Questions tagged [double-bass]

The double bass, or upright bass is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument of the viol family in the modern symphony orchestra.

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9 answers
29k views

Why is the double bass the only instrument in the violin family tuned in fourths?

Out of the 4 instruments of the Violin Family (Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass), the bass is the only instrument tuned in fourths. Wikipedia states The double bass is generally tuned in fourths, ...
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19 votes
2 answers
6k views

What is double about the double bass?

One of the most common (English) names for the contrabass, is 'Double Bass'. I can understand the other names for it, like 'Upright bass', 'Acoustic String Bass' etc, but what is double about it and ...
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12 votes
4 answers
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Double basses in Beethoven's Eroica

I have just been listening to Beethoven's Eroica while following a miniature score: Eulenburg score at Amazon. I was paying particular attention to the double basses and I noticed that frequently ...
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12 votes
4 answers
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How can people stand on their double basses?

I have seen some rockabilly gigs where people actually stand on the double bass. For instance: and How is this possible? I haven't tried it myself, but if I try to ...
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12 votes
4 answers
2k views

Walking bass line over an auxiliary diminished scale

I recently found out the auxiliary diminished chord, and that I can play it over a dominant chord, but I'm not really familiar with it, I'm still trying to understand it, so there might be some ...
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12 votes
1 answer
9k views

What is this extension on the scroll of a double bass?

If I look at a modern orchestra playing (here in the USA), many but not all of the bass players will have a bass with a headstock that looks something like this: But the way I think of a bass looking,...
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12 votes
2 answers
4k views

As there's a "double" bass, is there such a thing as a "single" bass?

The lowest stringed instrument that is typically played in orchestras is sometimes termed a "double bass". Is there a corresponding "single bass"? Naively, one might think that it would be the cello, ...
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11 votes
6 answers
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Why are bass guitars so much shorter than a double bass?

As electric bass guitars are tuned one octave lower than regular electric guitars, I can't understand why they are only slightly longer. I would think that an octave lower means strings of double ...
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11 votes
3 answers
4k views

Did they ever make a double bass this huge?

I have seen some pictures where the double bass is literally enormous. Seems like a single person wouldn't be an able to play it on his own. But I don't know for sure if these pictures are real or ...
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11 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is different in double bass bows with black hair?

Looking at various double bass bows, I noticed that some of them have black hair, like for instance: I'm not sure if this happens to bows from other instruments as well, but is there any difference ...
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10 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why is there a natural accidental on this C?

In Simandl's 30 Etudes for String Bass, Etude #10, there is this natural accidental on the note C (fourth bar of the second line): Since there is no alteration of the note either by the key signature ...
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10 votes
5 answers
8k views

How do I make a song swing?

I've been trying to play some swing bass lines, and while technically I can play the swing feel (the 16th notes with some triplets), it doesn't sound like it's swinging. It sounds kinda boring and ...
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9 votes
4 answers
20k views

What is this symbol, a line over the note heads? [duplicate]

Today I came across this symbol: (on top of the first four notes) What is this symbol and how am I supposed to play it? A friend of mine told me it's Marcato, but Wiki gave me this: as Marcato, ...
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9 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why does the neck of a bass get wider?

I've noticed in many basses (not sure if this happens in all of them), the top of the neck starts at a certain width and towards the bottom, it is wider. Here is an example: This happens to my double ...
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9 votes
2 answers
167 views

Bowing signs (?) in Lajos Montag's double bass method

In volume II of Montag's double bass method, I found these signs above the staff which look like they should be bowing signs. My guesses for the arrows are either alternating down-bow and up-bow or ...
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9 votes
2 answers
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Function of drop rake in three finger bass technique

I am currently comfortable with a simple three finger right hand plucking technique on the double bass, in regular 3-2-1 rotation of the fingers (ring, middle, index). Transitioning from a two finger ...
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8 votes
2 answers
553 views

Tuning cello in 4ths

I want to learn double bass but I don't have the budget to buy an instrument yet; however, I do have an old cello lying around. Is it ok if I tune the cello in 4ths so that I can start learning finger ...
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8 votes
1 answer
3k views

How do I change the strings on a double bass?

