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?
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 )
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.
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. )
(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”
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.
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.
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 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.