They call me Ol' Dainty Fingers Jefferson
August 1, 2012 10:40 AM   Subscribe

What's a good bass for a person who plays a short-scale guitar?

My fingers are a bit short, and I'm most comfortable playing guitar on a short-scale neck (mine's a Fender Mustang).

I'm thinking about picking up an electic bass at some point. Is there a particular make I should consider, given my preference for a short-scale guitar neck? Does neck scale matter with a bass as much as it does with a regular guitar? And what would be a reasonable gauge string for a small-fingered player?

It will not be my main instrument, so I'm looking for something that will be easy to pick up and play periodically, not daily.
posted by Admiral Haddock to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There's a cheapo Gretsch short-scale that a friend has which you. can't. put. down. Everybody wants to pick it up and make boopity-boop noises with it.
posted by scruss at 10:59 AM on August 1, 2012

i play a short scale fender music master (ca 1998) that is really easy. i think right now the budget fender short scale basses are squire jaguars. they also have been doing squire mustangs and squire music masters. i love my bass, and it's super easy to play with my childlike hands. if i didn't have too many guitars, i would get one of those jaguars.
posted by kendrak at 11:02 AM on August 1, 2012

Best answer: i really love my girlfriends fender mustang.
posted by austere at 11:21 AM on August 1, 2012

30" scale is generally the shortest you'll find (there are exceptions but they are unusual). The above are both great suggestions, as is a Hofner. There's also the Kala U bass, which is built on a bari uke body, but as great as it sounds it is not something you can really rock out on.
posted by quarterframer at 11:55 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have short fingers, and haven't really had a problem playing regular bass because of it (I also can only use three of my fingers well on my fretting hand). I've made up for it by just learning to move my hand quicker.
posted by drezdn at 12:27 PM on August 1, 2012

You're generally playing individual notes rather than forming chords on the bass, so the distance between frets (and hence scale length) isn't as much of an issue on a bass.
The width of the neck, though, can be an issue. If you're looking at Fender/Squier basses, the Jazz basses generally have a narrower neck than the Precision basses.
posted by zombiedance at 1:41 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have a short scale bass (Danelectro Longhorn), because I have big hands and can play chords on it.

There's really not a whole lot else to recommend a shortscale bass, unless you're physically unable to reach the lowest fret. All the short female bass players I can think of (there are a lot!) play full-scale and seem to do fine.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:24 PM on August 1, 2012

It's not a very standard bass, but I love my Ashbory. The scale is super short, it weighs very little, and it's got a great sound. Be warned: it's fretless and uses silicone rubber strings, so it's something of an oddball.
posted by Betafae at 10:12 PM on August 1, 2012

You might be able to take a standard bass and have a shop narrow the gap between the notches on the nut to make it easier to play?
posted by gjc at 8:07 AM on August 2, 2012

I'm a 5'3" female with ridiculously tiny hands and my full scale Rickenbacker 4001 is the most comfortable bass I've ever handled. I find scale length to be less important than neck width and action. Whatever you choose, make sure you get it properly set up to get a nice comfortable action, which will be less fatiguing on your hands.
posted by platinum at 11:39 AM on August 4, 2012

Update: I just today discovered that Rickenbacker basses are 33 1/4" scale lengths as opposed to the typical Fender P-bass or Jazz bass length of 34". Apparently the 3/4" difference makes a significant difference in the amount of string tension, hence part of the reason why my Ric is so much more comfortable than most other basses for me. Learn something new every day!
posted by platinum at 7:09 PM on August 22, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks, all--I'm leaning towards a Mustang bass, particularly if I can find a red one on Craigslist that will match my red Mustang guitar...

For the record, Mustangs have a 30" scale, putting them a bit shorter than even Platinum's Ric!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:43 PM on August 27, 2012

Response by poster: I got a Mustang. It's awesome, and very easy to play. Thanks all!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:13 AM on September 19, 2012

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