Standard scale bass for kids?

Hey there!

So… My 9 year old son has grown envious of his dad’s bass. He already has some experience with guitars but I don’t think that’s important right now. Now we’re looking for a beginner bass for him. The twist is that he needs all the gear because he can’t use my amp all the time and so on. He’s completely enamored with the Squier PJ starter kit and I can understand why, for the price tag it’s a steal. My only concern the is the size. He can fool around with my standard scale Ibanez with no problem, butstill, he’s tiny with tiny hands. Should we try looking elsewhere?


I would grab him a micro bass @Gergo ,
Would be a great fit, and get him right in the groove,
Cheers Brian


So when My grandson was 9, he started playing on my full scale. I’ve often wondered if he didn’t need a short scale.

Ellen plays bass on YouTube changed my mind on that.

Whatever path you choose on getting him an instrument-it is very cool that your son has found the way!


Check out @JoshFossgreen 's video on this very important question:

There are a couple examples of kids playing full scale - I’d get the Squier starter kit.

Addendum: Can’t underestimate the importance of physically holding different basses to see what “fits” a person best in terms of comfort, weight, etc, @Gergo . It would be good to take him to a store and let him try a few (it can be dangerous, though - hold tight to your wallet :rofl:)

For reference, I’m 5’2" and have fairly small hands, but my fingers have decent stretch. Recently tried a Squier Affinity P bass and liked it enough that it’s still on my mental list.


My 9yr old daughter can manage my Warwick streamer.

We found that the smaller body of the streamer made a bigger difference than a shorter scale in terms of her being able to physically manage the size of the instrument.


I would totally start him on a full scale bass., or short scale bass at a minimum (but the price tag will go up here.
Kids are a lot more flexible, crafty and able to adapt to things than adults.
There are plenty of kids out there playing full scale and nailing it (Ellen is the #1 example).

What might not be the best about the Squier’s is that they have very long frets in the low end vs. some other brands. Bring him to GC and if he can zip around and is comfortable let him work out the distances, they will not be a stumbling block like for many older folks.

AGree with @HowlinDawg on the body size (and weight).
Ibanez, etc might be better for body size and weight.
Throw some in his hands at a few shops and see what sticks.


Seconding (thirding?) the importance of body size/weight over scale.

For example: J&L has a short scale bass that’s nearly as long (and even heavier) than many standard-scale basses, whereas many standard-scale basses have much lighter bodies and headstocks.

When I first held a Fender P, I couldn’t believe how much heavier it was than the little Yamaha bass I had in high school – which was 34", with 24 frets, but a teeny tiny head stock and body.

As a teenager, I was a bit annoyed at having a “smaller” bass, but the light weight was probably good for me, looking back. (I still have it – its rosewood fretboard isn’t something you’d see on an entry-level bass anymore. :heart_eyes:)


Actually something like a Yamaha MB-40 would make an outstanding kid’s starter bass. 32", small and light, but great tone and 24 frets. Super playable.

Usually $200-300 used. I’ve always kind of wanted one myself, tried a few and loved them.


(whispers to self: should I? eh why the hell not - it’s Friday)
Imma kick the hornet’s nest a little and say, “Don’t forget to consider tone! Check out this video at the 8:41 mark where @JoshFossgreen talks about getting classic tones with a Squier instead of a Yamaha or Ibanez”


Thanks for all the replies. You guys are awesome! We’ll check out a few basses in a local store for sure. I didn’t think of weight and body size. The Squier card is still in the deck though.


I would really recommend a used instrument as well. I do in all cases actually, but especially in this case as you never know if it will stick with them.


All above recommendations are great, but if I were in your shoes, I would look at the Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro Short-Scale Bass for $200 and see if their interested continued. Then at 12 years I would look at replacing with full scale.


I started a similar thread some time ago when looking for a bass for my daughter and one of the standout options to my mind was the Ibanez Mezzo, with the Motion Bass @howard linked earlier in a close second.

SR MEZZO | PRODUCTS | Ibanez guitars


The Mezzos always looked great to me too. 32" scale is underrated.


Fully agree with this!
I have 3 levels - the electric U-Bass from kala, a short scale bass, and then the real deals.
I didn’t get them for my kids, I got them for me.
So, it’s kinda cheating.

But! If my kiddo wanted her own, I’d be down at the store trying out short scale basses for sure.

(this won’t be helpful) - I’d probably be trying to talk her into one of the Fender Mustang reissues with the P/J pickup setup… you know, just in case dad needed to borrow a short scale…


Ibanez makes a really nice 32 inch scale that is super affordable as well.

They also make a super affordable short scale Talman that gets great reviews

And don’t forget the Gretsch which also gets great reviews

1 Like

Even for me at 5’7" the standard can feel a bit long sometimes but I manage, the 6 string is awesomely wide I manage, best range for me scale-wise compare to my heros Pino Palladino and Nathan East would have been a 30" scale, but I manage, lol.

It would be nice if he can get into a 28" scale Squier mini or a 30" scale from just about anybody, once he’s finding his way around the fingerboard he can get around every frets on the 34" scale no problem at all. If he’s into it just get the one that make the most sense to you. If you look at my Avatar, it’s my 7 year old(at the time) playing with the Kala uBass solid body. She was on it for a few weeks but she moved on to my 30" scale, not because of the length but weight.


I would also advise a Squier Affinity Jaguar H. 32" scale, smallish body, it’s a nice bass. See what captures your kids imagination, because that’s the one he’ll want to play more than the sensible one.


I wouldn’t pay any attention at all what scale it is. Kids don’t care, they just play it.

Adults, otoh, will whine about their hand size forever :rofl:


Small hands are not that much of an impediment on bass. It sucked when I played classical guitar when i was about 9… probably why that didn’t last long :stuck_out_tongue: Personally I’d only choose a shorter scale length bass for the sound or to make travelling easier. The Squire mini pbass is a pretty sweet little bass though!

I’d let him pick whichever instrument he’s happy with because that’s the one he’s going to want to play more.