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Thread: Why the Popularity Now of The Short Scale?

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    Forum Member ch willie's Avatar
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    Why the Popularity Now of The Short Scale?

    My Höfner is a short scale. I'm more into the hollow body sound of it than the scale, but man, it makes it a lot easier for my hands to do some licks.

    Why the sudden interest in short scale basses? People have always liked them, but on bass forums, they're all the rage.

    Is it because more guitarists are doing home recordings and doing their own bass work, gravitating toward a scale they're more used to?

    Is it just a fad like pet rocks or Mentos in Cokes?

    Is it because some famous bassists I'm not aware of are playing them?

    Nothing wrong with short scale basses. I'm just curious.
    Last edited by ch willie; 12-14-2020 at 02:23 PM.
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    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: Why the Popularity Now of The Short Scale?

    Not a bass player, by any stretch, but I have three: A Dean Edge 09, which I bought for $99 as my entry into playing bass, then an Ibanez MiKro GSRM20, which is a short scale bass, and then because I just loved the look and history, I bought an Epiphone Jack Cassidy 20th Signature bass.

    When I want to noodle on bass a bit, the first one I go to is the Ibby. I'm playing short scale guitars for the most part these days, so I do like the familiarity with the size on the bass!
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    Forum Member Gravity Jim's Avatar
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    Re: Why the Popularity Now of The Short Scale?

    A lot of young "alternative" artists are reaching for offset bodies and short scale basses. I think they're driving the sales right now.

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    Forum Member DanTheBluesMan's Avatar
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    Re: Why the Popularity Now of The Short Scale?

    I think it's a combination of the younger alternative artists and a burgeoning trend of guitarists taking up bass due to the sparseness of available bassists to jam and record with.

    I was determined to go with long scale 4 strings, because to me that was the sound I identified with bass. But I'm almost wishing I had gone short scale as well. I'd probably reach for it more often if I had.
    "Live and learn and flip the burns"

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    Forum Member ch willie's Avatar
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    Re: Why the Popularity Now of The Short Scale?

    When I was a kid, people told me, learn guitar but be a good bass player and make that your thing because you'll always be in demand. And when I was really active on the scene, I got to play some great gigs, including a couple of days playing bass on spirituals sung by preachers of Nashville's black churches. I played on five or six records, some of them getting good airplay on Nashville's gospel station. I was terrible, but I'd have never gotten that experience if I had insisted on playing guitar. I played in country bands, Elvis bands, Skynryd type Southern bands--just sitting in for a gig here and there. I'm glad I got to play guitars in bands for 20 years, but my first love is the bass. I don't think a lot of guitarists understand utter importance of the bass. But take it away, and everybody notices.
    If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder.--George Harrison

  6. #6
    Forum Member ch willie's Avatar
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    Re: Why the Popularity Now of The Short Scale?

    And Jim, you're right about the offset thing. I think it's a cool trend. I've looked longingly at the ones Fender offers lefties--they've been offering more finishes for it than they have Telecasters a lot of years. Last year, they had Jazzmaster for lefties in Trans Red with a black pickguard. I was hoping Fender would offer that in Teles for southpaws, but no luck. And yet, here the Jazzmaster is finished like a dream.
    If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder.--George Harrison

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    Forum Member dirtdog's Avatar
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    Re: Why the Popularity Now of The Short Scale?

    It’s another underexploited market niche, methinks. I’ve had a short scale bass. Didn’t offer me a whole lot that my other basses did except for not needing as much space on stage. Sold that bass when I retired from gigging. Now I’m looking at the Sterling Stingray SS. Not sure why. I’ve probably fallen for the marketing! I mean, everyone NEEDS an SS bass to be complete, right?

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    Forum Member ch willie's Avatar
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    Re: Why the Popularity Now of The Short Scale?

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtdog View Post
    It’s another underexploited market niche, methinks. I’ve had a short scale bass. Didn’t offer me a whole lot that my other basses did except for not needing as much space on stage. Sold that bass when I retired from gigging. Now I’m looking at the Sterling Stingray SS. Not sure why. I’ve probably fallen for the marketing! I mean, everyone NEEDS an SS bass to be complete, right?
    I find the Höfner a lot of fun to play. When I got my first Höfner, I was amazed that if felt like a toy but had a great sound. The one I have now is a Euroburst based one of Macca's, all parts German but assembled in Höfner's U.S. custom shop. I've always preferred Paul's Ric tones and still do, but I can really understand why he plays that one exclusively at shows. Besides, Rics are heavy and Höfners are soooo light. His shows last 3 hours or more.
    Last edited by ch willie; 12-15-2020 at 10:18 AM.
    If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder.--George Harrison

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    Re: Why the Popularity Now of The Short Scale?

    Quote Originally Posted by DanTheBluesMan View Post
    I think it's a combination of the younger alternative artists and a burgeoning trend of guitarists taking up bass due to the sparseness of available bassists to jam and record with.

    I was determined to go with long scale 4 strings, because to me that was the sound I identified with bass. But I'm almost wishing I had gone short scale as well. I'd probably reach for it more often if I had.

    THIS!

  10. #10
    Forum Member blackonblack's Avatar
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    Re: Why the Popularity Now of The Short Scale?

    Just seeing this thread. Interesting thoughts though I find any scale comfortable. No true short scales in the her, closest would be the Ric 4003 (33"), but I do have an eye on a Chowney 30".
    Then again, I also play a multi-scale Dingwall.
    Mark

  11. #11
    Forum Member ch willie's Avatar
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    Re: Why the Popularity Now of The Short Scale?

    I just recorded a song with my Höfner, a short scale of course. One short passage was one I had to get into muscle memory before I could pull it off. The Höfner made it easier to do that. Now, I can play it on any bass.
    If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder.--George Harrison

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    Forum Member Tele-Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Why the Popularity Now of The Short Scale?

    I actually prefer the sound of a short scale bass. The lower string tension makes for a more relaxed sound that is not quite as focused as a full scale bass.
    I am also in the minority here thinking that 10" speakers have no place in bass amps. I don't like the immediate response and snappy attack that makes the sound cross over into guitar and keyboard zones. Too articulate.
    For me, 12" and 15" speakers with their slower attack sound best.
    I like my bottom smooth and loose. LOL!
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    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: Why the Popularity Now of The Short Scale?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tele-Bob View Post
    For me, 12" and 15" speakers with their slower attack sound best.
    I like my bottom smooth and loose. LOL!
    +1

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    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: Why the Popularity Now of The Short Scale?

    The reduced weight of the short scale compensates for that of the man-bun of the players who like them. Not unlike Jaguar players or guys with fanned frets.
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

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    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: Why the Popularity Now of The Short Scale?

    At the other end of the spectrum are players of diminutive stature who are compelled by contractural requirements to play a full-size long-scale bass......

    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

  16. #16
    Forum Member ch willie's Avatar
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    Re: Why the Popularity Now of The Short Scale?

    Haha.
    If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder.--George Harrison

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    Re: Why the Popularity Now of The Short Scale?

    I'm late to the party... but I don't care... lol

    Short scale basses "effect" well, versus long.

    Just like octave fuzz pedals sound best when noodling at the 12th fret and higher on a single coil guitar versus HB or down-low on the board, regardless of PUP, effects pedals and such respond better to short scale basses. Royal Blood and Death from Above 1979 are perfect examples of the influence on today's bass rock sounds. Short-scales with effects... ESPECIALLY into the fuzz vs. overdrive realm respond better.

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