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Advice on double bass

PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 1:41 am
by godinguy
I need some advice about buying a double bass (is that a "dog house"?).
Here in New Zealand there is not a lot of choice. Lots of Chinese made stuff around, but we won't go there!!
So, what do I look for please?
I'm told 3/4 size would be better for me, as a full size 4/4 can be intimidating.
What make do I look for? Probably 2nd hand too. What country of manufacture is OK? USA, Germany, etc?
Your thoughts and comments are always respected.
Any thoughts were I can look up information would be appreciated too.
Kelvin (aka godinguy).

PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 2:48 pm
by old mojo
This sitewill give you some ideas about what's out there, what they cost and why.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 3:39 am
by oleman
Actually, there are some great Chinese basses out there but the mistake I made was buying a cheap Chinese bass. It started to self destruct about 4 months after I bought it, but I managed to stop all the separations with liberal applications of gorilla glue and some additional bracing. Luckily I had some experience in Lutherie. Now the CCB sounds and plays great.

I also bought a Bulgarian bass called a Silver Creek that need an additional 300.usd set up work on top of the $1200 original cost. It now plays and sounds great.

Yes, a 3/4 is the size you want unless you are going to be playing in an orchestral setting.

My switch over to doghouse has been wonderful. At first is is awkward and painful but I love the instrument and the vibe it project on stage.
The uniqueness of the look of our band with the upright has gotten us many more gigs than when I just played bass guitar.

My suggestion is to buy the best you can afford but get one, have it set up properly and be prepared to fall in love with the whole mystique that surrounds the upright. Good Luck!! Here is a site with some great info, albeit a little strange.

PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 7:32 am
by godinguy
Thank you both for your trouble.
I've now bookmarked both those sites, and they have helped a lot.
Here's an NZ site that I've looked at that sells both new and used, etc.

I'm thinking maybe the German made for NZ$3200.
Currently NZ$ is worth about US70cents, so how does that stack up for value do you reckon?

PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 2:54 pm
by old mojo
Looks like a pretty nice bass, but pricey for a laminated.
It would be very helpful to you to be able to actually play and hear before buying, if that's at all possible.

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:49 am
by JakeyVimto
Hey guys, on the size question, if I did look at a doghouse, is the 3/4 size better than the 4/4 because of the sound or just for ease of use? I'm 6'8" and I find smaller instruments fiddly sometimes. Would this be a factor? Or does the 3/4 size just have the *right* soundfor blues etc?



Re: Advice on double bass

PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 2:13 am
by bassmanwho
hi, in terms of looking for a bass you cant go wrong with german bass, ive had a 3/4 and i can take another 2 inches before i need a full size. Mind you im 5 10 right now. But if you 6 and under than 3/4 is fine. if your 6'3 plus than i d go with a full just from my expirience.

Re: Advice on double bass

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:57 am
by MakaInOz
I'm no bass player (except for my bass harp!) but I do have the "privilege" of funding two bass playing children (my oldest and my youngest), one of whom is into uprights.

NZ suffers from similar issues to Oz, only more so. You only get to choose from what's available and usually local. Double basses are a logistics nightmare, and shipping costs when you buy one can be incredible. Protecting them costs a lot too - we paid $800 for a gig bag, as a hard case was $2000! And they need some sort of protection if you ship them, so its easier, particularly for a first bass, if you can buy local.

I hope your car can fit one in! Over the years we've managed to learn to get a 4/4 bass (#1 son is 6'3" and wanted a 4/4 - which meant even less choice), a backup electric bass guitar (in a hard case), a Trace Elliot 4x10 combo, a Trace Elliot 2x15 extension cab, a Boss GT6B pedal and assorted plumbing into a Hyundai Excel - with two people too!

Your problem really is 'what's available?' Finding someone who can set the bass up properly is also an issue, particularly if there is no local expertise. As others have pointed out used and/or cheap basses may require bridges, strings, repairs etc, all of which can be tricky if you don't have bass experience.

The prices at the website for the shop in Auckland are comparable to Oz - has examples (mainly real cheap Chinese) for comparison, but I don't know if there's anything similar on eBay in NZ. Country of origin is no guarantee of quality, but European (particularly eastern - Czech, Bulgarian) seem a little more available and have a better reputation than Chinese. Some of the Chinese stuff is pretty reasonable, but the cheap beginner stuff is pretty poor quality.

You really need someone with some expertise to help you with a private purchase if you don't have much knowledge of basses - we were fortunate to be able to 'borrow' the eldest son's bass teacher to assist with expertise when we first bought. Otherwise you'd probably be better off getting the best you can afford from the shop. Low turnover = big mark ups, but you might be able to negotiate hard.

Good hunting.