I just chanced on this today http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_bass some interesting stuff that I've seen contradicted around here - maybe some of our illustrious members should get in with some "errata"... I've seen people quote this as the ultimate source of truth - whereas it is of course just what people say... I did like the part that talked about the practical problems of playing the instrument and I know at least one of our members will disagree vehemently with this : "Recently, violin/viol family instruments (including double basses) made of carbon-fiber laminates have become available. These instruments are supposedly nearly impervious to changes in heat and humidity and extremely resilient to the knocking about that occurs during transport. Unfortunately, the sound quality of a carbon-fiber bass is generally thought to be far inferior to that of a wooden instument."