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In today’s world, bass guitars come in all shapes and sizes. Any person, no matter how large their hands might be, has an opportunity to share in the groove.
If you’re in the market for one of these instruments, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will review some of the best short-scale bass guitars available for every budget.
Read on to discover your next favorite bass!
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Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet Bass II – Best Overall
For years, the Gretsch G2220 (see price on Amazon or Sweetwater) has been a choice short-scale bass. This bass remains to be one of the best choices you can find and is economically reasonable for any budget.
The Gretsch G220 features a body made of Basswood. This body is shaped into a familiar single-cutaway design that looks especially classy.
Maple is used for the neck, which has a shortened scale length of 30.3”. For the fretboard, Black Walnut is used, which has a radius of 12” and 20 frets. White Pearloid dot inlays give the fretboard an easy-to-identify pattern.
This bass has a modular design, with the neck being connected to the body via a bolt-on joint.
For pickups, the G2220 has a pair of Gretsch Mini Humbuckers. A 3-way switch and a master volume and tone knob allow you to really dial in those deep bass tones.
As far as hardware goes, the G2220 has:
- A nut made of synthetic bone
- Die-cast tuners
- 4-saddle adjustable bridge
If personalization is your thing, the G2220 has a wide range of different colors to choose from. These colors include:
- Bristol fog
- Imperial stain
- Shell pink
- Tobacco sunburst
- Torino green
Adding to the bass guitar’s traditional aesthetic is a small pickguard that brandishes the Gretsch logo.
Overall, the Gretsch G2220 is the perfect short-scale bass, whether you're a beginner or a seasoned player. Its affordability and playability are a couple of the reasons why the G2220 ranks at the top of this list.
When you factor in the numerous amount of bassists who love this instrument, the G2220 is a clear winner. It essentially has a well-earned reputation built over many years.
G&L Fullerton Deluxe Fallout – Best Premium
If you’re not familiar with G&L, you might notice that many of the company’s guitars have a recognizable shape. This is because Leo Fender was one of its founding members.
The Fullerton Deluxe Fallout has a very similar offset body design to some instruments in the Fender line. However, where Fender relies on tradition, G&L really steps to the forefront of innovative modernization.
This bass’s body is made of Alder and has a gloss polyurethane finish. It comes in a variety of colors including:
- 3-tone sunburst
- Grey pearl
- Shell pink
Wondering about the measurement of the neck scale length? The Fullerton Deluxe Fallout measures out to 30”.
Its neck is crafted from Hard Rock Maple and has a Classic C-shaped contour. This is bound to feel comfortable in anyone’s hand.
In true Fender-style fashion, this bass has a modular design. A bolt-on neck joint is used to connect the neck and body together.
The fretboard is also crafted from Maple and has a 9.5” radius. There are 19 frets on this bass, with black dot inlays provided for easy navigation.
For pickups, the Fullerton Deluxe Fallout has a Magnetic Field Design humbucker. This was designed by Leo Fender and utilizes ceramic magnets beneath each coil of the pickup.
You’ll really enjoy the wide range of tones this bass can achieve. A 3-way switch allows you to change the pickup into the following modes:
For hardware, this bass features:
- A bone nut
- G&L Ultra Lite tuners
- G&L Saddle Lock bridge, which increases the instrument’s sustain
Ibanez miKro GSRM20 – Best Budget
In addition to being a short-scale bass, this instrument has a noticeably smaller body. This allows the GSRM20 to be perfect for anyone, including those younger players with a smaller arm reach.
The GSRM20 has a body made of Poplar and has a very modern double-cutaway design. It comes in a wide variety of color options, including:
- Walnut flat
- Root beer metallic
- Transparent red
- Weathered black
Maple is used to construct the GSRM20’s neck. This has a 28.6” scale length with a narrow thickness.
For the fretboard, the GSRM20 uses Jatoba. This has a 12” radius with 22 frets outlined with white dot inlays.
You’ll really be able to cover the iconic bass sounds of years past with the GSRM20. It features a Dynamix P Split single-coil at the neck and a Dynamix J single-coil at the bridge.
These pickups are designed specifically to emulate the sounds of the famous Fender Precision and Jazz basses. With this bass, you won’t have to choose between either of the models.
