What’s a short-scale bass?
Short-scale basses are en vogue right now and certainly a useful part of any professional’s arsenal. By way of definition, short-scale basses have a scale length shorter than 31 inches. Medium-scale basses measure between 31 and 34 inches. Standard is 34, and long-scale anything longer than that!
Unsure whether your bass is a short-scale? Measure it between the bridge and the nut – the two touch points of the string – and you’ll know!
In this Talking Technique episode, I use an acoustic U-Bass with rubber strings. These basses come with a variety of strings and in acoustic as well as electric versions. With a scale length of a little over 20 inches, it’s sure gotten the short end of the stick. But, as they say, it ain’t the size! U-Basses sound great and are becoming more and more popular.
In this episode, I walk you through some very helpful exercises to help you transition between ‘shorties’ and your standard-scale basses. The shorter distance between the frets and the perceived different distance between the strings are two of the challenges we tackle with a cool set of exercises.
Another difference that has to be addressed when playing U-Bass is due to the rubber strings. So your plucking hand has to adjust. I demonstrate the pronounced difference playing close to the bridge vs. closer to the neck. Another important and maybe surprising modification to your playing technique when playing the U-Bass strung with rubber strings is the need to fret in between the frets and not on top of the frets in order to eliminate fret buzz and get the cleanest intonation.
We use a “Hotel California” -inspired 1 – 5 – 8 riff to cover some of the short-scale challenges in a fun, but effective manner, all over the fretboard.
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