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  1. #1

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    Hi Guys,

    I do a bit of bass playing but I have pretty small hands, the span being 21 cm (8 inches in the colonies :-)).
    I currently play a fender Jazz bass which has a scale length of 86.5 cm (34 inches). I have found playing in F on the lower frets somewhat difficult especially the 1st to 4th fret stretch so I am contemplating changing to a short scale bass, something like a Gibson SG, or Les Paul Jr bass. I was wondering if you guys have any experience of these.

    I am also contemplating the purchase of a short scale 6 string guitar and have posted a similar message on the guitar forum....

    Keep grooving,

    Steve

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I looked into this for my daughter a few years ago, but am definitely not a bass player myself. So for what it's worth, what I discovered was...

    The Gibson SG model seemed fine, but weirdly the Epiphone EB-3 played better. Maybe that was just me?

    Being a Beatles fan, I must point out the Hofner 500/1.

    The Chinese SX basses have a surprisingly happy fan base, but personally I thought the build quality was variable.

    Since this is a jazz forum, I'll mention there's an Ibanez short-scale Artcore Bass.

    But for really small hands, the 28.6" Ibanez GSRM20 (Mikro) seemed very decent indeed.

    Caveat: You're on your own judging the quality of these things.

    I'd be interested to know what you pick.
    Last edited by GaryCorby; 08-10-2014 at 06:39 AM.

  4. #3

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    I'd take a look at building your own bass, with a short scale neck and matched body from Warmoth. They have a line of both 30" and 32" necks, and bodies to fit these. If you put together a bass this way you could get your choice of pickups and finishes.

  5. #4

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    Mainly use them for recording they get the big round Pop sound. If I remember my first good bass was a Guild and I think it was short scale and make of the old semi hollows like the Harmony, Framus, Hofner and others were short scale.

    On bass a lot of it depends on your fingering you use. a lot of guitar player doubling on bass are trying to use guitar scale patterns and that get you into some stretching. If you try string bass fingerings they require less stretch, more moving around.
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  6. #5

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    My good friend is 5'4", is getting into his mid 60s and is a very active bass player, and has been thinking about switching from his Fender J bass and getting a 30" scale Mustang bass to cut back on weight and give his smaller hands a break.


  7. #6

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    Guys,

    Thanks for your advice and considerable wisdom. I will report back once I have tried a few out....

    Cheers,

    Steve

  8. #7

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    For the last 40 years, I have switched back and forth between a Fender bass and a short-scale Gibson Les Paul Bass like this one. The Gibson gets a terrific range of sounds, plays like proverbial butter, and has a 30.5" scale. Look around for one--they are really nice and graceful instruments.short scale basses-72-les-paul-bass-jpg

  9. #8

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    Gretch has a nice little one for cheap, and the Hofner copies by Epi are short-scale as well. Wanna go really short? The new fretless Uke bass is only about 15" in scale, but sounds like a big upright p[lugged in, really excellent.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone View Post
    For the last 40 years, I have switched back and forth between a Fender bass and a short-scale Gibson Les Paul Bass like this one. The Gibson gets a terrific range of sounds, plays like proverbial butter, and has a 30.5" scale. Look around for one--they are really nice and graceful instruments.short scale basses-72-les-paul-bass-jpg
    I owned a Les Paul Triumph bass similar to that and agree with your assessment. Has an amazing range of useable sounds and a great neck for a guitar player.

    Danny W.

  11. #10

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    Anyone try the Kala U-Bass?

  12. #11

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    I played a Gibson EB-3 for years. It was what they now call the SG-Bass. I loved the short scale. It's a particularly good base for someone that switches back and forth from guitar to bass often.

  13. #12

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    +1 on the EB-3. It was available in a long-scale model (Jack Bruce played one in Cream--I saw him, and it sounded great...even through Marshall amps), but I too thought the EB-3 in short scale was a great axe for a guitar player. I intended to get one back in the mid-70s when the Les Paul Triumph Bass came my way at an attractive price.

  14. #13

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    My first guitar was a short scale EKO violin-style bass. I graduated from that to a Fender Musicmaster. Nowadays, I seem to have inherited my son's Squier Bronco bass (which is the Musicmaster in a different guise).

