Best Short Scale Bass Guitars of 2019 – Complete Review

There are many different stringed instruments, but one of the most undermined certainly is bass. While everyone goes crazy about fingerstyle acoustic, electric, and classical guitars, they forget that it is the bass guitar that is one of the focal points in any music band. Why? Because bass is responsible for rhythm, which means both the drummer, solo guitar player, and singer have to follow it.

If you are looking to learn how to play bass, then investing in a proper beginner model is a great idea. There are several different offers on the market, but we suggest that you start with a short scale one to get comfortable with the instrument and the basics.

We prepared a list of the best short scale bass offers, along with answers to a few frequently asked questions, to help you with the decision.

Comparison Chart of the Best Short Scale Bass Guitars

Product

Rating

Price

Ibanez 4 String Bass Guitar, Right Handed

Ibanez 4 String Bass Guitar, Right, Brown Sunburst (GSRM20BS)

Best Overall

Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet Electric Bass Guitar II

Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet Electric Bass Guitar II - Black

Runner-up

Dean E09M Edge Mahogany Electric Bass Guitar

Dean E09M Edge Mahogany Electric Bass Guitar - Natural

Best for the Money

Dean Evo XM Mahogany Short-Scale Electric Bass Guitar

Dean Evo XM Mahogany Short-Scale Electric Bass Guitar - Natural

Best Under $500

Ibanez 5 String Bass Guitar, Right Handed

Ibanez 5 String Bass Guitar, Right, Black (GSRM25BK)

Best Short Scale 5 String Bass

Squier by Fender Bronco Bass

Squier by Fender Bronco Bass, Black with Maple Fingerboard

Best Fender Short Scale Bass

What Size of Short Scale Bass Do I Need?

As we have mentioned above, your best bet is to go ahead and invest in a short-scale bass before moving on to regular sized bass guitars. The reason? Much like with any other stringed instrument it may take some time before you get comfortable with the body. Also, if you have small hands, it is the ideal choice for you.

The best short scale bass for beginners is one that has a scale of 31 inches or below. This is just a few inches under what would usually be a regular-sized guitar.

How to Choose a Short Scale Bass Guitar

Buying a short scale bass doesn’t have to be complicated. As long as you are aware of a few critical features, namely the brand, the price, and things like the scale length, neck, and fretboard.

Price

Price plays a crucial role in making your final decision. With there being several offers on the market, finding a good quality short scale bass for an affordable price should seem quite simple. While the budget-friendly options may start from $250, the ones that are of good value are usually around $400 to $500 and above. It all depends on whether you are just starting, and if you have a flexible budget.

Brand

Buying from a reputable brand such as Ibanez and Fender is critical if you want to ensure that you get a quality product.

Size

Your best bet is to buy a model that is a few inches above what would be the usual size. What this means is that bass guitar that is 31 inches and below is perfect for beginners and adults with smaller hands.

Frets

If you are a beginner and you are new to the concept of playing short-scale bass guitars, you will want to make it as easy as possible. What this means is that you should buy models that have medium frets or go for those with jumbo if you have bigger hands and more experience with stringed instruments.

Review of the Best Short Scale Bass Guitars

Let's take a look at this year's best short scale bass guitars.

Ibanez 4 String Bass Guitar, Right, Brown Sunburst (GSRM20BS)

PROS

  • Slim Neck and Good Scale
  • Compact and Lightweight
  • Attractive Shape and Look
  • Good Pickups For Accurate Sound

CONS

  • Customer Service is Lacking
  • Buzzy Frets Can Be Irritating
  • Flimsy Strings Cause Over Movement

Buying from a reputable brand can be of critical importance when it comes to short-scale bass guitars. In this case, we are talking about an attractive and affordable model that is perfect for beginners and right-handed players looking to improve their bass skills!

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers are quite satisfied with this guitar, with the main pros being related to the attractive and compact short-scale design. People are also happy to hear the powerful and clean sound that can stand head to head with high-end models.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Apart from the design, we love the convenient pickup that ensures good sound control and great distortion. Also, the neck is made out of Maple and features a slim neck, which is perfect if you have smaller hands.

