What is a double bass?
The double bass is a chordophone musical instrument with fretted strings. It's the second in its class with the lowest tessitura, and can be found in different sizes. It produces sounds thanks to acoustic resonators that are achieved by stimulating the strings, rubbed with an extension called a bow.
It can also produce sounds through a technique called pizzicato, in which the strings are plucked in the manner of a common electric bass. On the other hand, unlike other fretted string instruments such as the violin, the tuning of the double bass is in perfect fourths.
History of the double bass
Its origins can be traced back to the 16th century and its predecessor, the viol . However, at that time it did not have all the characteristics that define it today. On the other hand, it was in the middle of the 18th century that it adopted its standard form, and achieved its inclusion in symphony orchestras.
It's important to point out that his consolidation as a high-level soloist instrument was not an easy process. On the other hand, composers were very suspicious of its capabilities, due to the complexity of its execution and its large size, which made it difficult to transport.
It was in the middle of the 20th century that, thanks to the efforts of double bass players, this instrument was consolidated as the most valuable instrument in the bass line, specifically in the fretted string group.
Evolution of the double bass
There is no unanimity regarding the evolution of this instrument. However, it's associated with two instruments. These can easily be recognized as their predecessors, because the design and execution follow the same principle:
- Viola da gamba: it was widely used during the 15th century, and its most extended version had six strings tuned in quarter notes. Its extension ranged from the note D to D, to cover a total of three octaves. It was possible to find other variations with a tuning in G and A.
- Bass Violone: it had six strings tuned by fourths, from G to G and D to D.
There were also other bass musical instruments. However, they did not gain notoriety and quickly became part of European folk music, where they still endure.
Types of double bass
There are different types of double bass that are classified according to the number of strings they have, and according to their size.
Double bass can have four, five and six strings, just like modern electric basses, and their tuning follows the same theoretical principle. This is why it's considered the ancestor of the electric bass. In fact, the latter was created to meet the needs that the double bass could not satisfy.
- Concert tuning (four strings): on the four-string double bass, the most regular tuning among chamber musicians is F#-E-E-E-I-A. However, the standard tuning is A-R-E-G.
- Five strings: can be tuned starting in C or B.
- Six strings: can be tuned in C or B by fifths. Its use is not very widespread but it's possible to find it in compositions with a high level of complexity.
- Three strings: it's the least common of the double basses, and is only found in compositions from the pre-classical period, and a few from the classical period.
Like all stringed instruments, the double bass has a wide variety of sizes to suit all different ages and morphological characteristics of the players. These measures are:
- 1/8: for children between 5 and 7 years old.
- 1/4: is the scale most commonly used to initiate 7 and 8 year old children.
- 1/2: is designed to cover the morphoanatomical characteristics of children between 9 and 13 years of age. However, it's one of the least used because people prefer to skip it and go directly to 3/4.
- 3/4: it's the most used and popular, because it satisfies the measurements of children from 13 years of age. Even adults use this size because it's quite large.
Also, 7/4 and 4/4 double basses can be found. But, being so big, they are not so popular because of their inconvenient transportation, and also because they can be really expensive.
Double bass parts
The parts of the double bass can be classified into three groups:
Fingering and tuning bar
- Volute: it's the upper part of the pegbox that has the shape of a curl. Its function is entirely decorative and has no influence on the sound of the instrument.
- Pins: these are the keys that allow the adjustment or calibration of the strings to tune them in their different modalities.
- Headstock: supports three, four, five or six pegs. These are embedded, and remain fixed in one place, although they are mobile enough to be able to perform the necessary tasks.
- Neck: wooden bar that joins the pegbox and fingerboard to the body or resonator duct.
- Fretboard: front part of the neck that serves as a guide to find the musical notes and obtain the different scales, wings or harmonic variations.
- Strings: they can be three, four, five or six and are tuned in fifths.
- Soundboard: it's the upper part of the body and is responsible for the stability of the sound.
- Hoops: wooden parts located on the sides of the instrument.
- Bottom: consists of a piece of wood that is responsible for containing the sound and projecting it to the ears of the double bass.
- Ears: consist of two “F” shaped orifices and a duct through which sound exits.
- Bridge: its function is to raise the strings so that they have an optimal distance to height ratio. It also keeps them elevated so that they do not collide with the soundboard.
- Cord: vital piece for holding the ropes. Allows them to be connected to the pegs and the body of the double bass.
- Pike: is a bar that is used to adjust the height of the double bass.
- Button: responsible for adjusting the bristle tension.
- Heel: it consists of a body that allows holding the bristles at one of its ends.