I have seen my double bass teacher change strings a few times, but I have a set of solo strings that I would like to learn how to put on by myself. I haven't been able to find much clear advice on the ...
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7 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why are double stops rarely written for double basses, compared to other strings?

I've been doing some orchestral transcription work in my spare time, and one of the things I've noticed is that while double stops are relatively common in violin, viola, and cello parts (along with ...
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7 votes
2 answers
839 views

How do you play a low Eb on a double bass?

The opera Das Rheingold starts with four of the double basses playing a low E-flat, one half step below the lowest E on a bass with standard tuning. In the sheet music, there is the instruction that ...
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7 votes
1 answer
741 views

Double bass harmonics are slightly flat?

Here, Lauren Pierce claims that she doesn't use harmonics to tune because they are "slightly flat". Why is this? Is she referring to just intonation vs equal temperament, or inharmonicity, ...
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7 votes
2 answers
549 views

Octaves doubling on double bass in "Sometimes I'm happy" by Lester Young?

I am intrigued by the sound of what I assume to be a Double Bass played with a bow in "Sometimes I'm happy" by Lester Young, between minute 1 and minute 2. If I am ...
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7 votes
1 answer
687 views

What is a finger bow?

Today, a fellow double bassist, sent me this 'finger bow' : What is the purpose of such a thing?
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6 votes
4 answers
1k views

Are there any violin family instruments built without a left shoulder?

On the bass and cello (and probably violin and viola as well), it seems like many aspects of proper form serve the purpose of getting ones arm over the left shoulder to play high on the fingerboard. ...
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6 votes
3 answers
4k views

What is a latin rhythm and how do I play it on Double Bass?

I have to practice this song: Where the A part is supposed to be played Latin and B Swing. How do I play the Latin part on double bass?
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6 votes
3 answers
8k views

What does 'Poco Meno' mean?

I am currently studying Simandl's 30 Studies for String Bass, and on the 6th one I came upon this term: Since I'm not acquainted with Italian Musical Terms, I used this site to find out what Poco ...
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6 votes
1 answer
567 views

How Do I Make an Electric Upright Bass Sound More Standard?

So I've been playing an Electric Upright bass for about a year now; I have fallen in love with how easy it is to carry around and set up for street performing. I was wondering if anybody here had ...
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6 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is different in double basses without a full body?

I was watching a video with the Kenny Barron & Dave Holland duo and I noticed that Dave's double bass didn't have a full body: compared to a regular double bass: I, personally, have never seen ...
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6 votes
1 answer
886 views

What's the difference between the french and the german double bass bow?

There are two kind of bows for double bass: (French on top, German bottom) The related wiki article mentions some technique differences, but doesn't specify if the outcome is different or not. Is ...
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6 votes
2 answers
419 views

Should very young bassists use a German bow?

I play bass with a German bow, and teach this to my students. Recently my school aquired a 1/8-size bass. Should I get a German bow for this one, or would it be too big? Should I rather use a French 1/...
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5 votes
2 answers
881 views

What does a double bass string eliminator do?

On some double basses, I've seen the players with this on their strings: I found out that it was an eliminator. But what does a double bass eliminator do?
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5 votes
2 answers
866 views

How do I balance the double bass against my body?

A lot of times when I play double bass, I find myself trying to keep the double bass steady. After some research I did, I found out that I need to balance it against my body. How do I do that? Every ...
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5 votes
2 answers
214 views

Advice for a classical guitarist and Jazz bassist

I have played guitar and bass (classical and jazz) but my main instrument is the guitar. I lost touch with the upright bass many years ago and want to pick it up again. I also recently picked up the ...
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5 votes
1 answer
903 views

Changing from bass to saxophone

I'm a professional, trained musician and yes I know that it's "never too late" to pick up something new. However: I play bass. I started 12 years ago because I actually wanted to play it. But over ...
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5 votes
4 answers
3k views

What is the most effective way to clean the rosin off the strings?

