Back in the day, to buy the best short bass guitar wasn’t taken too seriously as an instrument. In fact, during the nineties and into the new millennium, short scale basses were a rare sighting. During the last decade and a half, however, the instrument has seen a great resurgence.
Lightweight and incredibly manageable, this type of bass lends itself perfectly to some of the most manic and physically-challenging playing styles.
If this piques your interest, this guide is for you. Apart from providing thorough reviews of five notable short scale basses, it will provide useful information about this type of instrument.
What is the Best Short Scale Bass in 2021? List is Right Here!
Legend Fender in Your Hands!
Best 5 String Scale Bass
Best For Begginers!
Best Acoustic Option
Nice Bass For Traveling
1. Fender Squier Bronco – Best 30 Inches Short Scale Bass Guitar
What’s Included: Short scale bass guitar with two controls, a special design single-coil pickup.
- Scale length: 30 inches.
- Fret size: 1.57 inches.
- Warranty: No
Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that Fender is one of the top manufacturers of guitars and bass guitars in the world. Taking that into account, it’s easy to see why the enjoys such popularity among musicians everywhere. With a friendly design and great sound-generating capabilities, this short-scale bass may be perfect for your musical endeavors.
Fantastic Sound Balance
Without a doubt, one of the best things about the Fender Squier Bronco Bass is the balance of its sound. Due to its expert construction, the instrument generates smooth, well-rounded, and full notes capable of giving soul to any piece of music. What is more, its bolt-on neck and compact body provide fantastic stability with minimal unwanted vibration, resulting in crystal-clear sounds with a great level of sustain.
Effective Scale Size
Precision Above All
Featuring a maple neck with a C-style profile and high-quality steel tuning keys, the Fender Squier Bronco Bass offers a great level of precision. After a string has been tuned, you will not need to re-tune it again for a while. Instead, making small adjustments every couple of songs will be enough. Without a doubt, this is great news for bass players.
2. Ibanez GSRM25BK – Best Short Scale Five String Bass Under $500
What’s Included: Short scale bass guitar with three controls.
- Scale length: 28.6 inches.
- Fret size: 1.3 inches.
Boasting a sleek and elegant design with bad-boy vibes, the Ibanez 5 String Bass Guitar is certainly an eye-catching instrument. There is more to it than that, however. Its slim but sturdy maple wood neck lends itself perfectly to aggressive, fast playing. At the same time, however, its medium-size frets and sturdy back handle allow for great precision and stability at all times.
More Strings, More Versatility
Without a doubt, one of the characteristics that separate this Ibanez bass guitar from others like it is the fact that it has five strings instead of four. While this does increase the width of the neck, it also allows for versatile, dynamic and often experimental styles of playing. What is more, it gives the instrument a lower end that rounds up its sound very nicely.
An Enveloping Sound
All the beneficial characteristics in the world wouldn’t mean much if the bass guitar didn’t sound great. Luckily, it does. Due to its fantastic two-piece construction, the instrument is capable of producing warm, full tones with a very satisfying low end. What is more, its precise design allows for long and clean sustain.
3. Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet II – Best Short Scale Bass For Drop C
What’s Included: Short scale bass guitar with two controls, dot position inlay.
- Scale length: 30.3 inches.
- Fret size: 1.5 inches.
- Warranty: 2 years.
- For Drop C use CGCF
The Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet Electric Bass Guitar II has a jet body shape that gives it a classic rebel look. Meanwhile, its compact size makes imbues it with a kind of dynamism and control that full-size bass guitars tend to miss. The sound is also there: This instrument is capable of producing a full range of tones and subtones with a lot of body and vibrancy.
A Full Range of Sound
Using two mini dual-coil pickups, the Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet Electric Bass Guitar II is capable of capturing the vibrations of the strings with great fidelity. These pickups are interchangeable, allowing the player to choose the type of sound that fits their playing style better. It also allows for creative choices and inventive playing styles that include the use of pedals and other devices.
Comfort For Your Fingers
A Classic Design
As previously mentioned, the G2220 Junior Jet Electric Bass Guitar II boasts a classic jet body that gives it a timeless look. It’s not all about looks, however, as this body type has proven to be exceptionally comfortable and ergonomic when the time comes to play. The instrument’s basswood body back and top are smooth and sturdy at the same time, providing balance as well as a sense of security.
4. Cordoba Guitars 4 String Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar – Best Acoustic Short Scale Bass Guitar
What’s Included: Acoustic and electric short scale bass guitar with embedded tuner, one volume control.
- Scale length: 22.8 inches.
- Fret size: 1 inch.
- Warranty: No.
If you love the sound of a good acoustic bass guitar, you may want to give this short scale bass a look. Compact and sturdy, the Cordoba Guitars 4 String Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar can be easily carried to shows, parties, and gatherings. Despite its size, however, this instrument is capable of producing sweet, warm, and full-rounded sounds that can liven up any tune.
When it is not plugged in, the Cordoba Guitars 4 String Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar can make fantastic, bright, and beautiful sounds. Made entirely of mahogany of the highest quality, this short-scale bass guitar has a fantastic resonance. As a result, it produces mellow, soft and smooth sounds with a very decent level of sustain even when electricity does not play a part in any way.
When it is plugged in, the Cordoba Guitars 4 String Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar is capable of producing powerful, robust sounds with a whopping low end. However, the stability and balance provided by its expert construction with high-quality materials allow it to maintain its smoothness and well-roundedness even when treble and distortion become a factor in the equation.
Portability and Practicality
5. Kala U-Bass Satin/Mahogany Fretted Bass – Best Acoustic and Electric Short Scale Bass Guitar For Traveling
What’s Included: Acoustic and electric short scale bass guitar with three controls, carrying bag.
- Scale length: 20.5 inches.
