Will I regret buying a short-scale bass?

Cpb2020

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My son plays a short scale out of necessity (he's 12 years old and 4'8"). He has the following:
- Ibanez Mikro (his first bass)
- Fender Mustang Bass (strung with flats)
- EMBB Stingray SS (rounds)

He likes the Stingray so much that we got the cheaper Sterling version, used, for him to stash at school (he walks to/from school).

While he doesn’t have the option of going 34”, he takes bass lessons remotely from guitar teachers, and they all seem to use short scales (maybe because it is easier to get the fingerboard in the frame though). And the bass players that we come in contact with at gigs seem to be intrigued by the short scales.

I don’t think that the non-stringed players in the audience even notice.
 

FSRCustomTeleHHGT

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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-




Music Man Stingray (Kim Deal, the Pixies)


Gibson Thunderbird (Kim Gordon, Sonic Youth)



Rickenbacker 4001 (Kira Rossler, Black Flag)





Oh, wait- those are all normal scale...
Is it smart to knowingly play something that is needlessly heavier and harder to play? Let's see what these geniuses think of their full-scale basses:

Jack Bruce of Cream
1656280718599.png

Phil Leash of the Grateful Dead
1656280850595.png


Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones:
1656280928502.png



Tina Weymouth of The Talking Heads:
1656281290440.png



Admittedly, this guy is unknown to most of you...
1656281185640.png



Oh wait. They're all short-scale. Are you going to tell them that they are "intimidated" or shall I?
 

beyer160

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Is it smart to knowingly play something that is needlessly heavier and harder to play?
Les Pauls are heavy, but they seem pretty popular. No one recommends Billy Gibbons switch to a Jaguar because his guitar is "needlessly" heavy, do they? As for harder to play, that's just completely wrong.

Let's see what these geniuses think of their full-scale basses:

Jack Bruce of Cream
View attachment 998147

Yep, you got me right out of the gate. Jack Bruce was absolutely killer, but he's the only player I've ever heard sound good on one of those things.

Phil Leash of the Grateful Dead
View attachment 998149
Phil certainly has a sound that worked in the Dead, but like everything else about the Dead I dunno how well that would translate to anything else.
Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones:
View attachment 998150
Bill is cool and all, but if you read your liner notes you know that Keith and Mick Taylor often overdubbed his bass parts on a real bass-

af07b4fa79eec738aed578cdf9af9d24.gif

Tina Weymouth of The Talking Heads:
View attachment 998154
Now you're just adding filler. Next!
Admittedly, this guy is unknown to most of you...
View attachment 998153
Paul bought the Hofner for exactly one reason- it was what he could afford in 1961 when he became the Beatles' bass player. Three years later he acquired a full scale Rickenbacker and immediately relegated the Hofner to use in photo and film appearances. He played the Ricky and regular scale Fender basses in the studio thereafter, and you can hear the change in his playing. McCartney has talked about how much he preferred the Rickenbacker over the Hofner.
Oh wait. They're all short-scale. Are you going to tell them that they are "intimidated" or shall I?
With the exception of Jack Bruce, I can't imagine that any of these players wouldn't have sounded better with a normal scale bass- you know, physics and all that. I imagine that none of them would have any problem playing one, either- we sure know McCartney didn't.
 

timobkg

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Don't let the battery scare you off! It's honestly such a minor thing these days that I don't understand the hesitancy and hate. The days of needing screwdrivers are gone - every modern guitar or bass with active electronics has a battery compartment that you can easily pop open with your thumb. And batteries last a long time - like 1-4 years, depending on how much you play.

It takes so much more work to change strings than to change a battery, and yet people change strings all the time without complaining about how it's such a hassle to cut the strings, unwind them, pull them out, thread new strings through, tune them up, stretch them, tune them again. Replacing a battery takes seconds, and you only have to do so every 1-4 years.
 

