Will I regret buying a short-scale bass?

Maguchi

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Main purpose is jamming along with my teenage daughter who is learning guitar, though I think she will probably want to play it too. I only intend to buy one bass.

Mostly bedroom playing, I think, but possibly some school gymnasium etc., gigs for her rather than for me.

I think I am choosing between the Ibanez TMB-30 and TMB-100, or Squier equivalents. I prefer the look of the Talmans.

I'm not sure I buy the argument that a shorter scale is easier for guitarists to adapt to - my mandolin isn't "long scale", for example

I'm not totally devoid of bass technique - I haven't touched a bass in about 25 years but back then I was good enough to pick up some beer money filling with local bands in a pretty wide range of styles, and my instruments were a very heavy long-scale partscaster and a standup acoustic double bass.

I'm a bit put off by the active electronics in the TMB-100, as the single most annoying feature of my Godin acousticaster is the batteries that require a screwdriver to replace.

On this basis I am leaning towards the TMB-30, especially given that my daughter will be one of the users, but I'm well aware that kids can definitely play full-length bass guitars if they want to.

Should I be letting the battery thing put me off? Or should the short scale be putting me off more?
Heck yeah, get a short scale. They're a blast. You can always get a long scale later if you need or want one.

FndrMstngBass.jpg

2019 Fender American Performer Mustang Bass
 

standup

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I mostly have long-scale basses, it’s just what prefer. I play upright bass (42” scale length), and I switch easily between that and electric. And on the wall next to my desk is a uke bass (20” scale) that I’m always grabbing for quick demo stuff. my wife has an Ibanez short scale bass, I should borrow that some time and really play it.

so my thought is: use what works for you. Regardless of hand size you could play long scale, short scale, or upright. Tons of women playing bass in symphonies with relatively tiny hands.

Figure out what works for you.
 

Spooky88

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Get a cheap precision. The 34” inch scale length will put you in the “zone”. Bass requires a different approach and the longer scale length helps you achieve the mindset IMO, especially if you mainly play guitar. Plus if you decide you enjoy playing it, just swap the pickups out for a set of Seymour Duncan quarter pounders. You won’t regret it.
 

WireLine

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I use a Mustang PJ and Guild Starfire quite a bit. Never regretted either purchase. The Guild is such a magnificent instrument, insanely easy to play and sonically a beast, apt for rock, country, jazz, you name it.

Mustang PJ might as well have omitted the bridge jazz pup…

If you play bass, either is a great choice.
 

Ronzo

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Here's another vote for the Gretsch G2220. I have it paired with a Rumble 40 and it sounds great and, like the gentlemen say, it is super easy and fun to play.

I sound better than Sid Vicious when I plug it in..
Damning yourself with fair praise, there.

OP: Don’t know if the looks would put off your daughter and/or you, but have you considered a Höfner Icon? Relatively inexpensive, good build quality, super lightweight. Mine sounds great with LaBella Beatle Bass flats:
E33C41EC-7F9B-4D11-812D-65EE217A0A3F.jpeg
 

Surf Green

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I have three short scale basses, all very different.

The Hofner Ignition bass is very light and sits well under the fingers. The string spacing doesn't change much from nut to bridge. The strings are almost parallel. It can sound like a double bass or a full-on rock bass and anything in between. Of the three this is my daughter's favourite.

The Fender Player Mustang bass is my go to for Punk or Glam Rock (Sex Pistols/Bowie) and has that P-bass thump. I rarely use the J pickup, but it's nice to have the option.

The Ibanez Mikro bass is tiny. It fits in a standard guitar gig bag, which has advantages. It is a good option when space is limited, like when I am sitting in the cramped space by my desk using various bits of music software. It has a smaller scale than the other two (28.6 in). This can sometimes enable a stretch that wouldn't otherwise be possible. It still has plenty of thump, although not as much clarity and definition as the Mustang.

I love all of them and each fills a separate niche.
Short Scale 1.jpg
 

catdaddy

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A few years ago when Best Buy decided to stop selling musical instruments, they had a closeout sale on those items at all of their stores. I wasn't in the market for a bass at the time, but when I saw that a store about an hour's drive away from me had a new Squier VM Jaguar SS in black at $80 I snagged it. Since then, I don't think I've had my other (standard scale) bass out of its case. As a guitar player who only rarely plays bass I love the short scale, and for the times when I've used it to record, the Jaguar has been a perfect pleasure with its ease of play and good sound. No short scale regrets here, and I doubt that you'll have any if you go that way.
 

63telemaster

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I have a Chinese Hofner Ignition Violin bass and did the usual La bella flats string change. The original round wounds were awful! I've used it a lot for recording and it's a nice sounding bass with plenty of character. Can be versatile too depending whether played with pick, fingers or thumb but the bottom E can feel a little flubby if played near the neck..... no problem, just adapt playing position to suit and all is good. Obviously doesn't do the Fender thing but it's a far better bass than I remember my Fender Musicmaster from the late 70's.

A few months ago I tried a few basses back to back in a store through a big Orange rig. Among them was a Gretsch G220 which sounded fabulous and imo had a better build quality than my Hofner or the Squiers that I played. I was very tempted to buy one and fit some flats but I only need one bass and I know I'd miss the Hofner if I sold it to make way.
 

