Short scale bass for playing with pick

Discussion in 'The BASS Place' started by PRW94, May 26, 2018.

  1. PRW94

    PRW94 Tele-Meister

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    I've been playing guitar for close to 50 years but have only ever "fooled around" with a bass. However, the worship leader at church has asked if I'd consider sitting in on bass at least in a part-time capacity. Quite frankly, there are better guitarists than me at church.

    I'm inclined to do it, so I'm looking for a cheap but good bass (at least to start with, if this develops I might trade up).

    I want a short-scale to facilitate coming over from guitar. Plus I'm vertically challenged and have very short arms, and every full-scale bass I've ever tried to play has just felt horribly awkward to me and I don't want to do a Bill Wyman deal as far as holding it.

    I've narrowed my choices down to:

    Ibanez Mikro Bass
    Ibanez Talman TMB30
    Gretsch Junior Jet 2202 or 2220
    Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar Special SS

    I'm going to toss out another "which would you choose" SOS with one variable ... I will almost certainly be playing with a pick. Would any of the basses I've mentioned be particularly conducive to that?

    Honestly, in my heart of hearts I'd probably prefer a Hofner Icon, even though I know it's kind of one note, I just really like that note, that woody thump. (Second variable, can any of the basses I've mentioned get into that neighborhood?) I'm just not willing to put even Hofner Icon money into something right now, I'm looking at $250 investment tops.
     
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  2. LowCaster

    LowCaster Tele-Afflicted

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    Bass with a pick? Are you playing old school Punk music at your church?

    I’m looking for a short scale bass too, and leaning toward the Squier Bronco bass, because I like it’s look. It’s one of the least expensive, but many comments suggest that you might want to upgrade the pickup and tuners (though some say they do the job).

    The Jaguar SS special is a better offer for the money with two pickups, and the neck is thin and comfortable, in my memory...

    A friend of mine plays a short scale Ibanez (not the tmb30), well finished guitar, looks much more pricey than it is. But I don’t really like the fatter neck of the Ibanez.
     
  3. Mike SS

    Mike SS Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Using a pick is going to give you a sharper, percussive sound. If you don't feel comfortable with finger picking, use your thumb.

    I am no giant, 5' 9", and thought that short scale bass would be best for me. I was wrong. If you want good tone, on the spot intonation, and that good bass "thump" go with a long scale. (We are only talking a difference of 4 inches) However, if you are sold on short scale, Epiphone offers a model of the EBO bass. It has a BIG, DEEP sound due to it's massive pick-up. There are also plenty of active bass options, that will let you dial up about any tone your heart desires. Used basses are out there. Check the pawn shops.
     
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  4. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I have the Squier Jag Bass and have nothing bad to say about it. Comfortable to play, sounds good, easy on the hands. I hear no difference in the short scale, I doubt I can in a blind test if that's the only difference. But I'm not a bass player. Play a long scale 3rd fret and up and you are in SS zone anyway.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2018
  5. AngelDeville

    AngelDeville Tele-Afflicted

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    Danelectro Longhorn

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    My wife, the bass player's favorite bass regardless of basses twice the price (and she has a couple) is her Junior Jet. FWIW. To me it is the best bang for the buck in the bass world of short scale's.
     
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  7. ndeli55

    ndeli55 Tele-Afflicted

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    THe tmb30 is a great guitar. I’d go with it. It is very well balanced and is a guitar that I don’t think you’d have to do anything to to make it a keeper.
     
  8. drumtime

    drumtime Tele-Holic

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    I got a Hofner Cavern, the Chinese one, recently. I love it. I'm also coming over from guitar, and have hand/wrist problems as well, so the short scale is great. With some eq at the amp, I can get most of the bass sounds I want. As far as playing with a pick, no less than Carol Kaye herself recommends using a pick over fingers, so there's that.
     
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  9. craigio

    craigio TDPRI Member

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    I’m a bass player than dabbles in guitar.

    Any of the short scales you’ve listed as far as I’ve tried them (never tried the junior jet) should be well made and do the job. I’d say stick with passive. The most important thing: the strings! That will have a big influence on playability and sound. Flat wounds will last way longer than round wounds. I love the black tape wounds. Be prepared that bass strings are expensive!