- Rod: it's the longest part of the arch and allows to establish its extension or length.
- Head: at the other end of the bow, holds the tip.
- Bristles: are the strands or fine threads that perform the friction with the strings of the double bass.
- Tip: it's in charge of holding the bristles at the other end and thus establishing the adequate tension to perform the friction.
What is the difference between the cello and the double bass?
Basically, there are four differences between these two instruments:
Size or measurement
The double bass is larger, so it can measure up to 180 cm. In contrast, the cello only reaches 130 cm. However, the smaller types of double bass can be confused with the cello.
This is the characteristic that differentiates a medium size double bass from a normal size cello. The double bass is tuned in perfect fourths, while the cello is tuned in perfect fifths. However, it's possible to tune a cello by just fourths, to simulate a medium-sized double bass.
Number of strings
The double bass can have three, four, five or six strings. The cello, on the other hand, has only four. However, a small four-string double bass can pass for a cello.
This may be the determining difference between the two instruments. While the double bass starts its tessitura in C1, the cello starts its extension from C2.
Some also believe that the position in which one or the other instrument is played also makes a difference. For the cello is played seated, while the double bass is played standing up. This seems irrelevant to us. While in the orchestra, the conductor may force the double bass player to play standing, outside the orchestra, the musician chooses the position they prefer.
Ultimately, these differences are based mostly on rules and tradition. Because a small double bass tuned in fourths is basically a cello.
Important double bass players
He was a great London double bass player who lived 1765-1844. His greatest contribution to the development of the instrument were his compositions of great harmonic and interpretative value.
He is a Muscovite renowned for his virtuosity on the double bass. His most outstanding achievement is that he won all the national and international competitions in which he participated.
American double bassist with a great musical and educational trajectory. Among his contributions to the development of the double bass, are the creation of the International Society of Double Bassists, and the Karr Double Bass Foundation.
Finnish musician and teacher with a long career in the training of new double bass players in Finland.
Virtuoso British luthier and musician recognized as one of the most important double bass players of the 20th century.
Italian musician recognized for rescuing forgotten compositions of the romantic and classical period. His influence is such that great double bassists dedicate their compositions to him.
Composer of Syrian origin and mainly self-taught. He has dedicated a large part of his life to the development of methods and new techniques that have revolutionized the world of the double bass.
One of the most respected jazz double bassists and prolific composer associated with Ornette Coleman.
Recognized as one of the most important jazz double bass players. He was a member of the Bill Evans Trio.
Virtuoso and winner of five Grammy Awards. He is recognized as the most influential double bass player in the jazz world.
His virtuosity places him as one of the current promises in the double bass. The words that best define him are: versatile, dynamic and eclectic. It's a network that catches everything that contributes to your style as a musician.
Uxía Martínez Botana
Spanish musician recognized as one of the ten best double bass players in the world. She is currently the principal double bassist of the Brussels Philharmonic.
The best double bass brands
- Yamaha: Yamaha's tradition has led it to create the Silent series, which is one of the best on the market.
- Thomann: with its fervent dedication and German rigor, this company has one of the best options in double bass for students.
- Gewa: this German company devotes special attention to fretted string instruments, and as a result builds some of the best instruments for intermediate and advanced level.
- Stentor: British manufacturer with more than 100 years creating instruments that are excellent, and for all levels of learning.
- Harley Benton: Thomann's subsidiary brand dedicated to the manufacture of instruments for beginner musicians.
- Ibanez: although their specialty is guitars, this company has created an excellent electric double bass that we will talk about in this review.
- Meister Rubner: is dedicated to the manufacture of high-end instruments, and has achieved impressive results.
- NS Design: American company that specializes in the manufacture of instruments with low tessitura, to incorporate the highest technology available to the service of music.
The best double basses for beginners:
- Thomann 111BR 3/4 Double Bass
- Thomann Rockabilly Double Bass BK
- Stentor SR1950 Double Bass Student 1/2
- Harley Benton DB01-BK Electric Double Bass
The best double basses for intermediates:
The best double bass for advanced players:
The best double basses for beginners
A good double bass for beginners should have three characteristics: 1. good price, 2. quality and 3. a good touch. The latter is essential, because students need an instrument that is easy to play, allowing them to learn without sacrificing the skin of their fingers. The double basses selected in this category have a good balance between these characteristics.
Double Bass Thomann 111BR 3/4 Double Bass
The construction is solid and resistant. Very good feel. Good volume.
The sound lacks nuance. Little sustain.
- Woods: laminated linden, ebony.
- Size: 3/4.
- Sound: creamy, with good bass, but lacks sustain.
