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What is the purpose of a 3/4 size bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Sound Guy Paul, Apr 19, 2001.


  1. I have been looking at uprights for a long time and have finnaly come to the decision to buy one. One big thing I have been noticing is the 3/4 size bass. What I was wondering was what does that mean? Is that something for beginners? or just for short people? if thats the reason I am not a short people. I am 6'3 so I think I would need something bigger than that. I have been playing Electric Fretless for two years, so I believe that the adjustment wont be too bad. I hope......
     
  2. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    3/4 size is the norm usually with a 41.5" (or so)string length. If you can take a lesson or three before you go shopping and get someone to show you how to hold it, some fingering basics and mechanical things to look for in an instrument it will be well worth yer while.
     
  3. 3/4 is by far the most used size bass (read RESALE VALUE).
    It has nothing to do with sound volume, and everything to do with string length, i.e., the distance between note positions.
    You don't "need" a bigger bass any more than you "need" a dorsal fin.
    Two of my basses are 7/8, but being hand made, i.e. not according to a cookie cutter formula, happen to have string lengths appropriate to a 3/4. Otherwise, I might well have passed them up.
    And don't even think of a full size bass, unless you want your very own albatross. No one will ever buy it from you. You can't lose with a 3/4
     
  4. dbradford

    dbradford

    May 7, 2001
    Cary, NC
    Actually, string length is not a factor in determining bass size: the measure of a 3/4 or 7/8 bass is in the length of the body. A 4/4 bass has a body length of 46 inches; a 3/4 bass has a body length of 43 inches. A 43 inch body can support a 42 or 41.5 inch string length as was as a 46 inch body. The 3/4 are more manageable but offer less surface for resonance.
     
  5. dbradford

    dbradford

    May 7, 2001
    Cary, NC
    By the way, you might want to check out the FAQ at http://www.stringbass.com/. There's lots of introductory info there there about sizes, construction, etc.
     
  6. Actually, nobody said string length was a factor in determining bass size.
    Also,
     
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  8. dbradford

    dbradford

    May 7, 2001
    Cary, NC
    >Actually, nobody said string length was a factor in determining bass size.

    Sorry, when you said "It has nothing to do with sound volume, and everything to do with string length," I assumed you were talking about how the 3/4 designation was determined.

    As for my statement "The 3/4 are more manageable but offer less surface for resonance," the relevance is this: A bass's volume is essentially a function of the air it moves as the top oscillates over the soundpost (the back and sides are fixed). The larger the surface area, the more air surface area to move stir up the breeze, so to speak. This isn't to say that that there aren't other factors at work, but surface area is certainly one critical concern.