How To Size A Bass Guitar

guy playing bass guitar in a studio

How To Size A Bass Guitar

How to Size a Bass Guitar



  • There are many types of bass guitars with varying scale sizes.
  • The standard scale size is 34″, but there is also an extra-long (36″) and short scale (30″). 
  • Choosing a scale size depends greatly on what feels comfortable to you rather than the recommended size. 


Buying their first instrument is often a treasured experience for a musician. But before starting your musical journey, you have to know what the best bass is for you, even down to the type, such as an electric jazz bass, a fretless bass, or an acoustic model. Part of this is understanding what physical size is right for you. So, read on to learn how to size a bass guitar to get the best fit. 

What Size Bass Guitar Should I Get?

Basses come in various sizes and tones, and some have different string configurations, such as the best 5-string basses. But the first thing to decide on is the size. There are a handful of common sizes, some of which are meant for specific ages and styles of music. 


To determine the correct size bass guitar for your physical build, you have to look at it by scale size. Scale size is measured from the guitar bridge to the tip of the neck near the head. To get a general estimate of what is suitable for you, compare your height to the scale size. 


Next, sit down and play the guitar to see how it feels. If you feel like the distance between frets is too much or too little, try another option.

Standard 34″ Bass Guitars 

We recommend trying the standard scale bass guitar first for most people under six feet in height. The standard scale measures 34″ from the bridge to the nut and is known as a “long-scale bass guitar.” 

Extra-long Scale 36″ Bass Guitar

Typically, people taller than 6 feet prefer an extra-long scale bass, as they’ll usually find it more comfortable. But that’s not to say that they’ll find a shorter instrument particularly uncomfortable; it all comes down to what feels right in the hand. 


Short Scale Bass

A short-scale bass measures around 30 inches and is typically recommended for those under 5’6″. And many find short-scale electric bass guitars to be a good option for a child that’s still growing. 

After the Purchase

Once you’ve purchased an electric bass, you’ll need to set it up. One option would be to take it to a professional shop, but if you’d prefer to do it yourself and need a little help, check out our articles explaining how to change bass strings and tune your bass guitar.

How to Size a Bass Guitar FAQs

How many strings should I get on my bass? 

It all depends on you and your preferences. A four-string bass is recommended for beginners, but many jazz bass players prefer a five-string bass. 

What should you be looking for when buying a bass guitar?

Comfort and playability are the two most essential elements, but you also want to make sure the instrument delivers your desired tone. 

What is the difference between a bass and a guitar?

The main difference is in the tuning, as a bass is an octave lower than a guitar. 


Tip: If you want to buy a bass for a child, look for a child’s scale bass measuring 25.5″. 


STAT: Around 70% of bass players go with a standard long scale 34″ bass. (source)


Warning: If you purchase an extra-long scale bass guitar, you’ll need to buy extra-long strings, which are typically more expensive. 



What Size Bass Guitar Should I Get?


Nathan Rizzuti
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