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Changing from long scale to short scale!

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Thanks for the recommendations for the short scale strings. I think this epiphone EB 3 might suit flat wounds. I don' like the Warwick round wounds that it came with. What is the tension like on the Chromes, is it similar to the Thomastik TI flats as I did like them.

 

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I am selling a lot of my gear to completely change to short scale. Chowny make beautiful ss basses, I’m going for a fretted SWB Pro and a fretless SWB-1.

Edited by Frank Blank

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I started out on bass with a short scale EB copy but have been playing long scale ever since. I had a good go at a couple of Chowny's recently because of their looks.  However,  it felt like going from my Martin jumbo acoustic to a uke and just didnt feel like a proper bass. Just my take on it.

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I'm a fan of full scale 34" basses myself. But the older I get, weight, stretching and shoulder aches are becoming more of an issue.
So I got myself a 30" Fender Jazz (not often seen in the UK) it's a nice bass, but it does feel a bit "odd" I can tend to overshoot or over-stretch a bit sometimes - but these are all things you can get used to...
Perhaps I do this because I also play DB - so 30" scale seems small.

I also have a MIJ Squier 32" medium scale, and that, I must say is far easier to adapt to - it almost feels like a 34" scale, but it's incredibly lightweight
My recommendation would be to try some 32" scale basses too - if you can find any. Oddly my Medium scale is noticeably lighter than the 30" scale Jazz
I also found that by using a decent soft leather strap, it made my heavier full scale basses seem a bit more comfortable on my shoulder - definitely consider this too
I must say, I usually tended to just get a fairly cheap strap and think that was that.... a nice comfy strap can make quite a difference though


My backup bass, and the one I tend to take to pub jams (along with my Roland Micro Cube battery bass amp) is the one pictured below.
It's a Tanglewood Elfin, I think it's around 25" scale - it's crazy, because it's so tiny & light, yet sounds like a full size P bass! It's odd when switching to something quite so short scale, but I can do it as long as I don't start playing high up the neck - or else I'm really likely to over-shoot or over-stretch... mind you, the intonation isn't quite spot on higher up the neck anyway.... Yes, it looks a bit toy-like, but it's so small, light and handy, and oddly enough I get more comments about it than any of my more expensive bass guitars ;)

Sonically, I find that both the 32" and the 30" basses are quite different to any of my full scale basses

22279866_10155851815026095_7165726926290579642_n.jpg

Edited by Marc S

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I read this thread with interest - I'm new to the forum, joined it to get some advice on short scale basses.

I've been playing  bass for 20 years on and off, but always found the bass guitar a big stretch for my hands, particularly when playing fast riffs or basslines that jump around a lot. Practice helps, but even with practice I can't play as fluidly as I'd like. Also I play fretless - hitting the notes in the right place is essential so that increases the challenge!

I'd always assumed that short scale basses wouldn't sound so good - but maybe ta 30" bass is is the answer. Marc S how do you find the 30" jazz, sound wise?

And Frank Blank I'd love to hear how you're getting on with the fretless SWB-1?

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16 minutes ago, suzi 9mm said:

.....I've been playing  bass for 20 years on and off, but always found the bass guitar a big stretch for my hands, particularly when playing fast riffs or basslines that jump around a lot. Practice helps, but even with practice I can't play as fluidly as I'd like. Also I play fretless - hitting the notes in the right place is essential so that increases the challenge!

I'd always assumed that short scale basses wouldn't sound so good - but maybe ta 30" bass is is the answer. Marc S how do you find the 30" jazz, sound wise?

And Frank Blank I'd love to hear how you're getting on with the fretless SWB-1?

If full scale 34" is a bit of a stretch for you, then perhaps 32" or 30" may be the way to go.
Personally, for me 34" scale is still fine - but I can appreciate how, as one gets older stretching can become more difficult as joints age. I've spoken to a few older bassists who have migrated to short scale

It's tricky to asses just how the 30" scale Jazz compares to a 34" Jazz, suzi9mm - as it has a P/J pickup arrangement. So it sounds more akin to my P/J Precisions than it does a 34" Jazz....
It's also wearing rather different strings to anything else I play. However, I think it's just a little bit "lighter" on the lows than my 34" P/J basses. The mids are a little more pronounced too, I think

Years ago, I had a US Musicmaster, which was a bit too "middy" for my liking, and it lacked a bit of bottom-end "heft", though at the time Fender fitted the Musicmaster bass with guitar pickups, not ones designed for bass. Also, these days there is more variety in string types readily available, so a bit of experimentation can help you find a better sound and feel, more suited to what you're after, and suited to your bass. Back in the day, local shops only stocked one brand, one gauge of string for my old short scale - and they usually only had one set! lol

My 30" Jazz certainly sounds much "bigger", "fuller" and has a wider range of tones than my old Musicmaster did - hope that helps :)

PS. I don't see many fretless basses around in shops, either new or used, and I don't think I've ever seen a 30" fretless in any shops near me - so you might be better off trying to find one on here, or perhaps get a 30" bass de-fretted
Either way, let us know what you decide, and how you find the switch from 34" to short scale....

