The 9 Best Short Scale Bass Guitars for Small Hands in 2022

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Editor's Choice
Sterling by Music Man StingRay
Sterling by Music Man StingRay
  • Get an Ernie Ball Music Man quality guitar at a fraction of the price
  • Its smaller scale length makes it ideal for those with smaller hands
  • Easily find the perfect tone for any song or performance
  • Suits all playing styles
For Budget
Gretsch G2220
Gretsch G2220
  • The Gretsch G2220 has a vintage-inspired tone that is thick and warm
  • Has a short scale for a more comfortable playing experience
  • Get a guitar that sounds great without spending a fortune
  • The walnut fingerboard has a great feel to it
For Retro Vibe
Danelectro Longhorn
Danelectro Longhorn
  • Get those retro, indie tones you love
  • Unique body design for a different look and feel
  • Durable and resonant guitar body
  • Has wonderful thumpy and snappy tones

Bass guitars come in all shapes and sizes, and for many players, the short-scale bass is the perfect option.

If you’re looking for a smaller guitar capable of delivering a big sound and out-of-this-world playability, check out this list of the best short-scale bass guitars today.

I’ve pulled from my 25+ years of experience and countless hours of research to compile this list of the top nine short-scale bass guitars for all kinds of use cases.

So whether you’re just starting out or looking for an upgrade, these nine basses should definitely be on your radar.

Let’s get started!

The Best Short Scale Bass Guitars at a Glance 2022

Editor’s Choice: Sterling by Music Man StingRay Short Scale Electric Bass

Editor's Choice
Sterling by Music Man StingRay

The Sterling by Music Man StingRay short-scale bass guitar is one of the best in its class.

Featuring a three-way toggle switch for flexible tone options, this instrument is perfect for all styles of music.

Affordable and well-made, the StingRay is a great choice for any bass player.

Suppose you’re searching for a modern bass guitar with tons of tonal flexibility that allows you to play for hours on end. In that case, the Sterling by Music Man StingRay Short Scale Bass will not disappoint.

Sterling is the budget version of the legendary Ernie Ball Music Man, based out of San Luis Obisbo, CA.

Ernie Ball Music Man Bass guitars are known for making versatile, punchy, and expertly crafted bass guitars. They have brought this expertise on quality to their Indonesian-made line, Sterling, which puts the guitar at a price point that is reasonable for every player.

The Sterling features a 30-inch scale length with a 22-fret maple neck and rosewood or maple fingerboard. This bass guitar neck feels exceptionally comfortable and quick. It is an excellent option for electric guitar players and those with smaller hands.

The three-way toggle switch for the single humbucking pickup opens up a wide range of tones that should suit all players. This toggle switch either puts the humbucker in series, single-coil mode or parallel mode. This makes playing any style quick and easy to do.

There are many things to love about the Sterling, but the overall vibe of the bass guitar won’t be for everyone. Sterling by Music Man StingRay has a naturally punchy and bright tone. So if you’re looking for a short-scale bass guitar that is a little more laid back and vibey, look at some other guitars on this list.

This StingRay is the best short-scale bass guitar is a very affordable, well-made, and great playing musical instrument. You owe it to yourself to check one out today!

Pros
  • Lots of tonal options make this a jack-of-all-trades for modern bass players
  • A very comfortable and quick neck allows for easy bass runs and bends
  • Easily adjustable bridge for quick action adjustments
  • An affordable guitar that punches way above its weight
Cons
  • The modern, brighter tone of the Sterling StingRay may not vibe with every player
  • It doesn't come with a gig bag

Best Value for Money: Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet

Best Value for Money
Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet

The Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet Bass Guitar is perfect for guitar players looking for a fat, warm tone with a rolled-off high end.

With its solid Les Paul body style and short scale, this bass gives you the girthy tones you're looking for at an unbeatable price.

Whether you're just starting out or looking for a budget-friendly upgrade, the Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet is hard to beat.

