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What is the general opinion on here about short scale basses. I play guitar and bass and sometimes I think a short scale bass would be easier to switch to than the long scale. I read today that the strings are thicker so they still have a deep sound. Is that true? Are there any other tonal differences?

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Don't even bother. It might be "easier" if you have small hands, but short scale basses are mud factories. Unless you want to sound like Jack Bruce or Mike Watt, just get a long scale bass. It's not any harder than short scale, especially if you get some light gauge strings. I (as always) recommend a Fender Jazz Bass or J Bass style instrument. They're available at ALL price points and they do all styles very well.

 

The best Jazz I've ever played is a Squire Vintage Modified 70's Style Jazz Bass (phew...) New $299. Don't let the name fool you, it's better than most American Jazzes I've played.

416354.jpg

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Don't even bother. It might be "easier" if you have small hands' date=' but short scale basses are mud factories.

[img']http://img3.musiciansfriend.com/dbase/pics/products/3/5/4/416354.jpg[/img]

 

Mud Factory [biggrin] ... anyone up for forming a band called that?

 

... & you mentioned Jack Bruce again... there's that shiver down the spine AGAIN!

 

eggmuffins

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If memory serves, there were long scale versions of the Gibson EB-0 and the EB-3, denominated the EB-0L and the EB3-L. They might be kind of hard to find but doing so would allow one to stay in the Gibson family and play a long scale bass. The EB0-L always intrigued me. Would it sound woofly, being that there's only one big pickup near the neck?

 

Old Ampeg Guy

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The notion that shortscale basses sound muddy is nonsense. It is certainly easier for a guitar player to switch to bass with a shortscale and string gauge is a matter of preference. A lighter gauge string will generally have less tension and sound brighter. The Allen Woody Rumblekat is great sounding shortscale that kicks butt over any Fender style plank of wood.

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I would guess that why many short scale basses sound like mud is two reasons: One, many short scale basses (commonly bought by beginners) are cheap. And two, I suspect that many people inadvertantly put full scale strings on them. And there is your recipe for mud. Happy cooking!

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The notion that shortscale basses sound muddy is nonsense. It is certainly easier for a guitar player to switch to bass with a shortscale and string gauge is a matter of preference. A lighter gauge string will generally have less tension and sound brighter. The Allen Woody Rumblekat is great sounding shortscale that kicks butt over any Fender style plank of wood.

 

I've used both for recording' date=' never had any complaints with short scale basses. Right now I'm using a 30" scale SX fretless J-Bass:

 

[img']http://home.earthlink.net/~jkmcleer/Guitars/sxBass.jpg[/img]

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  • 2 months later...

I prefer a short-scale bass. I started out playing guitar for 40 years and then switched a few years ago to upright bass (42" scale) and short-scale (30.5") electric bass. When I have played 34" and 33" long-scale electric basses, I have trouble playing legato when going from a note on the first fret to the fourth fret. I have had some hand and wrist problems (tendonitis and carpal tunnel), though, so that may be part of the problem. The short-scale electric bass works best for me. Some players of long scale basses use a technique akin to the upright bass, though and don't try to make four-fret stretches up at the nut. I find no sacrifice in tone with a short scale bass. All things being equal, the fundamental is a little more pronounced, but you can raise the treble and midrange on your amp to get more overtones (unless you are playing an old EB-2 or Rivoli which has a pickup that really muffles or chokes out the overtones). Each instrument has its own feel, sound, and personality. You need to try one for a few months (and maybe sell it if it doesn't work out) before you will find the perfect fit for you and what you play.

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  • 1 month later...

`

 

I love my RumbleKat and am not committed to

short scale in any way, having plenty of long

scale basses on hand. Even with no bridge PU,

just neck and neck-ish middle PU's, I chose to

keep it and part with a pair of JC's [had all 3 on

hand together, for a few years].

 

I've also got a Gibby SG Supreme and Ovation

Typhoon FL ... both short scale keepers. Had

no problem with the short scale of my Mustang

but sold it for other reasons. I'm also very much

interested in the Kala U-Bass, a 20" scale bass

in the std EADG tuning.

 

Bassically, numbers ought to tell us something

in comparing two basses, all else being equal

of course ... but "all else" is NEVER equal, not

even comparing long and short scale versions of

nearly identical basses, like the EB-O, B-3, etc.

So ultimately numbers don't mean much.

 

Most of my 34" 4-strings are tuned to DGCF,

which is the same thing as playing 31" scale

EADG basses strung with normal 34" strings,

but these basses also have "extensions", two

frets' worth of extension, on each string.

 

 

`

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  • 1 month later...

Lots of people put flats on their short scales. They like the thump Sir McCartney generated or they want a tone closer to a stand up bass. I don't hear mud and I get lots of complements about the tone.