    I always used to play fingerstyle but learned pick playing. Pick playing can be adapted to most any style. Just roll off the tone or eq out the pick attack if it’s too much. After all, carol kay played on thousands of recordings exclusively with a pick. I find my plectrum style is different on bass (search carol kay technique). My guitar teacher beats me up on occasion for having a stiff wrist lol. Even the type of pick you need is probably different than on guitar. I use giant triangle picks. So don’t expect the pick playing to just directly translate.

    Your questions can also be answered on talkbass probably even more than you want lol.

    Just try all those basses and one should speak to you. Keep an eye out on the used market. All those instruments are “beginner” so should be available used for cheap (but that doesn’t mean they’re not perfectly fine). You should definitely do it. Come to the dark side [emoji6]

    I assume your church has bass gear such as a decent DI?
     
  10. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    I like the Dano Longhorn and baritone. I ended up buying the baritone.

    I tried out the Gretsch and liked it but the Dano was a better deal and more of what I wanted.

    I didn't like the Broncos I tried, too many issues and I didn't need yet another project.

    Ditto on the flatwounds.
     
  11. Teleterr

    Teleterr Friend of Leo's

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    Just use a guitar and put on the six lowest strings . Screenshot_2018-05-26-18-51-25.png
     
  12. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Also a guitarist that owns a short scale bass to mess around with...

    Look for a Washburn XB-100. I believe these are all made by Samick and are good for a lot of needs. The first one I modded from a typical P-style into JPJ by routing pickup pockets so it looks kind of like a Strat. Then I put a 5-way Strat switch in it with master volume master tone. It's fun and gives some deep bass. Second of these I fixed up and gave to a friend for his son. I paid $30-$40 each used. A good setup and they work great.

    Another good bass are the Greg Bennet models also made by Samick that I got to flip but it was quite good.

    Look up the Royal Blood group on youtube, a bass player that uses an octave pedal to cover guitars and a drummer.
     
  13. PRW94

    PRW94 Tele-Meister

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    No I'd probably be McCartney-esque. He uses a pick for about everything.
     
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  14. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    Even my Telecaster has a shorter scale neck (24 3/4" vs Fender's 25 !/2") but I like my 34" Korean Fender Squier P-Bass. All I've done to it was upgrade tuners and add flat wounds. I, too, play with a pick....and usually have the tone control rolled down for a "bassy" sound. The only un-requested advice I would offer is keep it simple stupid. Unless you're playing Entwhistle or Squire bass parts, simple, straight forward lines work best. Enjoy!....playing bass is fun, and can be a great change from guitar.....and who knows? You might find you've been "called" to it!
     
  15. PRW94

    PRW94 Tele-Meister

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    Church has a 200-watt Fender Rumble with one 15, miked.
     
  16. Taildragger

    Taildragger Tele-Meister

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    I pretty much stopped playing guitar altogether in favor of bass a few years ago after having played guitar for decades. Started out with an MIJ Fender Mustang Bass re-issue which made for an easy transition ergonomically, but wound up settling in with Guild Starfires, which is basically all I play now.

    Towards the end of my guitar playing days, I had stopped using flat picks in favor of fingers only, so have always played bass finger-style. I think that helped me approach bass playing properly (as it should function in an ensemble setting) rather than wanking on it as though it was just a bigger guitar with fewer, fatter strings.

    I always practice with a metronome or drum track of some kind. Always. If a bass player can't lock in reliably on the beat, he won't be of much use to the band.

    Hope any of that helps.
     
  17. screefer

    screefer Tele-Holic

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    For under $250 each, I've got two Mikros, one with D'Adarrio black tapes and one with LaBella white tapes. I also have the Jag shorty with LaBella low tension flats which seems a little tighter probably due to the longer length (30" vs. 28.6"). I'm currently gassing for the 30" Gretsch 2220 but note it is $299.
    Some great pick players besides McCartney.....Carole Kaye and the late great Ronnie Lane.
    Get'em all...lol!
     
  18. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Poster Extraordinaire

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    Rogue VB100 Violin Bass Guitar Vintage Sunburst = $169 @ Musicians Friend
    047.jpg
     
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  19. jimilee

    jimilee Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Squier vintage modified jag would be the way I lean. My first bass was a Cort slammer bass. In the mid 80s, I played in bars from chattanooga TN to Athens Ga with that thing. I love it and would never get rid of it, well because it was my first bass. I don’t play it anymore, but I still have it.
     
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  20. Norris Vulcan

    Norris Vulcan Tele-Afflicted

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    Squier Mustang bass FTW !
     
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