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3/4 OR 4/4 bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by SRT80, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. I'm fixin' to make a upright purchase. I'm either goin' with a Engelhardt EM1 or I might step it up to the ES1. I noticed they only come in 3/4.

    I'm a pretty big guy. I stand 6'5", 250lbs. Do I need to find a 4/4 bass? I noticed only cheap ones in that size on ebay. Haven't looked at any real expensive basses that might come in 4/4. Says the 4/4 stands 6'5" and the 3/4 are like 6'.

    Do I even worry about that? I'm tryin' to stay under $1500 for my first bass. Gonna be for bluegrass.

  2. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    The vast majority of basses are 3/4 size instruments. 4/4 instruments are very large basses that are generally used for orchestra music where a big sound is needed. For the music you are playing a 3/4 bass is just right.
  3. Cool, I wasn't even thinkin' about the sound. I guess I was more concerned with the size issue. Will go with the 3/4. Just gotta decide which Engelhardt to get now.

    Thanks for the info,
  4. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Nobody "needs" a 4/4.
  5. Not only that, you need to read the newbie links here. Englehardt basses are, IMO and IME the worst possible bang for your hard made $. Nothing personal to people who have them. The quality is insufferable, the phony scroll volutes tend to bump off, and the necks and neck blocks have issues just to mention a couple things.
    As you'll see in the links, if you don't already know, the bass will need to be set up by a luthier who can possibly do some things to make it sound and play better, but that will cost some $'s too.
    A student of mine brought a new one in last week....the cheap fingerboard was already coming unglued in the middle.
    Good luck, but do your wallet a favor and research before you buy.
  6. kreider204


    Nov 29, 2008
    Despite the misleading fraction, 3/4 is the norm. I've known a few people who played 7/8, but I've never even seen a 4/4.
  7. Thanks for the info. I have read and heard that a new bass will need a setup. I'm prepared for that. I'm not prepared for major issues that you mentioned. So I appreciate that. It's just hard to pass up 12 months no interest financing I guess. That's why I was gonna go with MF. I just want somethin' descent to get me by 2 years or so while I learn. Then maybe move up to somethin' a lot nicer. Appreciate the help, will do more research...

    It sounds like if I was gonna buy a $1000 Engelhardt, I'd be better off with a $500 chinese bass?

    Not tryin' to argue here...

  8. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    I don't have a ton of experience with Engelhardt basses but I did just set one up for a friend. It was a 3 year old blonde swingmaster that still had the factory setup.
    First things first I had to remove about a 1/2 inch off the top of the bridge for decent action. The bridge was very thin and had bent under the tension of the strings. A new bridge is definitely in order. From a distance the bass looked nice but the closer you get the more shoddy the work looks. The neck was uncomfortably slim and had a glossy finish that I found very unpleasant. I wasn't sold on the sound but it did improve with a good setup.
    I would look around carefully at your options. If you do go with the Engelhardt I would look for a used one that has already been set up. Don't take your chances on a random one from the factory.
  9. Gee, I could swear I read a post by the OP that ordered the mods to close down or delete this thread because we were giving too much information. He musta deleted it. Oh well, carry on......
    As we were sayin'................:bag:
  10. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX

    But seriously, I didn't mean to offend. We bassists just try to look out for each other. And Paul has probably played more basses than most of us will ever see. I would give his advice a listen.
  11. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    To further confuse things, many contemporary german builders use a "4/4" designation for what we used to think of as a 7/8 bass. There are a number of good chinese and eastern european makers that build a good 7/8 size instrument for $2,000-ish. A player of your size should be able to easily handle a 7/8 size instrument if it has a good professional setup. If you can get up to that slightly higher price level, you will find much better choices available to you. Good luck in the hunt. Let us know how it turns out.
  12. It's all good y'all. I appreciate the help. I deleted my post cause I thought it made ME sound like an A**. And that's not what I wanted to do.

    Again, thanks for the help and info. It is greatly appreciated! I'm not gonna buy a Engelhardt if it makes anyone feel better...haha.

  13. Jay Corwin

    Jay Corwin Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    I'm 6'-5" as well, and I play a 3/4. I had the same question though when I was getting into it. The average end pin on a 3/4 will get the bass in a proper, comfortable playing position for you unless you are like 7' tall.

    Do not buy a CCB of ebay. The only chinese bass that anyone has ever recommended to me was a Samuel Shen. I was lucky to find one used for cheap that was another guys back up.

    Good luck.
  14. Bass


    Nov 10, 2003
  15. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    Dustin Williams' shop in Nashville will be a tremendous resource for you to help make a decision on getting your next bass.
  16. Yes, I have already talked to Dustin and he too informed me of the disadvantages of "bargain basses". I'm gonna start savin' my pennies and get my bass from him. Has a really good deal but I will probably have to get on a waiting list for it.

    Hopefully I will have the cash soon. Gonna sale a drum kit and maybe one of my snare drums to get me goin'.

  17. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    getting rid of drums to become a bouble bass player? Now that is a good life decision IMO!:bassist:
  18. MIKMAN


    Mar 4, 2008
    Larisa, Greece
  19. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Mar 6, 2021

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