 

This is exactly what I do : flats on the EB-2, rounds on the 'Bird.

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There seems to be some implication here that

maybe SOME players put RW on short scale ?

 

I spoze some peeps like ketchup on donuts.

????

 

It is just another tonal experience, like playing fretless and leaving the instrument its brilliance (i play halfrounds on my fretless basses, one of them is 32")

 

In the same way i prefer non-flats on the EB-0 (currently Pyramid nickel wound '45), and even have inserted a no load pot and split the pu in order to have a brigher sound (it now sounds roughly similar to the bridge pu of the explorer bass - nice)

 

Beate

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When discussing short scale basses and the merits (or lack) thereof, it's worth noting that the following players made their reputations playing short scale basses, and are often lauded for their tone:

 

Paul McCartney (Hofner)

Jack Bruce (Gibson)

Jack Casady (Guild Starfire, later Alembic. Jack now plays his Epi signature long-scale model, but the early Airplane and Hot Tuna albums were mostly short scale. And I've never heard anyone say his tone sucked.)

Phil Lesh (Guild Starfire, later Alembic)

Robbie Shakespeare (Hofner) One of reggae's foundation players. Robbie often used a Hofner Beatle Bass on his classic 70's recordings, though now he's played many other models too since then.

 

I'm not sure whether the 60's Epiphone Rivoli bass was short or long scale (I THINK it was short, but I could be wrong), and a TON of British invasion players used them --- Chas Chandler of the Animals, Paul Samwell-Smith of the Yardbirds, Les Chadwick of Gerry and the Pacemakers, Frank Allen of the Searchers, Rick Huxley of the Dave Clark Five, occasionally Bill Wyman of the Stones.

 

The bottom line (ahem!) is that short scale basses can indeed provide a fat and satisfying sound in the hands of a good player. Different from a long-scale --- just as 25.5" scale guitars have different tonal characteristics than 24.75" scale ones. They can absolutely sound not just acceptable, but really good.

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I'm not sure whether the 60's Epiphone Rivoli bass was short or long scale (I THINK it was short, but I could be wrong), and a TON of British invasion players used them --- Chas Chandler of the Animals, Paul Samwell-Smith of the Yardbirds, Les Chadwick of Gerry and the Pacemakers, Frank Allen of the Searchers, Rick Huxley of the Dave Clark Five, occasionally Bill Wyman of the Stones.

 

I had a Rivoli, it was 30 1/2" scale, but if I remember correctly, short scale strings didn't quite reach so I used Medium 32" scale strings.

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I had a Rivoli, it was 30 1/2" scale, but if I remember correctly, short scale strings didn't quite reach so I used Medium 32" scale strings.

 

A Rivoli is essentially an EB-2. I use short scale strings on the EB-2 with no problems. Maybe something was different about the bridge or the way the neck was set up on a Rivoli which made longer strings necessary. I have never seen one in person.

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A Rivoli is essentially an EB-2. I use short scale strings on the EB-2 with no problems. Maybe something was different about the bridge or the way the neck was set up on a Rivoli which made longer strings necessary. I have never seen one in person.

 

The distance from the nut to the bridge has to be equal to the scale, but the tail piece to the bridge or nut to tuners can vary. I had a Hofner bass, used one brand of strings on it. Then a got a Hofner clone, tried the same strings, too short. Couldn't figure it out at first, then it dawned on me. The clone's tail piece was a little shorter than the Hofner, so there was bit more space between the bridge and tailpiece.

 

Also, I use flatwounds on my basses, and a lot of flatwounds are designed for the 30" scale Hofners. The short scale GHS flatwounds fit up to 31" scale, so I'm guessing they would have worked fine with the Rivoli. But I had mine back in the early 1970s, and there weren't as much choice.

 

 

 

 

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I see. There hasn't been a problem fitting the EB-2, and it has flatwounds on it now. Maybe it is just the evolution of strings. It might also be the fact that my EB-2 is actually an EB-2DC, with the factory compensated bridge. The bridge is a little different from the non-adjustable ones on Rivolis and EB-2s. The difference might be just enough to make strings fit or not fit.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I never had a mud sound problem with EB series basses. I support the type of amp and speakers, as well as the settings creating the mud sound. I've used nylon strings on a 1969 EB0. A Traynor head, with a 2X12 cab. No mud on the tires with that set up either.

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  • 9 months later...

This thread is fairly old, reviving it:

 

I just got an Epi Viola Bass, and want to put flat-wounds on it. Can anyone recommend a flat-wound model they know will fit?

 

In particular, will the GHS "Short Scale" for 30-31" scales work? (Viola has 30.5", but there seems to be some dispute about whether these strings are long enough.)

 

Brian in Reno

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