What Is The Average Size Of A Bass Guitar: Surprising Truth

The bass guitar, known for its rich and deep tones, plays an essential role in forming the foundation of any great song. But have you ever wondered what the average size of this versatile instrument is? In this blog, we’ll explore the various dimensions of bass guitars, their history, and how factors such as scale length impact their sound and playability.

So whether you’re a novice or seasoned musician seeking to understand more about your beloved instrument or looking to buy your first bass guitar – let’s dive into the fascinating world of bass sizes and discover which one suits you best!

Understanding Bass Guitars And Their Sizes

Bass guitars come in various shapes and sizes, with factors such as playing style, body type, and scale length influencing their dimensions.

History And Evolution Of The Bass Guitar

The history of the bass guitar can be traced back to the early 1930s, when musician and inventor Paul Tutmarc developed the first electric string bass. This innovation aimed to replace the traditional upright double bass, which was large, heavy, and difficult to amplify in live music settings.

Throughout its evolution over subsequent decades, notable musicians such as Leo Fender played an integral role in refining and popularizing this versatile instrument. In 1951, Fender introduced his groundbreaking Precision Bass (P-Bass), featuring a solid body design that dramatically changed both the look and sound of bass guitars. The emergence of various musical genres demanded new features for more precise playing styles – from Motown’s smooth grooves in the 1960s to punk rock’s aggressive attack in the 1970s. As a result, numerous other manufacturers contributed their unique innovations such as lighter materials for improved playability or active electronics for greater tonal versatility – shaping what we now recognize as modern bass guitars today.

Factors Influencing The Size Of A Bass Guitar

Several factors come into play when determining the size of a bass guitar. One essential factor is the scale length, which refers to the distance between the bridge and nut. Scale length affects the tension and pitch of strings, as well as a player’s handspan and playing style. Another important consideration is body size and shape, with larger bodies producing more resonance and sustain. Neck width and profile also influence how comfortably a player can grip chords or navigate up and down frets.

The type of music genre one performs may also determine their preference for bass guitar size. For instance, jazz musicians often opt for short-scale basses of 31″ or less because they produce warmer tones while being easier to play in complex chord progressions in smaller venues. Long-scales are common among rock, pop, blues players due to their balance between string tension, tone quality, comfortability for extended playing sessions on stage or during studio sessions.

Ultimately choosing the right bass guitar size comes down to personal preference and what works best for your playing style; there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to finding your perfect match!

Average Sizes Of Bass Guitars

Bass guitars come in various sizes, with standard scale length and dimensions being the most common. However, there are also short-scale basses for those with smaller hands and long-scale basses that provide a deeper tone. But that’s not all – read on to discover the different factors affecting bass guitar size and how important it is to choose the right size for your playing style.

Standard Scale Length And Dimensions

The standard scale length for most bass guitars is 34 inches, which refers to the distance between the nut and bridge. This size has become the norm due to its balance of playability and tonal range. The dimensions of a full-size bass guitar often range from around 42-46 inches in total length, with a width averaging at about 13-14 inches.

Aside from scale length, other factors affecting a bass guitar’s dimensions include body shape and neck profile. A larger body usually produces more low-end frequencies, while slimmer necks provide easier access to higher frets. It’s important to consider these features when choosing a size that works best for you based on your playing style or preferences.

Short-scale Basses: 31″ Or Less

Short-scale basses are a popular option for players who prefer smaller and lighter instruments. These bass guitars typically have a scale length of 31″ or less, making them easier to play for those with smaller hands or shorter arms. Short-scale basses also produce a warmer, rounder tone compared to their longer counterparts, which can be useful in certain musical styles such as jazz and blues.

One well-known example of a short-scale bass is the Fender Mustang Bass, which was originally designed as an alternative to full-sized bass guitars in the 1960s. Another popular option is the Gibson SG Bass, which features a unique double-cutaway design that allows for easy access to higher frets. Despite their smaller size, many professional musicians use short-scale basses both on stage and in the studio due to their versatility and distinctive sound.

Long-scale Basses: 34″ (most Common) And 35″

Long-scale basses are the most commonly used size of bass guitars. They typically have a scale length of 34 inches or 35 inches, with the former being the more widely used size. The longer scale length produces a tighter sound with a better low-end response and improved intonation.

Long-scale bass guitars are ideal for players who prefer more space between their frets, allowing for easier finger positioning for complex playing styles like slapping and tapping. Many renowned bassists such as Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers and Geddy Lee from Rush have endorsed long-scale models throughout their careers, proving its versatility in various genres of music.

