Guitar player wants a bass (short scale topic)

Arrested Dev

Strat-Talker
Jan 18, 2022
462
Austin, TX
I know I'm not alone as a guitar player that wants to have some fun with bass and I just recently started exploring short scale basses.

I'm interested to try to collect some thoughts and experiences here. What short scale basses are out there, what have you tried, what did you buy and why, etc?

I went a local GC today... tried a Gretsch Junior Jet $299. Seemed cool, this particular one probably could use a setup, it was noticeably buzzy. I like it, especially for the price.

Then, I tried a music-man stingray, $599 I believe. Think I could feel better quality. Delicious satin back neck felt great. I liked the back edge of the bridge to rest my hand (since I mostly play it like a 6 string guitar). I don't love the oval pickguard look, but I might be able to get over that.

What else should I definitely try before making a decision?
 

arct

Senior Stratmaster
Mar 12, 2021
1,031
South Jersey
I can't help with the short scale. I know 17 years ago when I started putting my own bass parts down for my own recordings I spent on an American Jazz and it is one of the best buys I have ever made. Couple Precisions along the way, but neither stuck, so always on the look for the right one. The scale doesn't bother me, so I don't know why short scale is important.

Good luck finding what you want. Bass be fun.

rct
 

Handsome McClane

Senior Stratmaster
Sep 6, 2020
1,815
Sacramento
I've got a Player Series Mustang SS right now. It's a nice bass. Weighs around 7 lbs. I've got short stubby fingers and it makes navigating the neck a lot easier than my 34" scale. Highly recommend for guitarists. My other guitar playing friends dig playing it too. Popular at jams.

EsSJPoG.jpg
 
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crankmeister

Most Honored Senior Member
Jul 9, 2020
5,999
Republic of Gilead
I had the same thought about short scales a couple years ago and got that same Gretsch junior jet.

I didn’t love it, hardly played it. Being short scale didn’t do what I thought it would, my right (picking) shoulder got tired from the layout, and it had some neck dive.

Now I have a Squier fretless jazz bass. And I play it much more.
 
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3bolt79

Dr. Stratster
Oct 16, 2018
14,320
Oregon
Sterling by Music Man makes a Stingray that is 30 inch scale. You could also check some others like Gibson SG bass (30). Or Rickenbacker 32.5 inches. That’s my favorite bass.
 

Machew

Strat-Talk Member
May 18, 2021
37
USA
I tried a mustang, didn't like the short scale. Bought a P Bass and now I play the bass. May e you have but I would try other than short scale before I make up my mind.
 

Pandamasque

Senior Stratmaster
Sep 22, 2020
1,347
Kyiv, Ukraine
About 2 years ago I faced exactly the same dilemma. The last time I had a bass guitar in my hands for longer than 2 minutes was around the year 2000, which was a Precision copy. I'm used to the guitar, my hands are average-sized, so thought I probably needed a short scale just for the ease of switching back and forth.

So I went to a store to try that exact Gretsch model, which was very appealing in theory and it looks ace in the right colour. The example in the store had rather high action, which probably didn't help the intonation. But the main problem was how it sounded out of tune on low notes. I felt like I was going insane. I tune it, it's okay, then I play something, I pluck it a little harder and it goes way sharp for a second. Huge disappointment. I suppose this could be fixed with a set of much heavier strings. I'm not familiar with bass gauges at all. On top of that it lacked some of those high mids and highs that I'm used to hearing in a lot of music, because, let's face it, Fender basses (and derivative designs) dominated music in the past 70 years.