Gretsch Guitars are synonymous with rock n’ roll and are spectacular looking. They tend to have a more “vintage” inspired tone that is thick and warm.

The Gretsch G2220 is a short-scale bass guitar in their Electromatic series of guitars, and for the price, you can’t beat it.

If you’re a guitar player looking for fat mid-range tones that have a rolled-off high-end response, then this guitar will tick all the boxes.

The solid Les Paul body style with the short scale helps give this bass guitar its girthy, warm tone. While the 20-fret bolt-on maple neck with walnut fingerboard feels like a much more expensive guitar in your hands.

Equipped with two mini humbucking pickups and a three-way toggle switch between bridge, neck, and blend opens up some different sonic possibilities. This isn’t the most versatile guitar on the market, and if you’re looking for bright, in-your-face tones, then this guitar isn’t the best option for you.

Also, while I think the Gretsch G2220 is an incredible bargain, it doesn’t come with a gig bag, and the diecast tuners are cheap.

Suppose you are a new bass player or looking to add a quality bass guitar to your collection without spending tons of money. In that case, the Gretsch G2220 is the best short-scale bass guitar for the money.

Check it out today!

Pros
  • The walnut fingerboard feels like it belongs on a guitar that should be much more expensive
  • The bass has a girthy, full tone
  • The small body design is very comfortable to hold
  • Very affordable
Cons
  • The tuners are cheap
  • It doesn't come with a gig bag

Best for Home Recording Artist: Fender Player Mustang Bass PJ

Best for Home Recording Artist
Fender Player Mustang Bass PJ

Looking for an electric bass that offers tonal variety and is easy to play? Look no further than the Fender Player Mustang Bass PJ.

With its precision split single-coil and Vintage-inspired Jazz Single Coil pickups, this bass can go from bright and crisp to warm and mellow with the flick of a switch. With a short scale length and slinky strings, this bass is a breeze to play for long periods.

So if you need a versatile bass that will give your recordings that professional edge, check out the Fender Player Mustang Bass PJ today!

Fender is the world’s largest guitar manufacturer, and its instruments have a long-standing reputation for quality, tone, and playability. The Mustang Bass PJ is no different.

In fact, Fender has taken the straightforward (almost one-trick pony) design of the Mustang and supercharged it for the Player Series lineup.

The most significant feature of the Mustang Bass PJ is the pickup configuration. The traditional precision split single-coil that you find on mustangs, but also included is a Vintage-inspired Jazz Single Coil in the bridge position.

There’s a toggle switch that allows you to switch between the different pickups or have a blend of the two.

This pickup design offers loads of tonal variety from bright and attacky to mid-range and warm.

The 19-fret, C-shaped maple neck with pau farro fingerboard has an effortless glide to it that will feel right at home in the hands of electric guitar players.

The small body size and short scale of the Fender Mustang bass guitar are easy to play for long periods. The “slinky” nature of the strings makes it easy for players who might suffer from arthritis or have smaller hands.

Because this short-scale bass guitar is so effortless to play and tonally versatile, I’d consider this one of the best short-scale bass guitars for the home recording artist.

While Fender is known for producing high-quality guitars, sometimes their made-in-Mexico guitars suffer a bit with inconsistent quality. Some users have reported that the frets poke out a little bit, and the hardware feels fragile. Also, this bass guitar doesn’t come with a gig bag or case, so you will have to factor that into your overall purchase price.

The Fender Player Mustang Bass PJ is the best short-scale bass for home recording artists and long sessions. With tons of finish options, you’re sure to find a version that will keep you inspired throughout multiple takes and look good in a couple of Instagram photos 🙂

Check it out today!

Pros
  • A versatile bass that can cover any style of music
  • Easy to play for long periods
  • The iconic offset body style will always be in vogue
  • You'll stay inspired to keep playing, even after long recording sessions
Cons
  • Some users reported sharp frets
  • The knobs feels cheap

Budget Alternative: Squier Classic Vibe ’60s Mustang Bass

Squier Classic Vibe 60s Mustang

Suppose you love the look and feel of the Fender Mustang short-scale bass guitar, but it’s out of your price range. In that case, the Squier Classic Vibe ’60s Mustang will give you the classic Fender vibe but in a more affordable package.

