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3/4 vs 4/4

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by MGill, Jan 1, 2006.

  1. MGill


    Dec 31, 2005
    Hey, I was just wondering today while looking at a new bass what sounds better 3/4 or 4/4 sized basses? Also what is the orchestral standard or is there not one? Is it just a matter of what feels right? Or is it worth having a bigger instrament for the extra Tonal Qualitys? or not?
  2. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    The actual 4/4 size Bass is debatable as far as measurements. Many old Italian Basses were 10-12" longer than they are today on the top and the String lengths of 44" were common with some being 46". With todays style of playing, 42" is about the longest most people play. Many of the old Basses have been cut down from thier 4/4 size to playable 7/8 sizes. The 7/8ths sizes have been more common in orchestras than the old 4/4. Now comes the modern 4/4 which is maybe a 7/8 size in actually. Many of the older 7/8 Basses I have seen from 100-200 years old had about a 44" string length. It is not always easy to modify them below 42 1/2" without cutting something. The larger Basses do have more air volume and the potential for a bigger sound across all 4 strings. The problem is really playability and not the overall size of the Bass.

    I own several large Basses that one might call 4/4 but are really only 7/8 size. I don't know what actually gets measured to determine the size but it is NOT the string length. I have seen 7/8 sized Basses from 41" to 44" String Lengths. This is within the design of the Bass itself.

    Look for a bass with a 'D' neck and a String length of 41"-42" inches. 41 1/2 would be ideal as the limit for learning as the wider intervals make solo playing a bigger challenge.
  3. MGill


    Dec 31, 2005
    Ok well thats most usefull, Thanks Ken that couldent of been a more perfect answer to my question :) .
  4. Find a bass that you tonally like with ergonomics that you at least can live with.
    Play it,and adjust your hands, mind and ear to the characteristics of the instrument.
    As you evolve you might come to a point where you should start looking for something else.

    best of luck!
    Who owns and plays both 3/4, 7/8 and 4/4