A regular bass guitar is designed to have a longer body and a heavier weight. Unfortunately, it is for that reason why some people may be turned off by learning the bass guitar.
Younger guitarists or aspiring bassists with smaller hands might not have the best experience with a regular-sized bass. But that shouldn’t stop anyone from playing an instrument they love.
Choosing the best short-scale bass guitar could be difficult, especially for beginners with small hands.
But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with a list of the best short-scale bass guitars on the market today!
10 Best Short Scale Bass Guitars in 2024
- Ibanez miKro GSRM20
- Fender Mustang PJ Bass
- Ibanez miKro GSRM25
- Squier by Fender VM Jaguar
- Squier by Fender VM Jaguar Special
- Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet
- Dean E09M Edge Mahogany
- Squier by Fender Bronco Bass
- Ibanez GSR 4 String Bass Guitar GSR200BWNF
- Dean Evo XM Mahogany Short-Scale Electric Bass Guitar
One could mistake the Ibanez miKro GSRM20 for a toy, but I personally think it is one of the more robust options out there for smaller bassists. This short-scale bass guitar was built to pass the same high standards of the other Ibanez guitars in the GIO series.
This guitar is also a lot shorter than most short-scale guitars coming at 28.6″ but don’t be fooled by its size – it has full size pickups and the same craftsmanship as all the other Ibanez guitars.
I personally love how this guitar is smaller than the rest – it’s perfect for kids to play on plus it will be a great companion when you need to bring your instruments on the go or while traveling to far places.
- Ibanez standards and quality but in a more affordable price
- Lightweight and very portable
- Also great for packing with restricted space
- Competitive easy playability compared to other short scales
- Looks like a toy
- A minus for a rockstar who wants to impress
- Guitar strings may sound too scratchy for some people
Looking for one of the more high-end bass guitars from the bunch? The Fender 6 String Mustang PJ packs a lot of enviable features that are definitely worth the extra cash. The first generation Mustang Bass was first released in 1964. With a history as long as that, you’d expect them to deliver only the best – and it does.
I love the PJ pickup configuration, giving users a variety of tones. I also like the fact that this beautiful guitar has a three-way toggle pickup switch; there’s a lot of room to discover your personal sound of choice. If you ask me, this short-scale bass should be priced a little bit higher considering its top quality features.
- Offers a lot of control and configurations
- Has a Hardtail four saddle Bridge for tuning stability and precise intonation
- Promises playing comfort for its users
- A high end guitar with a hefty price tag in comparison with other guitars on this list
Don’t be fooled by what you see. The Ibanez miKro GSRM25 may look like a weak contender but believe it or not, this 28.6″ scale guitar produces a great bass sound. The GSRM25BK is also a member of the Ibanez GIO series and it was made with the same materials, construction, and standards as all the other Ibanez guitars.
I absolutely love how this petite short-scale beauty plays. It is so easy on the shoulders, fun and easy to play, plus it has a tone that’s comparable to the high-end Ibanez guitars.
- High quality sound and materials with an inexpensive price tag
- Ultra light and small
- Perfect for travelling and packing with restricted space
- Produces a deep sound bassists love to hear
- May be too tiny for larger people to play with
Looking for an oldie but goodie, minus the age and the hefty price tag? This electric bass guitar is the perfect companion for those who love a nice vintage look.
Appearances aside, the Squier Jaguar beginner lives up to its name as one of the best short-scale bass guitar options for beginners. Its neck is a regular 30″ in a C-shape, and it has a 20-fret fingerboard. The Jaguar Beginner also has two pickups: the Jazz Bass bridge pickup and a vintage split single-coil Precision Bass middle pickup.
What I love most about this beautiful short-scale bass is that it has volume control for each knob, as well as a master tone control knob. This gives beginners a lot of room to find a unique sound that they love and something that represents their music style.
- No frills
- High-quality guitar in a classic vintage Fender design
- Can be played like a regular guitar – not much learning curve for guitarists
- A little bit on the heavier side compared to other guitars
- Harder to find hardshell guitar cases for this model
Here’s another impressive selection in the Jaguar line from Squier by Fender. Like the beginner version, the Jaguar special also has a 30″ C-shape neck and 2 pickups similar to the Jaguar Beginner. But it has 20 medium jumbo frets that promise to be fast-playing and easy on the fingers.
Another thing that is not seen on the Jaguar Special is the generous amount of volume control on the Beginner. The Jaguar Special only has 2 volume controls and 1 master volume control.
However, what I love most about this is its design. Fender fans would love its sleek classic appearances at a much affordable price range. The Jaguar Special also makes a great short scale bass for first-timers because of its beginner-friendly and ultra-slim neck.
- Packs a lot of value for a humble price tag
- The ultra-slim neck makes it easier to hold and play
- Makes a great guitar for practice
- Weighs heavy – it is heavier than the Jaguar Beginner
- Limited control knobs
- Not suitable for recording purposes
If you’re looking for a guitar that’s all about comfort and ease, the Dean E09M short scale bass is a good choice. Although its neck is a lot longer than the average 30″, the Dean E09M has a 34″ maple neck that was built for easy playability.