- Fret size: 1.7 inches
- Warranty: 3 years.
Made of a beautiful combination of mahogany and walnut, the is one of the most elegant instruments in this list. It has a short neck and a sturdy, compact body, resulting in fantastic dynamism and control during intense playing sessions.
Great For Traveling
A Versatile Instrument
Because it can be played both acoustically and plugged into an amp, the Kala U-Bass Satin/Mahogany Fretted Bass can be used to perform a variety of styles with great success. Having a large resonance box, this instrument is capable of producing full, rich sounds even without electricity. When plugged in, however, it can produce powerful, vibrant sounds with great sustain.
Best Short Scale Bass – Buyer’s Guide
Before deciding on any particular short scale bass model, it’s very important that you get all the essential information you can find about such an instrument. Understanding basic concepts about a short scale bass will help you make an informed decision when the time comes to buy one. This guide will summarize the basics for you.
What is a Short Scale Bass?
Shortly these instruments generally had scale lengths of less than 31 inches. That’s it!
Parts of a Short Scale Bass
Having at least a basic understanding of how a bass guitar is built will be of great help when you are in the market for one. With the right terminology at hand, you will be able to make all the right questions.
The neck of a bass guitar looks like the neck of any guitar. It includes the headstock, the fretboard, and the internal truss rod. Perhaps more importantly, the neck connects to the body of the bass, allowing the strings to extend from one extreme of the instrument to the other.
The headstock is a term that refers to the wide portion that sits atop the neck. In this section, the bass strings terminate at tuning keys (also referred to as tuning pegs, tuning machines, or simply tuners). These tuning keys can help adjust the tension of each string. This, in turn, will change the pitch of the said strings. In the headstock, you can also find the joint to the fretboard where the strings are routed down the neck of the instrument.
Also commonly referred to as fingerboard, a fretboard or fingerboard is a thin but sturdy piece of wood that functions as a bridge between the body of the bass and its headstock. This part can be made of different types of wood. The most common, however, are rosewood, maple, and ebony. Even though they are all excellent, they can affect the overall quality of the instrument.
Typically, fretboards are arched from side to side of the instrument. This arch is referred to as the radius. Likely, this is a reference to the imaginary circle that would be formed if the arched was extended enough to make a circle. The shorted this radius is, the more pronounced the arch of the fretboard will be.
On the fretboard, you will find the frets. These are embedded, narrow strips of metal that serve to divide the neck into half-step increments. These increments will determine where on the fretboard each note is played. It should be noted, however, that some bass guitars are fretless. This type of bass allows smoother glissando effects. However, it requires a lot more precision and ability on the part of the bass player.
Inside the bass guitar’s neck, there is a metal truss rod. This rod prevents the neck from bending or twisting in ways that could break it or deform it. This is important because, being thick and tough, bass strings create a great deal of tension on the neck at all times. If the neck becomes bowed or twisted with time, truss rod adjustments can help straighten it. These adjustments are also often used when adjusting string height to ensure optimal levels of playability.
Types of Bass Necks
One of the most important differences between bass models is the type of neck. More than anything, the type of neck in a bass guitar indicated the way it attaches to the body. There are three types of bass necks:
Most short-scale bass guitars have bolt-on necks. This means that their neck is bolted onto their body. If it’s well constructed, the bolts should be able to keep the neck stable, not allowing it to shift up or down in any way. This is highly important as stability is key to producing a well-defined, precise sound. You should note, however, that this type of attachment benefits from having more neck and body overlap rather than less.
Although it’s not the most popular type of neck out there, the set neck is essential to certain bass designs. With a set neck, a mortise or dovetail joint is used to attach the neck to the body of the instrument. While it can produce more quality in terms of resonance and sustain, a set neck can be difficult to adjust.
Typically found on high-end bass guitars, thru-body necks are a sign of great quality. This type of neck continuous throughout the entire body of the instrument. Normally, wings are attached to each side of the neck in order to form its upper and lower parts.
Because there is no joint between body and neck with this type of guitar, vibrations are inhibited, resulting in a better sound, particularly when it comes to sustaining notes and chords.
Short Scale Bass Tonewood Guide
It’s important to know that the type of wood that is used in the body of the bass will affect its performance. In particular, the tone and resonance form of the instrument will be impacted. If you are looking for a particular type of sound, consider the following:
This type of wood produces a very stable and balanced tone. What is more, it tends to produce a crystal-clear sound that’s round and full.
Despite being very affordable, this type of wood produces a balanced and well-rounded tone. However, its tone does emphasize low-mid tones, making it a good choice for certain styles of music rather than others.
There are different types of ash wood that is used to make the bodies of bass guitars. Generally, however, it can be said that this type of wood produces a very bright sound that is similar to alder. Swamp ash, in particular, is coveted by guitar manufacturers due to its luscious and beautiful grain.
Basswood is a soft type of wood that is often used to make affordable instruments. This type of wood does not resonate as much as some of the other options available. For that reason, many bass players dislike it, arguing that it creates a flat sound. However, some bass players insist that the type of sound it makes is ideal for fast and complex playing techniques.
Producing a warm, well-sustained sound that works well with lower frequencies, mahogany is one of the most popular types of wood used to make bass bodies. The only disadvantage to this wood is that it’s cumbersome, often causing strain after long playing sessions.
In many ways, maple is similar to mahogany. However, its tone is brighter and shinier. As a result, bass guitars with a maple wood body are valuable in recording studio settings.
Having reviewed five of the most notable short scale basses on the market, it’s easy to understand their popularity. Despite being incredibly compact and lightweight, each of them produces clean, full, satisfying sounds with the potential of creating mind-blowing grooves. Hopefully, this buyer’s guide will help you choose the right one for your particular style and personality.