Who Will Use This Most

This particular model is perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to play bass and doesn’t have the experience to deal with regular-sized models just yet. While not suitable for left-handed players, this Ibanez guitar is good for both teenagers and adults looking to step up their bass game a bit.

Bottom Line

This guitar is one of the best short scale bass offers on the market for a good reason. Apart from the reasonable price, it features an attractive and sturdy design and provides excellent rhythm and sound for the given price.

Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet Electric Bass Guitar II - Black

PROS

  • Two Mini Pickups
  • Sturdy and Solid - Good For Traveling
  • Great For Those Wanting An Affordable Bass
  • Smooth Rosewood Fingerboard With 30.3-Inch Scale

CONS

  • Customer Service Could Be Faster
  • Flimsy Pickups Are Somewhat Inaccurate at Times

Another great product with an attractive and sturdy body, this bass guitar is great if you are into 4-stringed instruments and you want to learn how to play bass before moving on to more complex 5-stringed models.

What Recent Buyers Report

From what recent buyers have said, we can see that this bass guitar is comfortable to learn on and that it has almost the same proportions as a regular 34-inch model. While they suggest that the pickups are quite flimsy, using only the front one will allow you great sound control and help you with the basics.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The reason why we think this is one of the best short scale bass offers is due to its rosewood fingerboard that is perfect for beginners, as well as the fact that it will stay in tune for quite some time.

Who Will Use This Most

Much like the product mentioned above, this particular model is ideal for beginners and right-handed players that want to try their luck with 4-stringed bass guitars. Affordable and at an adequate scale for those starting out, this Gretsch bass guitar is a smart investment.

Bottom Line

While not from the most trusted brands, such as Ibanez or Fender, this model is still of exceptional quality, and for the given price, it allows a clean and powerful sound. Due to its compact design and scaling, it is just perfect for those that are yet to experience authentic bass guitars.

Dean E09M Edge Mahogany Electric Bass Guitar - Natural

PROS

  • Sturdy and Compact
  • Great Value For Money
  • Dual-Action For Variation
  • Attractive Basswood Body
  • Great Volume and Treble Control

CONS

We all know the feeling of wanting to buy something but not having enough money to do it. If you are on a tight budget, but you want to enjoy a good short-scale bass, this Dean model is just the right choice for you.

What Recent Buyers Report

There are split feelings when it comes to this Dean short-scale bass guitar, mostly because it is still a few inches bigger than the two models mentioned above. If you have had a decent experience with stringed instruments, and you want to move on to 4 and 5-stringed bass, then it seems like a great choice.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The first thing that we love about it is its attractive Basswood body and a maple neck that sits at 34 inches scale. The efficient treble and volume control is what makes this bass guitar a product of our personal choice.

Who Will Use This Most

Anyone who is genuinely into playing bass and wants to become the focal point of your band. Yes, it may not be that small and is not ideal for kids and teenagers, but for right-handed adults, this guitar is just perfect.

Bottom Line

The whole point is that you get a good quality guitar for an affordable price, and that is what happens by buying the Dean E09M guitar. While not perfect for those that have zero experience with stringed instruments, it is playable, and you shouldn’t take much time to get comfortable with it.

Dean Evo XM Mahogany Short-Scale Electric Bass Guitar - Natural

PROS

  • Good Pickups
  • Maple Body is Appealing
  • Great Value Based On Quality
  • Great Intonation and Low Action

CONS

  • Flimsy Finish
  • Customer Service Could Be More Attentive

Finding a high-quality guitar under $500 is not always the easiest thing to do, but this Dean Evo model proves to us that it is possible!

What Recent Buyers Report

While not the ideal choice if you are looking to put it through heavy use, customers suggest that for a first guitar, this model provides excellent sound and it is quite easy to get comfortable with it.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We are fans of high-quality Dean pickups, which is what this guitar features along with a smooth fingerboard that will allow you excellent control and low action, essential for when you are a beginner.