Edited by Marc S

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11 minutes ago, Marc S said:

If full scale 34" is a bit of a stretch for you, then perhaps 32" or 30" may be the way to go.
Personally, for me 34" scale is still fine - but I can appreciate how, as one gets older stretching can become more difficult as joints age. I've spoken to a few older bassists who have migrated to short scale

It's tricky to asses just how the 30" scale Jazz compares to a 34" Jazz, suzi9mm - as it has a P/J pickup arrangement. So it sounds more akin to my P/J Precisions than it does a 34" Jazz....
It's also wearing rather different strings to anything else I play. However, I think it's just a little bit "lighter" on the lows than my 34" P/J basses. The mids are a little more pronounced too, I think

Years ago, I had a US Musicmaster, which was a bit too "middy" for my liking, and it lacked a bit of bottom-end "heft", though at the time Fender fitted the Musicmaster bass with guitar pickups, not ones designed for bass. Also, these days there is more variety in string types readily available, so a bit of experimentation can help you find a better sound and feel, more suited to what you're after, and suited to your bass. Back in the day, local shops only stocked one brand, one gauge of string for my old short scale - and they usually only had one set! lol

My 30" Jazz certainly sounds much "bigger", "fuller" and has a wider range of tones than my old Musicmaster did - hope that helps :)

PS. I don't see many fretless basses around in shops, either new or used, and I don't think I've ever seen a 30" fretless in any shops near me - so you might be better off trying to find one on here, or perhaps get a 30" bass de-fretted
Either way, let us know what you decide, and how you find the switch from 34" to short scale....

Thanks very much Marc S, that's really helpful. It wounds like getting the right strings can make a difference.

I might try going fretted from now on ... a bit of a change but I'm ready for a change! I'm not sure I'm ready to pay for a Fender Jazz (yet), maybe I need to get a cheap-ish 30" first, just to see how it feels to play. :) 

Thanks again!

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50 minutes ago, suzi 9mm said:

And Frank Blank I'd love to hear how you're getting on with the fretless SWB-1?

Well I have the SWB Pro on order but I won't be ordering the fretless SWB-1 until I've sold my Fender Modern Player fretless on here. As soon as I have the bass I will be straight on here to let you know.

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1 hour ago, suzi 9mm said:

I read this thread with interest - I'm new to the forum, joined it to get some advice on short scale basses.

Just as a comment on this, my main bass is now the Taylor Mini-e Bass, obviously it's a bit niche but it exactly what I need for my current band. The scale of this is actually 23.5 inches and, despite it being a huge change from my bigger basses it was an instant and significant improvement for me,  so much so I had one of those Oh dear, I should have been playing short scale for the last thirty years! I would suggest getting to some some shops and trying differing scale length basses out but most importantly, don't be put off by the It's too small / short / looks like a toy brigade, it's a boy thing, I'm sure Freud would have an answer to why men need big basses, same reason they need fast cars I expect.. just try everything rather than thinking to yourself that's not for me. The neck on mine is tiny but it has improved my playing hugely.

Edited by Frank Blank
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On 11/29/2017 at 15:52, mikeycrikey said:

Thanks for the recommendations for the short scale strings. I think this epiphone EB 3 might suit flat wounds. I don' like the Warwick round wounds that it came with. What is the tension like on the Chromes, is it similar to the Thomastik TI flats as I did like them.

 

i might be wrong but i thought that the EB3 was long scale (34") the EB0 is short scale? an easy way to spot the difference is that the eb3 has 2 pickups and the eb0 just one.  

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2 minutes ago, Frank Blank said:

Just as a comment on this, my main bass is now the Taylor Mini-e Bass, obviously it's a bit niche but it exactly what I need for my current band. The scale of this is actually 23.5 inches and, despite it being a huge change from my bigger basses it was an instant and significant improvement for me,  so much so I had one of those Oh dear, I should have been playing short scale for the last thirty years! I would suggest getting to some some shops and trying differing scale length basses out but most importantly, don't be put off by the It's too small / short / looks like a toy brigade, it's a boy thing, I'm sure Freud would have an answer to why men need big basses, same reason they need fast cars I expect.. just try everything rather than thinking to yourself that's not for me. The neck on mine is tiny but it has improved my playing hugely.