- Weight: approximately 10 kg.
This double bass from Thomann has excellent features that have satisfied users. As usual with this company, it offers enough for beginners and a little more. Let's see what it has to offer, and why this model has been so popular.
The body of the Thomann 111BR 3/4 is made entirely of laminated basswood. This material has proven to be a good choice for fracture resistance. The reason is that it's classified as medium-heavy, having a density of 570 kg/cm3.
However, it's laminated linden, which implies several layers of gumming between each of its sheets. This translates into a slightly higher resistance capacity, because it adopts greater flexibility, but to the detriment of sound capacity.
On the other hand, the fingerboard is made of ebony (Diospyros crassiflora). This wood has a proven strength of 8.1 on the Brinell scale, so you can be sure of the instrument's durability.
This is a 3/4 type double bass, which is ideal for teenagers from the age of 13 and up, and also for adults. It has a height of approximately 111 cm, 49 cm at the top of the body, 36 cm in the center and 68 cm at the bottom. It weighs about 10 kg, so it's relatively large.
Although it has a considerable size, the pike is adjustable so that the student can configure its height and have greater comfort. It has a dark brown finish with high resistance satin lacquer.
In addition to the instrument, a bag and a composite bow with German walnut and rosin are included with the purchase, so that the student has everything needed to start practicing immediately. In addition, Thomann offers the possibility of pre-adjusting the instrument according to the preferences and musical styles of the buyer.
The scale ratio on the Thomann 111BR 3/4 is very good: 98 cm between nut and bridge. The height at the bridge establishes a good rapport, so that the instrument doesn't go out of tune. The feel is really good, and the touch of the notes on the neck is gentle. This has been a highly-praised feature by users.
If you want to play rockabilly, then finger-style playing will suit you just fine. Buyers of this bass have used it mostly for this style of music and are happy with the results. While bow work has not been much tested, the distance between the strings favors its use.
All in all, we are dealing with an instrument that is kind to the touch, and that can be used for various styles of music.
This section is where we have found some deficiencies. One example is the response of the A string, as several buyers complain that it has less volume compared to other strings. This sound difference should not exist, but isn't something that cannot be solved with a good interpretative technique.
Another detail we found is that the sustain can be little, especially if you play it only with pizzicato. But with the bow it doesn't present this problem, and the sound is sustained and long lasting. On the other hand, the reverb has an acceptable response both in pizzicato and with the bow.
However, despite the shortcomings we found in the sound, we must say that this is an instrument with great volume, and is suitable for playing live or in recording studios. Its main performance is in chamber music, although some users have used it for rockabilly and are very happy with it.
The Thomann 111BR 3/4 is of excellent value for the price, with a few sound drawbacks that you might notice even if you are a student. This is an instrument that, for its price, does its job very well, and many customers agree. It also has a sturdy, solid construction and is therefore one of the best options if you want to buy a double bass for beginners. Interested? Find the best deals at Thomann.
Double Bass Thomann Rockabilly Double Bass BK
Excellent ergonomics and feel. Good volume and decent sound.
It's almost a replica of the Thomann 111 BR double bass. The sustain is deficient.
- Woods: laminated linden, ebony.
- Size: 3/4.
- Sound: good balance, lacks sustain.
- Weight: 12 kg.
This double bass is proof of how much an instrument can vary with just a few adjustments in the measurements and gauge of its woods. It's almost a replica of the Thomman 111BR 3/4 , but has a personality of its own.
This double bass can be considered a replica of the Thomann 111 BR, because its woods are exactly the same. The body, soundboard, sides and back are made of laminated basswood, while ebony is used for the fingerboard.
The main difference lies in thickness. This ensures greater resistance, and also gives a different shape to the sound. This is why the instrument has a different response.
As it's a thicker laminated linden, the rubberized joints are stronger, but also more elastic. This flexibility is decisive for the final result, and is what justifies the name “Rockabilly”.
In terms of design, this is a 3/4 double bass, making it ideal for teenagers and adults. Another difference with respect to the 111 series is that this model is a little taller, with 119 cm, 47 cm in the upper part of the body, 38 cm in the center and 66 cm in the lower part. It also has an adjustable spike for times when height is an issue.
A considerable change is found in the weight, which is about 12 kg, 2 kg more than the Thomann 111 BR. This is due to the new wood thickness and increased height.
The tuning keys are one of the features we like most about this double bass, as they are made of sturdy metal and allow for smooth adjustment. Students should value this factor, because there are many entry-level double basses that are really hard and uncomfortable to tune.
