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3/4 size basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by dennis, Jan 3, 2006.

  1. dennis


    Sep 5, 2000
    what is the difference between 3/4 size basses and full size basses? Is the only the difference the size of the body or is the scale of the fretboard different as well?
  2. arizonabass


    Feb 6, 2002
    Tucson, AZ
    "fretboard?" Ooooh, you're in trouble now! ;)
  3. glivanos

    glivanos Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2005
    Philadelphia Area
    The string length is longer on a 4/4 bass, typically around 43". The string length on a 3/4 bass is typically around 41.5".

    However you will find that string length will vary slightly even among same size basses.

    I have also seen some 4/4 size bass bodies with necks that have 41"-42" string lengths.

    I know that there have been many threads about this on this forum. I recommed doing a search to find more discussion about this.
  4. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Yes indeed, you'll catch hell for "fretboard". I'll leave the honors to someone else.

    For all intents and purposes, 3/4 sized basses are "full sized" basses. They are the standard size.

    1/2 and 5/8's basses are smaller and are for smaller people.

    7/8 and 4/4's are larger and for larger people and/or sadists. I doubt I've ever seen anyone play a 4/4, but people do play 7/8s sometimes.

    The basses in use today range from brand new to hundreds of years old and there are no absolute standard diminsions. In general, the mensure (length of the strings from nut to bridge) will be shorter or longer with other sizes of basses, but they are not all standard as it is. A nice round standard for 3/4 basses is 42", but they can be a little longer or shorter depending on the bass. This will effect where the notes fall on the FINGERboard.

    For a beginner...which is a status that sticks will most people for several years...classical technique is essential to finding these notes and thus playing in tune, regardless of what type of music you play. I further feel that unless you are dramatically tall or short, that I would try to pick a starter bass with as close to 42" mensure as possible because you will end up playing other people's basses and maybe upgrading at some point and you wouldn't want to have to learn and then adjust/relearn. Most basses you pick up will be 3/4's and within probaby 1/2 an inch from 42".

  5. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    DENNIS, I know you prolly think you're just doing "due diligence", but really, this question is kind of pointless. Go play basses, lots of basses. don't ask who made'm, where they were made, how they were made, how old they are, how new they are. Just play'em. Buy the one that sounds most like the bass you hear in your head that's in your price range. Buy the one that is a joy to play.

    There is no hard and fast dimensional requirement for double basses, all you should be looking for is a bass that you can get around with the least physical impediment and that gets the sound you are going for.

    Don't fret the vocabulary mishap...

    Oh, some people will say that a bass ANY size other than a 3/4's will be "hard to sell". I have only owned two basses in my life, neither was purchased with the idea that someday I'd try to sell them.
  6. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    3/4 vs. 7/8 vs. 4/4 has nothing to do with string length. It's body length.

    Personally I play on a 7/8 instrument and it's great for me. The size of the instrument, however, was not a factor in my decision to purchase it.
  7. dennis


    Sep 5, 2000
    Thanks for the information. I didn't want to spend a bunch of money without really knowing what I was going to get.
  8. dennis


    Sep 5, 2000
    I have been playing electric bass for 7 years and am looking to start playing upright.
  9. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Can you tell us what type of budget you have for a DB. The average workable Bass to start with will run about 2-3k but there have been some under that. You will want a modern 3/4 Bass made of plywood with about a 41" string length. This will be the easiest to play unless you want a 1/2 or 5/8 Bass with a 39-40" String Length length. They are even easier to play but the tone or volume might suffer a bit.

    Since you did not fill in your profile, we don't know where you are or where to send you to try or buy a Bass. Beginner bows can be had for $100-$200 (Upton or Bob G.) and will help you to play better in the long run. Having a teacher will also help when you get your gear if not before to help you choose correctly.