when does a short scale bass guitar become a bass ukulele?

Bombay Mick

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In my search for a bass uke I realised that I'm not keen on polyurethane strings which limited my options considerably.

Short scale bass guitars give a bit more choice.

The Cordoba mini II EB-E looks very good indeed and won't break the bank, but it's marketed as a small bass guitar and not a ukulele!

This led me to wonder at what point does a short scale bass become a bass uke? Is it simply the scale length?

In one sense it doesn't matter - play whatever instrument you like!

Does anyone know if there's some technical specification that lays down exactly where the dividing line is drawn?
 
When the marketing department gets involved. :)

When it comes to borderline or hybrid instruments, there are virtually no technical specifications defining instruments. I'm mostly comes down to marketing.

- FiL
 
The Cordoba mini II EB-E looks very good indeed and won't break the bank, but it's marketed as a small bass guitar and not a ukulele!

There is a Luna Bass Ukulele on Reverb at the moment. That is tuned one octave higher than a U-bass. Since you're in the UK that probably won't help you. Sorry.
 
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Kala invented the Ubass (ukulele bass) it has a 20" scale, there are a lot of copies/clones. Longer scale versions from Cordoba, Ohana, Goldtone, etc. are all called short scale basses and have a 22"-23" scale.

IMHO...:shaka:

But then I have a hard time considering a baritone an ukulele. ;)
 
Kala invented the Ubass (ukulele bass) it has a 20" scale, there are a lot of copies/clones. Longer scale versions from Cordoba, Ohana, Goldtone, etc. are all called short scale basses and have a 22"-23" scale. But then I have a hard time considering a baritone an ukulele. ;)

Kala did not invent the U-bass, Road Toad did and licensed it to Kala.

I have 25 sub-short scale basses, 21-24" scale that I've modified or converted. My definition for bass uke is 21-24" scale, poly or steel strings and under saddle pickup. I've converted small electric guitars with magnetic pickups using a set of steel flatwound bass 25" scale strings made by LaBella specifically for Gold Tone bass ukes, which I call mini bass electric guitars.
 
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There are a few Cordoba mini instruments around - the one I saw is a Cordoba mini II bass EB-E with a spruce top available from Sweetwater, scale length 22.9"
There's also a mahogany top version (MH-E I think) for rather less money...

There are so many great instruments available in the US :drool: - I wish it was easier/cheaper to ship to the UK :(
 
There are a few Cordoba mini instruments around - the one I saw is a Cordoba mini II bass EB-E with a spruce top available from Sweetwater, scale length 22.9"
There's also a mahogany top version (MH-E I think) for rather less money...

There are so many great instruments available in the US :drool: - I wish it was easier/cheaper to ship to the UK :(

Very interesting. Thanks for the news, and for the vid.

I have my eye on a case which is available in the UK, but not in the USA. I understand what you mean about shipping costs.
 
Thanks for your interest and replies.
Maybe there's a small business opportunity to import and export instruments and accessories!
I have been looking at the Luna basses - the tuning being an octave higher than regular bass is OK with me - I could have one like that and a regular one :rolleyes:
My favourite at the moment is the Luna high-tide "bass" - I just love a sunburst finish!
The other day I went beyond the usual 2 pages of web search results and found a US website that appears to sell surplus stock - radtkeestates dot com - search for item 15631 to see the Luna high tide at what looks like a bargain price - they have lots of other instruments (e.g. Kala bass, item 11868) - is it too good to be true? Has anyone else bought from them?
 
^^^ Those are both good deals, especially the Kala, depending on what shipping is. but, probably good deals anyway!
 
It seems to me that the Kala acoustic-electric U-bass (I own 2 and play and gig with them regularly) is best regarded NOT as a tiny bass guitar at all, but rather as a bass ukulele. These U-basses are neither upright basses nor bass guitars, but a third thing. To try to make one into a bass guitar will not work out any better than trying to make a bass guitar into an upright bass.

Many of the complaints that I have seen about U-basses (often about the strings or the size) come from people who want a really small bass guitar. I think Kala has contributed to this misconception by the way they have marketed the U-basses, but posters on forums such as this one or TalkBass have also played their part. Perhaps the solid body U-bass is a micro bass guitar (I don't know), but if so then it should be treated as a different species than the acoustic-electric.
 
Kala did not invent the U-bass, Road Toad did and licensed it to Kala.

I have 25 sub-short scale basses, 21-24" scale that I've modified or converted. My definition for bass uke is 21-24" scale, poly or steel strings and under saddle pickup. I've converted small electric guitars with magnetic pickups using a set of steel flatwound bass 25" scale strings made by LaBella specifically for Gold Tone bass ukes, which I call mini bass electric guitars.

Bass Collection.jpg



This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly West near the Beverly Center
9 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 11 solid body bass ukes, 9 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 34)

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers

I would have thought that steel strings would have to be very thick in order to get down into bass range on a uke. . . unless you had some kind of pedal that would drop the tone an octave.
I wouldn't consider an instrument that played an octave higher than a bass guitar or doghouse (the bottom four strings of a guitar) a bass.
 
23-25" scale is what they're made for but Mike has them installed on shorter basses with modifications. They did not feel really loose when I had them on a 23" MicroBass and didn't feel light to me. They felt to me like a BEAD set used for EADG tuning on the shorter scale.
 
How long a scale would that be? It seems pretty light for a bass uke. Many players use a .105 for the low E on a standard P bass (34" scale length). Do they feel really loose?
They're labelled 25" and don't feel loose at all. On my 21 and 23" basses, I use string though holes and anchor the strings along the back in position so that the cloth ends wrap the tuner posts properly. With the longer ones, just going through string holes is enough. I started playing bass five years ago only because of discovering the availability of under 24" scale bass ukes, and then realizing I could convert junior guitars into a bass.
 
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