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Discussion Starter #1
She's been playing ukulele for three years but grew tired of it this past spring and declined to take uke lessons this fall. I asked if she wanted to try guitar or drums or anything else, for that matter, but she said no. Although, she still wanted to take part in "Worship Band" put on by one of her former music teachers where she gets several kids, varying in age, together a couple times a month to sing and play music and also arranges performances at local churches and seniors homes throughout the year.

Last night was my daughter's first Worship Band practice and when I dropped her off her teacher commented on her not wanting to play the uke anymore and then gave me a wink and said she'd have a little chat with her. When I went to pickup my daughter after practice she was sitting there with a guitar in her lap (yay!) and she said she had a proposal for me. Hmmm. She said she might be interested in trying guitar but what she really wanted to try was bass. Definitely caught me by surprise.

Anyway, while I have a few guitars that I'm more than willing to share with my little one, I don't have any basses nor do I know anything about them. So, I spent most of last evening trying to figure out how to go about getting gear for her to use and came to the realization bass and guitar are virtually the same beast in that you get what you pay for and going used is going to get you the best bang for your buck so long as you know what to look for.

Here come the questions...she's 10, so a full-sized bass is going to be big on her, I know that. I know there are short-scale and 3/4 versions out there. One argument I've read regarding the smaller versions is that switching to a full-sized bass would be more difficult because you'd have to retrain your muscle memory to accommodate for the longer scale and that does have some merit in my mind. So, do I insist on trying to go with a full-sized bass now or go the smaller route as a starter?

I do have a few friends/family who play bass so I'll be querying to see if any of them have a loaner available but I suspect they won't. So, I've been scouring Kijiji looking for suitable gear but I'm also considering checking out renting for a month or two. Thoughts on buying something used versus renting?

Now everybody's favorite question...what is the best "beginner" rig I should look for (full, short and/or 3/4 scales) and how much should I be looking to spend? It would primarily be for practice at home. Performances at the churches have PAs or else the amp would be mic'd up...at least that's what they did last year for one girl who played guitar, so she wouldn't need a big gig worthy amp at this point. The seniors homes are very small rooms so, again, a practice amp would be just fine for those gigs as well.

In the meantime, I'm going to stop in at one of the local music stores/schools with her today after school to see if they have any basses she can sit down with to see how they feel. I don't expect the selection to be great as it's a very small store but hopefully they have a few and I can get a better idea on which direction to go.

Thanks for reading and let me know if I can provide anymore info to help you, help me. :)
 

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I have been playing guitar way longer than bass, only started playing regularly a few years ago. As far as muscle memory goes, there was a bit of getting used to the difference of fret position relative to scale. It took a bit of time before I was confident enough not to look at the fingerboard too often when I play bass.

Considering your little one's hand size, I would go for a short-scale bass. Something a like a Squire Bronco bass ($199 at L&M), or the Ibanez miKro series (GSRM20, $299 at L&M). It would be a good thing to let her try them out herself at a store, to see what she is comfortable with. It is more important that she is able to enjoy the learning experience, rather than fighting to fret the notes. Switching to long scale bass should not be that big of a deal, especially if she is able to switch from ukulele to bass. I think switching from 4-string to 5-string (or more) basses is more of a dilemma.

For amps, I think the Fender Rumble 15 ($99.99 at L&M) should do it. My Rumble 100v3 sounds great for the price, so I would expect the 15 to be good value.
 

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Switching from short scale to long is not a problem. Not sure about 3/4. A 10 year old will have trouble on a full long scale, and there are a number of cool lower cost options for short scales, including both Fender/Squier and Gibson/Epiphone. The main issue with shorter scales is the tendency for looser strings (lower tension) and a floppy low E; string choice helps a lot here. There's also medium scale but those are rare and usually high end.

I, as an adult, play mostly shorties but have a few long scales as well so I actually switch back and forth. It's not a huge difference (like as with guitar vs bass as @Boogieman points out). It's even easier if you just transition from short to long once you grow a bit bigger. It's a matter of some adjustment and not like you can only play shorties for the rest of your life. Start her out on something she feels comfortable with (and if that's a long scale then fine). Euro shorties (Hofner etc) tend to have slimmer necks; lotsa cheap used beatle basses around ;P

Renting is a good idea.