2 volume knobs and a master tone knob allow you to really dial in your preferred bass tones.
For hardware, the GSRM20 features:
- A plastic nut
- Die-cast tuners
- Fixed bridge
This bass might be one of the most inexpensive models on this list. However, make no mistake about it, the GSRM20 is built to perform.
There are many bass players who have found the GSRM20 to be a worthwhile instrument. Many have noted that it is extremely durable and fun to play.
If you have a smaller budget, it would be worth your time to check this model out.
Reverend Dub King
On the lookout for something fairly unique when it comes to your bass guitar? Make sure that the Reverend Dub King is on your radar!
This bass from Reverend features a semi-hollow body design. You’ll absolutely love the rich depth that this helps to provide in the tonal aspects of the Dub King.
The Dub King’s body is made of Korina and features a solid Spruce top. In a way, this is similar to how many acoustic guitars are built.
You’ll find that the Dub King has a fairly unique offset shape, featuring a single-cutaway design. Allowing the bass to breathe is a nice elongated apostrophe-shaped soundhole.
The neck is constructed in 5 pieces out of a combination of Korina and Walnut, with a medium oval contour. As such, you’ll find that the neck feels extremely sturdy and comfortable to play.
For those wondering about the neck scale length, this model measures out to 30”.
The Dub King’s fretboard is made of Rosewood and features 21 frets and a 12” radius. Pearloid block inlays are provided for fret identification and really add to the guitar’s chic aesthetic.
For pickups, this bass has a Split Brick humbucker at the neck and a Thick Brick humbucker at the bridge. These are designed to provide a best-of-both-worlds experience between active and passive pickups.
Reverend has made sure you’ll be able to dial in your favorite tones. You’ll have a master volume and tone knob, in addition to a pan knob to blend the pickups.
For hardware, the Dub King features:
- A Boneite nut
- Hipshot Ultralite tuners
- A 4-saddle bridge supporting string-through or top-load stringing methods
The Reverend Dub King is a top-of-the-line bass that provides a truly luxurious playing experience.
Are you searching for something truly modern? Perhaps something that breaks the mold of tradition and provides all the tonal control you could desire?
The EHB1000S has a very uniquely modern shape and features a headstock-less design. Its body is made of American Basswood.
A combination of Maple and Walnut in 5 pieces is used to craft the neck of the EHB1000S. This neck has a 30” scale length.
The 19.6” radius fretboard is made of Roasted Birdseye Maple and has 24 frets made of stainless steel. Abalone dot inlays are provided to the side of the neck for a uniquely modern look.
Where the EHB1000S really shines is in its pickups and tone control. A pair of Bartolini BH2 humbuckers are stocked into this bass.
You’ll be able to find your ideal tones via a:
- Master volume knob
- Balancer knob
- 3-band active EQ
- EQ bypass switch
As you can see, Ibanez has really outdone themselves to provide a large number of tools for the bassist’s disposal. No tone will be able to slip by you as you learn to master the subtle depth of these features.
For hardware, the EHB1000S features:
- A nut made of plastic
- Ibanez custom headpiece tuners
Another special thing about this bass is its MR5HS bridge, which features isolated saddles. This is designed to help minimize unwanted string vibration from unplayed strings.
Topping off the entire package, the Ibanez EHB1000S comes included with a gig bag. You’ll be ready to hit the stage as soon as you take the bass out of its box.
Bass players who really take every tonal detail seriously will love the flexibility of the EHB1000S.
Fender Player Series Mustang Bass PJ
Nobody can deny how awesome Fender’s iconic Mustang body design is. It is perhaps even more awesome with a bass guitar format.
The Player Series Mustang Bass PJ features a body made of Alder with a gloss polyester finish. There are a number of different color options with this model, including:
- Aged natural
- Firemist gold
- Sienna sunburst
- Surf green
Maple is used in the construction of this Mustang bass’s neck, which has a scale length of 30”. This neck has a modern C-shaped contour to provide the best in comfort and playability.
The fretboard is made of Pau Ferro and has a radius of 9.5”. There are 19 frets on this fretboard, with traditional white dot inlays providing navigational guidance.
