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Complete noob question

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by zagnut, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. zagnut


    Jan 4, 2009
    Back in Detroit
    Hi guys. I've always been intrigued by uprights (oh the beauty and sound!) and would love to get one. However, I have a couple of questions.

    These are silly questions to some of you I'm sure, but I don't have a clue.

    What is the difference between a cello, an upright and a double bass?

    What does 3/4 and 4/4 mean in the descriptions of these beautiful instruments?
  2. Dogbertday

    Dogbertday Commercial User

    Jul 10, 2007
    SE Wisconsin
    Blaine Music LLC
    An upright bass for all intensive purposes is the same as a double bass... which is the same as a string bass... which is the same as a doghouse...

    wikipedia cello and look at tuning, range, size, etc. It's a completely different instrument than a bass.

    3/4 and 4/4 are approximate instrument sizes 3/4 seems to be the standard
  3. Zag,

    A double bass is played by orchestra players and serious jazz cats.

    An upright bass is played by bluegrass and rockabilly players.

    If you saw pictures of the two, you might think they look a lot alike. Because they do. They are the same instrument.

    (Before the flames start, I am aiming a self-deprecating dig at myself and no one else. I am primarily a bluegrass player and I call my instrument an upright bass.)
  4. Bass Barrister

    Bass Barrister

    Nov 4, 2004
    "Upright Bass", "Double Bass". "String Bass", "Bass Violin", and "Contrabass" are all names used to describe the same instrument. There are others as well.

    The Cello (aka Violincello) and Double Bass are the two lower pitched instruments of the modern string family, which includes the violin, viola, cello and bass. The cello is smaller than a bass, is most often played while sitting, and the four strings are tuned - high to low - A-D-G-C, the "A" being the one just below Middle C on a piano.

    The bass is played while either standing up or sitting. It is significantly larger than the cello, has much heavier strings sounding - high to low - G-D-A-E, the top note "G" being the SECOND G to the left of Middle C on the piano. Orchestra players generally play the bass with a bow ("arco") but also pluck the strings ("pizzicato" or "pizz"). Jazz, bluegrass, and other types of players generally use pizz but do bow from time to time.

    Hope this helps. Welcome to TB. Everyone was a Noob once so don't be afraid to ask questions. Most of us don't bite (or we've had our shots).
  5. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    They are totally different instruments, unless you are Oscar Pettiford.
  6. shadygrove


    Feb 14, 2008
    Marysville, WA

    Hey Zagnut, check out the newbie links at the top of the bass forum. They were a lot of help to me when I got serious about DB shopping.
  7. zagnut


    Jan 4, 2009
    Back in Detroit
    Thanks guys, I really appreciate clearing this up. I didn't think that a cello was quite the same thing. It's even more different than I had thought with the tuning in fifths as opposed to a DB being fourths. Now all I have to do is talk the gf into letting me spend even more money. Us men have such expensive hobbies.:D
  8. ctcruiser


    Jan 16, 2005
    West Haven, CT
    You have to stand up to play an upright bass. No laying down on the job with those puppies.

    Now for 3/4 basses, you are allowed to use stools (you choose what type and height). lol
  9. zagnut


    Jan 4, 2009
    Back in Detroit
    I guess this means no showboating and playing it behind my back.
  10. Chris Symer

    Chris Symer

    Dec 13, 2009
    In a futile attempt to distract everyone I thought I'd just bump the oldest thread I could find under basses. At least it has the word "stool" in it.
  11. Eric Swanson

    Eric Swanson

    Oct 8, 2007
    Boston, MA
    Genius. You got me to read it. :)
  12. kurt ratering

    kurt ratering

    Dec 2, 2008
    waltham, mass.
    bass luthier, johnson string inst.
    there have been a few threads here lately that have contained of nothing BUT stool in them...
  13. Krispy


    May 21, 2007
    NJ USA
    http://www.instantrimshot.com/ ;)

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