When I use my bow to play double bass, there is always rosin stuck on the strings afterwards. If I leave that on the string for some time, it gets really hard to clean and the bow sticks to the ...
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5 votes
3 answers
1k views

Would it be possible to start learning bass guitar with a fretless bass?

I wonder if learning bass with a fretless is doable, because most of the music I play is Jazz. I have no prior experience in fretless instruments, I have played jazz guitar for 3 years, and want to ...
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5 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why is this Fermata over a double bar line?

I'm currently studying Hrabe's 86 Etudes for String Bass and on Etude #3 I came upon this fermata: It's not on top of any note or rest, but on the double bar line. How am I supposed to play this? Do ...
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4 votes
3 answers
497 views

Is the bow supposed to be lifted when playing staccato?

When I use the bow on my double bass and play staccato notes, should I lift the bow in order to make the duration shorter or not? Sometimes I lift the bow and sometimes I just 'let go' of the note I ...
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4 votes
5 answers
460 views

Relative positions on electric to string bass?

This may seem an odd request, but I can't figure any way to find this out with out having both in my possession. I am a bassist primarily, & have been for 45 years or so. I play electric & ...
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4 votes
5 answers
1k views

How can I keep the Double Bass's endpin from sliding on the floor?

A really big problem I have when performing with my double bass, is that the endpin keeps sliding on the floor. Unless there is a carpet or the floor is grainy (or something that isn't slippery), I ...
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4 votes
2 answers
473 views

Range implications of C extension on double bass

I know the C-extension allows playing C1 on a double bass, but it's not entirely clear to me what the implications are of using it: AFAICT if none of the mechanical fingers are used you can play C1 ...
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4 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is it common for an orchestra to have 5 string double basses?

I recently went to watch Mozart's The Magic Flute and saw at the orchestra that all the double bassists (I think there were 3 of them) had 5 string basses. I had never seen a 5 string double bass up ...
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4 votes
3 answers
4k views

Is it safe to lower the bridge on a double bass myself?

The strings in my double bass are kinda high, and it makes it harder to play. I have to press them with more strength, resulting in me getting tired easier. The bridge is something like: It has ...
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4 votes
2 answers
395 views

Angled endpin on double bass?

While on Facebook, I came across this picture of a double bass that had an angled endpin: It didn't have any description. What could the purpose of something like this be?
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4 votes
2 answers
915 views

Switch from bass guitar to upright / double bass: available resources [closed]

First time poster here after years on the math board. Feel free to school me in etiquette if need be. For most of my life, I have been a guitarist. About ten years ago, I picked up bass guitar and ...
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4 votes
1 answer
732 views

How do you call the technique where you slap the bow against the string? [duplicate]

I'm talking about this kind of technique (at the beginning of the video): How would I notate this kind of technique on paper?
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4 votes
2 answers
491 views

Blisters on Fingers: Double Bass

My band practiced for four hours tonight and I got a blister on my right middle finger, popped it (as I was playing), got another one, and got one on my index finger. We're performing twice tomorrow (...
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  • 195
4 votes
1 answer
786 views

How to record through a preamp

Just recently I purchased a Realist pickup to put on my acoustic bass so I can record sound. I run the pickup through a cheap, $30 amp (an early model Crate GX-65) and then into Audacity for a final ...
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3 votes
3 answers
236 views

Is a white Double Bass okay for practice?

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 ...
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3 votes
3 answers
213 views

What are some good options for playing a note written below the standard range of a double bass?

I am currently playing a song for orchestra that requires me to play a d below the bass clef staff. Is there any reason why I should not just jump the note up an octave rather than tune the e string ...
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