    Short scale basses give big fat tones. Put on a set of black nylon tapewound strings and you get a perfectly acceptable double-bass imitation.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whirly View Post
    Anyone try the Kala U-Bass?
    My wife has one. They're lightweight, easy to play and sound quite good with a decent bass amp. Acoustically they're worthless, but the new type strings are miles better (easy to slide on too) than the stretched-out silicone gummy bears on the Asbory bass from a few decades ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by mangotango View Post
    Short scale basses give big fat tones. Put on a set of black nylon tapewound strings and you get a perfectly acceptable double-bass imitation.
    I love those strings. I have them on an ancient short-scale Fender Coronado and they do sound surprisingly acoustic.
    Last edited by AlohaJoe; 09-28-2014 at 03:25 AM.
    Some days it's not even worth chewing through the restraints...

  16. #15

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    Fender mustang bass is good for small hands and has a good tone. The pawn shop series one has a humbucker which would be better for 'Thump'. The original split single coil is more 'Dunn-der-dunn'.
    “When a wise man points at the moon the fool considers the finger.”

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by GaryCorby View Post
    I looked into this for my daughter a few years ago, but am definitely not a bass player myself. So for what it's worth, what I discovered was...

    The Gibson SG model seemed fine, but weirdly the Epiphone EB-3 played better. Maybe that was just me?

    Being a Beatles fan, I must point out the Hofner 500/1.

    The Chinese SX basses have a surprisingly happy fan base, but personally I thought the build quality was variable.

    Since this is a jazz forum, I'll mention there's an Ibanez short-scale Artcore Bass.

    But for really small hands, the 28.6" Ibanez GSRM20 (Mikro) seemed very decent indeed.

    Caveat: You're on your own judging the quality of these things.

    I'd be interested to know what you pick.
    I just bought the 5-string version of the Ibanez Mikro, I have decent hands (wear large size of most gloves) but I am attracted to the idea of keeping my fingerpicking guitar technique on the looser strings (at the expense of clarity and tone I guess)

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whirly View Post


    Anyone try the Kala U-Bass?
    My bass player uses one. We play bossa nova and it sounds fantastic!
    "if only the best singing bird was allowed to sing in the forest, think how silent the woods would be"?

  19. #18

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    I've got a Squier Bass VI that is set up with Labella flatwounds. It feels more like a big guitar than a bass. It sounds really good, I filled in for a bass player in a big band and used the Bass VI. The short scale, plus flatwounds give it less sustain and works great in a jazz context. The neck pickup sounds especially fat. The bridge pickup with the tone rolled off does a decent Fender Jazz 'burp' kind of sound (it's the only way I can describe it!). Only thing I don't like about it is that the bridge rattles. I'm considering ordering a Staytrem bridge for it that would fix that problem.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by entresz View Post
    I've got a Squier Bass VI that is set up with Labella flatwounds. It feels more like a big guitar than a bass.
    I tried one in a music shop and it rattled and buzzed. I can see that the flatwounds would help the buzz, the rattle is probably due to a very slight break angle over the bridge itself, a problem inherent in the Jazzmaster which Fender fixed by changing the cut in the neck pocket on their modern take of this body shape/configuration. I'm not sure on the Squier Bass VI. You could increase the angle by shiming the neck and so increasing the bridge height and therefore string break angle.

    There's always this....


    “When a wise man points at the moon the fool considers the finger.”

  21. #20

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    Do a search or Google Fender's JB62SS. It's a short scale Jazz Bass. Looks fantastic.
    David - AcousticTones
    http://www.YouTube.com/AcousticTones
    Example of my playing: https://youtu.be/b20eMAp1neE

  22. #21

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    I say it's spinach and I say to hell with it.
    Just go here:


    OK, so that one is kind of hard to find. Brian Wheat has two of them. I have the third one. Just go here:
    Last edited by Hammertone; 04-21-2019 at 09:24 AM.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  23. #22

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    The Ibanez Mikro 5-string body felt ridiculous and intonation was difficult to impossible (both because of bridge and tuning machines) so I bought a bunch of upgrade hardware from Stewmac and I wrote to Steve Benford and who rebuilt my short scale bass with a single piece walnut body:

    short scale basses-img_2828-jpgshort scale basses-img_2827-jpgshort scale basses-img_2834-jpgshort scale basses-img_2831-jpgshort scale basses-img_2833-jpg
    Last edited by medblues; 07-26-2015 at 07:23 PM.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whirly View Post


    Anyone try the Kala U-Bass?
    I have had mine for about a month now and really love it. It's fun to play and sounds awesome. I have a full-scale bass with flats that is also fun to play but I definitely am loving the Kala these days. Great upright sound and you can take it anywhere. A worthwhile investment for sure.