However, it is worth noting that the Squier isn’t the cheapest guitar on this list either. It is about to have the price of the Fender but is still over $400. You will get a very playable and good-sounding bass guitar for this price (and one that will turn many heads). However, if I’m honest, you’re paying more for look than substance.

Don’t get me wrong, the Squier Mustang is a great guitar. But for the price, build quality, and tone, you might be better off going with one of the other short-scale basses on this list.

However, if you are deadset on a Mustang, then the Classic Vibe ’60s will keep you inspired for years to come.

Best for Kids: Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro

Best for Kids
Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro

Looking for a tremendous short-scale bass guitar for your child? Check out the Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro.

This bass is perfect for beginner players, with a comfortable 28.6'' scale length and easy-to-play fretboard.

Plus, this bass's thick and beefy sound will amaze you, especially given its small size. Check it out today!

Ibanez is well-known for making progressive, well-made guitars for alternative playing styles like rock and metal.

Just one look at the body style of the Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro short-scale bass compared to other guitars on this list, you’ll notice that this guitar is not shy in its appearance!

This is a bass guitar look that you will either love or hate. Still, at least you get your option of a handful of different finish options, including one called “Root Beer Metallic.”

The Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro has a scale length of 28.6”, 1.4” shorter than most other short-scale bass guitars on this list. This makes it one of the most accessible and comfortable bass guitars to play, especially for kids.

While this guitar is one of the most affordable on this list, it has a surprisingly thick and beefy sound. This surprised me when I first heard this guitar, especially given the size of the bass guitar.

The construction of this guitar is straightforward, budget hardware. At the same time, the tonewoods used are alternative budget woods like poplar for the body and Jatoba for the fingerboard. This guitar’s build is excellent for the price and won’t be a deterrent for any new player.

The split precision single-coil neck pickups paired with the Jazz single-coil bridge pickup provide loads of sonic versatility. Whether you want something bright for slapping the bass or thick for driving bass lines, the GSRM20 Mikro can give it to you.

Changing tones is easy to do with the three tone controls. The Mikro comes with your standard bridge pickup volume, neck pickup volume, and master volume knob.

This short-scale bass guitar is also an excellent option for those who want an easy travel guitar. Still, you will have to purchase a case separately.

If you’re looking for a great first guitar for your child, and you can get behind the unique aesthetic, then there is lots to love about this “tiny, but mighty” short-scale bass guitar.

Pros
  • Very affordable
  • Surprisingly thick and beefy sound for its size
  • Comes in a variety of cool finishes
  • The minature size of this bass is perfect for kids and beginners
Cons
  • It doesn't come with a gig bag
  • The aesthetic of this guitar will not appeal to everyone

Best 5-String Alternative: Ibanez GSRM25

Ibanez GSRM25

It’s worth mentioning that Ibanez has a 5-String short-scale bass that is a screaming deal if you are looking for that extra low-end girth.

The specs are nearly identical to the GSRM20 Mikro, except that the Ibanez GSRM25 comes with two single-coil pickups instead of the split single-coil/single-coil design.

This is one of the best 5-string bass guitars if you are on a budget, a beginner, a child, or a player with a more petite frame or hands.

Check it out today!

Best for Reggae & Classic rock: Epiphone EB-0

Best for Reggae & Classic Rock
Epiphone EB-0

If you're looking for a bass guitar that is perfect for Reggae, then the Epiphone EB-0 is the right choice.

With its single humbucking sidewinder pickup and Gibson SG body style, this short-scale electric bass guitar delivers big round tones that hit you right in the gut.

You can’t talk about electric bass guitars without talking about Reggae. While the Epiphone EB-0 has that classic rock n’ roll vibe, with its Gibson SG body style, the tone is perfect for those big and fat belly shaking tones.

