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Came into ownership of a Gibson EB-0 a while back, and learned to my surprise that the bass that had been on my want list for a while was actually the same scale as your average guitar. Other than the issue of getting accustomed to the smaller frets, are there any special concerns to be aware of (gauge, string tension, intonation, etc.)?

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None that I can think of.

The shorter scale means the strings are under less tension than a regular bass. That's good for the neck.

Enjoy it! Sounds nice.

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It's true that EB-0 has a short scale length, but not as short as an "average guitar". For example, a Les Paul typically has 24.75"; or 25.5" for a Telecaster. EB-0 has a scale length of 30.5", while shorter than most basses (which are around 35"), is still much longer than most guitars.

With the same tuning and string gauges, shorter scale length means looser strings, which is easier to fret, brings warmer sound, but also more prone to fret buzz. To my personal experience, it also takes more effort to get shorter-scale guitar/basses in tune, but that won't be a great issue for well-made instruments.

Finally, you can always increase your effective scale length by using a set of thicker strings. After all, it's all about tension.

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  • I would generally agree with this answer but you should consider gauge a little more closely. If your strings are too loose, you won't get the same resonance for your tone or the same sustain. I would definitely look into getting strings designed for your scale length. I'm not sure what sort of music shop you may have available to you but I was able to go into mine to get a set of custom strings for an alternate tuning on my 6 string bass and it has helped with tone and sustain. – Basstickler Sep 19 '17 at 16:23
  • @Basstickler Yes it's always a good idea to equip a fitted custom set of strings if you want to stick with a certain tone. My point here is, for "well-made" instruments, of which EB-0 is definitely one of them, you don't need to worry about its scale length being shorter than average. Try to think it as a feature which brings special characteristics to it, rather than a problem. I have a very short-scale Gibson B-25 3/4 parlor guitar (22.75"), I always appreciate its relative loose string and the tone brought by all its peculiarities (small body, short scale, and a ladder bracing). – hillin Sep 20 '17 at 2:19
  • That's a very valid point. I guess the idea is just that whoever is setting up the bass needs to know whether they're going for a more standard sound or looking to emphasize the differences that the shorter scale can offer. – Basstickler Sep 20 '17 at 13:45