View Full Version : 3/4 size bass?
Is there any inherent tonal inferiority or difference to a 3/4 size bass vs. full size. I've always played big Fenders, but I've known great players who used those old Fender 3/4 size basses. Somebody around here was saying that full size bass is tonally superior and I'm wondering if that's true, and if so, how much different is it.
10-02-2007, 10:46 PM
Yes. A lot.
I'm not sure I know what you mean--"3/4" is a term used a lot in the upright bass world, where most upright basses are called 3/4 or 7/8 and a "4/4" bass is pretty rare. The scale length (the length between the nut and the bridge) of upright basses ranges from around 39 inches to over 42 inches
In electric bass, Leo Fender started with a 34 scale, and the vast majority of fenders are 34 scale. Fender made a few basses at 30 scale, like the mustang bass, Is that what you mean?
The biggest difference, for me, is string tension. Longer scales are alway higher string tension, which I prefer
I mean electric basses. 30" vs. 34". Sorry I couldn't remember the correct terminology last night when I wrote this.
The Golden Boy
10-04-2007, 03:14 PM
IMO, short scale basses do not have the sonic depth associated with a regular scale bass.
I base my opinion on playing similarly constructed instruments in different scale lengths.
I don't know if it was here, but somebody laid out some math computation saying that short scale basses should sound the same as a regular scale bass. I didn't understand that. But play a Mustang and then a P. Granted, they're somewhat different in construction and electronics- however, the basic premise is the same- ash/maple/rosewood/pickup location...
11-15-2007, 12:29 PM
i love my mustang, and it works fine in most music that needs lower end. but i dont use it, cause frankly, it doesnt sound like my sadowsky.
11-19-2007, 01:47 AM
There is a difference. Long scale basses usually have more low end. However, that doesn't necessarily make them tonally superior. It depends on what kind of music you're playing, what kind of amp you're using and how good the bass is.
The tone is comprised of the fundamental note and a series of overtones. The lowest (fundamental) note is really low and often inaudible unless you have a high-power transistor rig with big cabinets. For those of us playing rock or blues with normal size amps a short-scale bass will often be preferable since it seems to cut through the mix more efficiently. An instrument that sounds good by itself doesn't necessarily sound good in a band setting. You would also have to play music with space for that kind of low end in the tonal spectrum.
A short-scale bass often seems to have better string to string balance, unlike many long-scale basses where the low E sounds dead compared to the other strings. It seems like it's easier to build a good medium-price short-scale bass like the Mustang than a long-scale like the P-bass. I've owned and own both long and short scale basses. These days I play my National pocket bass (25" scale!) and Mustang most of the time. The only long-scale bass that I've been impressed by lately is a prototype by a boutique builder that I got to play recently.
11-19-2007, 08:20 AM
than I expected when going to short scale. I have a gagle of 34 inch Fenders but never tried a shortscale until I built this one. It is a standard sized tele body with a cut down headstock Fender Bronco Bass neck. The pickup is a Duncan Antiquity 51 P-Bass. I find little difference between the tone. I have come to the conclusion that most of the gripe about SS basses is really about the "student/beginner" stigma and cheapie pickups/tuners most production ss basses used.
11-20-2007, 01:29 PM
"Tonally superior" is just false. Different, very. There is a certain depth that you lose with a shorter scale - a lot of modern bass thought wants that full-range sort of sound - but for old-school sounds it's excellent (short scale basses were all over the place in the 60s and 70s) and they can still kick out plenty of low end.
11-20-2007, 07:24 PM
I dunno. My old short scale Hofner sounded pretty damned 'tonally superior'.
It was just so delicate of construction that it made me nervous.
11-21-2007, 11:10 AM
I think the Gibson EB line is responsible for the notion that a 30" scale doesn't sound right. They don't have quite the tonal range with humbuckers. Ricks are 32" fwiw.
11-24-2007, 12:40 AM
Generally speaking, the shorter scale inst is a little twangier. Depends on how you amp it. I can get a huge sound out of my primitive fifties Kay hollow bass (30") running through my hi-fi, upright rig.
11-24-2007, 12:00 PM
I just learned yesterday that Eastwood is making a bunch of oddball short scale joints. Some look and sound pretty tempting, and there are vid/sound clips a-plenty. Scroll to the bottom of the pics on the left:
01-06-2008, 04:41 AM
I love shorties.
I have a Longhorn and a U-1 that I just love.
They seem to be a bit punchier and border on sounding slightly muted.
I have flats on everything I own and I can get such a upright tone with my Danos.
I do have 4 Fenders also but it's the Danos that get called on the most.
It's amaizing how the Dano tone can cut though in a band situation.
01-13-2008, 09:07 AM
I get a little frustrated when some bass players make the condescending comment that short scale basses all sound like crap, that they somehow aren't "real" basses, and that anyone with half a brain would die rather than play one.
What about Paul McCartney of The Beatles, Jack Bruce of Cream or Allen Woody of Gov't Mule, and all the other guys who play short scale basses? Are they ALL tone-deaf idiots?
If you prefer long scale, God bless you. I respect your choice. Perhaps you could be so kind as to extend the same consideration to others?
There are lots of DIFFERENCES between guitars, amps and strings. I don't think I have the right to say my PREFERENCES are the standard by which they should be judged. Besides, my preferences seem to be fluid, and subject to change over time.
Just my 2-cent rant. Thanks for letting me vent! :Spank
01-14-2008, 12:07 PM
Anyone who states that SS basses don't have the sonic complexity or deep bottom of LS basses simply has not been exposed to the right examples.
01-14-2008, 02:36 PM
Doesnt the old Fender Musicmaster Bass fall into the short scale bass category?
I still want one of those
02-22-2008, 02:47 AM
Yes and I just got one of those.
Sounded great last weekend and I'm gonna use it tonight too.
I have a fender mustang bass and love it.
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