Newbie with first Double Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Moomin_Man, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. Moomin_Man


    Apr 16, 2012
    Ok, slight impulse buy. Always wanted to learn to play the double bass so started looking around and found a nice looking 50's/60's Czech 4/4 Double bass. Bought today (i won't mention price yet).
    Have never played in my life and will be looking for lessons soon.
    Spent tonight just jamming with friends and really enjoyed myself! Feel i picked up a lot quite quickly. Just a bit of rhythm bass.

    Can anybody confirm this is a Czech Bass from the 50's/60's.
    Also, what sort of value?
    Bridge is pretty bent and some new strings would be great.
    Doesn't seem to be any cracks or damage. Some general wear and tear.

    Hoping to become quite active here and pick up some tips and technique.






  2. Rocky

    Rocky Inactive

    Jul 21, 2000
    Los Angeles
    Congrats on your new bass! It looks like a nice one. I would take it to a reputable bass luthier, and have them go over it top to bottom. A set of strings along with good setup will do wonders, and any issues will be disclosed. Best of luck with it, and wellcome to the forum.
  3. Moomin_Man


    Apr 16, 2012
    Thanks Rocky.
    I will be getting it checked over ASAP. Spent a bit of money on a stand and bag. Might need to save a little for a pro set up.

    Clueless about strings but I will scan through the string section for advice!

    Have had trouble getting it in my tiny car, i drive a twingo 133 silverstone. It's a tight fit! Will have to find a better way of squeezing it in i think!
  4. Matthijs

    Matthijs Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2006
    That's an interesting combination of car and bass! Best way probably is turning down the passenger seat al the way and sticking in the bass neck first from the back. With the scroll where the passenger feet go it might just fit, but that's a really short car. Should be possible though: I've seen a 4/4 go into a old mini with the passenger seat removed.

    The bass look Chech to me, but that's all I can say about it.
  5. Moomin_Man


    Apr 16, 2012
    Found away of putting it in, but its awkward. Passenger seat won't recline flat, only goes to a slight angle, good thing is i don't have rear seats in my car, took them out the day it arrived. Passenger seatbelt goes around the neck and keeps it off my gear stick :p
    Theres room for one rear seat with the bass in though.
    Not too bad, just not as ideal as a big estate. :meh:

    Yeh, my friends seem to agree that it is Czech, just unsure of age and value really. I paid £550 and the chap delivered it to me from 40 miles away.
  6. nice looking bass, good luck!
  7. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Hey! If you can fit it in, you're good to go. I fit my bass, a Carvin MB-12, an extension 1X15 cab on casters, a backup EB, stands, music, etc., all in a hatchback Chevrolet Aveo, also called a Kalos in other parts of the world and made in the old Daewoo factory. Of course, my seats do fold completely down.

    Welcome to DB!
  8. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Congrats and welcome! Indeed, it would be best to get the bass to a luthier for a good setup including a new bridge. Looks like a ply bass. Value? Well, not going to go there. :) You mentioned that it's a 4/4. What is the string length? You measure that between the nut at the top and where the string crosses the bridge. Okay, I'll say it before anyone else. Get a teacher. This is important not only so that you develop good habits and progress quickly but so that you avoid injury.

    You can learn a ton here via the search function within the various forums. As a newbie, the questions that will arise for you are likely those that have been asked and answered many, many times. Your fastest route to comprehensive answers is by reading the threads that are archived here. Pull up a chair!

    Welcome to the dark side!
  9. jtlownds


    Oct 3, 2004
    LaBelle, FL
    Nice looking bass. To my untrained eye, this bass appears to be made by Musima ( also branded as Eberle, and Meisel) in Germany. The 1/4 round outside lining is what makes me think that this is the case. To the best of my knowledge, Musima is the only maker that uses that type of lining. I would seriously doubt that it is a 4/4, more likely a 3/4, but hard to tell from photos. Post the measurements, and we can tell.
  10. Congrats. As for the value, it's like a new girlfriends first kiss. Priceless. :D
  11. Rocky

    Rocky Inactive

    Jul 21, 2000
    Los Angeles
    Strings can be expensive thats for sure, and you will also want to budget for a bow. A fiberglass bow such as one made by Glasser is what many of us newbies use. Drurb's advice on getting a teacher is probably the first step one should take on this incredible journey of
    upright bass playing. They can advise you on what strings to use,what style bow to purchase, along with the books or study materials they
    use.I started playing upright less than two years ago coming from an EB backround of almost 30 years so I am by no means an expert..However after buying my bass the first thing I did was to set
    up lessons with my current teacher. His advice, and guidance has really made the difference, and I think everyone here would advise you to seek one out before spending any more money.
  12. Moomin_Man


    Apr 16, 2012
    Thank you for the advice! I will measure when i finish work, the bass in general is about 7ft tall. im 5ft 11 and have to step up to touch the very top. I have a friend who is a great bass player, will be enquiring with him about lessons very soon.
    Yet to check out all the areas of this forum, will have to spend an evening looking through!

