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Advanced Member
Username: groovelines

Post Number: 389
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Saturday, October 07, 2006 - 2:57 pm:   Edit Post


I had an opportunity to drop by Guitar Resurection, Austin, Texas, this past Friday. They have a two short scale Alembics in their inventory. A coco-bolo SC and a sweet, sweet Brown Bass.
I made the best of a short trip and hugged up close to the BB. I'm impressed beyond words. I didn't expect such a "little thing" to have such a big voice. It's every bit as deep and growly as it's longer scaled brothers and sisters.
The shorter scale didn't take too long to get used to and it's easy to play all along the neck, especially in first position. I can understand dela and co's dedication to the shorter scale.
I'm not a convert, yet, but if you're considering moving to something smaller to alleviate back, shoulder or other physical issues that long scale basses aggrivate and still want all that Alembic offers I heartily recommend seeking one out and giving it a spin.

Intermediate Member
Username: hb3

Post Number: 177
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Saturday, October 07, 2006 - 5:14 pm:   Edit Post

I've found my short scale records really, really well.
Username: hifiguy

Post Number: 5
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Saturday, October 07, 2006 - 6:27 pm:   Edit Post

I heartily agree hb3; my SCS records like a dream. I was shocked a couple of weeks ago when I heard just how good the bass tracks for my curtent band's CD sounded. I got an exceptionally clear and punchy effect when going for that "Phil" sound on a couple of tracks and a full throated big bad growl just where and when I wanted it.

My only beef with the short scale is not with the bass but with those @#$^&! super jumbo frets. Frets that large on a short scale don't leave a lot of space when I get will above the 12th fret. My custom (someday) will have frets like an early 1960s Jazz Bass: small and with a softly pyramidal profile. I might even try mandolin frets, as I've seen on a few custom Alembics.

Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 1333
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Saturday, October 07, 2006 - 8:43 pm:   Edit Post

I did some recording for a bass player friend of mine and he was over today listening to some of the mixdown. I played a few tracks that I had done with my new SC for him and he said it had a very Phil-like tone. I really love the way it sounds both live and recorded.
Username: hankster

Post Number: 67
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Sunday, October 08, 2006 - 6:16 am:   Edit Post

There have always been lots of good short scale basses, and as long as you are careful about string choice, they sound just as good as any long-scale bass - a bit different maybe, but just as good. I used an 80 or 81 Les Paul bass for years with no ill effects. I switched to a 34" Stingray for a long time, but when I got my Stanley Clarke standard, coming back to the short scale was like coming home, both in terms of feel and sound (better than the Les Paul on both counts - sort of like coming home to find out that the kitchen's been renovated). I never thought of the short scale as a compromise or a way of avoiding the physical issues of longer scale. I am as much an upright bass player as a transverse player, and the scale differences are, well, just differences.

Advanced Member
Username: groovelines

Post Number: 390
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Sunday, October 08, 2006 - 6:26 am:   Edit Post

What surpirsed me was that the string tension appeared to be uh, "normal". For some half-baked reason I was expecting the tension to be loose, sloppy, to make make up for the shorter distance. Don't know why I thought that, Stanely's sound certainly isn't "loose".
I played through an Ashsown power amp and 15" cabinet. Plenty of bottom end and very tight mid range for all of that walnut in the BB.

(Message edited by groovelines on October 08, 2006)
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 606
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Sunday, October 08, 2006 - 6:45 am:   Edit Post

Hankster, I'm with you there. I have both long and short scale Alembics, plus I also play guitar so swapping between scale lengths are just different not an issue. I've stuck with the gauge of strings that came with the bass. Alembics standard short scale bass strings. I think they are 45's.
The string tension is not an issue either, it's not sloppy at all. I do tend to do string bending on both basses and don't find it difficult on either one, maybe harder on the 2nd fret on a 34" scale bass but thats it.
I've never tried any other short scale basses so can't compare.

The SC has a good meaty sound.
Advanced Member
Username: dannobasso

Post Number: 381
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Sunday, October 08, 2006 - 7:42 am:   Edit Post

Though I traded my SC to Echo I can still vouch that it is a great bass to play. Slapping is a dream. The tones never lacked for me and coming from medium, long scale and extra wide fingerboards, you can fly on these basses. I still have a 31" Essense 5 and it holds it's own with my others. The B is still very good. If I get the Japan tour I may take that with me so I can bring it on the plane. Variety in scales is the spice of life.
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 1334
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Sunday, October 08, 2006 - 1:19 pm:   Edit Post

You got that right, Danno. There are also a few SC basses out there with custom fingerboard dimensions. Bring the strings a little closer together than standard and you can flty even faster! Too narrow at the bridge ans slapping gets a bit more challenging, but rapid finger/pick playing becomes super effortless.