Tonally, the Player Series Mustang Bass PJ is pretty versatile. As its name suggests, it has pickups from both Fender’s Precision and Jazz bass models.
More specifically, you’ll find a vintage-style Precision Split single-coil pickup at the neck. In the bridge position is a vintage-style Jazz single-coil pickup.
The inclusion of these pickups allows you to really hone in on classic bass tones that you are familiar with. You’ll certainly find uses for this bass in a wide range of different musical genres.
To aid in the hunt for tone, Fender has provided:
- 1 master volume knob
- 1 master tone knob
- 3-way switch to select the pickup position
For hardware, this bass features:
- Fender vintage-style tuners
- A synthetic bone nut
- 4-saddle bridge
The Player Series Mustang Bass PJ is certainly built with the modern bassist in mind.
This bass guitar has all of the signature Danelectro stylings. These instruments are hard to deny based on their obscure familiarity throughout modern musical history.
The Danelectro ‘59DC features the iconic double-cutaway Danelectro body style. Its body is made of a combination of Spruce and Plywood with a Hardboard top.
You can get the ‘59DC in a number of different attractive color offerings. These include:
- Vintage cream
- Black metal flake
Maple is used to construct the ‘59DC’s neck, which has a scale length of 29.75”. This neck has a C-shaped contour for a comfortable playing experience.
The ‘59DC features Pau Ferro for its fretboard, which has a 14” radius. There are 2-octaves of playability here with its 24 frets that are easily accessible.
In true Danelectro fashion, the ‘59DC is stocked with a pair of high output single-coil pickups. These are housed in a Lipstick form factor, which features a sleek and shiny pickup cover.
The ‘59DC really does have its own unique tone compared to other basses on the market. This bass is noticeably punchier and fairly round in tone.
You’ll be able to easily dial in your favorite tones thanks to its volume and tone knobs. These are stacked so each pickup is controlled by one knob area.
A 3-way switch is also provided for pickup selection during play.
For hardware, the ‘59DC features:
- Closed gear tuners
- An aluminum nut
- Fully adjustable bridge
Overall, this Danelectro offering allows you to get a piece of history for your own collection. It’s a very lightweight bass that is fun to play and produces some truly classic tones.
Epiphone Allen Woody Rumblekat
Fans of the Allman Brothers and Gov’t Mule will absolutely love the Epiphone Allen Woody Rumblekat. This artist series model was designed by the bass player himself to provide a truly unique playing experience.
The Allen Woody Rumblekat is effectively a semi-hollowbody bass guitar without a soundhole. It features a body design similar to the iconic single-cutaway Les Paul shape.
Mahogany is used to construct the sides and back of this guitar. The top is made of 5-ply Maple.
This bass features a set neck to aid in the resonant qualities of the semi-hollowbody design. You’ll find this type of neck joint to be easily accommodating to play in the higher registers of the bass.
The neck is crafted from Mahogany and has a 30” scale length. You’ll find this neck extremely comfortable and fast to play thanks to its Slimtaper contour.
Rosewood is used for the Allen Woody Rumblekat’s fretboard. This has a 12” radius with 20 frets and traditional dot inlays.
For pickups, this bass is stocked with a pair of NYT Bass Mini humbucker pickups. As its name suggests, the Rumblekat truly does provide quite the rumble.
Many owners (who absolutely love this bass) have said that the Rumblekat is reminiscent of a vintage bass. This is largely in part due to the added warmth of the semi-hollowbody design and its pickups.
To make the most of these pickups, Epiphone has provided 2 volume knobs and a master tone knob.
The Rumblekat features a gold shine on every metallic surface. This can be seen on the vintage-style tuners, pickup covers, and the 3-point adjustable bridge.
You really cannot go wrong with the Allen Woody Rumblekat, especially if you’re looking for a versatile performer.
Squier Classic Vibe Bass VI
Squier has done an excellent job creating modernized versions of signature Fender models from years past. While most of this focus has been on guitars, bassists can rejoice with this model.
The Classic Vibe Bass VI is essentially a reproduction of the Bass VI that ran production between 1961 to 1975. These have a unique offset design that is very similar to the Fender Jaguar.
One unique thing about this bass is that it is actually a 6-stringed bass. It is tuned exactly like a guitar, but one octave lower.