The Thomann Rockabilly also comes in a set: the bag it comes with is of low quality, but the arch is quite strong as it's made of composite, and includes a German nut and rosin.
This is an instrument with a great distance to height ratio, as its tuning is accurate and holds quite well. The length between the nut and the bridge is 100 cm, while its height is a bit shorter than the 111-BR series. This improves the sonic response on the slap, and gives additional punch on the pizzicato.
With its shorter height and longer distance, this double bass is very comfortable to play. However, since it's longer, the student will have to stretch their fingers a little more to reach all the notes of its extension. Despite this, buyers say this is not a problem, and they find it pleasant.
The action of the double bass strings is one of the reasons for the name of this series, because it facilitates the feel and sound of rockabilly. You can achieve the fast movements that characterize this musical style, and the distance between the strings also favors bowing.
What stands out most in the sound of this double bass is the volume, which has a very good projection. The punch during pizzicato is almost excellent, and benefits blues and rock and roll lines. The reverb also has a great quality, it's enveloping and favors country phrases.
On the other hand, techniques such as slap and fretted sounds are easy to achieve and have a great sound, thanks to the height of the strings.
Finally, the only drawback is the sustain, which has the same shortcomings as in the 111-BR. This somewhat affects the interpretation with pizzicato. It can be salvaged with the use of a bow, although it doesn't quite have a round sound. That is why the most suitable styles for this model are rock'n'roll, blues, jazz and country. It will also add a modern feel to flamenco.
This option from Thomann is an attempt to reach the daring young learners who want something more than the traditional style. We can say that they have succeeded in part, because the construction is robust like few other instruments. However, the sound is not quite rounded, and that is the only thing missing. Interested? Check the best deals at Thomann.
Stentor SR1950 Double Bass Student 1/2
Good construction. Great sound.
Small defects in the finish. The feel is quite hard.
- Woods: solid spruce, laminated maple, plywood ebony.
- Size: 1/2, for children from 9 to 13 years old.
- Sound: good reverb and optimum sustain.
- Weight: 8 kg.
The Stentor family offers this model to meet the needs of beginner musicians, because it has everything that is required. Users have found it to be an effective option for performing chamber compositions at an acceptable level. This has been achieved thanks to the features it possesses, so let's take a closer look.
The manufacturer Stentor specializes in the manufacture of high quality musical instruments. This double bass is proof of that, with a solid spruce top. This guarantees its resistance and acoustic performance, so that students can develop their abilities without inconveniences.
As for the body, it's made of three-ply laminated maple, which is an improvement over the competition. Maple is one of the best woods, as it has excellent durability and sound capacity.
Finally, we find a plywood ebony fingerboard for both strength and acoustic quality. We can say that it's an instrument with good quality woods, and it reflects on the price.
This double bass has a 1/2 size. This indicates that it fits the size of a student from 9 to 13 years old, one of the most interested age groups in this musical instrument.
It's slightly smaller than a 3/4 double bass, but has a similar weight, about 8 kg. The main reason is the quality of its woods: the soundboard is solid, while the rest are considered dense woods and, therefore, heavy.
As for the hardware, we find that the tuning keys are made of brass in two colors: gold and silver. The pickguard is adjustable for greater comfort.
Finally, it has a natural color finish with three-coat polyurethane, but some users have expressed that it may present certain defects. As it's a student instrument, the company includes a semi-hard case and a very good quality French bow.
Perhaps the most significant drawback of the Stentor SR1950 is the ergonomics, because buyers have reported that it‘s a challenge to pluck the strings. This is because the action is high compared to the distance between the bridge and the capo. This height ratio is also due to the fact that it's not designed for rockabilly.
In truth, it's designed for chamber music performance, and to achieve all the techniques with their respective traditional sounds. As a result, the slides and glissandos are not easy to do, and the pizzicato is quite a challenge. But everything is justified when you listen to their sound, because it's worth it.
There is also a lot of difficulty in achieving the slap . But, as we have mentioned, this is an instrument for chamber music and not for rockabilly or country.
The sound is the best thing about this instrument, because its volume is explosive. It has great body, it's balanced between frequencies and the transitions between the intermediate notes of its tessitura are very good.
We love punch and pizzicato, because you can play baroque pieces with a very contextualized sound. We can say that Giovanni Bottesini would be proud of this sound. The sustain is optimal, and it performs very well both in the pizzicatos and with the bow. For this reason, it also has a good performance in flamenco and jazz.
Stentor doesn't sacrifice the sound to reduce costs, and that is why it offers a student double bass with a solid top. Their construction is robust and of high quality, but they may need to improve quality control with the paint finish. The only downside is the touch: it's not at all gentle, but that is justified by the sound quality, and also because we know it was made for chamber music. To check out the best Thomann prices, click here.
