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How to Fix Overtone Issues on A Short Scale Bass Guitar

Throughout the years, the short-scale bass guitar has been famous among rock musicians and people with short features. Even the legendary Paul McCartney used to play short-scale bass guitar.

If you already own a short-scale bass, you possibly confronting the overtone issue while playing. Well, this is somewhat certain as the frets and strings stay closer to one another.

Does it happen mostly when you are running through a fast-moving song?

We got it; this is kinda annoying.  So, how to fix overtone issues on a short scale bass guitar? Perhaps, you are wondering how to get rid of it? No worries. We are here to tell you the ways to fix overtone issues on a short-scale bass guitar.

Let’s get started!

What Are Overtones?

Before we discuss the ways to fix the overtone issue, it is essential to understand the overtones. You hardly listen to single frequencies in the guitar, which are called single waves. Now that, if there are more than one frequencies, named overtones.

Overtone is necessary for instruments to some extent. Without it, the sound may feel boring. However, more overtones may also ruin the music as well. In short-scale bass guitars, overtone issue happens

All Right, What Kind Of Overtone Issue You Confront?

More or less, everyone confronts the same kind of overtone issue. Check out, does it happens to you or not?

While you fret a single note, how it sounds like is two notes are being played simultaneously. Among both, one being somewhat off-key or out-of-tune. In spite of everything you try for adjustment, this overtone issue never disappears.

How To Fix Overtone Issues On A Short Scale Bass Guitar?

Earlier, we mentioned, overtones in the short-scale bass guitar can be frustrating. It can discourage any beginner or young player from proceeding on. To help you here, our expert team took some time to research.

We have tried several ways and methods to solve the overtone issue. Here we got a few solutions to overtone problems in short-scale bass guitar.

Check Body, Neck, and Pickups

The most common reason for overtone issues with SS bass guitar is because of physical flaws. It mostly happens while manufacturing, as some calculations may go wrong. For instance, neck, pickups, and other parts might be distorted from its original planned proportion.

This is why you need to check whether they are correctly mounted. Start with the neck; make sure the neck and the bow are correctly installed. Then look at the guitar’s body to check for any visible defects.

If anything found, take it to the professional immediately. Or, if nothing found, move on to the pickups. Not that, when strings are too close, the “chorusing” effect happens.

Chorusing is somehow related to the overtone issue. You need to check the pickups to find such effects. Take the pickups away from the strings to understand whether it would solve the problem.

Still, it didn’t? It means these are all right, so move on to the next step.

Check the Electronics

When you bust bass guitar models like Squier, you possibly pay extra for the electronics. Even after spending extra, electronic bass also has an overtone issue. So you need to check all the electronics.

In short-scale bass, potentiometers control the tone. The faulty potentiometer can be the reason for overtone. You may replace the old one with a better one. The electric bass also has wiring that somewhat influences the volume or tone. You may want to modify the wires.

Now check if the overtone problem solved or not. If not, here comes the next part.

Check the Bridge

The short-scale bass guitar mostly comes with the stock bridge, which is quite cheap-quality. The quality of the bridge also affects the tone and creates overtones. It would be better if you can replace it with the metal bridge. The metal bridge supposed to solve overtone issues. If not, you need to check further.

Switch to a Balanced String Set

If none of the above solutions work for you, it means you need to change the strings. You may switch to a balanced string set, such as La Bella 760FS string set.

Bella 760FS Talkin Flatwound Strings Set

These strings are proved to be a lifesaver most of the times. See whether the problem was solved or not. It should be solved now.

How a Balanced String Set Make Difference?

For the most part, overtone happens due to the faulty strings installed on it. The unbalanced and faulty strings result in a weird tone. Indeed, a balanced string set doesn’t cure 100% overtone issue.

However, for a bass guitar in a short scale with overtone issue, you must try a balanced string set. You know why?

That is because a balanced string set has balanced tension among strings. You possibly know the tension of strings and string action plays an essential role in guitar’s playability. In fact, it brings good results in a short-scale bass guitar. This is why you need a balanced string set installed in a guitar.

Frequently asked questions

1.  Can I set long scale strings on a short-scale bass guitar?

Yes, it is possible to set long scale strings on a short-scale bass guitar. For that, you need to change the string gauge of the long-scale with the short-scale. For example, if you are using a 40-95 string gauge on a long-scale, you need to go up to 45-100 on a short-scale.

2.  Does scale length affect the tone?

Within the context of the guitar, scale length affects the tone and playability. Most people thing overtone issues happen because of the short scale of the bass guitar.

Final Words

This is how to fix overtone issues on a short scale bass guitar. You may want to try all we mentioned above to check whether it works. If nothing works, give a balanced string set a try!

Remember, you aim to troubleshoot and fix overtone issue on your short-scale bass guitar. If nothing works, take it immediately to the technicians.

Good Luck!

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Ben Laughlin

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