Poplar is used to construct the Classic Vibe Bass VI’s body. It has a gloss polyurethane finish and comes in a couple of vintage-era colors including:
- 3-tone sunburst
The Classic Vibe Bass VI’s neck is crafted from Maple and has a 30” scale length. It also has a C-shaped contour to provide familiarity and comfort up and down the neck.
Indian Laurel is featured as the fretboard on this bass model. It has a radius of 9.5” and 21 frets.
This fretboard is also adorned with block inlays, which really adds a special look to the bass guitar’s overall aesthetic.
For pickups, this model is stocked with 3 Alnico single-coil pickups designed by Fender. Just like the Jaguar, this model provides unique methods of tonal control, featuring:
- 1 master volume knob
- 1 master tone knob
- 3 on/off slide switches (for each pickup)
- 1 switch for bass-cut circuit
For hardware, this bass features:
- A bone nut
- Vintage-style tuners
- Vintage non-locking floating vibrato bridge
With this bass, Ibanez has shown that you don’t need to sacrifice tone or cool looks with a budget instrument. The TMB30 has a modern-looking offset double-cutaway design that is fresh, yet traditional at the same time.
Comfort contours on the front and back have been provided on this bass to provide a comfortable playing experience. You’ll find the bass fits nicely against your body while your picking arm is kept free from fatigue.
Poplar is used to construct the body of the TMB30. It has a gloss polyurethane finish and comes in a number of different colors including:
- Mint green
The TMB30’s neck is crafted from Maple and has a scale length of 30”. This is connected to the body with a modular bolt-on neck joint.
Jatoba is the featured material used for the TMB30’s fretboard. It has a radius of 9.4”, with 20 frets outlined by white dot inlays.
For pickups, Ibanez has provided a tonal palette that is likely very familiar to your favorite bass tones. It has a Dynamix P Split single-coil at the neck and a Dynamix J single-coil at the bridge.
These are designed to provide tones that are signature to Fender’s Precision and Jazz bass models. Fortunately, with the TMB30, you won’t have to choose between either, as both exist in this bass.
To make the most of the tonal options, there are 2 volume knobs and a master tone knob.
For hardware, the TMB30 features:
- Chrome tuners
- A plastic nut
- 4-saddle bridge
Squier Mini Precision Bass
This offering from Squier is perfect for the small-handed beginner looking for their first bass. Seasoned players and occasional bassists will also delight in the playability of this miniaturized classic.
The Mini Precision Bass has a body made of Poplar with a gloss polyurethane finish. It comes in 2 different color options:
- Dakota Red
Maple is used in the construction of the Mini Precision Bass’s neck, which has a 28.6” scale length. This neck has a C-shaped contour which will feel comfortable for anyone, including the guitarist who occasionally plays bass.
The fretboard is made of Laurel and has a radius of 9.5”. There are 20 frets on this fretboard, outlined by Pearloid dot inlays.
For pickups, the Mini Precision Bass features 1 Precision Split single-coil pickup. These types of pickups are truly signature to the Precision bass models.
A master volume and tone knob are provided to dial in your favorite P-bass tones. And you can be sure that they are here, with its round punch and precise high-range EQ.
For hardware, the Mini Precision Bass features:
- Die-cast sealed tuners
- A 4-saddle vintage-style bridge
- A synthetic bone nut
The Squier Mini Precision Bass is built to perform, yet is quite durable for even the most careless of players. You’ll find that, despite its price, this is a bass that you can truly depend on.
The price is perhaps the most attractive feature of this instrument. Its priced affordably for any budget level to manage.
It’s not every day you find classic bass tones at such a valued price.
What To Look For When Buying A Short-Scale Bass?
The purchase of any instrument warrants a degree of research before spending your hard-earned money. However, for the beginner, it can be difficult to know what should be covered in due diligence.
If you would consider yourself such a person, have no worries! The following informational points will help you to make the most informed purchasing decision.
You will want to take all of the following points into consideration and give them a long and hard thought. Each musician is unique and every person has their own set of needs and strengths.
Neck Scale Length
If you’re looking specifically for a short-scale bass guitar, you’ll need to pay attention to scale length. Not sure if a short-scale bass is right for you?