Harley Benton DB01-BK Double Bass Electric Double Bass
Solid construction. Excellent feel.
The preamplifier is not very good and, for the price, could have been better.
- Woods: birch, maple, paulownia.
- Size: 105 cm.
- Sound: piezo electric system.
- Weight: 4.2 kg.
Harley Benton is a Thomann subsidiary dedicated to making affordable instruments for students. And this electric double bass delivers what it promises, because it has very good features. It's an attractive piece of equipment for students and professional musicians who want an inexpensive, high-performance instrument to give it a thorough workout.
The body of the Harley Benton DB01-BK is made of paulownia. This wood is uncommon in the manufacture of stringed instruments, and has been used mainly for Latin percussion. The reason is that it has a hardness of 1.6 on the Chalais-Meudon scale, making it one of the softest and with the most closed pores among wood types. Despite this, we have not encountered any complaints of breakage or bending.
The neck is made of solid maple, a semi-hard wood. So it's an inexpensive option with good acoustic capability, but it doesn't perform as well in terms of durability. Birch (Betula albosinensis) was used for the fingerboard. It has almost the same characteristics as maple but with greater elasticity, to improve acoustic performance.
As this is an electric double bass, this model incorporates a preamplifier, which in this case is active. The configuration is basic and has only one pot for tone, one for volume and one output for headphones. It's powered by a 9-volt battery that has good energy efficiency.
Another interesting feature is the bridge, which allows you to adjust its height, as it has a design similar to the bridges of Gibson guitars. This function can be used to enhance performance for multiple musical styles.
In terms of size, this instrument is 3/4 with a length of 105 cm and an intermediate scale. This makes it ideal for children from the age of nine, because it's adjustable and weighs only 4.2 kg.
The headstock has an open design, and contains four gold-finished brass pegs. The instrument is finished in a glossy black color with three-coat polyurethane. As a bonus, the body was designed to have a belly support to make it more comfortable. It also comes with a low quality sheath and an excellent bow made of carbon fiber.
The feel of this bass is the most impressive thing about it, because it exudes comfort in every part. The distance between the capo and the bridge makes the pizzicatos a total blast, the finger glide very easy to achieve, and the slap sounds like it came out of an electric bass.
The distance between the strings also greatly favors interpretation with the bow. This is good news, because it gives you a lot of versatility, and you can play both chamber pieces and more modern ones.
All of the above should provide good sound, but in this model, what doesn't help is the preamplifier. Its sensitivity is poor, and its response to nuances is pitiful due to the poor quality of the microphone. This is not justified, because the lack of a soundboard implies considerable cost savings, and the woods, although they have a good acoustic response, are cheap. So that money could have been invested in a better preamplifier.
With only one pot to equalize the tone, the musician has almost nothing to enhance the sound experience. Therefore, our recommendation is to replace the preamplifier with a higher performance one.
However, we believe that it's better to evaluate the reverb, sustain, gain and volume of the disconnected instrument. Under these conditions, the woods prove to be a great choice. And if you replace the preamp to take advantage of the acoustic capabilities of the woods, you have a mid-level instrument with great potential.
Its construction is very good, and the choice of woods was certainly a great bet. The biggest drawback is the poor quality preamplifier that doesn't respond or do justice to the acoustic capabilities of the woods. The best part is the touch, a real highlight that many will appreciate, as it adjusts to different musical styles. Intrigued? Find the best Thomann prices.
What is the best double bass for beginners?
If you are looking for a chamber music instrument, then the Stentor SR1950 is what you need. However, the Thomann 111-BR is the most versatile of them all, and is the best choice for musicians who enjoy all types of compositions. However, the Harley Benton has much more potential, but only if the preamplifier is replaced.
The best double basses for intermediates
Intermediate level double basses should meet the needs of more experienced players. Therefore, their construction and sound characteristics must be superior, even if ergonomics and price aspects take a back seat. Let's take a look at these three options that are among the best on the market.
Double Bass Thomann 44 4/4 Europe Double Bass
The sound is almost excellent. Very good feel.
It's expensive, but this is normal for a double bass. It may present deficiencies in the finish.
- Woods: solid spruce, solid maple, ebony.
- Size: 4/4, 108 cm.
- Sound: we give it 9 out of 10.
- Weight: 14 kg approximately.
With this double bass, Thomann ventures into the manufacture of musical instruments for a slightly more specialized demographic. Its construction is superior, and the improvements in sound are significant. However, not everything about it is good news. Read on to find out why.
