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A stupid question, but mine own

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Tyro, Oct 16, 2002.

  1. Tyro


    Oct 4, 2002
    Asheville, NC
    I'd search for this information, but I can't think of what words or phrases would find me the answer:

    What is the range of a double bass, and how does it compare to a cello? And, is it identical to a bass guitar?
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Without a "C" extension, the lowest note a DB can hit is notated as the "E" beneath the bass clef staff. (Remember, DB's sound an octave lower than written) As for the high end of things, that depends a lot on the player and the instrument they're playing, but a C or D in the middle of the treble clef is always a safe bet.
  3. The C at the third semitone on the A string is the same note as the 'cello's open C.
  4. I'm no cellist, so I could be wrong, but it seems that since the cello is tuned in fifths it should provide greater range. The four strings of a standard tuned, no-extension bass, tuned in fourths give a range of an octave plus a minor third. Go up the fingerboard from there, and most basses will give a further two-and-a-half octaves, for a total of just short of four octaves (staying on the board).

    With a cello, just across the open strings (in fifths) you've got an octave plus a major sixth. If the cello's fingerboard is as long as the bass's (proportionately), then you should end up with an additional fourth or fifth worth of range.

    Perhaps someone here knows whether or not a cello fingerboard really does provides a full two and a half octave range, like a bass. Also, I suppose, practically speaking we need to ask whether anybody actually plays a cello up there, or beyond, as Ed pointed out is sometimes done on the bass.

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