As an immigrant to the Land of Bass, I'm in need of guidance. Right now I'm borrowing a bass from a friend who never plays but won't sell it and I'm looking to buy one of my own. I'm not a big guy, so the idea of a short scale bass is very intriguing. This leads me to two questions:

1.) What are the real differences between short scale and full scale? (inb4 it's shorter)

2.) What brands/models would be good in the super-cheap ~$200 range?
First off, don't think you have to go short scale because your not a "big" person. I'm a 5'4" woman with small hands and i play a 3/4 upright and full scale basses all the time. I just takes a bit of attention to technique and practice.

Short scales have a different tone to them than their bigger bros. I own a short scale Dano Long Horn and six string Brice and they are fun to play because they are different beasts.

For slightly more than your price range you could get a VM Squier Mustang bass, which is not a bad first bass to enter the bass world with.
first, the transition from full scale to short scale is slightly tougher than the reverse, and much harder for inexperienced bassists. second, short scales are muddier sounding and their strings feel much looser. third, because they don't sell as well as full scale, there are fewer options for short scale basses.

long scales in that range would include Ibanez and Peavey, which are really nice. Short scales in that range, I think the only relevant one is the Squier Bronco.

Don't worry about size, one of the best bass players I ever met was a very small man. Anarkee on this forum is rather on the small side, and she rocks uprights and full scales with ease. EDIT: and is a ninja.
Quote by FatalGear41
I wouldn't call what we have here on the Bass Forum a mentality. It's more like the sharing part of an AA meeting.

Quote by Jason Jillard

Warwick Fortress>>Acoustic AB50

Last edited by the humanity at Mar 7, 2012,
I wasn't really worried about it, I just thought it might be a bit easier/more comfortable. After trying some dropped tunings I can tell I don't like loose strings very much, so that sounds a bit off putting. Being muddy could be a problem too. At this point though, price is my concern more than quality. I'm too busy to be a serious musician, so for now I think cheap-n-easy is the way to go. There is a pawn shop nearby that has a few full scales in my budget, so I will look into that more. Last time I went, they had a beat up Samick for $50

Edit: I just saw this on CL. I like the look. $85, Lotus brand, will probably need to replace a tuner. Any comments?
Last edited by Beorune at Mar 7, 2012,
Don't worry about size.... I've never had a problem with full scale and I'm about 5'3½" tall, I have small hands etc. The only real reason to go for short scale as I see it, is for the different sound you get versus full scale basses.
I was playing full scale basses when I was 11, I think you'll survive no matter what size you are.
To scoop up some glory before din arrives...

The bronco is great, Rondo also sells a tone of short scales from P/PJ/J bass copies to beatle basses. Ibanez has the Mikro, Grestch has a short scale, Epiphone has the EB-0 see my thread and others for warnings/tips on that. I owned a Japanese mustang and just sold it, and kept the bronco and so far have no regrets.

My Bronco has a GFS rail pickup, a permanent high pass filter, and a switchable low pass, giving it a very growly tone, so I can't make out a "short scale tone", same with the mustang, it had string through with flats and a very bassy boomy tone I got tired of. The guage of strings was around .95 so I felt a little more slack but not to be a detriment or otherwise.
I think I will just stick to the full scale for now. When/if I get experienced enough to know what kind of tone I want, I will look into short scales.

Anybody have experience with Axl basses? The finishes look badass and they aren't too expensive.
Another full scale but cost effective route is to look at Rondo basses. Their build quality has improved in the last few years and they sell direct, so their prices are lower.
askrere had mentioned them and I was just on their website, as it were. The prices are jaw dropping! They have a few with natural finishes that look quite spiffy.

So....what's with that thread about this forum being dead? Seems lively enough for me

Edit: Continuing to roam off topic from the short scale stuff, how about tone woods? How much of a difference would I, the uber-noob, notice between Ash and Alder?
Last edited by Beorune at Mar 7, 2012,
I had never heard of Lotus until I saw that one. I love the look and as long as it works, $85 seems like a sweet deal. Anybody else heard of Lotus?
Lotus basses were made by Samick and Cort during the 70s and 80s. They weren't really great in quality. High action, shite pickups and not great hardware. I would seriously check out the bass before I bought it.
I'd look for yamaha's rbx. they are lightweight, sound ok, well built, and the harware doesn't completely suck. see if you can find a used squier Vintage Modified Jazz. it won't be in the $85 price range, but it is worth. also look at peaveys.

there's not much more to say but to try the bass before you buy it! and how much the tonewood affects the tone is debatable, and there are people that will say it almost doesn't and there will be people that would say it changes almost everything. however, in that price range, i wouldn't care.
Quote by FatalGear41
When you break a bass string, that snapping sound is the sound of six dollars going down the crapper.

