Short-scale G4 bass build


All my builds are experiments in one way or another. This time, I wanted to try Charlie Christian pickups in a bass and also the feasibility of a 3-way tone switch in place of a conventional pot. I was confident I’d like the tone switching idea, but I wasn’t sure about the pickups and was prepared to swap them out. But, I’m happy to report, everything turned out swimmingly.

Specs: roasted swamp ash body, roasted maple neck, Macassar ebony board with stainless 6105 frets, 30” scale, black cherry finish all around, Schaller bridge and tuners. The body was routed for EMG 35s, which have a cavity large enough to stuff in a whole P90. There’s actually a small gap around them, so I found plastic rings that hide the gaps and help keep the pickups level. The pickups themselves come from Mojo Pickups in the UK, and are voiced like Charlie Christian pickups. The nice thing about the blade poles is that string spacing isn’t an issue.

This is seriously one of the best-sounding basses I’ve played. The neck pickup has an enormous low end and the bridge has a bit of nasal honk in the upper mids, which is also how I usually describe these pickups in a guitar. The mids are slightly tame but not terribly scooped, and there is plenty of clarity across the frequency spectrum. The bass sounds huge and clear without muddy lows or clanky highs. The 3-way rotary tone switch is disconnected at the brightest setting, then runs through a .010 uF cap and a .022 uF cap as you change settings. Both the caps emphasize a bit of that honk in the mids, but that helps the bass cut through in a mix. Although the original CC pickups can be quite noisy, these are both extremely quiet as single-coils go.

I'm going to make a couple of cosmetic changes - black pickup rings and different knobs - but functionally it's perfect for me.


Really nicely done.  I've been toying with making a bass, and you're not helping.

Does the short scale affect tone in some way?  I'd guess playing it is easier?
All else being equal, the short scale does give a bass a slightly thumpier attack. It also shifts the pickups toward the center of the string, so they pick up proportionally more low frequencies. It does change the playability as well, in a way that I prefer.
As a lover of the short scale bass, I applaud you.  Fabulous machine.  Sent me googling for Charlie Christian and Mojo.  Really like the black cherry.

Quick question, what strings are you using?