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Carved orchestra bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Cursivestrfkr, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. Cursivestrfkr


    Dec 15, 2012
    I have the opportunity to buy a bass but its a carved, can someone compare me a carved bass to a plywood bass?
  2. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Welcome to TB!

    It's worth going through the Stickies.

    Generally speaking, a carved bass would be considered preferable for orchestral playing, assuming all of the caveats that one can imagine about the overall quality and state of repair that the instrument is in. If at all possible, you should have a luthier take a look at the bass before buying. He or she might recommend some repairs that you can figure into your purchase cost, and it's usually worth making sure that any bass is in the best shape that it can be in.

    I own both. Having played several basses, I would feel confident saying that a ply bass has a distinctive sound. Playing arco, the carved bass is first and foremost noticeably louder, but also has a more "complex" tone, which probably translates into having a broader spectrum of harmonics.

    Depending on where you're at in life, carved basses have some practical negatives having to do with how they hold up under adverse conditions. A ply bass won't split, and will handle humidity changes better than carved. This could be an issue if you are (for instance) taking your bass in and out of an older building that doesn't have decent humidity control, such as most older school buildings in the Midwest.
  3. Cursivestrfkr


    Dec 15, 2012
    well I am in highschool and i am aiming for a future with the double bass. I've been playing for five years, and the bass i play at school is plywood so i sort of have an idea of ply
  4. that's great. I'm not a pro but I'm a decent amateur. I have an Upton plywood and an Upton hybrid (carved top). I don't have a full carved so full disclosure on that.

    Still, the two basses are noticeably different. The ply is a great bass in its own right, with a big, warm tone, and it seems to be indifferent to humidity etc. The hybrid/carved-top has a much more focused sound (to me it's very noticeable) but is also a more sensitive instrument in terms of responding to humidity etc. It also is not quite as "warm," for want of a better term, than the ply. But I would say it's more "musical."

    I use the ply for rock, blues and bluegrass. I use the hybrid/carved top for jazz. I love classical music but I don't play it in any organized way as my reading and bowing chops are not quite there.

    hope any of that is of use.
  5. All carved basses are not equal. Can you tell us more about the instrument you're considering?
  6. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Time for me to post this yet again:
  7. I declehhh today... CONK-id DAY!
  8. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    It's wearing thin-- especially in the wrong thread. :)