Sterling Ray 35
Hartke Ha3500 head - Gallien Krueger 212MBE cab
Tech 21 VT Bass
Zoom b2
Quote by Sudaka
see if you can find a used squier Vintage Modified Jazz. it won't be in the $85 price range, but it is worth. .

Mine was under that but I was lucky.
Thank you for this thread! My gf is wanting to start playing bass, and is also very short, and we were looking at getting her a 3/4 scale bass. After reading this, i'll recommend she get a full scale bass.

However, for my own reference I'd like to know- do you just buy standard strings for a 3/4 scale bass and cut the strings a bit shorter, or are there special strings for 3/4 basses?

Do they come in even smaller gauges too? (I think the smallest gauge I've seen for a full scale 4 string bass is 95 on the E string)

Many thanks

Warwick Rock Bass Corvette
Italia Modulo Bass
Warwick Rock Bass Corvette Fretless
Shine P-Bass copy
They make short scale sets. A guy I talked to in a local shop who has played for decades said the reason is sometimes they wont fit into the slots in the tuning keys and thats the reason people dont use long scale sets on a short scale.

However with that said, what Id suggest is take her and let her decide. I order alot of my bass's off the net but if you can find both have her try em both. Reason I say this is my main bass is a Ibanez short scale a AGB200. It suits me perfectly and it sounds amazing to my ears. I picked up a few other short scales and while I love how they play they need some modifications to become great sounding bass's. At the same time I enjoy my Ibanez SR300DX but I think the short scale plays and sounds better.
Current Gear
Ibanez AGB200
Epiphone ET-280(with Dean Hillsboro Single guts and pup)
Epiphone EB-0

Gallien Krueger 700RB-II
Gallien Krueger 410 MBE
MXR Fuzz Deluxe
MXR Analog Chorus
Dunlop CryBaby 105Q
Boss TU-2
Cheers J_Rust, that clears it up.

I'll take her to a store and she can try out both. Can always buy online somewhere else if they are overpriced or sell the usual cheap tat.
Warwick Rock Bass Corvette
Italia Modulo Bass
Warwick Rock Bass Corvette Fretless
Shine P-Bass copy
I'm also female, 5'4 and have small hands. And I don't think I've ever played a short scale bass. In fact I'm not sure I've even seen one in person before. I still have to stretch a bit to cover four frets but there are exercises to help with that and it's gradually getting easier.
Quote by FatalGear41
Bassists don't hover on the forum day and night like guitarists. We've got lives to lead, music to play and whiskey to drink.

Quote by Ziphoblat
I'd rather go at my hands with a hacksaw than play lead guitar, and I'm only slightly exaggerating.
Try. Everything.

Play for a few years.

Try. Everything. Again.

Nothing in bass playing is static. You get older, your body changes, your tastes change, your style evolves.

I started on a P bass. I now mainly play a short scale Jazz. I still play a P bass. But the benefit of growing is that i now KNOW which tool to use for which job.

So, saying "X persons should only use X bass" or "X basses are only good for X music" is just silly. Go out and try stuff. Rather than say P-like or J-like, really learn about scale lengths, neck widths at the nut/bridge, string spacing, neck thickness, neck diameters... knowing your preference on THESE aspects will serve you much better when choosing a bass that will FEEL right for you.

You also can't generalize tones. Saying "short scales are muddy" is an example. Sure, they CAN be muddy... but so can anything. String type/brand/diameter, bridge type, saddle type, pickup type/spacing, electronics, and body/neck woods all play big parts in a bass' tone.

Get out there and try things... make lists of what you like and don't like. Take note of the amp(s) you're playing out of. Whenever possible use your own amp when trying new basses.

In my experience, it's SO much more rewarding to put in the extra investigative effort and end up with a bass you KNOW you'll like, than it is to settle for a bass that you MIGHT like.
"Punk Rock should mean freedom, liking and accepting anything that you like, as sloppy as you want, as long as it's good and has passion."
All so very true, except my telecaster, which I just snapped one day and knew that was the guitar I had to have, and did without ever playing or even touching one.

But in the end the neck is exactly what I like and the bridge pickup tone bypassed is the best tone ever.

But yea otherwise a bad move to buy blind, and the amp part is a big part of it, unless ou have a 10 watter practice amp then live a little.

Speaking of jazz basses, SXSW is going on (but my uni decided to bump spring break up one week...) but a guy had an Ibanez Black Eagle for sale for $200. He described it as an Ibanez black bass with a bird on it, I wanted to drive down soo bad. About two hours later the ad was gone and, "Ibanez Black Eagle- $1000, the Nirvana tone" was up lol. But I bought a new amp so can't complain.