What makes this short-scale bass guitar so intriguing is its simplicity. There is only one humbucking sidewinder pickup that is hugged up against the neck of the guitar. This placement and style of pickup lend to big round tones that will punch you in the gut.

If you want a bass guitar with more attack in the notes giving more definition and “hi-fidelity,” then this is not the right instrument.

The single master volume knob and master tone knob make this an excellent guitar for new players and those who just want to play and not fiddle with controls.

The mahogany body, neck, and rosewood fingerboard contribute to the mid-range forward tone. While the C-Shape neck keeps the guitar comfortable for beginners and those with smaller hands.

The bolt-on adjustable bridge can be a bit finicky to tinker with if you need to make any adjustments. Still, it isn’t too difficult for a newbie to figure out.

At the end of the day, if you are looking for a bass guitar with a vintage look and a “mushy” low-end punchiness, then the Epiphone EB-0 is the instrument you need to check out today!

Pros
  • You'll get those fat, juicy tones you need for Reggae & Classic Rock music
  • An excellent price for such an iconic guitar
  • The C-Shape neck keeps the guitar comfortable for beginners and those with smaller hands
  • Straightforward controls won't overwhelm new players
Cons
  • The tone of this guitar might be too "vintage" for those looking to play more modern music
  • The body style might look too alternative for some players

Best Hollow Body: Gretsch G5442BDC

Best Hollow Body
Gretsch G5442BDC

If you're looking for a bass guitar that can do it all, the Gretsch G5442BDC is a perfect choice.

Its hollow body construction gives it a warm, jazzy tone, perfect for studio recordings and live gigs. The maple body and neck add extra clarity and articulation to each note. At the same time, the slim design makes it easy to play.

Intermediate to advanced players will love the flexibility and tone this guitar offers, making it a great addition to their collection.

Gretsch is famous for its hollow-body electric guitars. They bring decades of guitar-building experience into the Gretsch G5442BDC short-scale bass guitar.

This fully hollow, “jazz” bass is exceptionally well built, easy to play, and very flexible in the tones it can produce. However, this guitar is one of the most expensive on this list. It is really meant for intermediate to advanced players looking to add a dynamic electric bass guitar to their studio recordings and live gigs.

The maple body and neck, with a rosewood fretboard, add a crisp, articulate, and open sound to the notes. This will help the bass quickly cut through a mix and allow each note to shine. At the same time, the arched front and back with the slim neck design make this guitar extremely comfortable to play while sitting down or standing up.

The cream binding is a nice touch and elegant flair to the overall design, and I have to say that it’s easy to want to buy this guitar on looks alone.

However, once you hear this guitar plugged in, you won’t be disappointed!

The dual Black Top Filter’Tron Humbucking Pickups by Gretsch give a classic bass tone that can be either vintage or modern. The flexibility of the volume and tone knobs makes this short-scale bass guitar tonally flexible.

The Gretsch G5442BDC has a three-way selector switch for the pickups. Then there is a volume control for the bridge and neck pickup, a master tone control knob, and a master volume control. This allows you to develop any combination of tones you can dream up.

While there is lots to gush over with this electric bass guitar, one common critique is found. This Gretsch suffers from neck dive. This is when you let go of the neck, and the weight of the headstock makes the guitar fall off-center.

This won’t be a massive problem for most players, but this is an issue for some.

Suppose you’re an intermediate to advanced player looking for the best short-scale bass guitar for various genres. In that case, the Gretsch G5442BDC hollow body bass guitar is an excellent investment.

Pros
  • Exceptionally well built and easy to play
  • A gorgeous and timeless looking guitar
  • The tonal flexibility can cover a wide range of genres and playing styles
  • Perfect bass for either the studio or the stage
Cons
  • It's expensive
  • Suffers from a severe case of "neck dive"

Best Retro Vibe: Danelectro Longhorn Bass

Best Retro Vibe
Danelectro Longhorn

Do you like your bass guitars with a little bit of attitude? Then you'll love the Danelectro Longhorn Bass.

