Why don't we all play short-scale instruments?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by soulgeezer, Feb 22, 2018.

  1. soulgeezer

    soulgeezer Poster Extraordinaire

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    This is something that occurred to me last night, as I was playing my Sierra ST10 (pretty much a cheaper Baby Taylor) in from of the TV...

    I use a short scale RockAxe ($40 at an Ames "store closing" sale) when I practice electric. I use a short scale Sierra when I practice acoustic. I use a Squire Jaguar short scale bass when I practice bass.

    Why? Because they're easier to play, due to the short scale.

    So, if that's the case (and it is), why don't I play short scale instruments when I play live? I don't know the answer to that, so I figured I'd put it out to all of you:

    If short scale instruments are easier to play than long or "regular" scale ones, why don't we play short scale instruments all the time and why hasn't short scale become the "standard" scale?

    That $40 electric sounds great. There's no reason on Earth I shouldn't use it live. So, why do I (and I assume everybody else) default to larger instruments with longer scales that are harder to play?

    This question kind of intrigues me. What do you think?
     
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  2. notmyusualuserid

    notmyusualuserid Friend of Leo's

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    There will now be a stampede of players all telling you that short scale instruments aren't easier to play.

    You have been warned! :lol:
     
  3. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    My PRS is a 25" scale, my 1993 Fender Squier Telecaster is 24 3/4" scale. (Warmoth conversion neck)
    SO.....I do.
     
  4. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

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    One-word answer: STANDARDIZATION.
     
  5. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    What do you mean by easier to play? And by short scale?

    I find anything under Gretsch scale (so say 24" or less) harder to play. To crowded. Too floppy.

    Different strokes.
     
  6. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    It's a good question based on "short scale is easier". But change string gauge on standard scale guitar and now the comparison has changed. I know...you put lighter strings on the short scale, but at some point there is not enough fight in the action to play it...:)
     
  7. boredguy6060

    boredguy6060 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have a Fender Jaguar, I play it because my hand has extensive arthritis and it helps a little.
    Other than than certain physical limitations, I can’t see it any better than the longer scales.
     
  8. soulgeezer

    soulgeezer Poster Extraordinaire

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    OK, let me rephrase:

    3/4 size electric guitar;

    Travel size acoustic guitar;

    Short scale electric bass.

    I don't have them here with me at work, so I can't measure them right now. But, I think most folks know what I mean...

    And, by "easier to play," I mean that I can do five-fret stretches without straining and notes/runs are done in a smaller space, thereby making it easier to reach the notes.

    Does that clear it up?
     
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  9. bettyseldest

    bettyseldest Friend of Leo's

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    I have a Vox Clubman Bass, Squier Vista series Musicmaster Bass and a solid body electric ukulele bass, all short scale (between 23" and 30"). A couple of months ago I sold my Fender Power Jazz Special Bass, I no longer feel the need to keep a standard scale bass. When travelling I take a Baritone Ukulele which is about 20" scale and great for practcing and working stuff out on the go. My friend has a Rickenbacker John Lennon 325, 21" scale length and to me at least is totally unplayable, I just cannot work with it.
     
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  10. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I have to play a short scale bass - my fingers are just flat out not long/flexible enough to play a stand up bass or full scale bass.

    It irks me that this is the case. Really irks me. I also don't like the limitations I have on piano.

    But I CAN play a 25.5 scale guitar. They're simply nothing you can do to take that away from me.

    I'll play a 24.75 scale guitar for certain sounds, textures it can convey better, but I don't feel at home until I return to 25.5.
     
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  11. IronSchef

    IronSchef Tele-Holic

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    this is one of those "to each his own" things - I enjoy the various "regular" scale length guitars I have (25.5", 24.75"), but I have found that I am playing my Mustangs more and more (24"). I do tend to use 11s on the 24" to help w the floppiness and fill out the tone

    I do know that there have been several SS Bass players - some who did OK for themselves (Paul someone, in one of those old British bands, I think ;))
     
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  12. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I play both, and I don't really notice the difference. I mean, it just blends into the total feel of that particular instrument. I have never thought "woah, long scale here..." So, easier to play? Meh.

    So, one could just as easily ask why the short scale exists...

    If I take my 25.5" Martin and tune down to Eb, and capo back up to E, I've approximated a short scale guitar. What's the difference? The short scale feels nice for fingerstyle. The long scale has more projection and punch. The extra tension makes for faster string recovery when digging in. It won't get smeared, where a short scale might.

    On an electric guitar, some of those things don't matter as much. But there's still the playing feel. And to ignore the tonal effect is like saying wood in an electric guitar is just to hold pickups. It all matters. On a Tele, perhaps one word will suffice: Twang.


    Since I don't find one more easy than the other, I may as well ask why don't all guitars have the exact same build construction, in every detail? Well, because then everything would be the same, no variety.
     
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  13. soulgeezer

    soulgeezer Poster Extraordinaire

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    Strangely, I find 25.5" to be most comfortable of the "standard" scale lengths. 24.75" guitars feel cramped to me. Yet, 3/4 size guitars with whatever their scale length is are easy for me to play. You figure it out -- I have no freakin' idea what makes the difference in the case of one and not the other!
     
  14. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I play short scale guitars sometimes, but I don't play them most of the time because I find the bodies less comfortable. The necks are fine.
     
  15. Anode100

    Anode100 Friend of Leo's

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    Some of us have fairly large hands, and shorter scale instruments feel too crowded for chord work.

    It's a shame though, as I'd love to rock out on a Jaguar - but it's not for me...
     
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  16. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    Yes, it is slightly easier to reach the notes below the 9th fret, or so, and I like a PRS or a Gibson scale myself - but it's a tradeoff. With the shorter scale you get a different tone and a sloppier feel that makes me feel less precise. I keep my tele with heavier strings and higher action - and 25.5 scale - because of the way it responds dynamically when it's not set up like a shred machine. It's not as easy but it sounds a lot better and inspires me to approach it a lot differently.
     
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  17. PinewoodRo

    PinewoodRo Tele-Afflicted

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    I have big hands and find the longer scale easier, especially higher up the neck. Glad you like your short scale guitars though. I made one for a friend's young son and he loves it.
     
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  18. Sounds Good

    Sounds Good Tele-Holic

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    I think alot of players seem to have longer than average fingers for some reason, i have only medium lenght so i must admit the shorter scales seem to suit me best. But i have stretched my fingers out over the years, and can reach around a 7 inch span, so can play ordinary scales fairly well also. I personally think it helps the further one can stretch, it takes alot of patience though it would of been nice to have the longer fingers.
     
  19. Nickadermis

    Nickadermis Friend of Leo's

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    My chubby digits won't fit past the 7th fret
     
  20. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Would you really want to be known as the guy who's you know, a short scale kind of guy. Hi baby, my name is soul geezer and I have a short scale. Uh, honey would you mind moving out of the way as in remove yourself from the barstool you're occupying so that Mr. Dandy Long Scale could have a place to sit, buy me a drink, and persuade me to go home and look at his etchings?
     
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