The Double Bass
What size of Double bass will be best for me?
Double bass sizing isn’t an exact science and choosing the best size is a matter of balancing a variety of factors. It is stated that most of the double basses in existence are three quarter size (although it isn’t quite clear how the data was gathered) but as you investigate the sizing options for double bass you may start to see why that might be the case.
Tall players can probably get away with a full size 4/4 bass but they will also need a large hand span to manage the greater size of the instrument especially if they want to play fast. The 3 /4 size double bass is suitable for players down to around 5’2” tall making it the best choice for the largest number of users. The fact that smaller hand sizes find it much easier to play is also a major factor.
For students you can take as a guide half size from 7 to 11 years old and quarter size from 6 to eight years old. Most recommend having an instrument a little too small rather than too large as the smaller instrument will be easier to play and learn on so if possible resist the temptation of buying and instrument that your child “will grow into”.
It’s also worth pointing out that although the size is a good guide of what will fit not all double basses are the same and sizing can differ across product from different manufacturers.
Is a double bass hard to learn?
Some compare the difficulty in learning the Cello and learning the double bass and come to the conclusion that the cello is perhaps easier to easier to learn initially due to it being smaller and less tiring but perhaps more difficult to master as playing standards improve. The bass makes more physical demands on the player. There are also likely to be more teachers for cello than a double bass. However another consideration might be that it seems that bassists are always scarce so finding a place in an orchestra or group might be easier.
Playing double bass without a bow?
The double bass is commonly played both with a bow (arco) and by plucking the strings (pizzicato). In orchestral and tango music both styles are employed but in Jazz and blues music the pizzicato, plucking style is used.
Will a double bass fit in a small car?
Yes is the simple answer – a double bass can fit into even the smallest of cars given the right method and a little care as long as it is a hatchback and has folding and reclining seats. Two methods are recommended. The first is to recline the passenger’s seat and put the bass into the car neck first facing the rear of the car laying on the seat with the base in the passenger foot well. Using this method it might be possible to use the passenger seat belt to restrain the double bass. Alternatively if your car is a hatchback if you fold the rear seats it will fit in the rear of the car with the neck lying between the seats. If the it is on its back it will lie flat or if more room is required the double bass can be out on its side. Just take care if you’re loading any other items at the side of your double bass that these cannot move and damage your instrument.