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Large Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by jAcKyL8643, Feb 29, 2008.

  1. Greetings fellow bass enthusiasts! I am a graduating high school bassist and I wanted to start a discussion about large string basses. I am a pretty tall guy at 6'6" and I have always been curious about 7/8 and full sized basses. Do these instruments have the superior tone that I've heard people comment about? I am curious because I currently use a REALLY long end pin just to get my 3/4 into playing position for me and I am defiantly physically capable of playing a much larger bass. I would appreciate examples of larger instruments and advice on purchasing and playing them!

    Thanks for your insight, John
  2. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Larger Basses or longer string lengths as well?

    I had an old German Bass come in the other day for evaluation. It was a big 7/8ths or modern 4/4 depending on who you ask. The string length was about 44".

    I have bought several large Basses in the last 4 years with string lengths around 44" and in every case, they were shortened during restoration. One of them only got down to 42.5" or so as it didn't get a neck graft for cost savings and kept the original Eb neck.

    Large bodied basses are fine if you can play them in tune. Modifying them down to 42" SL or less helps make it playable.

    On the sound question these is more air to be moved. All things being equal, it should have more sound. Tone is another subject aside from just volume of sound. My sweetest sounding Bass is a small 3/4 Italian Bass. It has more volume than you would expect for its size but an equal grade larger Bass can be as sweet but with more sound. The louder sound however can drown out those sweet colorful tones though. Unless you are a classical soloist, I would just aim for a good sound and not worry about superior tone unless you are spending some money on an investment grade pedigree.
  3. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    The fact that you probably can manage a 44 means you are likely to save yourself some money. Most modern players don't want to go beyond 42-1/2, so the longer string lengths don't fetch as much geld. As far as size, bigger basses are often deeper, but that's not always an advantage. Every instrument has its own voice:). Again, you might find a big shouldered bass out there that others don't want because it's hard to play, so you might pay less than I would have to for a quality instrument. 7/8 and 4/4 basses seem to be more popular here in Europe than in the States. I have a new 4/4 Rumanian instrument in the house right now that seems very reasonably priced for it's quality, but I can scarcely get around it. You might contact someone who imports eastern european instruments and ask them about availability. IMO these instruments tend to be well made, but very poorly set up. Otherwise, If you keep your ears open and are patient, you might find a large old German bass somewhere near you that the owner can't easily play or sell, and would be happy to meet you!

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