Leonardocoate

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I have Sterling Sting Ray short scale with flat rounds. I don’t use my P bass any more. It is Fun to play and sounds great. Short Scale flat wounds are hard to find. Labella has them. For me it was more comfortable. A bass player friend of mine said it is not a real bass. Once he played it he apologized then bought one. My 2cents
 

Telecaster88

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A few months ago I tried a few basses back to back in a store through a big Orange rig. Among them was a Gretsch G220 which sounded fabulous and imo had a better build quality than my Hofner or the Squiers that I played.
I'm a lifelong six-stringer who began dabbling in bass a few years ago for recording purposes (and LOVING it). My first bass was a G2220, and it has spoiled me. I love that thing, bone stock. Unfortunately I busted up the nerves in my picking/strumming arm a year or so ago, and I now need body contours to play comfortably. Since then I've gone down the rabbit hole trying to find a SS bass with contours that plays and feels like the Gretsch. No can do. A lotta nice ones in my collection now, good guitars, but that Gretsch is something else.
 

FSRCustomTeleHHGT

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Love my Ibanez Mikro. Since I got it about 4 years ago I haven't touched my Jazz bass. Don't miss the long scale AT ALL.
That's funny. I just found the paperwork for my Mikro and realized it has been 4 years since I purchased it. Same exact experience as you! I have a wonderful full scale fretless Jazz bass that I never play now. It's really an accident of history that we ended up with the 34" electric bass rather than say 30". Leo chose that, and the 6 foot 4 Southern Cal bassist he worked with in refining his first-ever electric bass was happy with that size, and why wouldn't he have been? I'll never go back, and it's always a revelation when other bassists try mine and realize that maybe these aren't just for kids after all.

I tried La Bella flats, but they hurt to play (I have a medical issue, so your mileage will vary). I just put on some TI-JF324's that really are too big even though they are short scale and... Perfect! And they stay in tune too. I'll try the La Bellas on my Bronco and see if its any better because I want to like them.
 

Festofish

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Variety is the spice of life. Buy a used one cheap and try it out. Gibson EBOs suck unless you want one tone With a hefty neck dive.
 

FSRCustomTeleHHGT

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I'm a lifelong six-stringer who began dabbling in bass a few years ago for recording purposes (and LOVING it). My first bass was a G2220, and it has spoiled me. I love that thing, bone stock. Unfortunately I busted up the nerves in my picking/strumming arm a year or so ago, and I now need body contours to play comfortably. Since then I've gone down the rabbit hole trying to find a SS bass with contours that plays and feels like the Gretsch. No can do. A lotta nice ones in my collection now, good guitars, but that Gretsch is something else.
If you find yourself in a guitar store with a wide selection, do try both the Ibanez Mikro and the Squier Mini Precision. Both have contours and are in the sub 6 and half pounds category. The non-discontinued SS Jaguar is popular on the used market, going for twice the new price and up, but is 30" scale and contoured.
 

beyer160

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I'm not sure I buy the argument that a shorter scale is easier for guitarists to adapt to - my mandolin isn't "long scale", for example
You're totally right, and I've been trying to convince people of this for years. I don't get why guitar players are so intimidated by normal scale bass guitars, as if it was like trying to wield Thor's warhammer or something.


But if you're not man enough to play a log strung with bridge cables, go ahead and buy some short scale girly bass. Like these, for example-



Kim Deal.jpg

Music Man Stingray (Kim Deal, the Pixies)

Kim Gordon.jpg

Gibson Thunderbird (Kim Gordon, Sonic Youth)


Kira Black FLag.jpg

Rickenbacker 4001 (Kira Rossler, Black Flag)





Oh, wait- those are all normal scale...
 
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Dave W

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Variety is the spice of life. Buy a used one cheap and try it out. Gibson EBOs suck unless you want one tone With a hefty neck dive.

Bull.

My '71 EB-0 doesn't neck dive at all, neither did my old '64. One tone? Nonsense. For example, just rolling back the volume knob to 7 produces quite a different tone than on full. It doesn't do Fender or MusicMan tones, but I have other basses for that.
 

Dave W

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To the OP: buy the bass that speaks to you, regardless of scale length. Don't worry about batteries, either. If the bass you like has an active circuit, it's not a big deal. What matters is the tone you like.

OTOH, no matter what anyone else tells you, you won't get long scale sound from a short scale bass. It's a matter of scale length physics. Thicker strings help cure floppiness, but they won't change physics. Flatwound strings are fine too, but you will never get a full range of tones from them like you can with rounds.

Plenty of good suggestions in this thread, but use your own judgment.
 

Telecaster88

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If you find yourself in a guitar store with a wide selection, do try both the Ibanez Mikro and the Squier Mini Precision. Both have contours and are in the sub 6 and half pounds category. The non-discontinued SS Jaguar is popular on the used market, going for twice the new price and up, but is 30" scale and contoured.
Thank you! The Mikro and the Mini Precision are both currently in my stable. They're the closest to fitting me and my playing style after the Gretsch. But even though they're only 1.5" shorter, they feel a lot smaller to me. The Gretsch is just perfect (for me) except for not having contours. I'm on the lookout for that SS Jag, as I have high hopes it may work out well.
 

sluglas

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If you are a guitar player then get a short scale(30") or a medium scale(32"). The transition is much easier.
 

Tall-Fir

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No, you will not regret buying a short scale bass.

Many brands have been mentioned so far, but you should at least check out the G&L Fallout for what it has to offer. The G&L Fallout Tribute built in Indonesia is a very nice short scale bass guitar. G&L makes nice guitars. I happen to have a G&L Fallout which was made in USA and it is fantastic.
 




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