New to short scale

After playing a Fender P bass for almost two years, I switched to a Fender Mustang short scale. A band I was in did songs that required me to play triads a lot. I have small hands. I always heard short scales were for beginners or kids. Well let me just say I love playing the Mustang. I put LaBella flats on it and I love playing even more than before. I also bought a Squire Mustang for my backup.


That might have been said at one time, but no more. Playability is key for any instrument. If it ain’t comfortable, it won’t get played. Congrats on your shorty!


Great to hear you have a nice bass! How do you like the balance between body and headstock?



Love short scale basses. Extra deep tones comfortable scale for shorter player and it’s just fun.


I like my short scale, but it must look silly. I’m 6’ and 250 lbs, so it kinda feels like a toy


Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones played a short scale. So does Sir Paul. You keep good company


it’s still said all the time. and it’s always been wrong. although fender’s original design was 34" there were many different scale lengths around in the beginning.

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Student bass is an industry term for cheap bass. Beginners do not need to start with cheap bass in fact a perfect bass for a beginner would be something like a Squier Pete Wentz or Joe Dart bass, one volume knob.

@frankxconnors I’m quite interested in your experience with short scales (well, any experience for that matter).
I have small hands myself. My hand is - from the base to the middle finger - around 17 cm (6.69 inches). I was told by a friend of mine that my hand is about as big as his 12 years old daughter hand ^^´ (and I’m 45). For now I intend to learn on full scale, but I’m always wondering if I’m not being delusional learning this big thing ^^´

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You heard this before, it’s not the size…
It’s how you use it, lol.

In all seriousness, when you started out everything is difficult. I like Cory Wong his Bassist is Sunny T, the dude is left handed and plays right handed bass upside down and even on his custom Warwick he strings them upside down. I restrung one of my bass like that and first try to play left handed, what a hot mess, lol. I was staring at my right fingers and tried to will it to move but they didn’t. Believe me, I feel your pain, lol.

Like everything else, you’ve got to pay your dues to the Bass Goddess then hopefully she’ll grant you the song passage, lol. I don’t think young kids learn faster than adults but they do have more time to spend on any instruments than us.


wow ! This young man got the groove ! I’ve seen him a few times (I think Josh shows him in his own video about small hands ?). Thank you @Al1885 for sharing your experience. I believe this is the reason why I should stick to my full scale even though I’m still very curious about how a short scale could help me.
Well, since I’m starting anyway, I should focus on better positionning my fingers (and pray to the bass godess on the side).
Note : I like Cory Wong too, especially when he plays along with a certain Joe Dart dude ^^

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I wouldn’t go as far as to say help as in make it easier until you are comfortable with standard scale then it’s easier to play on the short scale. Switching to short scale now it’s not easy then later going back to standard there’s another recalibration of 2 things. Scale length and string tension. Standard is longer and more tension.

Assuming of course that you are still getting comfortable with bass.
Speaking of Joe Dart.

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Gotta go with what works for you-nice rig.

Hey @mediaklan, cool to see measurements. I always say I have glove size large and a small stretch (15.5 cm / 6.1" from index to pinkie finger, or from the first fret wire to the 5th fret dot). Your measurement from the base of the hand to the middle finger comes to 19 cm / ~7.5", though.

I recently found out that I sometimes keep the stretch even after leaving fret A to press fret B. That’s not proper microshifting, so I’d suggest to try to watch closely where you leave your hand, how you shift etc. Maybe that helps. :slight_smile:

My stretch is close to yours (15 cm / 6.0" from index to pinkie).
This is very interesting, thank you ! To the point i was thinking to open a topic to get advices like yours to avoid common mistakes for small hands, but I think there should be some already. Plus I don’t want to get in-between frankxconnors and his lovely Fender here ^^


I wouldn’t worry about that too much. Once you are up to speed you’d develop a natural shift, where your left wrist would micro shift as well as your index and pinky would do their micro shift to fit the 4 wide frets. I do that on my 35” scale. I can not cover the spread but after a few minutes of recalibration my body automatically correct itself.

My ex girlfriend is a concert pianist she’s five feet and change, with very small hand and short fingers but it’s a beauty to watch her play, she’s putting down some serious hurt on some technical classical piece. Just like the young man playing in the video, it’s like watching Yoda fight. It’s the thing of beauty.

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A band to check out is Lovebites. Everyone in the band is under 5’ tall and they absolutely shred.

Nah, people of all sizes play guitar and the short scale bass is still bigger than a guitar…


While I’m sure people will correctly tell you you can absolutely learn on a full scale, try a short scale! Don’t be afraid to be comfortable!

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