Shopping For a Double Bass

Where To Buy a Double Bass

Double Basses can be found at both local or online stores that specialize in stringed instruments.

See “Where To Buy Musical Instruments” for general buying advice on:

  • Buying in a Specialty Store vs. “Big Box” Stores
  • Buying Online vs. In-Person
  • Renting vs. Buying
  • Buying Used Instruments

How To Buy A Double Bass

Double Bass Sizes

Double Basses are made in several different sizes to accommodate younger students and different styles of playing. A full-sized Double Bass is 4/4, with smaller sizes ranging from 1/4 to 1/2, 5/8 and 3/4. At a local store, the salesperson can help you determine the right size. Online stores often have videos and other help resources via website or phone to help with this as well. The best option for giving advice on which size to choose, though, can be your own teacher if you have one.

Double Bass Cost

Double Bass prices vary widely, depending on quality and age of the wood and the skill of the makers. Some less expensive basses are made with laminate, which usually doesn’t produce as good a tone, but is more durable, which can be an important factor if it’s being hauled around to gigs. In addition to good workmanship, the quality of the sound, of course, is an important factor. It is also very important to have well-fitting tuning pegs that are easy to turn and then hold the string in tune.

Sample Double Bass Prices
Beginner Outfit

$1,000 – 1,800

Intermediate

$2,000 – 3,000

Advanced

$4,000+

If you are buying your instrument from a specialty music store, inquire about a trade-in policy. When your student is ready for a larger or higher quality instrument, they will often give you a good portion of the original instrument price back when you trade it in.

Double Bass Accessories

In addition to the double bass itself, a bass player will need a good bow and cases for the bass and bow. A tuner and metronome are also recommended, along with a music stand and a stool to sit on at least while practicing. Some bass players also use a small cart or straps to move the bass and an endpin rest or protector. Lastly, a bass player playing with a bow will need a cake or block of rosin to run on the hair of their bow to enable it to grip the strings and make sound.

Double Bass Bows

There are two types of double bass bows – the “French” or “overhand” bow, which is similar to the bows used with the other orchestral strings, and the broader, shorter “German” or “Butler” bow that is used in a “hand shake” position. Both types are used by orchestral players, depending on their preference. Some feel the German bow gives them more power, while some prefer the French bow, which they feel gives them better control.

Bows can range in cost from approximately $100-200 for a beginner bow, to $300-900 for an intermediate and $1,000+ for an advanced player. In addition to traditional wooden ones, bows made from synthetic materials, ranging from fiberglass to carbon-fiber, are now available. These durable synthetic bows are a good alternative for younger players. Choice of bows becomes more important as the student advances and develops techniques that produce different sounds. Bows vary in weight and flexibility, allowing for differences in dynamics and tone. By the intermediate level, most players notice differences in bows and start to develop personal preferences.

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