So while I was in the store I asked for a Squier CV Jazz Bass and a lovely Vintera Precision in Seafoam Green off their wall just to see how the neck feels and if my assumptions were correct.
The tone from both was immediately the bass sound that I knew and loved. The Precision felt big in the hand, just as I expected from a long scale bass. I'm sure I could get used to it, but it felt like a struggle. The JB though was a revelation. While the scale is the same and that impacts how you play, the neck profile, specifically the nut width is so tiny that I was immediately at home. I never knew P and JB were so radically different. On lower frets JB feels almost like a broom stick with strings. Later I understood how important string muting is (unlike on guitar every unused string resonates out of control all the time!), so a narrow neck allows for easier muting, especially with your thumb on the E.
Anyway, that day I went home from the store and found online a totally mint used 2019 Classic Vibe '60 for almost half the price. This is the first Indonesia made instrument I played and the quality is a nice surprise. The only thing I did to it is sand the back of the neck to de-gloss it and I adjusted the truss rod and the saddles. Sticky hands + gloss neck turned out to be an even bigger problem on bass.



The moral of the story is
1. Definitely go to a store and try a bunch of things.
2. Give long scale a chance. Also there are some "32 models like Jaguar Bass, which could be a happy medium.
3. If weight is an issue, try a Danelectro, they seem very cool
 

summer69

Strat-Talker
Sep 13, 2010
176
Denmark
I have a Squier VM Jaguar SS that I use a lot. It is quite allright. I also have a Ibanez Mikro 5 string as @mapleglo. This would benefit from a few modifications but up to now not so grave that the need to modify has overwon my lazyness. Also a nice little bass that weighs next to nothing. It feels and looks - small. If you are into modern sound don't disregard a normal (34") bass. Considering the ergonomics and comfort it is difficult to beat a standard 34" Jazz bass (as also mentioned by @Pandamasque) of which I have and use a fretless. And don't worry - you will adapt quickly, and effortlessly shift between the bass and guitar with a JB. It is something with the neck dimensions.
 
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Stu78

Senior Stratmaster
Apr 20, 2019
1,891
Scotland
I know I'm not alone as a guitar player that wants to have some fun with bass and I just recently started exploring short scale basses.

I'm interested to try to collect some thoughts and experiences here. What short scale basses are out there, what have you tried, what did you buy and why, etc?

I went a local GC today... tried a Gretsch Junior Jet $299. Seemed cool, this particular one probably could use a setup, it was noticeably buzzy. I like it, especially for the price.

Then, I tried a music-man stingray, $599 I believe. Think I could feel better quality. Delicious satin back neck felt great. I liked the back edge of the bridge to rest my hand (since I mostly play it like a 6 string guitar). I don't love the oval pickguard look, but I might be able to get over that.

What else should I definitely try before making a decision?
Vintera Mustang and a set of flats and your good! 🙂👍 Screenshot_20220312-163338_Gallery.jpg
 

soulman969

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 5, 2016
5,560
Fort Collins, CO
If price isn't your top consideration I'm gonna suggest the G&L Tribute Series Fallout Bass. It's a 30" short scale smaller body bass with Leo's incredible MFD pickup placed in the "sweet spot" much like G&L's popular L1000 bass.

It's available in Surf Green/Maple, Candy Apple Red/Maple, Olympic White/Rosewood, and Black/Rosewood and IMHO one of the best short scale basses on the market.



Video;

Video;

In the both videos the basses are being played with their stock round wound strings but this bass sounds incredible with flats and pressurewound or tapewounds as well.
 

s5tuart

Perfecting time travel since 2525
Aug 8, 2011
16,275
All over the place!
I tried a few short scale basses but never found "the one"
I now have a Yamaha RB370 ( long scale, two octaves) and I love it! I have the lightest Rotosound strings on it 35's which helps tremendously. 053127DE-4687-4C3F-A5D4-BE37CFF7BFBB.jpeg
 

Jimbo99

Senior Stratmaster
Jun 5, 2021
2,303
Palm Coast, FL
I went with a Jackson JS1XM 28.6 Short Scale $ 100 Preowned. Other than that I was going to give a Monoprice Mini 3/4 scale and those are about $ 150. Why, was more about staying under $ 200.



Jackson_Seller_01.jpg
 


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