Extra-long And Extended Range Basses

Extra-long and extended range basses are designed to push the limits of what is possible on a bass guitar. These instruments typically have scale lengths that exceed the standard 34 inches, with some ranging up to 37 inches or more. The longer string length allows for greater note accuracy and clarity, especially in the lowest registers where shorter scale lengths can cause muddiness.

In addition to their extended scale length, these basses often feature additional strings beyond the traditional four-string configuration. Five and six-string models are common, but there are also seven, eight, and even nine-string options available for those who want to explore even lower notes or experiment with chordal playing. While these instruments can be challenging for beginners due to their size and complexity, they can offer experienced players a wider sonic palette and greater flexibility in terms of musical expression.

Differences Between Bass Guitar Sizes

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Bass guitar sizes differ in scale length, body size and shape, neck width and profile, as well as weight and balance which can greatly impact tone and playability.

Scale Length And Its Impact On Tone And Playability

One of the most crucial factors that influence the size and sound of a bass guitar is its scale length. Scale length refers to the distance between the nut and bridge, where you place your fingers to play notes. A longer scale length produces brighter tones, higher string tension, and requires more finger stretching, whereas shorter-scale lengths require less stretching and produce mellower sounds.

The most common scale lengths for bass guitars are 34 inches, which offers an optimal balance between tone and playability. However, some players prefer shorter scales like 30 or 31 inches for their easier handling, while others opt for longer scales like 35 inches or more for their powerful projection. It’s essential to select a bass guitar with an appropriate scale length that fits your playing style and musical preferences.

When choosing a bass guitar based on its scale length, it’s also important to consider other elements such as body shape, neck profile width/depth, weight distribution/balance so you can find the perfect fit. Ultimately your comfort while playing makes all the difference in how well you perform onstage or in recordings!

Body Size And Shape

The size and shape of a bass guitar’s body can vary greatly depending on the manufacturer, model, and style. Some are elongated with pointed cutaways while others have a more rounded, curvaceous appearance. The body material also plays a role in the instrument’s weight and resonance. Generally speaking, larger-bodied basses tend to produce louder sounds with greater sustain while smaller-bodied ones offer more clarity and precision.

In addition to physical attributes affecting sound quality, body design can significantly impact player comfort. For instance, some players prefer lighter instruments with thinner profiles for easier maneuverability during extended performances or recording sessions. Others might opt for thicker bodies that provide better balance when standing or executing complex chord changes. Ultimately, choosing the right body size depends on personal preference as well as practical considerations such as transportation and storage requirements.

Neck Width And Profile

The neck of a bass guitar is an essential component that greatly influences the playability and sound quality of the instrument. The width and profile of the neck are important factors to consider when choosing a bass guitar size. A thinner neck with a narrow profile allows for faster playing, while a thicker neck with a rounder profile provides more support and comfort during extended playing sessions.

For example, jazz basses typically have narrower neck widths, making them ideal for intricate fingerstyle techniques. In contrast, rock or metal players may prefer wider neck profiles that enable them to play power chords effortlessly. It’s essential to take into account your individual playing style and preferences when selecting the right size bass guitar.

Ultimately, finding a comfortable fit is crucially important because it will ensure you can play your best over time without any discomfort or pain in your hands and fingers. So whether you’re trying out different sizes at your local music shop or shopping online, be sure to choose one whose neck fits comfortably in your hand as it will help enhance both tone production and overall enjoyment!

Weight And Balance

The weight and balance of a bass guitar can greatly affect your playing experience. While a heavier bass may produce a fuller sound, it can also cause discomfort and strain during long gigs or practice sessions. Balance is also crucial in ensuring that the neck does not dip down while playing, affecting the intonation and making it harder to navigate across the fretboard.

When picking out a bass guitar, be sure to consider both its weight and balance. You may want to test different models by playing them standing up to get a feel for how they rest on your body. Some basses include features such as contoured bodies or adjustable strap pins that can help improve comfort and balance for players of all sizes. Ultimately, finding the right weight and balance will ensure that you have an enjoyable playing experience while achieving top-notch tone from your instrument.

Importance Of Choosing The Right Size Bass Guitar

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It’s crucial to choose the right size bass guitar for your needs, as it can greatly impact your comfort, sound quality and overall playing experience. Keep reading to learn more about how different sizes and dimensions affect your instrument choice.

Comfort And Ease Of Playing

The size of a bass guitar is one of the main factors that can affect how comfortable and easy it is to play. A bass with a shorter scale length, such as a short-scale bass that measures 31 inches or less, may be easier for players with smaller hands or those who prefer faster playing styles. On the other hand, longer scale lengths on bass guitars like the standard long-scale at 34 inches (most common) and extended-range and extra-long options could offer better clarity, sustain, and resonance.

