A friend wants me to build him a cigar box bass with a short neck.  Shorter than the 34" scale length of his Pbass and use regular electric guitar bass strings, because that is what he is used to.  I took him to our local uke shop and he didn't like the floopy strings on the Kbass.  So, the question is, how short can you make the scale length using regular strings and still have it not pop the neck in half and still have a good sound?  Both things are importent.  There maybe more 'things' involved, so please advise me.

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a 30" scale length is fairly common - Paul McCartney is one example of a famous musician who commonly plays a bass that short.  Ibanez has made one that goes down to 28.5" scale length.  Those are the common mass produced scales, undoubtedly people have experimented with others.  I'd say you could do 30" easily but take note that standard bass strings may not fit properly.  They sell short scale strings that are identical in all but the length that will work better.  They are common and can be found at any good music store

Thanks for the advice Chris.  My friend has an extra set of strings for his bass, so I measured them, shortest 43, longest 47 inches, so they must by for 37 inch SL bass.  I noticed that the string taper down near the end, about the last 6 inches, then have a smaller wound peice about 6 inchs long.  I think he bought the wrong strings for his 34 inch SL bass.  After reading all the questions and replys here, I think I am going to sit down with him in front of the computer and go over them all will him, so he know what to expect.  Thanks

Hi, I,ve made short scale basses with scale length as short as 24.5 inches. Years ago Japanese builders built small basses with very short scales. I build them with 25.5 inch Scale and they play very well. To make it easy, use an old electric guitar neck, and graft it to a reinforced cigar box body. Make it a 3 string and use bass strings ADG. The old guitar necks are strong and will easily handle the strings as they have a truss rod. I remove the guitar tuners, plug the holes and redrill and install bass tuners. If you want some pictures let me know.

Hi Richard....Please send some pics....Thanks.....Will

Hi Will. Here is a picture of my latest conversion, Scale is 25", Fretless. The frets were machined off, and a little wood ramp installed.

There is a 4 string bass with a 18" scale length. Sometome back Fender made a bass called a Ashbory, the rights were sold to DeArmond. It had a piezo pick-up in the bridge, and it used silicone strings. The bass is really cool and sounds a lot like a stand up bass. I recently bought one on ebay and it is a very unusual guitar. The strings and the bridge are available on ebay. Check it out, this should solve your issues.


Well....I got a nice looking Fender Strat style neck here in Sacramento yesterday for $15 with a 25 1/2 inch scale length.  I traced the headstock on paper & laid out the huge tuner pattern....3 up 1 down....the tuners are reversible, so that is not a problem.  I am going to fill the holes & paint the headstock before drilling the new holes.  The body is going to be a Master Blend Liga Maestra dark box.  It's on hold now, so I can finish some other uke builds.  Thanks guys for the help.

I think Fender made a 28" scale....the Mustang.


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