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European car for double bass

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Michal Herman, Jul 5, 2018.

  1. Michal Herman

    Michal Herman

    May 31, 2013
    Hi all,

    Because I need to replace a clutch in my old Fiat Punto I am considering buying a new car (repair can get even 1/3 of actual car value).
    Which of the European cars (I live in Europe) would you recommend for a double bass transport? In my actual car, I have to lay down passenger seat so I can bring only one other person with me when driving with double bass. Ideally, I would like to maybe fold one of the back seats and transport instrument in the trunk.
    Also, I am targeting more economic than luxury cars. In both price and maintenance costs. I am not traveling much, around 10'000 km yearly.
    Any recommendations?
  2. What about a Golf? Reliable and roomy. Good power and you have access to some efficient engine choices. For something smaller maybe a polo?
  3. Drgonzonm


    Sep 4, 2017
    American SW
    Vw vanagen.?
  4. vedi


    Sep 16, 2008
    Luxembourg, EU
    Volvo station wagon is what works for me - although I fold the whole back seat when transporting my DB, it is possible to leave one third up, so one person can sit in the back. V50 or V60, but older ones are great, too. not sure where to put them in regard of luxury, but in 6 years we've never had any problems with our V60 doing a regular annual service. we make approx. 25k km per year, with mileage between 4.4L and 5.3L per 100km.

    if you are on an absolute budget, I'd go for a Dacia (petrol or diesel engine depending on how often you drive and what distances) in one of those station wagon shapes - they licence Renault's older technology, so it is reliable and void of any baby-diseases. apparently Peugeot is cheapest for servicing in EU... but yeah, any station wagon should do - be sure to try before hand ;)

    once went to a gig and back in Toyota Yaris, driven by piano player, with trumpet player in passenger seat, me and my DB in the back. don't ask how, but it worked. it wasn't really comfy, and police would probably at least dislike it, but... yeah... also did the same with Toyota Aygo (minus the trumpet player).

    there is a video of someone puting the DB in a Mini (newer one, make no mistake) on a front passenger seat, so unless you do weekly gigs with DB and really need a bigger car, you could probably get by with something smaller.

    good luck!
    Max George and Michal Herman like this.
  5. Michal Herman

    Michal Herman

    May 31, 2013
    I want to transport myself with instrument, not whole band ;)
    fretter likes this.
  6. Drgonzonm


    Sep 4, 2017
    American SW
    When I was a kid playing upright, my mother used a station wagon, and we still folded the back seat down.
    I have an extended cab small pickup, I have trouble getting a rumble 40 behind the seats. forget the whole band, it's all about the ease of transporting that bass fiddle.
    Max George likes this.
  7. doghousebob

    doghousebob Supporting Member

    Mar 7, 2008
    I second the VW Golf vote. Personal favourite and current ride is a 2008 A4 Avant. (Can't get the TDI in Canada dammit!) Only got 530,000 km out of the last one I owned, cheap to buy, maintain and run. Been riding with a piano player in a Kia Rondo, has an amazing amount of room.
  8. wathaet


    May 27, 2007
    I downsized from a Grand Voyager to a new Audi a6. Just took it on a long drive with a 4/4 stevenson flightcase and it fit great between the seats, just reaching a bit past the back of the seats. Great basscar and a fun ride.
  9. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Augusta GA
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
  10. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Something like a Golf or the compact wagons which are so common in Europe. I drive a 2008 BMW 3-series wagon and I'm confident it would handle an upright bass. I started on upright and I've even transported an upright in a 1960's VW Beetle, but I had to fold the RF seat, lift the bass in with the bridge pointing upwards and sit its bottom end on the rear package tray, return the RF seat back to upright, open the passenger side door's window and let the neck stick out that window. Not what I'd want to do on a regular basis.
    dan1952 and MattZilla like this.
  11. Mercedes B-class is great. A bit more expensive, but good 2nd hand value.
  12. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    I'd second the thought of a standard (modern) Mini hatchback if you only want to carry your bass and some gear. I've got an '06 S (USA), and a 3/4 bass in a bag fits in through either the hatchback or the passenger side door with the back seats folded forward and the front passenger seat slid fully forward and reclined all the way back. Kinda fun. There's more space for other gear, but no legal space for passengers with seatbelts.

    A person might be able to flip the bass onto it's side after it's in the car and open up one of the back passenger seats and seatbelt; I've not tried that.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
  13. Neil Pye

    Neil Pye

    Apr 13, 2016
    Horsham, UK
    Do you not all worry about the risks when you load your basses (and unload them) in this awkward, painful, difficult way? Bridges getting bashed, endpin fitting knocked, all sorts of potential for damage! Given that you don't have to pay mega bucks for a car big enough to do it all easily, why take the risk?
  14. Because in some European cities, parking with a big car is a lot of hassle, the price on gas is very high, and big cars (with large engines) are much more expensive.
  15. Neon Scribe

    Neon Scribe Supporting Member

    Almost any four-seat hatchback, or compact MPV, should work. Fold down the back seat, put the bass in on its back through the hatch, with the neck going through the center console between the front seats. I have a Lexus CT200h and it works great. That's not a European model but there are loads of cars with a similar layout. There's plenty of room for the bass, an Acoustic Image Coda, an accessory bag, and a passenger.
    fdeck likes this.
  16. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    I'd agree with this if you have an extremely valuable (to you or to whoever) bass that you want absolutely no scratches or other relatively minor damage and absolutely no setup item changed. Otherwise you'll be spending lots of money on a car.

    As a rule I pack my bass on its back with the neck held away from any pressure points using a bungee cord. On its back the bridge is safely away from anything else that might change its setup. That doesn't rule out damage due to a wreck and/or shifting cargo, but unless you're using a very well made hard case, not much would rule that kind of damage out.

    Because I pack my bass on its back, I do not have a seat (or safety belt) for a passenger in my MINI S. But in my Ford Explorer it fits on its back very nicely with seating for 4 (legally, including the driver). Normally when not packed with a lot of gear, a MINI S seats 4 and a Ford Explorer seats 7 (legally, including the driver).

    Ironically, as far as the cost of a car for carrying a bass is concerned, when I bought my new '06 MINI S in late 2005 it cost more than when I bought my new '14 Ford Explorer in early 2015. Marketing...
  17. Neil Pye

    Neil Pye

    Apr 13, 2016
    Horsham, UK
    It's not the transporting that I worry about, but the loading/unloading where the damage (to anatomy as well as instruments) can occur. Big cars don't use much more fuel any more, and if you have any sense you buy used anyway, so what you spend is up to you. My car does 45-50 MPG, has 140k miles on it and runs like a Swiss watch. It's worth less than my bass, which is as it should be!
  18. A Toyota Prius does 52 MPG, new SUVs does 30 MPG (mixed driving). That's a significant difference. And, here small electric cars are getting much more common. With electric cars, size (and weight) really matters. Unless you want a Tesla.
  19. Neil Pye

    Neil Pye

    Apr 13, 2016
    Horsham, UK
    Mercedes E Class from 2008 does 45MPG and a bass fits dead easy. 3 basses fit easy. Think outside the box. Buying new makes no environmental or financial sense
  20. Neil Pye

    Neil Pye

    Apr 13, 2016
    Horsham, UK
    Teslas are amazing though...

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