Upright Bass Pickups
Upright Bass Mics
Amps and Preamps:
Preamps & Equalizers
Amplifiers & Speakers
Bows & Rosin
Cases & Gig Bags
Books and DVDs
Double Bass Bridges
Other Bass Parts
Bob's Bargain Basement
Eastern USA Time
or mail check/MO
Ordering From Us
How to Order
Upright Bass FAQs
Questions and Answers
Bass Luthier List
Bass Teacher List
Double Bass Links
Join Our Mailing List
Bass Classified Ads
Our site is tested by TWO services every day to protect your information.
We are an authorized retailer for everything we sell - we do not use unathorized "Gray Market" sources.
SIZES: Double Bass Sizing FAQ
We now have GIFT CERTIFICATES!
Can't figure out the right size/gauge/color... whatever? That's okay, you can get your favorite bassist a Gift Certificate
instead! Certificates are emailed to you directly, so you can print them out without waiting for the mail to arrive - so even if you're pressed for a last minute gift, we've got your back. Available in several denominations, no fees or hidden charges.
Gift Ideas for the Bassist in Your Life
We've got lots of great (and affordable) stuff for the bass players on your gift list
! Under $25 items include our popular clip-on electronic tuner, the clever Turbo-Tune string winder, and our "nation of bass" hot beverage travel mug. We also have videos and book sets, a bass stand that fits virtually any upright bass, a great cleaning/care kit and more - all under $50! Most items don't require you to know specifics about their bass - they're delightfully universal, for the most part!
Getting Gifts In Time!
Gollihur Music is well-known for our very quick shipments and well-stocked warehouse, and we always hustle to make sure your orders get to you as FAST as possible. Ordering a gift for a bassist in your life?
Check out our handy guide for getting gifts in time
We now have volutes for Kay Basses!
I'm very pleased to announce that we've partnered with Roger at KayBass.com to stock the wooden volutes for Kay Basses
(both pre- and post-1952 models). We add these two new offerings to the Engelhardt models we have had for many years. Now in stock, and shipping free to all 50 states.
New Version of our Popular Gig Bag - IN STOCK
Our previous model gig bag was a useful carry case for small amps, cables, preamps, and other miscellanea - our newest version
is slightly larger, includes some handy new features, and has a new, lower-profile "BASS" logo for a classier appeal.
Line 6 Digital Wireless System (2.4GHz)
For years I've directed people to other retailers to get Line6 wireless systems; now, get one directly from us - one that's been tested to work with upright bass pickups!
SB200H Lightweight Bass Amplifier Head
We love the combo, now you can get the same great features in a standalone head. Tiny, lightweight, and quite affordable - this amp can do double duty; turn down the Low Expander and it's a great upright bass amp. But it sounds great for electric bass, too...
Bass sizing is not an exact science. Rule #1: There Are No Rules.
The Double Bass (a.k.a. Upright Bass) is an instrument that only recently evolved over the last few hundred years, that is still being made by hand by individuals who build them to satisfy their own interpretation of the instrument. There are a lot of variances.
3/4 size is recognized as a regular size bass.
99.5% of the basses on the planet are 3/4 size (and 74.38% of all statistics are made up on the spot). But you will find that 3/4 size is by far most common bass size. While I've seen more 4/4 basses being advertised for sale lately, I have to wonder if it is a marketing gimmick, in some cases, since many probably wouldn't quality as a 4/4— maybe a 7/8 on a good day—but then, who cares?
Playing double bass can be quite the challenge, and if you are tall and/or have big hands, be thankful. You will find playing 3/4 size basses less of a challenge than we short folks with small hands. Generally speaking, a 4/4 bass is not going to automatically be better than a 3/4 size bass -- your selection should be based on the instrument and your specific needs among other factors. Size, in this case, may not matter, unless bragging rights are important to you.
All of the above said, the information below shows some generally accepted guidelines for bass sizing. I am guessing that the original numbers were stated in Metric and were converted for U.S. use, which accounts for the uneven numbers. Again, keep in mind that these are approximate
numbers for reference purposes only.
Note also that it's not uncommon to have some measurements on your bass correspond to one size, and some correspond to another - your bass may have a 3/4 scale, but an oversized body that measures like a 4/4 bass. Or some other combination, like the Kay and Engelhardt Maestro Junior models, with their (roughly) 1/2 size body and 1/4 size scale. Like I said - it's not an exact science!
are in inches
bottom of body to scroll
bottom to shoulder
nut to bridge
||Upper Bout Width
||Lower Bout Width
||Scroll to Shoulder
||Width at Nut
|©copyright Gollihur Music|
Steve Freides is a longtime customer (and private bass teacher in Ridgewood, NJ - see his listing in our Teacher Directory) -- he offers this helpful, thoughtful consideration on choosing a bass size for a child learning bass:
Your web page implies - quite correctly, in my opinion - that a 3/4 size bass is the right size for the overwhelming majority of adults. I'd like to add three points based on my own experience in the world of basses and teaching bass, a chronology of basses through the course of a life, if you will:
1. Starting Out: The overwhelming majority of 5th grade students should be playing a 1/4 size bass. I see a lot of 5th grade bass students. I have yet to meet a 5th grader for whom a 1/4 size bass isn't the right size. It's not too small even for someone 5 feet tall or a little over in the 5th grade. The reach is challenging for everyone new to double bass, and - this is the most important point - it's better to have the bass be a little too small than a little too big for elementary school-aged children.
2. Transitioning to Adult Size: Although 1/2 or 5/8 sized basses are nice, most students can successfully transition without one, moving from a 1/4 directly to a 3/4 sized instrument. The age at which they do this will depend on when they grow and how big they are. I've had students play a 1/4 all the way through the end of 8th or even 9th grade then switch to a 3/4 size for high school, and I've had students to move to a 3/4 size in 6th grade because they're a lot taller than average (and usually, so are their parents).
3. When You've Stopped Growing: My own bass teacher is 6' 5" and doesn't play a 4/4 - he plays a 7/8 size. If you think you need bigger than a 3/4 sized bass, well, think again. You may decide, of course, that you like or want a bigger bass, but "like" or "want" isn't the same as "need." Unless you're big enough to have considered basketball as a career, you'll be fine with a 3/4 size bass - and even then, a 3/4 may be the right size for you.
Products Related to This FAQ
The Fine Print:
The information contained herein is based on what's in my brain and/or my opinions as of
today and is subject to change. Like any topic, a great deal more information could be added—but
the intent of these writings is to present easy to understand, quick FAQs, to address common questions
and improve the reader's general knowledge. What's written here is by no means the authoritative absolute
answer, I am not the world's greatest authority on bass (not even close), or on anything else for that
matter. I hope the information and opinions here are helpful to you, that's the point!
I welcome email with dissenting and additional viewpoints that help improve my personal awareness and the
content pages. If you have a question that you think belongs here, please let me know