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Baroque Music/Baroque Double Bass Question

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by BrotherDan, Dec 17, 2015.

  1. BrotherDan


    Dec 17, 2015
    Santa Rosa, CA

    I am a fan of baroque music and an avid double bassist.
    I currently have a matched set of Thomastik BelCantos on my ~60+ year old Czech double bass and use a baroque double bass bow.
    The sound I get is quite nice...and is definitely a step toward a true baroque sound.
    I have a set of Damian Delugolecki gut strings (G and D naked gut/A and E wrapped gut) that I have (in the past) installed on my double bass.
    I find that my bass would need some set up changes to better use these lower tension strings.
    As I love the sound I get with my current BelCanto set up, I am considering purchasing a second double bass for my gut string playing.
    I have access to a fair number of double basses that would be available for trial, but few/if any are currently set up with/for gut strings.
    Apart from limiting my search to much fewer available baroque double basses, I wonder if any members can give me their advice on evaluating double basses with an ear for how they will perform when changed to gut strings.


    DC Bass likes this.
  2. eerbrev


    Dec 6, 2009
    Ottawa, ON, CAN
    If you listen to the gut junkies on here, ANY bass is going to sound better with guts than it does with regular strings!!:D

    I doubt that it's actually true, but the basic idea is this - if you like guts strings, and you like a bass, you're probably going to like that bass with gut strings. The fundamental sound of an instrument is only coloured by the choice of strings: it will still retain its individual voice unless you do some more serious changes like revoicing a top. That bass will still sound like *that* bass, just better or worse to your ear.

    If you're thinking of getting a bass solely for the purpose of early music, however, I'm going to be a serious early music nerd and suggest you get something designed for early music playing. The world of early music bass is dark and full of terrors, but can also be a lot of fun to experiment with. G violones and D violones are scary to look at, but a blast to play and take very little changeover time. You can get them for around the price of a decent fully carved double bass, too - in the 4K USD range. There's also a rental program for Viols from the Viola Da Gamba Society of America for the US and Canada, as well.

    Have fun!
    salcott, DC Bass and Nuggulux like this.
  3. DC Bass

    DC Bass Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    Washington DC
    I keep two basses, one strung with steel, the other strung with plain gut. There is something really special about gut- it can be a lot of work, but it's well worth it.

    A bass made for steel strings can be set up for gut, but it will take some work- nothing too major though- the most drastic is that you will likely require a taller bridge. A period instrument would be a great choice, if you can make that happen.

  4. BrotherDan


    Dec 17, 2015
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Thanks eerbrev and Joe for your replies and encouragement...

    On the baroque instrument side of things, I have recently made the acquaintance of John Dornenburg who performs on the violone and viola da gamba.
    I met him during intermission when he was playing the Mozart Requiem with a local group, the Live Oak Baroque. He was enthused that knew about the violone and seems to be a thoroughly pleasant fellow.
    He lives about 75 miles from where I do, so in the spring, I will set up a time to go and have some hands-on time with the instruments he plays. This give me an idea of what would be ahead of me if I expanded down this path with a baroque instrument.
    He should also be a good local resource for me regarding finding/renting/buying a baroque double bass.

    Thanks again for your encouragement,

    eerbrev and DC Bass like this.
  5. 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.

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