The bass is known by many names, including the contrabass, the stand-up bass, the bass fiddle, the upright bass, the string bass, or just simply the bass. It is not to be confused with the electric bass or bass guitar, which is similar in sound and tuning, but completely different in technique and construction. The modern bass originated in the 15th and 16th centuries. It is widely considered to be the largest and only member of the viol family that is still played frequently. However, it is often grouped in with the violin family, which includes the violin, the viola, and the cello. The double bass also employs two different styles of bows—French (which is similar to the bows violins, violas, and cellos use) and German (which is older). The style of bow is determined by the individual player, and often does not make a difference in sound. When you learn how to play the double bass, you will be exposed to many different kinds of music. While there is a large classical repertoire for the instrument, the double bass is also heavily featured in folk, jazz, blues, rock, and pop music.
When to Start on the Double Bass
You can start double bass lessons around age 7. Due to its large size, it is not recommended to start the double bass before then, although if the child is tall enough and has the dexterity and fine motor skills require, they may be able to begin earlier. The double bass also requires a certain amount of care, as both the instrument and the bow can be fragile.
Getting a Double Bass
Please call us so we can recommend a store from which you can purchase or rent a double bass. For very young students, it is recommended to rent instruments for two reasons: 1) they will most likely grow out of instruments quickly and 2) they may lose interest (although we hope they don’t!). Most places that rent instruments will also provide repair services for their instruments.
Also, please note that a used double bass is not necessarily inferior to a new double bass. In fact, older instruments will often be easier to play and have a better sound quality. Look out for any large cracks or open seams, but most defects caused by age are cosmetic in nature and will not affect the playability or sound of the double bass.
Purchasing Books and Supplies for Your Double Bass
Most books and many supplies such as strings and rosin are available online. Give us a call for local store recommendations. Your instructor can tell you which books and supplies are appropriate or needed.
**Feel free to call us at 631-476-8946 with any questions you may have. We can help provide you with additional resources.