Short-scale vs long-scale bass: what's the difference?

Short-scale vs long-scale bass
(Image credit: Fender)

When it comes to eternal debates, there are a few that immediately spring to mind: Sean Connery or Roger Moore? Star Wars or Star Trek? Keaton or Bale? Fender or Gibson? And of course, which is better, short-scale or long-scale bass guitars?

It’s fair to say we are living in the golden age of bass guitar – there’s never been so much choice. There are more brands and models out there than anyone could ever count and they are available with just about any spec detail you could think of. Now, one of the most important decisions facing players who are seeking a new instrument is whether to go for a short-scale or long-scale bass.

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Richard Blenkinsop

After spending a decade in music retail, I’m now a freelance writer for Guitar World, MusicRadar, Guitar Player and Reverb, specialising in electric and acoustic guitars, bass, and almost anything else you can make a tune with. When my head’s not buried in the best of modern and vintage gear, I run a small company helping musicians with songwriting, production and performance, and I play bass in an alt-rock band.

With contributions from