Re: Playing Bass in school, Renting a Double bass

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Posted by Rich Laird on September 28, 2000 at 15:36:38:

In Reply to: Playing Bass in school, Renting a Double bass posted by Denny on September 22, 2000 at 15:00:31:

: Hi. I'm the bassist in my school band, and we play electric basses. I'm going to be applying to college soon, and the trouble with me is that I'm not sure if schools are going to take electric bass. Regardless, I would like to rent a double bass. Are there any places in NYC where I can rent one and how much would it be?
: Another problem. I've played a double bass a few times before, and I'm a tiny girl, 5"3 and the bass was just a monster. Does that really inhibit anything I could gain from playing it? I dunno, help!

For one thing, some schools offer electric it won't necessarily be a problem. You may want to take that into acount when you're looking at schools.

Personally, I've played both instruments (acoustic more that electric) and would share this with you: They are very different. About the only thing the two instruments really have in common is the fact the the strings are tuned the same. Others would not agree, I'm sure....but I don't think that one replaces the other. And I don't think that a good electric bassist is necessarily a good double bassist, or vice-versa.

But there's nothing like broadening your horizons, so why not give it a shot, right? I don't live in New York, but I know that there's a place on Long Island that will rent you a double bass. Check it out at

If you're close to college age, I guess we can assume that you won't grow a lot. So, you probably shouldn't fool around with a 1/2-size or 5/8-size instrument. I would recommend that you rent a 3/4-size instrument. The thing about the 3/4-size is that it's considered pretty much standard. Some people play a 7/8-size (there's really very few full-size basses around). So, if you can learn to deal with a 3/4-size, you should be in good shape - you would never have to struggle with anything bigger.

Your size shouldn't be much of a problem. I've known awsome players who aren't that tall or anything. (I used to know Gary Karr - one of the best bassists of all time. If I remember correctly, he isn't much taller than you.) If you really get going with it and purchase an instrument, you'll want to make sure you get something that feels comfortable to you. I've seen and played some wonderful instruments that just don't happen to be that big. (I don't know why, but the biggest instruments aren't necessarily the best - or even the loudest.)

So, the big thing is just whether you enjoy playing the double bass and decide to pursue it. One thing you will find out about the double bass is that it is not as intuitive as the electric bass. For that reason, I would strongly suggest you find a good teacher. Your teacher shuold be able to find a place where you can rent an instrument and get you off to a good start.

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