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Short scale bass advice, please


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Hello all, my name is Luke. I'm brand new here and looking for some advice if you would be so kind. I want to buy a short scale bass, I play in a band and most bass guitars dwarf me as I'm a slim, short derrière. I also move a round a lot on stage and have almost knocked out our guitarist a few times with the head of my bass. I have a budget of £800, I could stretch a little further for the right bass. I was interested in the Supro Huntington but can't find any of the models anywhere (there is one on reverb.com buts it's actually long gone) so I started looking at the Sterling Stingrays but only seem the find the baby blue or white one which I really don't like the look of (stupid I know). I'm now looking at the Gibson Les Paul junior but it's out of stock at most places apart from the blue stain one which seems to be more expensive than the other colours and I'm getting confused by it all and whether any of these bass guitars are worth it. None of the music shops near me have any short scale bass guitars to try. Loads of shops advertise these bass guitars but when you go to check out they don't actually have any stock. I play mostly heavy rock and punk and I use a pick (sorry 🤣).  

I don't have loads of money so don't wanna make a bad purchase choice if I can help it. If you were in my small shoes with my small budget, what short scale bass would you go for? Thanks for reading.

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Almost bang on budget is the Fender Vintera Mustang, if you like the P nut width. If you prefer a more J type width, the Player Mustang has a 1.5” nut width, plus it has  the extra J pickup at a fair few quid less. I’m a recent convert to short scales and my JMJ Mustang has quickly become the bass I pick up first. 

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Noone wants to make a bad purchase choice, which is why the best thing you can do is play one, I know, pretty hard if you can't find one. You haven't listed where you are so hard to say what your options are, but obviously some of these things are easier to try than to find, for instance it doesn't matter what colour the Gibson LP Junior is if you just want to try it, rather than if you want to buy etc.

Sometimes it is very hard to know what you are going to like. I don't like 4 string basses and hate flatwounds, yet I picked up a CV mustang recently, slapped flatwounds on it and it is all I am playing for the moment. Its really hard to tell what is going to 'click' without trying it.

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I'm in Blackpool UK. The music shops here are not great. I might take a trip to PMT in Manchester but even there they are limited for what they actually have in stock in the way of short scale. I'm not sure how easy it is to order  a guitar online and return if I don't like it. Does anyone have any advice for buying online and returning if needed? 

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16 minutes ago, Dragline said:

I'm not sure how easy it is to order  a guitar online and return if I don't like it. Does anyone have any advice for buying online and returning if needed? 

It's super easy.  I can't remember the last time I bought a bass from a shop in person. Buy online from a large retailer (like PMT or Andertons) and if you don't like it they will arrange a collection for £12.  The benefit of them arranging it instead of you is that if there is any courier issues/damage/loss, the shop will sort it out.

https://www.pmtonline.co.uk/returns/

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4 minutes ago, Dragline said:

Thanks for the advice. When returning an item can it just be for the reason that I don't like it or am I gonna have to say there's a fault? 

it can be for the reason you don't like it. If you check the big retailers they list what their policies are. I have returned basses and other items to andertons and G4M without issues. 

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6 minutes ago, Dragline said:

Thanks for the advice. When returning an item can it just be for the reason that I don't like it or am I gonna have to say there's a fault? 

The very reason for this 'returns' policy being a legal right is that you've not had the opportunity to try the item for yourself before purchase, as one would in a 'bricks'n'mortar' shop. It's at the heart of on-line purchasing, and its cost is factored into the business model of outlets with a web presence. No need to explain why it's unsuitable, and no 'fault' is needed; it just doesn't fit your needs once you've had the item in your hands. The principle applies to all web shops; some are better at respecting it than others, so a reputable outlet would be a safer option. You don't have this option from a visit to a 'real' shop; once purchased there, it's yours, unless faulty.
Hope this helps. :friends:

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Just to note that there's a Supro Huntington in the for sale section here. Never tried one personally but it looks pretty sweet. Alternatively, why not pick up something cheap like a Squier Bronco and then you can mod it to your own personal tastes?

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Thanks guys, I'm gonna go look for this Huntington. I think I'd end up destroying a bass if I started modding it lol. Thank you all, I've never bought a guitar online, your replies have been most helpful indeed. 

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If I were you I'd be looking at pushing the budget slightly and getting the Nordstrand Acinonyx. They sound phenomenal in every clip I've heard. 

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33 minutes ago, Dragline said:

Thanks guys, I'm gonna go look for this Huntington. I think I'd end up destroying a bass if I started modding it lol. Thank you all, I've never bought a guitar online, your replies have been most helpful indeed. 

It’s this one 

 

 

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This just appeared on my YT feed. Just to add another option, rather than muddy the waters. Anderton’s have them at £499. However, the proportions might negate it.

 

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I have looked at these actually. So many options so few lifetimes. Where I live I'm probably never going to see one of those..... I've never  even seen a short scale in the flesh or wood should I say? 

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52 minutes ago, Dragline said:

You guys are awesome! Thank you

One thing you'll find about the BC community is that we are a helpful bunch, especially when it comes to buying gear, because we can then live vicariously through others' purchases.

50 minutes ago, Dragline said:

I have looked at these actually. So many options so few lifetimes. Where I live I'm probably never going to see one of those..... I've never  even seen a short scale in the flesh or wood should I say? 

The weird thing is, once you have one, they seem to pop up everywhere, probably down to them being very 'on trend' at the moment. One of the local charity shops had a cheapy, short scale, J type thing last week. 

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I recommend the Gibson LPJT. I've a number of short scale basses, they're the only type I play now, and the Gibson is my current favourite.

Having said that, choice of strings is probably more important than the model you choose, especially for a short scale.

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1 hour ago, Dragline said:

What strings do you use and what style of music do you gravitate towards? I Mostly play with a pick and will be using this bass for quite fast aggressive music. 

Can open, worms everywhere.

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2 hours ago, Dragline said:

What strings do you use and what style of music do you gravitate towards? I Mostly play with a pick and will be using this bass for quite fast aggressive music. 

Important question this, wish I had a good answer.

I have a couple of shortscale Mustangs.  I have one strung with D'addario rounds, these are fairly low tension on the Mustang and it seems to suit finger style better.  On my JMJ Mustang it has the stock fender flats and the tension is higher so you dig in better if using a pick.

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