Fretted Double Bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by rapturebass, Jan 14, 2009.

  1. rapturebass

    rapturebass Guest

    Dec 6, 2008
    Hi. I'm normally lurking the bass guitar from but i just have a question. Are there fretted DBs? I think i saw one at my school but my sight is not the best. Thanks for any help.
  2. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 2008
    I was wondering the same thing.
  3. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    The short answer is "no".

    The long answer is "well, sort of historically, but they stopped doing that a very long time ago and you most certainly didn't see one at your school."
  4. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    You could get a fretted bass, but it would be viol. :D
    antfarm likes this.
  5. cbass717

    cbass717 Guest

    Jun 30, 2008
    ew lol sorry but that sounds disgusting
  6. Bassman316


    May 27, 2008
    Longs, SC
    This thread gives me an opportunity to see if I'm understanding what I've read on the history of bass. The modern upright bass is more than likely a decendant of the bass viol, which wasn't quite as large as our upright basses of today, not to mention it was usually fretted and sometimes had as many as six strings.

    Do I pass my quiz?
  7. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 2008
    You have to remember guys, me and Rapture are from the dark side of TB.

    Speaking for myself at least, I am very ignorant on DB.
  8. Viola da Gamba, was the one with movable gut frets and six strings which is typically much smaller. The Bass Viol was bigger than today's Double Bass, correct?
  9. Brent Nussey

    Brent Nussey

    Jun 27, 2001
    Tokyo, Japan
    There's a little controversy about the history of our instrument. Some say that the bass is descended from the bass version of the viol, and others the violin family. A French guy even wrote a book "History of the doublebass," putting forth his thesis that the bass is entirely a member of the violin family and always was. There seems to be not enough documentation to really do more than make an educated guess, I think. The essential difference between the violin and viol families is that the violin places the soundbar (bracing) under the bass side foot of the bridge, and a post under the treble side foot. So the bridge and post assembly acts as a fulcrum. Whoever came up with this was the "inventor" of the violin, and a real genius. Anyway, I think it's reasonable to think that the violin, viola and cello developed together as a family, and as a bigger bass instrument was needed, the bass came into use, with probably the first basses being converted bass viols. If you look at Dragonetti's famous bass, you can see from the spread of the F-holes that it had probably 6 strings or more when it was built.... Anyway, because of the ungodly size of the instruments, some makers kept viol features that worked for that big a box -sloping shoulders, flat back, shapes etc. maybe they didn't want to throw out their old moulds... in any case, what makes a violin a violin is first and foremost the bassbar/soundpost arrangement, which the double bass has.

    For the OP, I wonder why you'd want such a thing. It wouldn't be easily intonated, and it wouldn't sound like a double bass as we know it, so if you're attracted to the sound of the double bass, you wouldn't really get that from a fretted instrument. If you are interested in the double bass, great, welcome. Take on the instrument as it is for now, it's really not as hard as it might seem, it's just a different level of physical discipline.

    Good luck.

    Edit: maybe I'm reading too much into your (the original) post. It seems like you might be asking just because you thought you saw one at school, not because you want to have one.... oops
  10. You might well have seen a school bass with lines drawn or painted on it as aids to playing (bad idea, but not uncommon).
    Winoman likes this.
  11. Tumbao


    Nov 10, 2001
  12. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    Nail polish and a few minutes with a tuner is much cheaper. I put side dots on my bass as a reminder.
    james condino and ColdEye like this.
  13. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    That was my first thought, too. I've seen this before as well.
  14. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    "If you look at Dragonetti's famous bass, you can see from the spread of the F-holes that it had probably 6 strings or more when it was built...."

    The line forms on the right......
  15. Admittedly, but I most certainly wouldn't do that, personally. I have this massive thing about resell value. Nail polish can half the sellback price, in my crazy world of paranoia. And I would never dream of putting nail polish remover anywhere near my hypothetical bass.
  16. You could always scrape the polish off with your hypothetical fingernail...
    ColdEye likes this.
  17. Dude. The paranoia isn't going anywhere.
  18. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    I've seen school basses with thin bands of masking tape across the board at every pitch. Might look like frets from a distance. I'm not categorically opposed to markers, but this is a horrible way to do it.
  19. Eric Swanson

    Eric Swanson

    Oct 8, 2007
    Boston, MA
    Okay, I'll be the curmudgeon today, its probably my turn.

    There's always the radical idea of practicing and actually learning to play the thing.

    Intonation on the DB is about muscular memory, hand position, and practicing shifts. IMHO, its not about looking at where we are on the fingerboard.

    We can't read music while we look at the neck anyway. Even if we aren't reading, we have to be able to move instantly, without looking. So, why spend time starting to play that way?

    +1 to Robobass; the tape makes a gluey, tattered mess.

    Okay, back to being mellow. :)