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Good DB's for short people?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Steph Dawe, Aug 30, 2004.

  1. I'd really like to get into double bass playing - but I'm short.

    Are there any good basses for people of genetic misfortune like myself?

    BTW I'm 155 cm, or 5'1".

    Yeah, I know. :D

    Here's a pic of me with a Carruther's bass. And yes, the stand-thingy was lowered down all the way it could go.

  2. DB's come in all kinda sizes....but if you're gonna join us you gotta stop wearing those bowling shirts! ;)
  3. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Hand size and finding a bass that fits is more important, really. You can always play on a stool and work right around the height thing.

    And -- lose the shirt. It makes you look like a trombone player.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I don't think size is a huge factor in a bass. I think string length is much more important. I am 5'6" and I play a large 7/8ths size bass with no difficulty at all. Actually it is much easier to play than most basses I have owned in the past.
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I have to agree with the majority here, EPIPHANY/AWE. My wife is about 5' 2", and she's exactly as tall as Kristen Korb (when Kristen takes the heels off). I got to hang for a little bit with Kristen on several occasions last year, and she does just fine with a regular 3/4 bass. There's a lady who comes to the Aebersold camps every year who's about 5 foot-nuthin, and she plays her @$$ off on a regular 3/4. And the stool thing is an option to help with the height issue if you swing that way. Good luck. :)
  6. T Sony

    T Sony

    Mar 5, 2004
    Puma all the way! Dig the shift :D

    As for bass size, I agree with Ray what feels more comfortable in the hands. Maybe get a custom stool made, attach a small ladder to it and problem fixed ;)
  7. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    A regular modern sized 3/4 with a 40-41 in. (or 101-105cm) length should be fine.

    The older Basses with higher shoulders make playing harder, not the extra inch of string length. Below 40" you might loose a little tone or volume.

    I can play my modern sloaped shoulder 42" s.length, 7/8 Shen Bass easier from top to bottom positions than my 3/4, 41" s.l. Gilkes with higher shoulders.

    Good luck and don't let your height be a factor in playing the Double Bass.
  8. And, we call the "stand thingy" an end-pin!

  9. Some of those EURB devices sit on a tripod-stand-thingy type of device… I wonder if that's what stephdawe04 was talking about…

    - Wil
  10. I'm just yankin' her chain, Wil.
    Welcome to TBDB, and keep us up to date on your bass search!
  11. I'm 5'2" and I've played several different sizes of bass. The main aspect to deal with is balance of the instrument. Forget about string length as a problem, unless it is an unusually long bass, you should be able to handle it.
    If you want to stand with the instrument then length of back(of the instrument) has to be your main consideration. If its long(approx 45" or over) then you are going to have the instrument at too great an angle to be comfortable.
    You can always sit with the instrument. The best way to gain control over the instrument is to sit behind it, like a 'cello. I've found this totally liberating, as it takes the tension of holding the bass up off your hands,even with small basses.
    I stand and sit with different size instruments. I would suggest trying to find a bass with a back length of 43" or under. If the bass you find ,because of the fact that you like the sound,or its the only one around in your price bracket, is large , don't be put off, but if you can , find a smaller one.
    The picture shows you with an electric upright bass. I've always found most EUB's really hard to balance and play with any degree of control. The large body of an acoustic bass actually makes it easier to control.
  12. Haha, not funny. :rolleyes: :D

    Finally, I've been accepted. :D

    Thanks for all your help - I haven't the money to go out and seriously look for one yet, nor do I know where to look (there's another pending question) but when I am ready I'll hopefully have all this collective knowledge at my disposal.

    I should ask Geoff (owner of the Carruther) where he got his from... at least that's a start. :smug:
  13. azflyman


    Apr 24, 2004
    Astoria, OR
    He he he, I think you will fit right in :eyebrow:

  14. I've seen another option to the Carruthers called the Steinberg and I don't think the stand thingy on those is as tall. Look around a bunch (music stores that are going out of business is a good start) and you'll find a good deal somewhere on a normal 6 footish tall DB (which is about right for you if you consider the scroll and pegbox) with a little more "body" than those EUB thingys. It's great to be able to play without electricity.

    Oh;- not to beat a dead horse but the forum here can set you up with a much cooler shirt on the "store" page. I got one for myself and want to get a few more. Wear one of those at a gig and it is truly a head turner. :smug:
  15. Haha, not funny!

    I have a shirt from TB, here it is:


    The shirt in the previous post was the only one I had washed at that time. Next Take 5 gig I went to I donned a proper white shirt, just to look smart. :smug:
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I did some classes with Paula Gardiner, who is a Jazz pro and band leader/composer. Paula is certainly on the "petite" side, but has no problem getting around a regular size DB!! In fact, she told me that most bass guitars were a problem for her, as they were too heavy and gave her back ache!! ;)


  17. Alright awe!! You're lookin' good!!
    Take a look at Paula's left hand in the photo where she's wearing the head phones....That's what we're shootin' for!!!!
  18. Kat_Mia

    Kat_Mia Guest

    May 7, 2004
    Dorset, UK
    My 5ft friend recently had to borrow my 3/4 size bass in a school concert as a bit of an emergency as she broke the string on hers whilest going onto the stage! :rollno: She had great difficulty but managed it....just!
  19. MKoby


    Jul 14, 2004
    MD/Metro DC
    Ken Smith is right on (as usual)!

    Two of my section mates are under 5'3".
    Both play 3/4 basses. Sloped shoulders are an immense
    help in getting about the fingerboard.

    My bass is roughly modeled on a Quenoil, with narrow top, wide bottom and an angled (or bent) end pin.
    This takes the weight off the hand.

    A D neck helps in being oriented to the instrument.

    Before buying a bass, you might check the Francois Rabbath CD for his thoughts on instrument set-up and strings.

    Unfortunately or fortunately, basses come in all different sizes and shapes. They have not been standardized as violins, violas and 'cellos have been.

    Ultimately, you have to try different basses to see how they fit you.

    Doesn't state where you are, but try to find the best teacher you can for help in getting started.

    All the best
  20. mattwells


    Mar 19, 2003
    BTW, electric uprights (or EUB's, like the Carruthers you were playing) often will adjust WAY WAY down...most of them I can think of will-- Azola, Eminence, NS, etc.

    Don't let the big bass scare you, one of my first teachers clocked in at a whopping 4'11" (and a half if you asked her ;) ) and played a 3/4 with no problem and even managed on the American Standard I had at the time (managed is the key word--nasty big shoulders on that bass).

    It can be done.

    PS-I came over to 'the dark side' from electric bass by buying an Azola Bugbass II. It really helped my fear of the double bass.