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Bass For Beginning Student - 9.5 Years Old

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rickstrong, Aug 9, 2004.

  1. rickstrong

    rickstrong Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2004
    New York City
    Greeting All,

    I'm in the process of looking for a string bass for my son, who is a cellist but seems to be interested in bass recently. There seem to be a number of options, and I'm considering them all, and would be very happy to get some input from this forum.


    1) 4/4 cello strung as a bass ($200 eBay cello + quasi-bass setup)
    2) Engelhardt M3 (~$900? + setup)
    3) eBay plywood basses ($400 + setup)
    4) Real, decent carved 1/4 bass (~$1700 and up)

    I'm very leery of cheep eBay instruments, wondering how much setup is involved in converting a big cello to a bass, curious as to how good an Engelhardt would be with a bow (this is a requirement) and not particularly happy about spending $2000+ on a kid's first instrument. I do want him to have an enjoyable initial experience on the thing, though.

    Any thoughts?
  2. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Ah, you seem to be looking for the Double Bass forum. Don't worry, a mod will be with you momentarily.

    But, I can heartily recommend your son to look into electric bass, He'd get a kick out of it I bet!
  3. Scot


    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    You should probably run this by the folks over in the Double Bass side - there are seperate forums on talkbass for electric bass guitarists and double bassists. They will probalby be able to give you quite a bit of good advice. Also, check out the "newbie" sticky threads over on the db side where you will find a wealth of information for first time db buyers. With that said, I think it will be pretty difficult to find a double bass that a 9+ year-old will be able to navigate. Plywood basses are typically not very good for arco, although they can be decent jazz basses. Beware of the lower end Chinese carved basses. Some of them are so poorly constructed that a luthier won't even touch them should they require repair. Many of them are considered by some to be "disposable basses". You may want to consider keeping him on cello until he's big enough to navigate a smaller db. I know several acomplished double bassists who started on cello and switched to bass. Jazz bass legend Red Mitchell switched from tuning his bass in fourths to tuning in fifths, like the cello.

  4. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Before this thread gets moved, have you considered some sort of rental program? The problem with getting a small instrument now is that he will outgrow it. If you do purchase an instrument, I would recommend a used instrument. This will allow you to resell it later at an amount similar to what you paid. He can then keep getting larger instruments as he grows.

    As for eBay, you'll have to talk to the double bass folks about that. I'm not sure what the dangers are for this type of instrument.
  5. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    Excellent point, its a costly proposition. Most music stores, which carry your normal school band/orchestra instruments ALL usually have this type of arrangement.
  6. rickstrong

    rickstrong Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2004
    New York City
    Thanks, I realized a few minutes ago that I should have posted this in the other forum. I agree also that the little guy would will enjoy an electric as well - but it seems that the string bass is the truly difficult instrument to find for a serious yet diminuitive student. Used 1/4 basses in good condition don't seem to be very common!
  7. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    That is probably very true. I would talk to some music stores that specialize in instruments for students. I just know how quickly children grow. You get him that 1/4 bass today and in 2 years it will be much too small for him.
  8. appler

    appler Guest

    If I were you, I'd head over to your local music shops and ask them about renting a 1/4 size. Buying one that'll be too small for him in a couple years won't help you and your wallet down the road when he gets serious enough to want a fancy 4/4 size carved top. :D