You have guitar amps; worry about a bass amp later.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the responses...very much appreciated.

We stopped in at our local music school, they stock a little gear as well, and sure enough they had a few basses hanging on the wall. They had a Squier Bronco (short scale) and she liked that very much as she could reach all the frets while she couldn't even fret the first or second frets on a full scale Yamaha. But, boy oh boy, the fret edges on the Squier were SHARP as hell...ouch!

So, short scale it is and that narrows things down a little.

Thanks!
 

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The Gretsch SS basses are good, and come in some cool colours tho look old fashioned.

The Ibanez Mikro is considered good value, but I’m not a fan personally.

Fender, that cheap Bronco is not great. The JMJ Mustang is killer but expensive.

Hey, I got a bass for you - VM Jaguar in black. Even have multiple sets of strings for it. PM if interested.
 

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I taught ukulele to 120 grade 7&8 students last year. Bass is the way to go. Most important instrument in a band. And the transfer of skills is a no-brainer.

I’d try and find a daisy rock bass. There amazing. I bought one for a student at the request of his mom, a teacher at the school. I liked it so much that I got another for myself. $150-$250 and the value is crazy. Ibanez mirko, or a mij 3/4 scale. The Squier jaguar 3/4 are sweet too. Gotta watch for weight with the little kids.

Google Image Result for https://images.samash.com/sa/DR6/DR6772UXX-P.fpx?cvt=jpg
 

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What help me when I started to play bass even younger than your daughter was starting on a short scale japan tele bass. The short scale helped my small pre teen hands and the fact that it was a hollow made the weight a non issue. I had no problem afterwards going to a full scale at the age 13.

For an amp, any guitar amp will do to start since you have some at home. If interest persist, I would then buy a bass amp with minimum a 15 inch speaker.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The Gretsch SS basses are good, and come in some cool colours tho look old fashioned.

The Ibanez Mikro is considered good value, but I’m not a fan personally.

Fender, that cheap Bronco is not great. The JMJ Mustang is killer but expensive.

Hey, I got a bass for you - VM Jaguar in black. Even have multiple sets of strings for it. PM if interested.
PM sent, thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I taught ukulele to 120 grade 7&8 students last year. Bass is the way to go. Most important instrument in a band. And the transfer of skills is a no-brainer.

I’d try and find a daisy rock bass. There amazing. I bought one for a student at the request of his mom, a teacher at the school. I liked it so much that I got another for myself. $150-$250 and the value is crazy. Ibanez mirko, or a mij 3/4 scale. The Squier jaguar 3/4 are sweet too. Gotta watch for weight with the little kids.

Google Image Result for https://images.samash.com/sa/DR6/DR6772UXX-P.fpx?cvt=jpg
Daisy Rock, eh? Definitely some fun colours...she'd love that!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
What help me when I started to play bass even younger than your daughter was starting on a short scale japan tele bass. The short scale helped my small pre teen hands and the fact that it was a hollow made the weight a non issue. I had no problem afterwards going to a full scale at the age 13.

For an amp, any guitar amp will do to start since you have some at home. If interest persist, I would then buy a bass amp with minimum a 15 inch speaker.
Yeah, I think short scale is going to be the way to go, thanks!
 

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i would not be too concerned with the adjustment from short scale when the time comes..... the bonus will be that she will have a short scale in her collection when she is ready to move up.
i picked up a short scale fender import at cosmos music for a friends grandson.... can't recall the model , i will check later and see if i can find it.

cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks again for the replies... @keto and I will be meeting tonight and that should result in a very happy little girl. :)

Now I have to figure out how to play bass and get her on the right path...this should be fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
@keto and I met briefly last night as he kindly offered up exactly what I was looking for...an affordable, good quality short scale bass. Thanks again for reaching out and making the bass available and taking the time to meet up.

Here's the happy 10-year old endlessly riffing on Seven Nation Army!

 
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