The weight and balance can also contribute significantly to the comfort level of playing a bass guitar. Heavier instruments might cause discomfort for some players during extended practice sessions or performances. The shape and design of the body can also factor into comfort level as well since certain shapes might hinder access to higher frets or even create pressure points against your body when standing up or sitting down while playing. Properly selecting an appropriately sized instrument will not only make rehearsals more enjoyable but ultimately enhance live performance delivery too!

Sound Preferences And Musical Style

When it comes to choosing the right size bass guitar, sound preferences and musical style play a big role. Different sizes of bass guitars produce different tones, which can affect the overall sound of a band or individual performance. For example, if you’re playing in a heavy metal or rock band, you might prefer a larger bass with thicker strings for a heavier sound.

On the other hand, if you’re playing jazz or funk music that requires more intricate finger work and faster note progression, you might opt for a smaller short-scale bass that’s easier to maneuver around on the fretboard. It’s important to consider your own unique playing style and what type of music you’ll be performing when selecting your ideal size of bass guitar.

Role In The Band And Stage Performance

The size of a bass guitar can significantly impact its role in a band and stage performance. If you’re the primary bassist, your instrument is responsible for providing the foundation of the music’s rhythm and harmony. A smaller-sized bass guitar might be more comfortable to play but may also produce less sound than larger ones. Conversely, an oversized bass guitar could be challenging to handle from a practical standpoint while delivering rich, deep tones that cut through other instruments on stage.

Additionally, depending on the style of music played by the band, certain sizes or types of bass guitars may work better than others. For example, a punk rock group may use short-scale basses because they’re punchy and easier to control during high-energy performances with lots of jumping around onstage. In contrast, smooth jazz bands’ slower tempos often allow for more extended scales without sacrificing comfort or tone quality. When selecting a bass guitar size and type directly impacts how well it’ll perform in different roles within various musical contexts- so choose wisely!

Budget And Availability

When it comes to buying a bass guitar, the price can vary greatly depending on factors such as brand, quality, and features. A beginner may opt for a lower-priced option while an experienced musician might invest in a more high-end model. It’s important to keep in mind that just because something is expensive doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better or will suit your playing style. Shopping around and doing research before making a purchase can save you money and ensure that you’re getting the best value for your budget.

Availability of bass guitars can also vary depending on where you live and what type of instrument you’re looking for. Some specialty stores may have a wider selection than larger retailers or online shops. It’s always worth checking out local classifieds or community forums for used options as well. Don’t be afraid to ask other musicians about their recommendations- word-of-mouth is often one of the best ways to find hidden gems at reasonable prices!


In conclusion, the size of your bass guitar matters. Whether you prefer a short-scale or long-scale bass, it is important to choose the right instrument that meets your needs and preferences. The length of the scale can affect both tone and playability, as well as overall sound quality. Other factors such as body size and shape, neck width and profile, weight and balance also contribute to picking an ideal bass guitar.

While there are standard dimensions for full-size basses, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to choosing a bass guitar. It all boils down to your comfort level and personal preference.

If you’re on a budget, don’t worry – there are options available for all price ranges. Just be sure to do thorough research before making any investment in a new instrument.

Whether you’re a beginner or experienced player, finding the perfect fit in terms of size will make all the difference in your playing experience. So grab your favorite pick (or fingers) and get ready for some serious jamming!


1. What is the average size of a bass guitar?

The average size of a bass guitar is approximately 45-48 inches in length, with a width of around 14 inches and a thickness between 1.5-2 inches.

2. How do I determine the right size bass guitar for me?

Determining the right size bass guitar depends on your own body type and comfort level. It’s recommended to try out different sizes in-person before making a purchase if possible, or consult with an experienced musician or music store professional for guidance.

3. Are there any benefits to playing a smaller or larger sized bass guitar?

Smaller sized bass guitars may be more comfortable and easier to maneuver for players with smaller hands, while larger sized instruments can produce bigger sound and offer greater range of notes due to longer fretboards. Ultimately it comes down to personal preference and playing style.

4. Can children play full-sized bass guitars?

Bass guitars are typically designed for adult players due to their weight, size, and string tension which can make them difficult for children under age 12 (or those with small physical frames) to handle safely without potential injury or discomfort over extended periods of time.

It’s generally recommended that younger/beginner musicians start with smaller instruments such as junior-size electric models that are specifically designed for their needs before transitioning into larger ones as they gain experience & skill levels needed so as not limit progress unnecessarily by struggling too early on away from technical skills necessary mastered earlier on less cumbersome guitars built especially kids learning how play correctly achieving success quicker there onward.

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