We know that this is an instrument designed for chamber music, because it has a solid spruce top. This is about as traditional as we can get, it's almost cliché, and great news for musicians who play in orchestras.
The sides and back are made of hand-worked arched maple, and have an excellent acoustic and resistance capacity, a dream come true for chamber musicians. The fingerboard, on the other hand, is made of ebony (Diospyros ebenum), rounded to complete the trinity of woods for chamber music.
The quality of these woods is exceptional, and we love it. They are durable, elastic and have excellent acoustic capabilities. It's true that the price is considerable, but if we take as a reference other specialized brands, we can see that they offer the same quality of this Thomann, but with a higher and almost absurd price point.
This is a double bass of the 4/4 type. This means that it's one of the largest in existence. Its measurements are: 120 cm high, with 108 cm of scale between the nut and the bridge; 52 cm at the top of the body, 40 cm in the center and 75 cm at the top.
Weighs approximately 14 kg. Consequently, it's an instrument for people with an average height of 170 cm tall. In this way, the hands and the length of the fingers will correspond to the distances of the notes in the tessitura of the double bass. The spike is adjustable for greater comfort.
As for the hardware, its tuning keys are mechanical of the Tyrolean type. This suspended gear system is more precise, and guarantees greater durability because it receives less pressure from the tension of the strings. The double bass strings are Pirastro Evah Pirazzi strings that are a total blast.
The only downside is that at least two users out of five expressed shortcomings in the finish. By this we mean worn paint, poorly applied and uneven polyurethane, etc.
The Thomann 44 4/4 Europe is very soft to the touch. The touch in the phrases is comfortable, pleasant for fast passages. Despite being a large instrument, the distance between notes is not exaggerated and can be easily achieved.
The pizzicato technique allows you to feel that the distance between the strings is ideal, just what you should expect in a professional double bass. In addition, this ratio greatly benefits the bow work, and you can get passionate with relative ease.
The length of 108 cm from the nut to the bridge, together with a 5 mm string height, make the great feel of this instrument possible. Thomann also gives you the option to adjust the string action if you wish, and you only have to request it at the time of purchase.
The solid spruce top does an excellent job. Its response at low frequencies is very good, and the transition to mid frequencies is excellent.
The solid maple wood in the sides and back works wonders to establish a balance with the frequencies that the higher notes in the double bass tessitura throw out. This is particularly beneficial for slides and glissandos, which sound very good.
We think it can be very good for flamenco fusion. It has a very modern sound thanks to the rich harmonics provided by the ebony fingerboard.
We can say that this instrument has a round sound, with good gain, and the sustain is close to excellent.
This is a very good intermediate-level option, and represents a successful effort to penetrate a more demanding market. Its sound is rounded, while its touch is ideal for this level, and the only downside to be aware of is the finish. However, you can avoid this by contacting Thomann support to check the integrity of the instrument before shipping. If you want to see the best Thomann prices, follow the link.
Double Bass Ibanez UB804-MOB
Excellent construction. Great sound. The best ergonomics.
- Woods: maple, walnut, jatoba.
- Measurement: 86.4 cm.
- Sound: Aereo Silk piezo pickup with active EQ.
- Weight: 4.3 kg.
This double bass is a dream come true thanks to its impressive sound. We love everything about it, because every part of it was intentionally thought out, to achieve the quality we have here. That is why it's part of this list, let's take a closer look:
The body of the Ibanez UB804-MOB is one-piece maple. Although it's a wood with good flexibility, it also has a resistance to shocks and tension like few others. Similarly, another wood used is jatoba. This material is unusual, and is used to reduce costs. However, it turned out to be a great choice, as it has an incredible sonic response.
The manufacturer Ibanez devoted a good part of the budget to the neck, which is five-piece. Maple and walnut were used in its manufacture. This is reminiscent of Steve Vai Signature guitars, which are made this way for maximum strength.
This is a beautiful, elegant instrument that convinces even more every time we take a look at it. It has an electric double bass design, so it has a preamp. It incorporates the Aereo Silk piezo pickup with active equalizer that has only two potentiometers, but a great sensitivity.
Its scale is 86.4 cm, and this makes it an instrument that adapts to almost all sizes. It can be used by children as young as nine years old, and up to professional adult musicians, because it fits very well for everyone. The capo width is 42 mm, and this gives it an ideal feel for players of other instruments to feel comfortable playing it.
It has a Custom series bridge model Aereo Silk MR5. This allows you to adjust the calibration and string height as if it were an electric bass. The hardware is finished in matte black, and the body has an oiled mahogany Sunburst color that looks great.
