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obbm

34" P v 32" P v 30" P

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I love the sound of my '73 Precision strung with Rotosound flats however, as my small hands are getting older and slightly arthritic , I'm finding the stretch on the 34" scale a bit too much, so I'm considering finding or having made either a 32" or even a 30" Precision. 

How much of that trademark Precision sound will be lost by doing this and is there an acceptable compromise?

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I had an MIJ Squier 32" Precision - which had previously been through the hands of many on here - and it was one of the finest sounding P basses I have had.  Really organic and woody.  And it does make a surprising difference even though it is only 2" shorter.

I currently have a Frankenstein bass that has the body of a cheap double cutaway bass with an Entwistle precision pickup married with a 32" scale neck from a Hondo II.  It also, surprisingly, sounds like a Precision albeit an aggressive one.

I have also had a Fender Musicmaster that had a P bass pickup installed - a Wizard Thumper as I recall - and it sounded great but more like a Mustang than a Precision.  Not a bad thing, just different.  Perhaps (cow poop theory alert) the reduction to 30" scale changes the fundamental Precision bass tone no matter what?   

But having said that there is absolutely nowt wrong with a Mustang, tbf.  They have the old school Fender vibe and sound.  I currently have a Squier VM Mustang that had a Nordstrand pickup upgrade and it sounds bloomin' lovely.  Which, if you happened to find yourself in the Essex Riviera at any point, you would be welcome to borrow for a while to see if it was a fit.

 

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I thought going short scale would be a solution to my arthritis/tennis elbow and got a Mustang this year.  It made it worse. It seems that a jazz neck is the best (for me) especially the u shape of the Flea Jazz. Horses for courses I guess. 

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I've converted to short scales over the last year or  so. I love jazz's so got an ACG finn 30" with jazz pups - still sounds very much like a jazz to me. I reckon a short scale precision would still sound on the money.

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I have a 32" scale ACG P that compares tone-wise to my Fender P bass, but has an asymmetric neck with 24 frets and is lighter by a fair margin resulting in it being gigged relentlessly displacing my other firm favourite gigging bass my ACG J Type.  Token bass pic:

1232668582_ACGCustomFinn01.thumb.jpg.c3452eae24e522c5c6bb4a9936ad362b.jpg

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18 hours ago, obbm said:

How much of that trademark Precision sound will be lost by doing this and is there an acceptable compromise?

A damaged nerve in my left wrist (plus the fact that I'm a bit of a short ar5e) forced me to move exclusively to short scales a couple of years ago. Two of my basses are 30" P/J's, a Mustang and a cheap and cheerful, but none the less superb Ibanez Talman. Tone wise I love that Precision punch so tend to favour using the P pickup without often dialling in any of the bridge.

I'm sure that there's some science behind it but I can't remember what it is or where I read it, but short scale basses tend to have an inherently darker sound than longer scales. I've certainly found this to be the case in practice, but it's nothing that can't be resolved by changing your EQ settings. For example, when playing 34" basses I liked to keep the EQ relatively flat, not the most exciting sound on its own but one that works well in a band situation. To get a similar tone with my short scales I find that I need to back off the bass and low mids while boosting the treble and upper mids. You may struggle to get those glassy Marcus Miller highs with a short scale but if you're using a Precision that's probably not the sound you're looking for anyway. But that P magic is in the punchy low mids and with some experimentation with your EQ you can still get that sound. Some might argue that it's close but not quite there, whatever, it's certainly close enough family to my ears. There was a YouTube video doing the rounds a year or so ago comparing a number of different P basses and there was a surprising amount of variation between them; all recognizably Precisions but each with their own voice. If you were to append that video with a suitably EQ'd clip of a short scale P I suspect that few would be able to tell much difference in a blind test. 

Incidentally, I find short scales so much easier to play. Whenever I pick up a full sized bass now it just feels cumbersome and awkward . It makes me wonder how I persevered with them for so long! 

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I have indeed got a short scale ACG with a split coil P in it and it's phenomenal! Really P Bassy tone and it's incredible with flats on it.

Not quite a proper P Bass tone here, but I have a couple of other vids I shot at the same time which I can dig out.

All in, short scale Ps work beautifully and I would absolutely have a chat with Alan about something if you're going custom.

Eude

Edited by eude

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I moved to medium scale and short scale some years ago. I tend to favour my Squier Mustang. I think I'm getting a bit lazy in my dotage and find it easy on the left hand plus it's relatively light weight. Flats of course.

It's very comfortable to play seated and I've discovered no dead frets.

The narrow string spacing may not suit everyone.

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How about giving one of the new PJ Mustangs a go Dave?  If you like the tone from that you know 30" would work.

 

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I'm really considering going 32" especially for those long wedding gigs. It's good to hear that I wouldn't be losing out tone-wise if I take the plunge!

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I agree with eude you don't really miss anything going short scale and always get comments about how good the bass sounds when playing live.

I've got an ACG TKO with PB pickup and a modified Harley Benton with a Delano.

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I'm strictly short scale now. I've had a Squier Jag SS for a while and just got a MIM PJ Mustang. Interesting comments about the eq. First try out at rehearsal last week and the drummer was saying there's too much bass. Got a new amp as well (Rumble 500) so need to experiment a bit. 

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5 minutes ago, Trueno said:

First try out at rehearsal last week and the drummer was saying there's too much bass.

Makes a change from too much drums ;) 

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@obbm, for the same reasons, I swapped to a Jazz neck, the thinnest I could get. This turned out to be an American Special, new, from that there Stratosphere guy on Ebay. Wasn't cheap, but did the job. I had previously experimented with this setup, so knew it would likely work. As a trial, I used a Squier VM77 Jazz neck which was every bit as good and comfortable.

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6 hours ago, Trueno said:

I'm strictly short scale now. I've had a Squier Jag SS for a while and just got a MIM PJ Mustang. Interesting comments about the eq. First try out at rehearsal last week and the drummer was saying there's too much bass. Got a new amp as well (Rumble 500) so need to experiment a bit. 

The Rumble amp is very bass heavy, especially in Vintage mode. But the Mustang and Rumble are a match made in heaven. 👍

Edited by hooky_lowdown
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2 hours ago, hooky_lowdown said:

The Rumble amp is very bass heavy, especially in Vintage mode. But the Mustang and Rumble are a match made in heaven. 👍

The vintage mode is off the menu... too much for me. There's still four bands of eq to go for. Think I ended up with the bass flat and some lift on low mids.

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40 minutes ago, Trueno said:

The vintage mode is off the menu... too much for me. There's still four bands of eq to go for. Think I ended up with the bass flat and some lift on low mids.

That's pretty much how I run my Rumble. 👍

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2 hours ago, hooky_lowdown said:

That's pretty much how I run my Rumble. 👍

I always keep the low mids flat and boost the high mids a bit, I always find boosting the low mids on the rumble muddies the sound a bit, obviously though the bass you use will have a big impact on this

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