This unique instrument has a retro vibe that is perfect for those who like to stand out from the crowd. But don't let the unconventional looks fool you; the Longhorn Bass is a truly versatile instrument that can handle any playing style.

This guitar has got you covered whether you're looking for thumpin' bass lines or snappy grooves. Be brave; check it out today!

The Danelectro Longhorn Bass, at first glance, is weird and almost off-putting. The body design is unlike any other bass guitar on this list and may come off as a gimmick to most who aren’t familiar with the brand.

Writing this guitar off on looks alone is doing yourself a major disservice.

Danelectro guitars have two unique design builds that are a prominent “under the hood” secret to the retro tones you get from the guitar.

First, the lipstick single-coil pickups were invented by Nat Daniel, who used women’s lipstick containers to house the electronics of his pickups.

Second, the guitar body is made of flat hardwood mounted to a wood frame and hollow in the center. This gives the guitar an excellent strength and resonance that you won’t find with other guitars.

For example, indie-musician Phoebe Bridgers famously tried to smash a Danelectro Dano electric guitar on SNL but was unsuccessful.

The sound of the Danelectro Longhorn Bass can be described as thumpy and snappy. In fact, players are often surprised by the easy playability and flexibility to handle any type of playing style you throw at it.

This short-scale bass features 24 frets and two extreme cutaways that make accessing the entire fretboard effortless.

Some players state that this guitar really shines when you put flatwound guitar strings on it to emphasize the retro-rock tones this guitar is known for.

Suppose you’re looking for a guitar that will turn heads, start conversations, and surprise all bass players who pick it up and play. In that case, the Danelectro Longhorn is one you don’t want to overlook!

Pros
  • Own a guitar that is unlike any other on the market
  • Very durable construction that will last a lifetime
  • Can handle any kind of playing style
  • Has a beautiful resonance thanks to the unique design
Cons
  • The body shape might be too weird for some players
  • The knobs are not user-friendly

Best for Adult Beginners: Squier by Fender Bronco Bass

Best for Adult Beginners
Squier by Fender Bronco Bass

Looking to start learning the bass guitar? Look no further than the Squier by Fender Bronco Bass.

This entry-level instrument is perfect for adult beginners, with a short scale length that makes it easy on the hands. Plus, its affordable price tag means you can get started without breaking the bank.

The Bronco Bass is an excellent choice for any budding musician with its classic design and versatile sound.

Squier by Fender Bronco Bass is the entry-level version of the Mustang. Bronco…Mustang…get it :)?

There isn’t much flashy about the Squier by Fender Bronco Bass except an affordable and well-made guitar for new bass players.

The bass design is tailored for a new guitar player. First, the short scale length creates less string tension making the guitar “easy on the hands” for new players.

Another thing that makes this such a great beginner bass is its limited features. The Bronco Bass features a single pick-up, tone knob, and volume knob. This makes the bass very straightforward and accessible for new players.

The slim maple neck is very comfortable for all types of playing styles. It also has a classic look and is durable.

If you’re new to bass guitar and want a well-made, affordable instrument from a reputable brand, the Squier by Fender Bronco Bass is a choice you won’t regret.

Pros
  • The perfect starter bass guitar for new players
  • An affordable option that still delivers on quality
  • It has a slim maple neck that is comfortable and easy to play
  • Easy to modify if you're into that kind of thing
Cons
  • It's an entry-level guitar, so you will outgrow it
  • Cheap hardware

Best “Beatles” Bass: Hofner Ignition Viola Bass Guitar

Best "Beatles" Bass
Hofner Ignition Viola Bass Guitar

Looking for a guitar with that classic Beatles sound? Then you need the Hofner Ignition Viola Bass Guitar.

This short-scale bass replicates the old 1906 German-made Hofner played by Paul McCartney himself.

This bass is a must-have for any Beatles fan or serious musician with its vintage looks and classic tone.

With the Disney+ documentary “Get Back” bringing the Beatles to a whole new generation, you may have wondered what that funny-looking bass guitar Paul McCartney plays.