For some, the distance between frets proves to be near impossible to play without straining. If you’re somebody who struggles with the distances between the frets, you might have use for one of these basses.
Scale length refers to the measurement of the strings between the nut and saddle. Shorter lengths allow for a smaller distance between the frets.
Standard basses have scale lengths that traditionally fall around the 34” area. Most short-scale basses tend to be around 30”.
Keep in mind that manufacturers will have different scale lengths for each of their models. Some short-scale basses have a scale length measuring below 30”.
The best way to figure out which one feels right for you is to try them out in a music shop. This will allow you to get a feel for how it feels to your hand and sounds to your ears.
Are you somebody who loves the look of traditional instruments? Or maybe you are a fan of more modern instrument shapes?
It might not seem like the first thing you’d think of, but pay attention to your preferences. There are basses that have body styles resembling old classics as well as completely new shapes.
If you don’t like the look of your bass, you’re less likely to connect with it on an emotional level. This type of connection is essential in finding a bass that truly resonates with you in a harmonic way.
Any musician will tell you that connection with the instrument is key for lifelong enjoyment. Be sure that your choice inspires you to want to pick up the instrument time and time again.
Along with the aforementioned body styles, be sure you know what bass tones you prefer. It goes without saying, but make sure that your bass of choice can provide those tones.
The Fender Precision Bass and the Jazz Bass continue to be some of the most popular basses. In the realm of music history, these instruments have played on some of the most famous tracks of all time.
However, there is a wide range of basses with different pickups available today. You will need to try some of these instruments out to see how each sounds to your ears.
If those aforementioned P-bass and J-bass tones are your favorites, be sure to do some extra research. You might just find a bass that is more versatile and has those iconic tones built into the instrument.
As you’ve seen on this list, there are short-scale bass guitars available for every budget level and player. Your budget is definitely not something to ignore by any means.
It can be easy to spend a large sum of money on an instrument and justify its purchase. Though these decisions are easily rationalized, don’t fall victim to this line of thinking.
The reality is that every budget level has bass guitars that are extremely playable. Some lower-priced basses might be far more of a value than something more expensive.
Ultimately, your budget should be determined by your skill level as well as the amount of time you’ve been playing. Similarly, your need for the instrument (and the setting in which it will be played) also plays a large role.
A professional recording in the studio and performing regularly on stage has a better reason for a high-budget bass. Likewise, the long-term hobbyist who has been playing for years is rightly justified in these purchases as well.
If you’re a beginner with a lot to spend, save your money. Look for an instrument that provides value at a low cost.
Best Brands For Short-Scale Bass Guitars
If you’re not sure what short-scale bass guitar is best for you, have no fear! Sometimes, learning about different well-known brands can give you a guidepost.
The following brands are very established names within the guitar industry. As such, they have a reputation built and backed by decades of faithful musicians.
Be sure to check out these brands if you’re not sure where to look for a short-scale bass. You’re sure to find something worth your time and money.
When it comes to guitars, Fender is perhaps one of the best-known companies in the industry. Fender was started by Leo Fender in 1946 and remains extremely popular today.
As a whole, Fender is responsible for creating some of the most popular guitars, basses, and amplifiers of all time. Their products can be heard and easily identifiable on innumerable famous recordings.
Ibanez is a Japanese company that got its start importing classical guitars in the 1900s. Eventually, the company branched out into creating its own guitars in the 1930s.
Since then, Ibanez has become extremely respectable in the guitar community and is regularly providing innovative breakthroughs. Its guitars are regularly endorsed by guitar virtuosos of many different genres.
For the budget-conscious musician, Squier is continually providing value on every level. Squier is a subsidiary company of Fender and produces Fender-style instruments for a lower cost.
In fact, this company was first introduced to the world to combat counterfeit Fender guitars. Today, they remain a first choice for guitarists and bassists of all skill levels.
Top Short-Scale Bass Guitars, Final Thoughts
Just because you have small hands or a short finger span doesn’t mean you can’t play bass guitar! Short-scale bass guitars provide an opportunity for anyone to be able to pick up the bass and play with ease.
Even if you don’t have small hands, a short-scale bass guitar can be extremely fun to play. Try some of these basses out for yourself to see which one calls out to you to take home.