When I first saw the length of this neck, I didn’t think that this would be a good option to include in this list. But upon closer inspection, I realized that the makers at Dean had a custom joint/heel design that makes it easier for bassists to hit those hight notes.
I cannot recommend a better guitar that prioritizes the player’s goals better than the Dean E09M short scale bass. The classic vintage-style Dean design is also a plus.
- A solid short-scale bass guitar for beginners
- Nice to hold
- Easy on the shoulders
- Good quality sound at an inexpensive price range
- Neck length may be too intimidating for some players
- Color might not be off for some who are meticulous about appearance
If there’s a short-scale bass guitar that can truly deliver that deep, baritone bass sound, it would have the be the Gretsch G220 Junior. Although a tad bit more expensive than other options on this list, this bass promises high-quality sound and a beautiful body design.
I personally think that this guitar is one of the best options for someone who is looking for something a bit more advanced than a beginner short-scale bass guitar. It’s a step up from the beginner range of short scales, making it a good choice for those interested in advancing.
- Easy neck and a sleek body with a beautiful finish
- Sound quality comparable to higher end brands
- Offers a variety of sounds – comes with 2 pickups
- A selector switch
- And a tone knob
- Neck dive might feel uncomfortable for some users
- Price range is a bit higher than other options
Here’s another lovable Squier by Fender choice: the Bronco Bass. This is a short-scale bass guitar that was built specifically for the beginner and for the user with smaller hands. You can tune it easily, giving beginners less of a pain in the neck trying to get their sound right. And it also has that classic short-scale bass guitar design a lot of people love.
This 30″ scale C-shape guitar packs a lot of value for an affordable price. It has 19 medium jumbo frets, 1 volume control and 1 tone control – a great set for first-time users who are just starting to learn how to play the bass.
- An affordable Squier by Fender choice
- Easy to play
- Has all the basics every beginner needs
- Lighter than most 30″ short-scale bass guitars
- Not a lot of controls to experiment
- Considerably weaker pickup than other options
The Ibanez GSR is all about sound quality; it is a no-frills guitar that takes pride in the sound it produces over all the fancy configurations. If you’re looking for a guitar that can help you on your playing during practice, this is the guitar for you.
What I love most about this guitar is its weight. Like most guitars in this list, the Ibanez GSR is a 30″ short scale but it is surprisingly light. It’s even lighter than a guitar with a shorter neck! And for me, that means that this guitar is a keeper, especially when I need to pack light for travel.
- A perfect companion for the traveling musician
- High-quality sound with a good range of tones at an affordable price
- Comfortable to play and little to no adjustments needed
- Durability issues
- Material not as sturdy as others
- Does not do well with wear and tear
- Ages quickly than most guitars
The Dean Evo has all the basic features on point. If you are a beginner who is looking for a good guitar to practice long hours with, this guitar model should be on your list. Although it is also one of the more expensive short-scale bass guitar options on this list, the quality and craftsmanship required to build the guitar are worth it.
- Comfortable and easy to play with
- Made of good quality materials with a beautiful finish
- Adjustments required after purchase
- Tuning machine heads may be loose compared to other options
One might think that a short-scale bass guitar would be cheaper than a regular-sized bass, and they couldn’t be any more wrong.
You can easily waste a lot of money by purchasing the wrong short-scale bass for you.
Some people tend to judge the value of a guitar based on its material. But as you know, it is more than just what the guitar is made of that makes the guitar worth buying.
The trick on how to choose a good bass guitar is to understand how the guitar fits with your body and how you play it.
It’s all about the size
Some people may find larger scale bass guitars like the 34″ to be uncomfortable. There are others who also do not like a super petite short-scale bass with a neck length that’s below 30″.
The best thing you can do is to hold the guitar yourself and determine what feels comfortable for you.
Also, choose a guitar that’s easy to play
The neck length of the guitar may also affect its playability. But the other thing you need to consider is its frets.
Some people like jumbo frets while others prefer the medium. Figure out what works for you before purchasing.
What Bass Amp Should I Get?
I totally understand your concern. I mean, how can you play a 5-string bass guitar without an amp, right? If you’re looking for a high-quality yet cheap bass amp, we recommend getting the Fender Rumble 15.
You don’t have to take our word for it, but there have been a lot of positive reviews from verified owners here.
Or better yet, you can check out our full list of best practice bass amps here.
Also check out our best fuzz pedal for bass review if you’re looking for recommendations on pedal effects for bass.
What is the best short-scale bass guitar?
The best short-scale bass guitar is Ibanez miKro GSRM20. It has a 28.6″ short-scale length, a compact, and lightweight body, as well as a slim maple neck which provides playing comfort – ideal for bass players with a smaller reach.
This list was made with young users and guitarists with smaller hands in mind. The Ibanez miKro GSRM20 may be tiny but it has quality, comfort and easy playability – two factors that make a guitar worth buying. Plus, it comes at a very affordable price, making beginners feel more at ease with this bass guitar.