I ordered my custom SC with one ebony stringer in addition to the two purpleheart and dual fatboy pickups. I had been advised to go with a fatboy only at the bridge and stick with the AXY for the neck. I was, of course, concerned with the ramifications of not taking Alembic's advice. I asked for tonal opinions while the bass was still at the factory so tweaks could be considered if they weren't happy with the tone. The word was that it didn't sound like a short scale. From another musician or the audience, that would be no big deal. From Valentino, that's the highest praise for this wood recipe and electronics setup. I highly recommend the configuration I ended up with.

I have a guy trying to talk me into subbing for him on a reggae gig. If I decide I am up to it, I will probably set up my "backup" shorty with some flats on it for that work. The spacing on that one is just too narrow for my general band, but I expect it to be sensational for note-heavy reggae rhythms.

Advanced Member
Username: elzie

Post Number: 393
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Sunday, October 08, 2006 - 6:32 pm:   Edit Post

I have two short scale basses and they both have a big sound. The strings also feel nice and slinky :-)
Senior Member
Username: olieoliver

Post Number: 785
Registered: 2-2006
Posted on Sunday, October 08, 2006 - 6:55 pm:   Edit Post

Mike, I love trying different basses, you never know what you'll "find".
(Inside joke guys):-)
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 607
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Monday, October 09, 2006 - 12:18 am:   Edit Post

When I first got my sc, I was doing some session gigs with a singer and the guitarist in the band was the founder member of Steel Pulse ( Basil Gabbidon). We did a couple of reggae tracks on one of the gigs and he came over to me and said what the heck is that bass, thats the cleanest bottom end I've ever heard.

That's enought of an endoresement for me.
BSee, your dep guy may not like it if you do dep and they prefer your sound.

Username: karl

Post Number: 92
Registered: 7-2002
Posted on Monday, October 09, 2006 - 3:32 am:   Edit Post

I have to say, I'm definitely a convert to the short scale. Having studied the physics of it, I'd always shied away from short scales, having deduced (possibly wrongly) from my dabblings in physics that a short scale should be less punchy, less bassy, and the tension too sloppy, so that there would be less note definition. In short, I'd always thought that a shorty would be everything I didn't want from a bass. And this had been borne out by every non-Alembic shorty I'd ever tried. In addition, I'm a tall, lanky guy, so I don't really have a comfort issue with long scales.

But when I finally got the chance to play a short scale SC, I was overwhelmed. Maybe it's the fact that it's an Alembic shorty, but this bass sounds the exact opposite of what I expected - it's punchier, got more bass and more note definition than any of the long scales I've ever played or owned. I can only assume it's the way it's made. While the string tension is noticeably less than on my long scales (I use very light gauge strings: 30-90), I actually prefer that - it makes bends easier and I can use a lighter touch and more dynamic techniques. Also, the short scale and narrow string spacing means I can whizz around the fretboard in a way I was never able to on a long scale.

Anyway, the moral of this story is: don't let the science of it, or experiences with non-Alembic short-scales, put you off trying one.

Advanced Member
Username: echo008

Post Number: 298
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Monday, October 09, 2006 - 9:01 am:   Edit Post

I have had a Brown Bass and now I own a SCD.
The SCD that I traded with Danno, is a great bass.
Both basses have sounded very different to my ears, the BB was very lively, Playing live the bass was too good to be true .... always growly and warm and BIG. I seem to remember having some trouble trying to record with it, its personality was to jump through the mix and it was hard to get it to sit, eventually we did. As you know this here AINT no fender
The SCD ... like its been said, playing it is a breeze, very narrow neck width, I just strung it with a set of Pyramid Short scale flatwounds and they fit perfectly, no cutting, nice tension, smooth feel. Tonewise this bass fits with most of the music I play. Even with Flats the sustain is amazing. I usually favor the neck Pup a bit more. But the depth definitely compares with my 34 inch Essence, Totally different flavor of tone but again that depth is not lost at all.
- Tom

(Message edited by echo008 on October 09, 2006)
Advanced Member
Username: groovelines

Post Number: 392
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Monday, October 09, 2006 - 1:07 pm:   Edit Post

Olie - inside joke indeed, you so funny. Thanks for the directions, Radar.
Senior Member
Username: olieoliver

Post Number: 788
Registered: 2-2006
Posted on Monday, October 09, 2006 - 1:13 pm:   Edit Post

NO problemo Mike. Glad to help.
Senior Member
Username: keith_h

Post Number: 589
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Monday, October 09, 2006 - 7:07 pm:   Edit Post

I really like the short scale and small standard body. I have smaller hands so what can be a stretch on my long scale basses becomes a very comfortable reach on the short scale. I like it so much that I plan for my next bass to be a short scale Series 1. For strings I use the same ones that it came with, Alembic short scale.

Username: somatic

Post Number: 45
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - 7:31 am:   Edit Post

Sell them? You'll have to pry them from my cold dead hands.

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