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I have been playing double bass for 3 years, and I have been borrowing a bass. However, as I can no longer buy a bass, I am looking to buy/rent one. The best one I have found is this White one. It is a good price, and has nice reviews. I have also seen a similar Brown one, and it is the same quality, but for a higher price. In the past, I have borrowed a brown one, and I was wondering if it is ok to use a white bass. I would use it at home most of the time, but I may take it out to a performance/audition some time. Would the white bass be okay to use? Thanks!

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    Upvoted: question make sense, because in this case higher price does not mean better quality, but is just material issues. – Felice Pollano Jun 2 '16 at 9:21
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Seemingly odd question! I guess they'll both sound and play about the same, and if it's mainly for home practice, colour shouldn't be an issue. One of the reasons solid colours are cheaper is that the wood doesn't have to be bookmatched or even have a nice grain pattern, because it's been painted over.

That may very slightly affect the sound, but for practice purposes, so what? I guess most orchestral players prefer a natural double bass is that it's going to blend in better with the other basses, (and maybe looks more pro...) but as a single player in, say, a jazz group, it won't matter at all. The closed eyes test is probably the best one!

  • Thanks for your answer! One quick question: If I were to perform in a local ensemble (in which there were multiple basses), and I had to bring my own bass, would it generally be ok to use the white one? – Pranav Wadhwa May 30 '16 at 13:57
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    Can't see why not. Snob value may come in at that point! Could be that colour prejudice raises its ugly head! You'll just have to be the best player and thus be accepted! – Tim May 30 '16 at 14:02
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    SInce the two links are for basses from the same manufacturer, they're probably identical machine-made units w/ different final paint job. – Carl Witthoft May 31 '16 at 13:36
  • @CarlWitthoft - yes, except that the brown one has woodgrain showing, rather than a solid paint colour. – Tim May 31 '16 at 14:08
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Would the white bass be okay to use?

If it sounds good, plays good, and feels right to you, then for your own use at home, why not?

Since you're just looking for a practice instrument, and you are budget conscious, you needn't be too picky, but an instrument should feel right to you, if you can make it so while meeting your budget: Many of us feel a personal bond with certain instruments and/or certain instruments inspire us to play better or in a certain way. Often this has to do simply with appearance - superficial perhaps, but such is human nature. I'll admit to having sold off perfectly good instruments just because I didn't like their "look and feel".

performance/audition some time

That's a bit more tricky. A white double bass is unusual (a white electric is not) - you will stick out and people may tend to focus on you. They might expect something special from a musician who calls attention to themselves with an unusual instrument. (Even if that's not your intent, people think what they think...)

If you do play very well, it could be an advantage - "Wow - that guy with the white bass was really cutting it up!" But if you're just average, or you have a bad night (it happens to all of us) you may end up with remarks like this - "That guy with the white bass - who does he think he is, Sting? He messed up in three places and the rest of the time he was just barely keeping time." So you might want to think twice about that.

As for an audition, I'd recommend against it:

You should not come to an audition with something that might seem like a gimmick or excessive showmanship (again - even if you don't mean it that way, people will often take it that way). Band leaders generally want someone who is going to play the music well and not "make waves" or create distractions with something unusual, such as a white double bass.

Consider an audition like a job interview: If you're going to interview for a job in an office in a big city, you probably don't want to wear a white satin suit with an iridescent pink tie...

(Bass player studio legend has it that when working with certain producers, if a bass player shows up for an audition and isn't playing a Fender bass, they automatically don't get the job. Call it what you will - makes no difference - "people are funny", and music people all the more so.)

I have participated in auditions. I know from experience that people take your appearance and the appearance of your instrument into consideration:

Once we auditioned a guitarist for a band. The guy was a good enough musician - sufficient for what we needed and he seemed to fit in, personality-wise. He was playing a nice black Fender Telecaster - that was just right. But he was wearing this very garish "gaucho" strap to hold his guitar. It clashed with him and with the whole band. A few guys wanted to keep him out entirely just because of that. (Again: Music people often have such peculiarities.) Myself and one of the guitarists were the "leaders" - we told him he had the gig but he had to come with an ordinary strap. He had no problem with that and he worked out fine.


Note: @LaurencePayne has given some excellent advice in his answer, regarding a used instrument. That's provided you know and understand the used market. If so, you can do very well. If not, get someone who knows how to deal with used instruments - you can get ripped off if you're not savvy. Two good places to check: Reverb.com, TalkBass.com.

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Get the traditional colour. There's no downside to this decision bar a few dollars. But also cast around the local second-hand market. There's probably a better deal on a better instrument available. Call some bass players, someone will know someone with an instrument for sale.

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