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I have a question...

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by tigerrr77, Nov 15, 2005.


  1. tigerrr77

    tigerrr77

    Nov 15, 2005
    I am interested in playing the double bass, but I'm not sure what size I should play. I'm short, about 5'5, and a good friend told me to paly a 3/4, but it seemed too big. Should I go ahead and keep playing with the 3/4 or try to find something smaller?

    thanks!
     
  2. tigerrr77

    tigerrr77

    Nov 15, 2005
  3. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Whoa...you shrank 2" in 2 minutes?! :smug:

    You should be ok with a 3/4 bass. It will seem big at first, if you're coming from the electric bass or whatever, but you'll get used to it soon enough. I have a friend who's not even five feet tall, and he sounds great on a three-quarter.
     
  4. It's hard to find any good number of basses in 1/2, 5/8 or any size other than 3/4. What a shame. Most of us whatever our size end up working with 3/4 because of the preponderance of them.

    That said, if it feels too big, try to find a smaller one to try. Lemur Music stocks basses in sizes below 3/4 and ships. I've heard good things about their service and have experienced good service but I've never bought a bass from them. My teacher does recommend them for new student basses.

    Also height is not the only issue. The endpin on most DB's is adjustable, so start there, but things like the size of your hand, the length of your arm and your physical build, skinny, plump, etc. can make big differences as well.

    a further complication is that not all 3/4 basses are the same size everywhere. You may find one a little slimmer in the bouts, more sloping in the shoulders, narrower fingerboard, thinner neck, etc. Also a well set up bass no matter what size will play easier than one with a poor set-up.

    Play as many as you can, and let everyone know you are looking. Good luck.
     
  5. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    Gary Karr is not very tall and I believe he plays a 3/4. Chris Hanulik, associate Principal in the L.A. Phil, is also vertically challenged and doesn't play a small bass.
     
  6. I know a pro player about your hight and with small hands also and they play 3/4s life everyone else. At the time a lot of 200 yr bases were built that are now being cut to make them more playable (see the basses section) the average hight of people must have been somewhat nearer you. In fact, thinking about it I know a couple of short players.

    Remember though that the term 3/4 is somewhat elastic - so you are likely to find some easier than others - and this is also true for basses of roughly hte same dimensions.
     
  7. jvillarreal

    jvillarreal

    Oct 7, 2002
    Tulsa, OK
    Tiger - I'm somewhere between 5'4" and 5'5" and I play a 7/8ths Hawkes... it all depends on the bass' playability. The neck on my bass was reset forward to raise the projection, and makes it very easy to play. If it didn't have that, or an angle break in the back, I doubt I'd be able to play it at all.
     
  8. WalterBush

    WalterBush

    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    I'm not much taller than you (5'6) and I play a 1/2 size bass. I have to set the endpin at ridiculous heights to get it to play comfortably. I've also monkeyed around on enough 3/4 and 7/8 basses that I've concluded (my opinion, here) that shape matters more than raw size. I'd say find a bass that's comfortable, and don't get hung up on stated size. I will say, though, that my 1/2 size fits in a 2-door sedan and leaves room for a passenger in the backseat, which never happened while I was borrowing a 3/4.
     
  9. dbgal

    dbgal

    Nov 28, 2005
    Idaho
    I'm 5'4" & play a 3/4 & I agree that the shape of the bass is more important than the stated size. Depending on what type of playing you do, you should be fine with the 3/4. Adjust your endpin so you can touch your bridge without leaning down, & your bow should hit the strings just about right. Also, you might consider that down the road a 3/4 bass might be easier to trade-up or re-sale than a 1/2, 5/8 or other. If you plan to play in the upper registers a lot, you'll want to find a bass with sloped shoulders, but if you'll be doing more jazz/bluegrass/etc., one with wider shoulders will be fine. It all takes getting used to. As to portability, my 3/4 fits fine in my Subaru with the back seat down, with tons of room for my stool, music, etc. I've even tossed one of my bikes in the back with the bass. I can leave half of the seat up & carry a passenger in the back if I need to. ;)
     
  10. dbgal

    dbgal

    Nov 28, 2005
    Idaho
    I think you're right that Gary Karr's Amati is "technically" a 3/4 in scale length, but it has a very small body. Don't know what he's playing now that the ISB has the Amati.