3/4 to 7/8 question ?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by bassedsouth, Aug 4, 2009.

  1. I have been playing on a 3/4 size for a couple of years now and an opportunity has come up to purchase a 7/8 size bass for a great price .

    I am wondering what major changes to expect if I go through with the deal regarding technique change , hand strength etc ..... due to the scale length and size differences etc ....?

    Adrian :)
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I played 2 basses in a London shop that were marked as 3/4 and 7/8 - but noticed no difference whatsoever between the two!! :eyebrow:
  3. bejoyous


    Oct 23, 2005
    London, Ontario
    There is absolutely no standard when it comes to double bass. Just because it is labeled 7/8ths doesn't mean it'll have and xx inch string length and so on. Usually the 3/4, 7/8 reflects the size of the body. The 7/8ths might be a little deeper with a slightly wider bottom bout.

    The 7/8ths bass often sound a little deeper or boomier and a bit louder as more air is being pushed around. But as Winnie the Pooh says, "You never can tell..."
  4. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard Commercial User

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Black Dog Bass Works
    From your profile I'm guessing you are primarily a jazz player so I may have something of relevance. A year and a half ago I traded a 3/4 bass with a 41.5" string length for a big 7/8 with a 43". The tone, both acoustic and amplified was bigger and better in every way, but it came at a cost. I came to realize that the big bass was harder to play in tune and to play some of the things I wanted to play. Thumb position was certainly more difficult.

    The bass was also so heavy that I tired of taking it to gigs. Just moving it on the bandstand took effort, and the size created problems where it was either bumping the drum kit or piano. Sadly, club owners don't always value the musician's comfort as highly as the extra table for selling drinks.:atoz:
    Long and short? I traded it for a small German flatback that sounds better than the big bass and gives up little in the volume department. It amplifies great which is all that really matters on the gig. It is very lightweight and takes very little effort to play. :D

    My advice is to think very carefully about this. A bigger bass MAY be louder and it MAY project more than a smaller one. However, it won't play itself. You have to take it to the gig and play the thing. Pick the bass that fits and feels good to you and the rest will probably take care of itself.
  5. FWIW, I chose a 7/8 Christopher hybrid over a 3/4 version of the same model a few years ago. To my ear, 3/4 had a more "focused" projection and a brighter timbre, whereas the 7/8 had a more 'spread" and fuller darker sound that my friend said "filled the room." I simply liked the fuller sound, though I certain wished for the more focused tone on many occasions.

    These two basses had the same string length, but the 7/8 ribs were deeper and the lower bout wider. The shoulders are well-sloped, so TP is not a huge issue (well, not on account of the shoulders, anyway).
  6. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    I'd love to try a 7/8 some time if for no other reason than at 6'4" I'm not exactly a 3/4 sized guy! (I extend the end pin as far as it will go and could still use a little more height.)
  7. Bijoux


    Aug 13, 2001
    I have a 3/4 and a 7/8 and honestly it's not a huge difference even though my 3/4 size is kind of on the small side. but I owned other 3/4 size that were a little more "standard" size and there was not a whole lot of difference. maybe 1/2 an inch to 1 inch on the string length. the current difference on the string length on my basses is 2 inches, and although I can certainly feel the difference, it is not a big deal. I am 6"2".
    In fact I just took my bass to the doctor today and I played maybe about 8 basses including mine at the shop. lots, of different sizes styles, construction etc. and I guess the more basses I play there more mystery there is. some small basses feel great, and sometimes some big ones feel even easier. also there was a couple of plywood basses that sounded real good, in fact one of the plywood basses sounded a lot better than a couple of the fully carved ones.
    after the visit, we sort of look a each other and agreed that you just have to try it for yourself and decide what feels good to you or not.
  8. zeytoun


    Dec 19, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    Just split the difference and go for a 13/16 bass.
  9. Thanks everyone for the input / its interesting how 'unscientific' and personal instruments really are , and how many variables really exist !
  10. maveriten


    Nov 17, 2008
    That seems to be the case. I think the biggest and most important difference you will need to consider will be the scale length (and your playing style). A bigger bass doesn't always mean a bigger sound. I heard a 1/2 size Italian bass once that still haunts me! Big, beautiful bottom on a petite girl.
  11. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    If it feels good & sounds good-get it. I play a large 3/4 small 7/8s bass (NS Cleveland)-the only issues I've had are purely technique. Yeah, it's pretty big, but I wouldn't be saving that much effort transporting it around if I had a smaller bass. The other bass would still get a wheel & go on the subway.
  12. B.C.

    B.C. Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2005
    I've been wondering the same thing as well. Eventually I want to move up to a 5 string instead of altering my current bass. Most 5'ers tend to be 7/8 as I understand.