Ha! Thanks Frank Blank! Strangely, although i'm quite petite (and female) I also somehow feel that I need a 'large' bass to make me look cool. 

However even more than this I want to sound good, so if a shorter scale is going to help me then I'm right in there! Also I find the weight of the bass guitar is giving me problems these days - I get tired at practices when playing for a couple of hours or more. And my hands get tired which results in mistakes. 

Anyway I read that Tina Weymouth has used a short scale, and she is (predictably) my idol!

So thanks again for your comments and encouragement!

 

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6 minutes ago, suzi 9mm said:

Ha! Thanks Frank Blank! Strangely, although i'm quite petite (and female) I also somehow feel that I need a 'large' bass to make me look cool. 

However even more than this I want to sound good, so if a shorter scale is going to help me then I'm right in there! Also I find the weight of the bass guitar is giving me problems these days - I get tired at practices when playing for a couple of hours or more. And my hands get tired which results in mistakes. 

Anyway I read that Tina Weymouth has used a short scale, and she is (predictably) my idol!

So thanks again for your comments and encouragement!

Likewise with Tina Weymouth, she's superb. I don't know what the thing is with big basses, I struggled for years and just thought it was my lot to struggle because I have small hands for any instrument let alone bass, what I really meant by my boys with big basses comments was that you need to try stuff out without the burden of thinking you need big (or small for that matter), try everything without preconceptions is what I mean. When I went into my local music shop the chap who usually serves me and knows my particular tastes in instruments just pointed at the Taylor and said Tried one of these? Be careful when you pick it up, it's as addictive as crack. I did pick it up and I only put it down twenty minutes later in order to pay for it. Try everything.

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50 minutes ago, Matt P said:

i might be wrong but i thought that the EB3 was long scale (34") the EB0 is short scale? an easy way to spot the difference is that the eb3 has 2 pickups and the eb0 just one.  

Short scale Epi EB3...

5aa28c228a22f_EpiElitistEB3.jpg.cb492a34bb42512b05bcb82872d4f72e.jpg

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I'm 6'2" and I'm now strictly short scale... so to speak. I have gigged with a cij Mustang in the past. I've recently bought a Squier Jaguar SS recently and think it's great. Now I'm considering other SS basses and am likely to be selling my remaining long scale. I'm motivated by a mixture of age and arthiticky hands, but I also think SS basses are amazingly cool.

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18 minutes ago, goingdownslow said:

Short scale Epi EB3...

5aa28c228a22f_EpiElitistEB3.jpg.cb492a34bb42512b05bcb82872d4f72e.jpg

ooh, that's a new one on me! i was going on the info from the epiphone website that has the EB3 as 34", what year/country was this made?

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18 minutes ago, Matt P said:

ooh, that's a new one on me! i was going on the info from the epiphone website that has the EB3 as 34", what year/country was this made?

That model is the Elite/Elitist EB3 and was made in Japan 2002-2005. https://web.archive.org/web/20160322002111/http://epiphonewiki.com:80/index.php/Elitist_Basses and I have now fitted it with a Babicz bridge.

Babicz.jpg.fd81c99bd0cff0c9cb1ea0b551667f1b.jpg

 Epi also did a limited run of '60s' short scale that despite it saying Japanese market only was available from Dawsons amongst others. https://web.archive.org/web/20160321184607/http://epiphonewiki.com:80/index.php/EB-Series

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Yes, Tina Weymouth is awesome! :)

BTW Suzi, don't know whether you've seen this? I don't know the seller, and haven't physically seen the neck
 


But I was just wondering whether something like this might be a good idea? Perhaps with a second-hand Short Scale Squier?
interchangeble necks? - if it would fit, that is..... That way, you can try out fretted and fretless short scale, and see what you prefer...

Be sure to get the Short Scale Squier Jaguar though - they also do a long scale version!

EDIT: BTW, I have dealt with the seller, and he's a good BC'er

Edited by Marc S

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I just bought myself a shortie Squier Jag. If anyone is considering trying short scale without worrying about the money, I can totally recommend this bass, it's £190 and there's really nothing wrong with it. All my other basses are US Fenders and I didn't expect much for such a cheap bass, but so far I have no complaints.

I swapped out the pickups and put tapewounds on it, which cost more than the bass itself, but that was just to get it close to my usual tone. I think it's a fully giggable bass without having to do any mods. 

Im going to live with it for a few weeks to see how it holds up, but so far so good.

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