Which Gretsch Bass ?
I've switched gears from wanting a 5 string something-or-other. Would like to keep with Gretsch. SO... which one ? (under $700 or so). Short scale, Long scale ?
There's a couple 'display' short and long G5442 and G5440's for around 6 bills. Any advantages to either scale length ?
My demands are pretty basic. Will be used for minimal (I / V) type playing under Chet type guitar arrangements.
In a word - No, not really. As with any instrument, try them first (if you can), and see which one feels right to you. Generally, if you are primarily a guitar player (which I am not), the shorter scale will most likely appeal to you. Lots of people seem to find them easier to play - "easier reach" seems to be the usual reason. As for the sound - there probably will not be any difference, all else but scale length being the same. I am primarily a bass player, and have always preferred long scale basses; even my banjo is a long scale one. I do have several short scale basses, mainly because no one makes a long scale lefty hollow body; closest I can come is a Korean Dano.Which ever one you get, you can't really go wrong with a Gretsch. Enjoy!
If it's between the 5440 and 5442, I recently bought a 5440 after trying both (and a 5123). Tonally there isn't a huge difference, but I preferred the feel of the neck on the 5440 and the fact that you can reach all frets relatively easily - the 5442 and 5123 necks are set in a bit deeper, which makes those top frets hard to reach. The long scale does give the 5440 a bit more of that piano-like twang, but that's not to say the others are muddy by any means. Downside of the long scale is that yes, of COURSE it's a neck-diver of note! In playing position your right arm resting on the lower bout is enough to control that, so I don't find it a major problem. One other thing: inspect the instruments closely, the Korean factory tends to slip up on quality control - nothing major, but expect finish flaws. Otherwise these are great basses. Hope this helps!