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Double Bass and Cello Same Instrument?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by -executor-, Apr 8, 2006.

  1. This is a really stupid question but I don't know.
    Are these two the same physical instrument except the cello uses a bow?
  2. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    No, the bass is bigger, tuned in fourths, and its origins come from the gamba and violin family. It is played with a bow, and with the fingers.

    The cello is smaller, tuned in fifths, and it is considered a violin-family instrument. It is also played with the bow, and with the fingers.
  3. relacey


    Sep 18, 2004
    And a bass burns longer.
  4. Is a double bass that is played with a bow the same one that is played without a bow?
  5. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    yup, same instrument.
  6. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    Is the construction the same, except for size?

    Is there any reason why a cello can't be tuned like a bass?
  7. a cello has different string tunings, is tuned in fifths as opposed to fourths, has a completely different sound, obviosly smaller. its pretty much completely different... o yeah and the bass isnt just played pizz, a bow is often used. in addition the cello can also be played both styles. i dont see why you would want to tune a cello to the same tuning as bass(can u really tune a c all the way up to an e?) if you were gonna do that, then why not just play bass.
  8. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY

  9. Eoin


    Jan 28, 2006
    Kildare, Ireland
    Yes - the scale length isn't long enough. The strings on a cello wouldn't really have enough tension if tuned to double bass pitches. At best, it would sound and play poorly.
  10. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    Someone has asked a reasonable question, in a friendly manner, and deserves a friendly answer. I think his questions reflect the knowledge of most people who are not musicians.
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I'd never underestimate the level of ignorance of some of the posters round here....;)
  12. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer Supporting Member

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    I have had a least a half dozen seemingly otherwise intelligent people refer to the very large instrument bagged on my back as as "cello" in passing conversation.

    While it does seem a little more odd that one of those people would land it TBDB, anything is possible.
  13. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    When you find yourself chortling oversomeone's relative ignorance of the instrument it is helpful and instructive to remember that you weren't born with that knowledge, either ;-)
    Will_White likes this.

  14. There really are to many factors available to say that is a true statment.

    Finish type, wood used, and so on. :D

    If I had a cello I could run some tests.
  15. :D
  16. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    The nerd and not-so-nice factor on the responses in this thread was too high.
  17. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
  18. WillBuckingham


    Mar 30, 2005
    My girlfreind still calls my bass a cello, though I guess it's kind of a joke at this point. I also get hordes of drunk students yell "CELLO!" at me if I'm ever in the unfortunate situation of having to walk past the campus bar during happy hour with my bass over my shoulder . . . I guess we just have to put up with it, but then I think we probably get a lot more gigs than your average flautist . . .
  19. Kam


    Feb 12, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    I've had people ask if I had a cello...or some actually do ask if it's a bass or a cello. I calmly reply that the cello pales in comparison to this bass.
  20. A cello will fit in a Geo Metro,
    it takes a Focus Wagon for a Bass.

    Viol family
    Tuned in fourths
    Sounds an octave lower than written
    Hand covers a whole step, requires shifting to play a major scale with open strings.
    Played standing or using a stool.
    Is regularly used in Jazz and Bluegrass bands.

    Violin family
    Tuned in fifths
    Sounds where written
    Hand covers a step and 1/2, doesn't require shifting to play a major scale with open strings.
    Played sitting in a regular chair.
    Plays in String Quartets.

    Played with a bow and pizzicato (plucked).
    Are expected to play Mozart with equal facility.

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