Finally, the purchase includes a Tama Roadpro stand, and a soft case that is well padded, to protect your investment.
It weighs only 4.3 kg and has a scale of 86.4 cm, making it a very light and relatively small bass.
Its touch is the best out of all the instruments listed in this review, and resembles that of an electric bass. The phrases are achieved with great ease, and the distance between the notes of his tessitura is great. Both pizzicatos and slides can be done comfortably, while glissandos are great.
The action of the double bass strings makes bowing excellent, and you can discover unusual sounds. We can define this double bass as modern, and it's a great choice for any intermediate or professional musician who is also experimenting, or likes the electric bass.
The sound is great, modern, and dynamic. We can chalk this up to the active preamplifier, which is from the Aero Silk series. The single band EQ with one volume is also a total blast, because you can feel the changes with every movement.
The sustain achieved by the piezo action is wonderful, and the reverb is rich in nuance. Thanks to the configuration of the woods, you can perceive rich, round and stable harmonics. The transition between frequencies is almost imperceptible, and this benefits the interpretation, as you can take advantage of it to infuse the piece with personality. Your only limitation will be your creativity, because this double bass offers you almost everything you need to let your imagination run wild.
Ibanez has managed to enter the electric double bass market and become one of the strongest competitors. This has been achieved thanks to their experience with the electric bass, and we must say it: this double bass was created with the electric bass in mind. It's excellent, and perhaps the best choice among electric double basses. Check out the best prices at Thomann.
NS Design WAV4c-DB-AB Double Bass
Great sound for jazz, blues and rockabilly. Excellent construction. Very versatile.
Execution with the bow is not the most comfortable. The sound lacks harmonics.
- Woods: maple, rosewood.
- Measurement: 3/4 86.4 cm.
- Sound: self-powered polar piezo pickup.
- Weight: 4.1 kg.
NS Design, faithful to its policy of offering high quality instruments, has launched this model that is very similar to the Ibanez UB804-MOB. It performs very well and has the ability to deliver high quality acoustic sound. All of its attributes are the result of a series of elements that we will analyze below.
As far as woods are concerned, this is a modest double bass, since its body and neck are made of maple. This makes it a solid instrument in its construction, and very resistant to shocks.
For the fingerboard, the manufacturers opted for rosewood. This is one of the most traditional woods for this part of plucked and fretted stringed instruments.
Because of these characteristics, it could be considered a direct competitor of the Ibanez. But if you examine the way the woods and especially the neck are combined, it becomes clear that they are completely different.
Designed as an electric double bass, it has four strings, with a total length of 132 cm. The scale is 106 cm, 15 cm wide and 10 cm thick. It weighs 4.1 kg, so it's extremely light and easy to carry.
The preamplification system consists of a self-powered polar piezo, which is an NS exclusive patent. This preamp is one of the best for reproducing the acoustic sound of a plucked stringed instrument. It also has two controls, one for volume and one for tone.
It also has a toggle switch to choose between two modes, such as pizzicato and arco. This will be useful for chamber music as well as rockabilly performers.
The fingerboard has a design that makes it quite smooth, which has been named by NS as “Xtreme Coform”. The truth is that we find the Ibanez double bass more comfortable.
As a bonus, the company includes an NXT/WAV series tripod stand, and a semi-hard padded case to protect your instrument. Finally, the finish is in a bright Sunburst Amber color that looks quite attractive.
The touch is quite good and dynamic, the phrases are comfortable to play, while the distance between the strings makes it easy to move within the first octave. Glissandos and pizzicato can also be achieved very well.
For bow performance, we did find some discomfort in the movement, and some users have already reported this. But after a few days of practice, the issue can be resolved.
Sound is the best thing about this model, because it delivers what it offers thanks to the polar preamplification system. With the switch to select the bow, you achieve a classic, traditional sound. While with the switch in the pizzicato position , the sound is dynamic, because versatility is one of its strengths.
The sound in the transitions from low to mid frequencies is excellent with the arc switch. However, it lacks some punch with the pizzicato option. The sustain is almost great in both options, and the reverb is very enveloping, enriching the performance with good nuances.
The only downside is that it lacks harmonics, which is something that should be guaranteed in this price range.
The NS Design WAV4c-DB-AB evokes a quite lifelike acoustic sound, and the switcher option is great. Its construction is also robust and we like it a lot, although we give it an 8/10 for the feel. We recommend it for musicians looking for versatility, for those who wish to experiment with chamber compositions as well as rockabilly. Find the best Thomann prices.