Well, that would be the German brand Hofner’s Viola short-scale bass guitar.

The Hofner Ignition Viola Bass replicates the old 1906 German-made Hofner made famous by McCartney. However, instead of being produced in Germany, this reproduction model is made in China to keep the price attractive.

This short-scale bass guitar comes with a spruce top and maple back and sides. The guitar is entirely hollow in the cavity, which makes the guitar extremely light and comfortable to play standing with a strap.

The neck is chunky and feels comfortable in your hands, especially for people with larger hands. This is in contrast to many of the bass guitars on this list that are often great for players with small hands.

Another stand-out feature of the Hofner is the guitar-style tuning pegs. These things are tiny and don’t look like they are meant to be on a bass guitar. However, this little detail is another reason this eclectic-looking guitar is so cool.

The sounds of the Hofner are very warm, round, and mellow. There isn’t much sustain, which makes the sound very thumpy and woody. This isn’t your best choice if you’re looking for a modern bass guitar that will cut through a busy mix.

However, this is an excellent option if you want something that fits well with mellow indie-rock and acoustic singer-songwriter music.

The guitar suffers from some quality control issues, but that is to be expected at this affordable price range. Also, to get the true Beatles tone out of this guitar, you should replace the strings with flatwounds.

Are you looking for a guitar with that classic tone of your favorite Beatles record? Then you owe it to yourself to add the Hofner Ignition Viola short-scale bass guitar into your collection. At this price point, there is no reason not to!

Pros
  • Play the same bass guitar as one of history's most iconic musicians
  • Very affordable
  • The guitar is exceptionally light and comfortable to play
  • You'll get that classic Beatles sound
Cons
  • Not a great option for players who want a modern tone
  • Chinese made, so quality control can be an issue

Short Scale vs Long-Scale Bass Guitars

A question mark

The most significant advantage of short-scale bass guitars is the string tension. Short-scale guitars have less string tension, making bending and fretting notes easier. Often, players find short-scale bass guitars to be more fun to play.

However, short-scale basses have less sustain than a long-scale bass guitar. This makes them sound more thumpy and floppy.

Why aren’t there any acoustic bass guitars on this list?

You may have noticed that I didn’t include any acoustic short-scale bass guitars on this list. Acoustic bass guitars are a breed all their own, so I created an article that goes over the best bass acoustic guitars that you can check out here.

The Bottom Line on the Best Short Scale Bass Guitars

Short-scale bass guitars have many benefits, the biggest of which might be their comfort and playability.

Suppose you’re looking for an easy-to-play bass that still delivers a big sound. In that case, a short-scale option is definitely worth considering.

While all nine short-scale bass guitars are great options, the Sterling by Music Man StingRay is my top choice for most people.

It’s the best short-scale bass guitar in construction, playability, and versatility on this list. It’s truly an outstanding bass guitar that will punches above its weight class in every way. Check it out today!

Editor's Choice
Sterling by Music Man StingRay
Sterling by Music Man StingRay
  • Get an Ernie Ball Music Man quality guitar at a fraction of the price
  • Its smaller scale length makes it ideal for those with smaller hands
  • Easily find the perfect tone for any song or performance
  • Suits all playing styles
For Budget
Gretsch G2220
Gretsch G2220
  • The Gretsch G2220 has a vintage-inspired tone that is thick and warm
  • Has a short scale for a more comfortable playing experience
  • Get a guitar that sounds great without spending a fortune
  • The walnut fingerboard has a great feel to it
For Retro Vibe
Danelectro Longhorn
Danelectro Longhorn
  • Get those retro, indie tones you love
  • Unique body design for a different look and feel
  • Durable and resonant guitar body
  • Has wonderful thumpy and snappy tones
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AUTHOR
Brad Johnson
Brad is the creator of Song Production Pros. He writes songs and surfs on the weekends when he's not too busy with family or this website. He writes music under the moniker FJ Isles, and can be heard on all streaming services.

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