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BG Scale vs Cello & Double Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AaronS, Aug 20, 2003.


  1. I've been listening to some Kodaly cello pieces while cruising TB this evening and this question occurred to me. How does the scale for a 4 string bass guitar compare to the range of a cello and a double bass?
     
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Typical BG scale length is 34" - although 35" is quite common now and specialists make 36" and 37".

    Typical DB is 42" or just under - which may not sound much bigger, but does makes a big difference when you switch between the two.
     
  3. ashton

    ashton

    Jan 4, 2001
    Australia
    the theory is same when switching am I right?

    scales modify though, the tunings are slightly different.
     
  4. jbay

    jbay

    May 23, 2002
    Singapore
    Your standard 4/4 sized cello has a scale length of about 27.5"... Took a closer look to ur initial post, were u referring to scale length, or range of the instruments?
     
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Standard 4-strings BG and DB are tuned in exactly the same way. Cello is tuned in fifths rather than fourths.

    Dave Holland plays Cello, BG and DB and I think there is some overlap of range, but the main difference is the tonal quality of those ranges.

    So higher ranges of DB will sound different to the same notes played on Cello. So what may be easy to articulate on a Cello and sound warm and full may be very difficult on DB and sound less well-defined.
     
  6. geshel

    geshel

    Oct 2, 2001
    Seattle
    The range of the DB is roughly the same as that of the 4-string bass guitar - not sure how many positions are available on a DB fingerboard?

    Cello begins at C, equivalent to the third fret on the 3rd (A) string of a bass guitar. The strings are CGDA. The highest string, A, is the same pitch as the 14th fret on the 1st (G) string of a bass guitar. Again, I'm not sure how many positions are available on a cello fingerboard - but I assume at least 10, so it looks as though the available range goes at least an octave higher than that of bass guitar.

    Edgar Meyer is known for playing cello material on DB. And very well, to. I think he has a fingerboard extension on the high strings? Or uses a 5-string with a high C string? Though I don't really know if he transposes things down or not.
     
  7. The majority of double basses are 3/4 size with a scale of 41 1/2".
     
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    But not that of a 6-string bass guitar - here's a reason to justify buying that 6-string you always wanted - so you can play Cello pieces in the right octave!! :D
     
  9. geshel

    geshel

    Oct 2, 2001
    Seattle
    Actually, I've performed the Bourree from Bach's Cello Suite #3 in C Major! on my 6, in the original octave. Just not very well. :D

    Though a cello will still go higher than a 24-fret 6-string bass, correct? that would mean you could access above the 15th position on the cello, which I'd guess you can.
     
  10. jbay

    jbay

    May 23, 2002
    Singapore
    Depending on the musician, the cello can go higher than a 24 fret guitar! :)
     
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    What about harmonics on the guitar or BG?
     
  12. ole Jason

    ole Jason Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Louisville, KY
    A double bass's range depends on the maker. There really isn't a normal number of positions that you see on the majority of basses. On my particular bass I can play up to a high Eb on the G string. That's Eb two octaves above written middle C. Granted, it doesn't sound too hot :cool: Seems like more and more EB builders are going with "odd" numbers of frets these days too.
     
  13. I haven't listened to Kodaly in many years and I forgot how much I enjoy his music. Now I am beginning to wonder how some classical cello pieces would sound played by a guitarist turned barely competent rock/country/blues bassist on a Fender Jazz? Is there a decent 6 string BG out there in the $700 to $800 range?
     
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    My first thought is - horrible!! I think you need a fairly expensive bass to get it right - like Chris (Mr. Gear Head) F's Ken Smith :

    [​IMG]

    And you need to pay at least $4,000 for it to be any good!! :D