If you are looking for a purely acoustic instrument, then the Thomann 44 4/4 Europe is the one for you. But if you're looking for a modern option with the best sound and feel, the Ibanez UB804-MOB is the instrument you need.
The best double bass for advanced musicians
For professional musicians, we have a single double bass that is from Yamaha, and it belongs to the acclaimed Silent series. We believe it's one of the best electric double basses on the market, if not the best.
Yamaha SLB 200 Silent Bass
Excellent build and sound quality.
The touch is hard.
- Woods: maple, spruce, mahogany, rosewood, ebony, beech.
- Size: 105.4 cm.
- Sound: two sensitive supreme piezoelectrics.
- Weight: 10 kg.
This instrument is impressive for the great variety of elements that compose it. From its woods, to the aesthetic details and the microphonics, it's a double bass that, through its music, confirms that it's pure luxury. But let's take a look and find out what makes it so valuable.
The Yamaha SLB 200 Silent Bass combines six different woods in its construction. Its body is made of spruce and mahogany, while the frame is made of removable beech and slightly simulates the silhouette of a box. The fingerboard is traditional rosewood, the tailpiece is ebony, and the bridge is maple.
Four of these woods are classified as medium-heavy, and two of them are among the heaviest and densest in the world. This means that there is no reason to fear any fractures under normal conditions. In addition, these woods offer not only durability, but also an acoustic quality that is almost unparalleled in the double bass market.
The first thing that catches the eye is the meticulous aesthetics that Yamaha's designers achieved with this instrument. The woods have been treated with care, and do not present any imperfections. The semi-silhouette that simulates the hoops of a soundboard looks elegant and cool. The finish is also top quality, and leaves nothing to be desired.
For the scale, the manufacturers opted for a quasi-real scale for 3/4 size double basses. It's 105.4 cm long between the bridge and the nut, making it suitable for children from nine years of age and up, as well as adults, of course.
An interesting detail is the adjustable bridge that allows you to change the string height to your liking. The semi-silhouette is detachable, so that you can carry it more comfortably.
The preamplifier system is active and consists of two piezo electric microphones, as well as a master control that has one pot for volume, one for tone and one for auxiliary input volume. This system is complemented by a set of “Super Sensitive Supreme” strings that are excellent.
Finally, the power supply is either a 9 V battery or an “AC” type adapter which is not included with the purchase. Battery life can be up to 12 hours if manganese, or 24 hours if alkaline.
As usual with Yamaha's products, this double bass has a professional feel. It's strong, solid and demanding, but nothing a professional can't deal with. The pizzicato technique can be achieved with excellent quality. While the bow play is at the same level as any other professional double bass worth over five thousand euros.
The weight of 20 kg is considerable, but this is only an indicator of the high quality of the wood. From such a heavy weight we can conclude that we are dealing with AAA type woods that were extracted from the very heart of the tree.
The sound is an absolute blast, because it has unparalleled versatility. It's perfectly suited to chamber music, and produces the dreamiest of notes. The bow gives a wonderful sustain, while the gain with the reverb is insane, and it's almost impossible for any other electric bass to rival it.
For playing jazz, blues, rockabilly and anything else you can think of with pizzicato, it's also exceptional. The transition between each of its notes and the passes to the highest part of its tessitura is stable to say the least.
Its sound is round and balanced. The preamp does a wonderful job, because it produces an acoustic sound that outperforms any competing high-end electric bass.
If you are a professional musician and you can afford this Yamaha, then don't think twice and buy it. This double bass is on its way to becoming a legend for its great build quality, exceptional sound, professional ergonomics and versatility for any type of music. Interested? Find the best prices for thomann.
Technical Characteristics of Double Basses
|Thomann 111BR 3/4 Double Bass||10 kg||Lime laminated, ebony||3/4|
|Thomann Rockabilly Double Bass BK||12 kg||Laminated basswood, ebony||3/4|
|Stentor SR1950 Double Bass Student 1/2||8 kg||Solid spruce, laminated maple, ebony||1/2|
|Harley Benton DB01-BK Electric Double Bass||4.2 kg||Birch, maple, paulownia||105 cm|
|Thomann 44 4/4 Europe Double Bass||14 kg||Solid spruce, solid maple, ebony||4//4|
|Ibanez UB804-MOB||4,3 kg||Maple, walnut, jatoba||86.4 cm|
|NS Design WAV4c-DB-AB Double Bass||4,1 kg||Maple, rosewood||86.4 cm|
|Yamaha SLB 200 Silent Bass||10 kg||Maple, spruce, mahogany, mahogany, rosewood, ebony, beech||105.4 cm|