    Wow, thanks for the help, after looking through some musima bass pictures they are pretty identical in most cases.
    I will measure the strings tonight and find out what size it is. The seller said it was 4/4 and it's pretty big, about 7ft+ tall. I have to step up to reach the very top of the bass, just above the tuning pegs. Is it called the 'crown'? The carved piece that holds the tuning pegs?
    Iv'e never played an instrument before so please excuse my ignorance! :(
    Thank you very much for the help!

    about £20 then? ;)
  13. engedi1


    Sep 16, 2005
    Welcome to the club! I think that you will find "scanning" the string section to be an understatement. Spending days and days reading 3000 post threads about strings is the norm! However, many and many a great player just stick with Spirocores, and I would suggest starting with Weichs to give your hands a break. They sound great, aren't too stiff, and can be used in many different situations. They will also last for years and years. I just sold a set that I have had for 15 or 20 years! They can be a tad pricey, perhaps they are cheaper in Europe, but you only need to make the investment once. Expect to spend $500 US on a full setup from a luthier, which will involve planning the fingerboard, installing and cutting a new bridge, and buying the strings. Don't know the conversion to pounds or Euros but $350 for setup and bridge is what our local guy charges and strings could be anywhere from $100 to $200. Try to find strings that aren't too stiff and get the action on the low side. No point killing yourself with high action until your hands get really strong, and then maybe not even then! I have been playing since I was 15 and still don't like high action. Best of luck. Gettin into upright bass is like getting a girlfriend or a boat-no end to the amount of money you can throw into it-but it is worth it!
  14. One piece of advice that I think's invaluable: don't do anything until you know how.
    Basically, search the forums, do your research etc
    Oh, and don't touch the sound post (wooden dowell inside bass) or remove all the strings at once etc.
    Oh, and many people here like thomastik spirocores :D
  15. engedi1


    Sep 16, 2005
    plus a million to durbs advice about getting a teacher. Even just a few lessons on posture, correct hand position, and right hand technique and help your tone, and save you from tendonitus.
  16. Dimmik


    Apr 16, 2012
    Drurb is right--get a teacher. You cannot learn this instrument by yourself. You may think so but once you start taking lessons from someone who has mastered it, you'll realize just how little you know and that you never would have figured out on your own.

    If you're going to invest the time and money, do it right. This instrument does not give up its secrets easily, it takes a teacher to reveal them to you. And don't go to Expert Village on Youtube and think that you'll learn much. You can see how angry and frustrated the posters are on there because they can't do what the guy in the clip is showing them and he often isn't doing it that well himself. And especially learning to use the bow requires a teacher.

    Even if someone shows you a good technique online, you need an instructor to tell if you're doing it right. You might think you are but you need to teacher to check your game to know for sure. Learning the proper way to walk a bass also requires a teacher. Some here might dispute this with me--I don't know--but that's my take on learning to play this instrument.

    Looks like you have a nice bass so do it justice.
  17. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Finished neck is a give away that is came out of the Musima factory. Get it checked out, your bridge looks warped.

    Congrats and Enjoy!
  18. Dimmik


    Apr 16, 2012
    Also 4/4s are BIG basses. Not many people use them anymore. 3/4 is sort of an unofficial standard. I agree with another poster here that yours looks like a 3/4 from the photos. If that's so, count that as a plus. Frankly, I think a 4/4 is too big to learn on. Measure your scale length. 41 or 42 inches would indicate a 3/4. That's as big as I would go. When you hear these guys doing these fast runs up and down the fingerboard, they ain't doin' that on no 4/4!
  19. Moomin_Man


    Apr 16, 2012
    Thanks for all the advice everyone, still have not had a chance to measure, looking at photos of 4/4 basses, it does seem smaller. When i said it was about 7ft tall, i think i forgot i had the pin/stand/pivot out quite a bit!

    If it is a Musima, does that mean it is German and not Czech?

    If anybody has a rough idea of value that would be great, dying to know if iv'e been ripped off or got a reasonable deal, as said, i paid £550 for it, sounds like i'll be spending a few more £££ getting it set up.

    I will deffinatley be getting lessons, hoping 1-2 lessons a week as i'm pretty keen to get going and master some of the basics even if the blisters are painful, which they are. I try playing with the side of my index finger but as soon as i start concentrating on my left hand i start playing with the tip of my index finger.

    Can you cut down the pin/stand (not sure of the correct name for it)
    Mine vibrates inside when ever I jam along to foggy mountain breakdown. Think it's the D causing it. You can see it through the F holes going crazy :p
    If i pull it out a little more it stops but then the bass is a little too tall for me.
    Suppose these are things the luthier will be able to sort for me.

    In reply to Matt Ides, yes it is warped, very much so! Will be getting a new bridge fitted, i also think the string wells in the bridge have cut in a lot.
    Bridge seems to be putting a lot pressure on one side, maybe caused by the E string? You can see it has pushed down the belly as the f hole sides are stickingout furthur than the otherside. Is this normal?

    Sorry for all the questions, but I really am new to this!
  20. eh_train

    eh_train Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 12, 2004
    Owner, Stand Up Guy Basses (Repair/Sell/Buy upright basses)

    Congrats on the new bass. I think you did well, price-wise.

    I've just scanned over the posts quickly. Not sure anyone answered this: The 'crown' is usually called the scroll.

    Re. your last post, the uneven-ness in the top is something that needs looking at. It's not too uncommon of an event, and might not be a cause for concern. However, the bass bar is in that area, and it could mean that there is a difficulty with it.

    You, absolutely, need to take it in for a checkup. And then get a teacher....