For the last two years I’ve been seriously learning the guitar as my second instrument. I also bought a used low quality bass that I have been playing for the last 6 months or so. I am really enjoying playing the bass and want to upgrade to a nicer quality bass that plays better.

I went to the local shop and played a bunch of basses to see what feels good and I played a used 63 Hofner that was well out of my price range. I really like the way it feels but it has a short scale length (30” I think).

This led me to look at other 30” basses and before I purchase one I want to know what the pros and cons are.

I know it will have a different tone and obviously it will play easier in some respects. I also read that the strings will be a little looser.

Before I buy one based on how I, a rather new bassist, thinks it plays, I want to know if there are cons to having a shorter scale length that will make me regret it as I get better.

Also what benefits might a shorter neck provide.

  • Duplicate of 'What are the diadvantages of buying a short scae bass guitar'? Don't go away with the idea that a bass guitar is a different version of a standard guitar. They're different beasts, and are played differently. Lots of pros for short-scale, but if you ever have to play a borrowed bass, it'll be a full scale. String tension is sorted with string gauge. go for the 'proper job', and never regret it. I haven't! – Tim May 25 '19 at 18:23
  • @Tim it's not so much the lower tension on a shorty that makes it easier to play (for me) but the tighter fret spacing. There are a lot of fingerings I can do on a short scale that are out of the question on my standard 34" P. – topo Reinstate Monica May 25 '19 at 20:39
  • I wonder if I've got over that sort of problem by using a 5 string, and playing further up the neck. Although playing on the first five frets is never a problem, and I have small hands. – Tim May 26 '19 at 3:59
  • Have a gander at SGC Nanyo Bass Collection. I use them all the time. Full scale though..! – Tim May 27 '19 at 18:06
  • 1
    Possible duplicate of What are the disadvantages of buying a short-scale bass guitar, although that might not cover the advantages very well. – user45266 May 27 '19 at 23:15

Very briefly: I reckon a shorty is way easier to play for those without huge hands, often lighter which is a bonus if you have long sets, and a well-chosen one can sound absolutely fine in most styles of music (if a tiny bit rubbery compared to most 34" instruments).

Full-length (34/35") instruments usually sound a little more satisfying / versatile, and tend to be better for slap/pop IMO. You also have a lot more choice of instruments. Re-stringing to BEAD is a more realistic option too.

I probably sound better playing on a short-scale, to be honest. I tend to play through an effect like a bass driver which evens out some of the differences anyway.

I guess the only real drawback is that you might get so used to 30" that moving to a longer-scale instrument - should you wish to do so - may entail an degree of re-learning.

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