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1/4 size basses

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by greene, Oct 2, 2005.


  1. greene

    greene

    Dec 19, 2003
    New York City
    Ideal Music
    Beyond a child's use of the 1/4 size bass, does anyone know of adults playing these instruments and if so can they explain why that would be ?

    I've been getting an awful lot of interest in these basses from adults who are interested for themselves and I was just wondering why that would be?

    Can anyone enlighten me ?
     
  2. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    For a while there were a few people asking about them here. As I recall, most of their concerns had to do with thinking that a 1/4 size is easier to transport than a 3/4 size.
     
  3. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Maybe it's for Solo or Chamber playing. There is this guy that plays a Bassetto, an early solo Bass. Here: http://www.silviodallatorre.com/

    People may be trying to do that sort of thing. The Kennedy 'Trout' Bass made in 1835 was a Chamber Bass like that, just slightly bigger than a cello. Prescott's Church Basses were also just a tad bigger than modern day Cellos. Maybe the Bassetto is having a come back.
     
  4. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Electric players looking for a shorter string length?
     
  5. greene

    greene

    Dec 19, 2003
    New York City
    Ideal Music
    One person recently interested was a Jazz player and had I been at the shop I would have asked him why on earth he was so interested in the 1/4 size.

    The 1/4 size has almost always been a model parents would buy for their young kids, but if a 1/4 size was available as a rental parents usually opt for that since they expect their kids will outgrow the bass like a pair of shoes .. and they'll be on to a 1/2 size in no time.

    The 1/10 size ... and there are more then a few who want 1/10 size basses, I always imagine if I ever visited the homes of the people who want 1/10 size basses, they'd probably have miniature collections of everything because these basses are NEVER bought for kids. These are bought by adults for adults and I haven't a clue why.

    Now about the 1/4 size - this seems to be something else altogether and I wonder if Ken isn't on to something when he suggests the Bessetto maybe making a come back - or at least there's a renewed interest and I think there may be something else in the wind as well . . . some use of the instrument in a more experimental sense like what Roland Kirk used to do with various eclectic wind instruments. Is that a possibility ? It just seems so odd to me that for a year I don't hear much at all about this one particular size and then suddenly for months now, so many people are all about 1/4 size basses for themselves.
     
  6. Dr. Lyn Christie has played his 1/4 size on gigs with just about everybody you can play with in NYC. He plays 4 finger technique on the 1/4 and on his 7/8 orchestral bass. Here's the first picture I found of him online but there are many, be uses a long pin and I'm pretty sure it's a Juzek. http://www.dougproper.com/images/pictures/713lynchristie01.JPG
     
  7. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I remember him from me younger days when I was in my teens-20s. Lyn is not that tall. He has aged like all of us but I think that Bass in the pic is a 3/4 size.
     
  8. Ken,
    I can see what your thinking, and your reference to your younger days did not go unappreciated mate. However, I'm tremendously familiar with this bass and Lyn's concept. So a quick search again and here we are;
    http://www.johncutrone.com/sitebuil...ctures/.pond/marinitwo9-5-04.jpg.w300h219.jpg this is Lyn sitting, he always sits and brings his own folding drumstool, you can see one of the legs between his feet. When I sit down at nearly 6 feet tall, I have a two clicks of my endpin out, here's Lyn at 5'4"-5'6" with his pin out about a foot. Also, check out how far out of the quiver his bow is, it's because it's a small quiver attached to a small tailpiece (you can see the bow out just as far in the picture from the last post). Next, http://www.dougproper.com/images/pictures/17main001.jpg this picture lets you see just how small the neck and scroll on his bass are, and remember Lyn is a small man. Hope these pics make it easier to see for Ken and everybody else. Peace. ASG
     
  9. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    So, what is the Body length and string length of that Bass.

    If a 7/8 is 44" top and 41.5-42" SL, 3/4 about 43" Top and 41-41.5 SL the how small would 5/8, 1/2, 3/8 and 1/4 be?
     
  10. Hello Ken

    Remember there was a thread a while back where someone posted the European standard specs for bass sizes? I don't know where that went but that would be a starting point. My understanding is that a 1/4 bass has about the same mensur as a Fender bass give or take - maybe around 34-35"; body length that plus 2 or so. Good for Chamber bass/Bassetto and Carter-style piccolo bass. Best tuned ADGC or GDAE. I often wished I had a really small bass tuned higher for chamber music.

    -Jon
     
  11. I will find out the measure of this bass as soon as I can. A week or two I'm guessing. Peace. ASG
     
  12. jstiel

    jstiel Jim Stiel

    Jun 5, 2004
    Lake Orion, MI
    I've got a '65 1/4 Kay that I just dragged out for the first time in a long while to measure it. The body is 38" to the top of the button and the mensure is 34 5/8.
     
  13. My 1/2 size: body(bottom to button) 40" mensure:38"
     
  14. ArenW

    ArenW

    Jan 14, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA
    Correct me if Im worng, but I think it was a 1/4 size that Ron Carter played on the 70's album "Piccolo"? If not, he sure makes it look as such on the back cover of the album.
     
  15. bassbaterie

    bassbaterie

    Dec 14, 2003
    Houston Texas
    Director, Quantum Bass Center
    Was doing some reading yesterday about dalla Torre, small basses and the bassetto. Looked up specs on antique "bass viols" and the average string length looks to be 80cm. Convert to inches, nearly equals Pi...wonder if there's any significance to that, but it's doubtful, it's just a number. About 31 1/8".

    dalla Torre tunes in fifths, 2 octaves below the violin - GDAE, and there was lots to read on other sites about the lowest the bass viols would sound decent was G1.


    OK, now I want one! Any dealers have info on string lengths - what size bass is around 31" mensure? Any info on small CARVED basses and decent strings for them? Any idea what bass string could be tuned up to E3? Never mind how they sound for orchestra or jazz; it could just be a really cool thing for solo playing. Anyone personally sat down and played on 1/4, 1/8 and 1/10 size basses, really tried to work with them and get a good sound?

    Wow, it may make (one of my) dreams come true of being able to fire a cellist and play in a string quartet. They get to play all the time! Weddings every weekend all summer long, all the parties, all the church gigs (all the concerti, all the chamber concerts...) Imagine all the cool literature we could play with one of these things. Hmm, hmm.

    You could play cello literature straight off their parts, and violin literature by just reading treble clef.
     
  16. greene

    greene

    Dec 19, 2003
    New York City
    Ideal Music

    Attached Files:

  17. bassbaterie

    bassbaterie

    Dec 14, 2003
    Houston Texas
    Director, Quantum Bass Center
  18. 5stringDNA

    5stringDNA

    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    Man.. that thing is a serious toy. I have never understood why a 1/4 size bass isn't half the size of 3/4 bass though. By proportion, a 1/10 should be about the size of a violin... or so logic woudl dictate.
     
  19. arizonabass

    arizonabass

    Feb 6, 2002
    Tucson, AZ
    No, it'd be a 3/8 bass that is half the size of a 3/4. ;)