  25. #24

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    Being as the strings are of a "rubber" material, how well do they stay in tune?
    "Ahhh - those Jazz guys are just makin' that stuff up!" - Homer Simpson

    "Anyone who understands Jazz knows that you can't understand it. It's too complicated. That's what's so simple about it." - Yogi Berra

  26. #25

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    The strings need frequent tweaking. Luckily, the bass has a built-in tuner, so it isn't a problem. The strings are very susceptible to changes in temperature.

  27. #26

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    I've been recording with my son's Danelectro and my standup. That's going from one extreme to the other. But I have the long fingers. Our bass is just like the one in this picture. It sounds great.


    Attached Images Attached Images short scale basses-danelectro_longhorn_bass_blue_burst_rifflessi-jpg 
    Last edited by kenbennett; 08-13-2015 at 07:18 AM.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenbennett View Post
    I've been recording with my son's Danelectro and my standup. That's going from one extreme to the other. But I have the long fingers. Our bass is just like the one in this picture. It sounds great.


    I have a Dano Bass that is strung with flats. Love Dano's!!

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    Gretch has a nice little one for cheap, and the Hofner copies by Epi are short-scale as well. Wanna go really short? The new fretless Uke bass is only about 15" in scale, but sounds like a big upright p[lugged in, really excellent.
    My 16 yr. old guitar playing son just got a Gretch short scale. It is a lot easier to play than a long scale and is...to quote my wife and his mom..."cute!" (That may or may not be part of your criteria.)

  30. #29

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    A nice Hofner 500/2 does the job as well.
    Attached Images Attached Images short scale basses-img_7586-jpg 
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  31. #30

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    Or, for the more traditionally minded but with a twist, the 500/2-CV - a nice sunburst (in shellac) w/Cavern spacing:
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  32. #31

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    Here's an article from Fender discussing short scale basses:

    https://www.fender.com/articles/tech...-right-for-you

    Is a Short-Scale Bass Right for You?

    Good things come in small packages.
    The scale of a guitar refers to the distance between the bridge an the nut. Most bass guitars are long-scale instruments. In fact, Fender itself defined the long-scale bass guitar when it introduced the profoundly influential Precision Bass® in 1951. It, as well as many other models that followed, has a 34” scale, which can prove to be a bit of a stretch for players with smaller hands and shorter reach.
    Realizing this, Fender--which already had been offering smaller-model electric guitars since 1955--introduced its first short-scale bass guitar, the Mustang® Bass, in 1966. This was the last Fender bass guitar designed by Leo Fender himself, and featured a student-friendly 30” scale, shorter distance between frets and a more compact overall size. Another short-scale model, the Musicmaster Bass, debuted in 1971 and remained in the Fender line until 1981.


    Between the mid-1950s and mid-1960s, several other makers introduced their own short- and medium-scale basses. Standards fell into place: the dominant long scale established by Fender (34”; rarely, other makers have offered longer scales), the less prevalent short scale (30” and slightly longer) and the much rarer medium scale (around 32”).


    Today, Fender’s widely varied bass guitar selection continues to feature several quality short-scale models. These include the modern version of the Fender Mustang Bass, Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass Special SS and Squier Bronco Bass.


    So, while there's an obvious visual difference between long- and short-scale basses, many players wonder: Do they sound different?
    Yes, definitely. For one thing, short-scale bass guitars sometimes use a slightly heavier string gauge than their long-scale brothers, which imparts a thicker tone. Furthermore, shorter strings require lower string tension for proper intonation, which gives both a looser, more “floppy” feel to the strings as well as fatter-sounding low notes.


    While the short-scale bass has obvious benefits for students and kids, it's been used by plenty of bass greats as well: Paul McCartney, Jack Bruce (Cream), Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones), Andy Fraser (Free), Glenn Cornick (Jethro Tull), Trevor Bolder (Spiders From Mars, Uriah Heep), Tina Weymouth (Talking Heads), Garry Tallent (E Street Band), Bruce Thomas (the Attractions), Gary Mounfield (Stone Roses, Primal Scream), Mike Watt (Minuteman, Firehose, Stooges) and many others.

  33. #32

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    My 16 yr. old just got a short scale Gretch. It was inexpensive and seems pretty decent.

  34. #33

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    How about 20.375”? I love that I can get close to an upright sound out of this.

    Zac
    Redeemed, Husband, Father, Veteran. Thankful for all four!

    I play a customized Godin 5th Avenue, Córdoba GK Studio, and a Hamer Korina. I also play a Kala uBass on occasion