingers.
    You can go on U-tube and find tutorials on Bass scale fingerings. Practice Major scales with proper fingering. You'll get to where you don't notice the distance between frets, because your hand is moving to where the notes are always in reach. Good luck.
     
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  9. howlin

    howlin Tele-Afflicted

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    For me the whole point of a SS bass is to shorten the reach compared to a 34" bass. These designs don't do that. I know a lot of people consider the sound of a SS bass to be the primary reason to use one but I'd bet $'s to donuts the uptick in interest of SS basses is the easier playability and having the same reach as a 34" nullifies that.
     
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  10. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I seriously appreciate your thoughtful reply. The real problem here is that, as my hands continue to become arthritic, they're turning into claws that simply don't stretch the way they used to. I'm already having to play around this on guitar.

    My new bass has a 30" scale and it feels good.

    I am a "position player" who slides when appropriate, and only use the b3 and b5 when implied by the chord so I don't sound like a frustrated guitar player who gave up guitar and took up bass, LOL.
    Thank you for your response.
     
  11. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    Sorry about your hands. I, too, have significant hand damage. Some of it started decades ago practicing Karate and Jiu-jitsu. Still, we should consider Django Reinhardt, who played beautifully with a scarred and crippled hand. I believe he had two normally functioning fingers on his left hand.
     
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  12. teleman1

    teleman1 Tele-Afflicted

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    THe only way to go is 3/4 if your bass seems too big. I have a 97 fretted & fretless Squier musicmasters. Crazy great neck & string through;powder blue & Pink.EBO is another great choice which I also have.
     
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  13. spellcaster

    spellcaster Tele-Holic

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    From what I'm seeing, many of the posters make the assumption that disabilities entail difficulty in reaching the longer distance to a full-size bass neck. I'm guessing that having a shorter scale with less distance between frets may be the bigger issue. (it is with with me because of my arthritis in my hands). I'd suggest a shorter scale bass. Although I have a real appreciation for the violin basses such as the Hofner Ignition, because of the lighter weight, my experience as an owner of several short scales tells me that you might find the sound of the violin basses, which are basically a one-trick-pony, somewhat limiting, and that the EB style basses by Gibson and Epiphone will likely cover more ground if you want to play a variety of genres of music.
     
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  14. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have owned two short scale basses and I loved the playability but I decided I wanted a “big boy” bass so I traded a short scale for a Players P Bass. I love the simplicity and tone but it’s physically demanding.
    The only thing that keeps me from returning to a Mustang is string tension. I am really not a bass player. It’s a secondary instrument so my threading technique is not the best. As a result, I find that I get more of a slapping string noise issue because of what I assume is the reduced strength tension of the short scale.
     
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