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Dif. between a Jazz bass and a "contrabass"

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Williams, Dec 12, 2004.

  1. What is the difference between a "Jazz" bass and a "contra" double bass, or is there really a difference?
  2. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Here we go again.. we've been thru this a few ways but your question is "slightly' original....

    There is the String Bass, ContraBass, Double Bass or any other name you wanna call it. Usually 4 and sometimes 5 strings and some 4s have low extensions.......

    Wanna play Jazz on it.. fine.....If it's ok for Jazz but sucks with the bow or for Orchestra playing, then calling it a Jazz bass (only) is a bit condescending but true to the possible usage.

    There is maybe only a few Contra Double Basses in the world built between 1750 and 1850 (not the price$, the year!), maybe some others, BUT...you need a ladder and a second person to play them. They are 8-11 feet tall.
  3. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    Well, usually Country bass has simpler harmonic structure, but the same kind of drive as small group Jazz Bass from the 1940s and '50s. Then, there are a lot of hybrids of Country and Jazz music, so it all gets mixed up. Think of Bob Wills, and Chet Atkins, etc. So....

    Oh, Contra not Country. Never mind. Back to studying for the Neuroanatomy Lab final tomorrow!

    Steve :confused:
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Of course that's all right - but as someone who attends Jazz gigs and orchestral concerts regularly - it's very noticable that orchestral DBs are almost always - bigger, louder and darker-sounding than the instruments used by Jazz DB players.

    This may be part of the reason for the confusion that the original poster has with this....?
  5. yeah thanks.
  6. Tom Hutton

    Tom Hutton

    Nov 22, 2004
    There is one of those in the Victoria & Albert gallery in London. I remember it being ~10' tall, with three gut strings as thick as your fingers!
  7. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    A Jazz bass is a Fender product, and electric.

    That's the main difference.

    Someone had to say it:)
  8. thanks. I just didnt know if thoes thin basses were jazz basses or if there just really weird.
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Err....:confused: ?

    Chef was joking... you know that, right?
  10. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    wait a minit,

    you're not speaking about those thin boddy BSO ((double)Bass Shaped Obect) vs regular double bass, are you ?

    (really weird, yes)
  11. for what it's worth, ive noticed when playing a jazz bass, the action is alot lower than of that of an orchestral bass.

    i could be wrong though.

  12. A jazz bass is played by a cat wearing sunglasses with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. A contra bass is played by a man in a tux and goos posture. :D
  13. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I wish the guys that supply basses on the road could figure that out.