Dave W

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Is it smart to knowingly play something that is needlessly heavier and harder to play? Let's see what these geniuses think of their full-scale basses:

Jack Bruce of Cream
View attachment 998147
Phil Leash of the Grateful Dead
View attachment 998149

Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones:
View attachment 998150


Tina Weymouth of The Talking Heads:
View attachment 998154


Admittedly, this guy is unknown to most of you...
View attachment 998153


Oh wait. They're all short-scale. Are you going to tell them that they are "intimidated" or shall I?
Jack Bruce played long scale Warwicks for most of his career.

Phil Lesh quickly moved from short scales to long scale 6-string basses.

What are you trying to prove, anyway? No one said you can't make good music with a short scale.
 

Dik Ellis

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Had a Gibson EB3 and it had a very short scale. Almost felt like a guitar in my hands. Ran it through a Vox Essex Bass amp. I had Roto Sound strings on it. Great bass.
 

kctelegas

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Peter Cetera played an EB3 (with slotted headstock) for a time, though he was known more for playing a P-bass.
I've only found a couple of clips of him with the Gibson, and from some angles it appears (to me) to be a longer scale, which could be an EB3L.




 

zippofan

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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?
My son has a Talman bass but his is 34". I'll have to ask him about the battery and if it's a pain to swap, he never mentioned it.
I've wanted to get a short scale to mess around with, EB-0 style but I have too many instruments as it is lol.
 

Weazel

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Or should the short scale be putting me off more?

Will I regret buying a short-scale bass?​


I bought a short scale Hagstrom bass from the early seventies. I loved it, and so did my bass player (I am a guitarist). In fact, he loved it so much he offered to by it from me as it was becoming his main bass for both live and studio work.

Unfortunately it got stolen before we could agree on something, but man, that was a sweet bass guitar.

So I guess the answer is NO.

Edit: After reading through this thread it seems like some of you are measuring the scale of other things than bass guitars.

Grow up, willya?
 

Skyhook

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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?
From my active bass days... I was usually slinging pretty long scaled ERB:s, 5 & 6 string and thought nothing of it.
Then, for some reason, I remember taking my first bass, an Eko Manta like this one(not mine in the picture though)...

qqtiuapfecmr4scmv9lm.jpg


... out for a spin at rehearsal. I just remember how effortless it felt.
The thing weighed next to nothing and although of a longer scale than a guitar it was much shorter
than the ERB:s I was usually slinging. It was great, great fun to play it for a change.

So... for your use-case... I really don't think you'll regret buying a short scale bass.
... or you might if you buy some excessively hoity-toity custom shop, made by druids during a full moon, -thing.
Go for a Squier and you'll be fine, though. ;)
 

Festofish

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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.
I experienced both. That was 30 years ago. I don’t recall what year mine was but it was within that same time frame.
Mileage may vary.
 

memorex

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I like Ibanez basses, but their current short scale ones are 28", which I think is a little too short. I prefer the feel and sound of 30" scale. If they would come out with a 30" version of the SR400, I would buy it in a heartbeat.
 

PARCO

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I have a Danelectro Longhorn that I always bring to recording sessions. I'd say at least 40% of the time the producer will go with the Longhorn. They sound great and they record really well.
 

E5RSY

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A pertinent quote fro this Sweetwater article @ Long and Short-scale Bass Differences Explained!

"But, short-scale basses aren’t chosen simply for their convenient size. Serious players and studio pros have long known a secret about short-scale basses: despite their more diminutive footprint, they have a massive sound with a fat low end unique from long-scale basses, and it can excel at filling in a mix."
 

alex1fly

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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?

Regret it because it's short scale - no.
Regret it because you buying an instrument online means you don't know if fits you - maybe.
Batteries - I go back and forth. Sometimes I hate the idea of having them. But I love my active Jazz Bass. So potato, potato. If it's just a screw to open it, keep an appropriate sized screwdriver handy. Sometimes you can get magnetic ones and have it stick to the back of one of the tuners.
 

thunderbyrd

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Nothing wrong with short scale. Many many British rock bands used them and made great records.
 




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