Who Will Use This Most

As you might have expected, right-handed adult players will have the most use out of this product, as apart from being affordable, it features a compact 30-inch body that is great for starters.

Bottom Line

An impressive lightweight guitar that will satisfy the requirements of anyone who is on a tight budget and doesn’t have a flexible budget.

Best Short Scale 5 String Bass:
Ibanez 5 String Bass Guitar, Right Handed

Ibanez 5 String Bass Guitar, Right, Black (GSRM25BK)

PROS

  • Great Sound
  • Compact and Lightweight
  • Efficient Pickup and Short Scale
  • Looks Good For Both Men and Women

CONS

  • Occasional Fret Buzz
  • Customer Service is Slow

If you are looking to try your luck with a 5 string bass guitar and you don’t have much experience, then this Ibanez model is an excellent decision for you.

What Recent Buyers Report

The main problem seems to be with the buzz frets, which you may try to solve by adjusting the nut and the truss rod. This compact and lightweight bass guitar is said to be a great choice for those that want to play around with 5 low action strings.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Apart from the fact that this guitar has a sturdy, attractive, and lightweight design, we love the Ibanez powerful pickups that will allow you good sound and treble control.

Who Will Use This Most

Any right-handed player who is interested in experimenting with 5-stringed bass guitars. The short scale of 28.6 inches makes this model suitable for teenagers and adults with smaller hands as well.

Bottom Line

Overall, we think that this 5-stringed Ibanez electric bass guitar is worth your attention due to its compact design, powerful pickups, and a slim neck.

Best Fender Short Scale Bass:
Squier by Fender Bronco Bass

Squier by Fender Bronco Bass, Black with Maple Fingerboard

PROS

  • Durable and Sturdy
  • Very High-Quality Build
  • Good Playability From Fingerboard Radius
  • Powerful Pickups For Strong Sound Response

CONS

  • Price is a Bit Higher
  • Could Have Faster Customer Service

At the end of our list is another guitar made by Fender and undoubtedly an icon when it comes to the idea of high-quality stringed instruments.

What Recent Buyers Report

This particular model is not just a beginner bass, but as customers suggest, it can be comfortably used by those with more experience as well, due to superb design, powerful pickup and a great fingerboard radius that allows good playability.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Along with the fair and reasonable price for a bass guitar of excellent quality, we love the scaling and proportions of the fingerboard and jumbo frets. Also, the volume and tone control knobs are easy to adjust.

Who Will Use This Most

This product is ideal for both beginners and professionals that love playing high-quality bass and having fun with powerful pickups and convenient treble and volume control.

Bottom Line

It is not a secret that the Fender brand stands behind some of the best-stringed instruments on the market, and this short-scale bass certainly is among those!

Pros and Cons of Short Scale Bass Guitars

In our opinion, there are several reasons why you might find short-scale bass guitars a worthy choice. On the other hand, there are certain disadvantages as well. We decided to highlight a few pros and cons and let you make the decision;

Pros

Comfort

It is not a secret that playing a short-scale bass guitar is much more comfortable than doing it on one that has a scale of 35 inches and above (especially if you have smaller hands).

Difficulty (Or Lack Of)

Also if you are a beginner, you might value in the fact that short-scale bass guitars are much easier to learn due to the smaller size and the fact that they have a low action profile.

Vintage

Playing on a short-scale bass guitar may be perfect for specific music genres such as soul and blues from the 60s.

Cons

Sustain

If you are all into sound quality, then the short-scale bass guitar might not be the ideal choice for you, due to it becoming sloppy after long sessions of playing. This is due to the lower string tension that was mentioned as an advantage when it comes to playability.

Conclusion

We highlighted the most important features of short-scale bass guitars and did our best to present you with the best models on the market. Investing in a short-scale bass guitar can be a great decision if you are a beginner as long as you are willing to invest time and energy into playing it.