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Half-sized double basses.

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I’m interested in getting one. I played a 3/4 size one for ages, mostly doing jazz gigs. This would be purely for solo bass stuff. What’s a good make?

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Why a half size? Mostly played by children and hard to get a good sounding bottom E due to the short scale.

All the same, if you want one ......Carved or Laminate? New or"Pre loved" ? Budget?

Check out bassbags.co.uk they have a good range of smaller sized mid price range basses .. many in stock to try out.

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I know someone who gigs one, I guess they're lighter and more portable. Also, I once saw Sarah Jarosz at the old Bristol St Bonaventure's and the 'bass' guy played a cello pizz, not sure if he tuned it EADG though.

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5 minutes ago, petebassist said:

I know someone who gigs one, I guess they're lighter and more portable. Also, I once saw Sarah Jarosz at the old Bristol St Bonaventure's and the 'bass' guy played a cello pizz, not sure if he tuned it EADG though.

That’s it. Just smaller to carry and to store, I’m not really bothered about it having a deep tone or anything, it’s purely for solo playing.

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Fair nuff.  Mine's a full 4/4 so a 1/2 would feel like a toy. Try some, report back.
Meanwhile, good comparison chart and advice on the always excellent gollihur site:

SIZES_DOUBLE_BASS_SIZING_FAQ.html

 

 

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My first upright was a Ply Boosey Hawks Excelsior 1/2 size, a great little bass. If you’re going to play through amplification a 1/2 size works well, a bit more feedback resistant in fact. Acoustically you’re going to loose a bit bottom end but that’s offset by easier playing scale length. For solo stuff it would probably be advantageous IMO. 

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My first upright was a Ply Boosey Hawks  1/2 size ...... a HORRIBLE little bass (probably not an excelsior mind)... I hated it with a vengeance and vowed never to play another plywood bass ever again.  Muddy tone, little sustain and no bottom end whatsoever.   

I have since been persuaded that some laminate basses are really rather good but I'm still not  converted to tiny bodies.

THIS ->https://piccolomaestro.com/#shop/341-double-bass-1-2  might convert me  .. but at around £4000, so it should. 

Gary Karr hates big basses, but still played a full 3/4 :

"Many conductors request that their double bass section players use large instruments because they incorrectly assume that these will produce a bigger, warmer and more projecting sound. As I have found in my own performances and listening to those of other players, this assumption does not stand up to scrutiny. For example, a student of mine insists on playing a large, 7/8-size instrument, which she believes has a loud, projecting voice. In a small room it does indeed soar, but in a capacious hall, when compared to a cheap, 3/4-size plywood bass, her instrument sounds half as loud. In spite of this she continues to use her instrument: like many conductors and double bassists, she has a mindset that cannot be changed."

I have a 4/4 myself, not really due to the horror of the B&H, but because 4/4 basses turned out to be cheaper, quality for quality, than 3/4 ones  - and indeed it does sound better to me than my orchestral colleagues' 3/4 basses - which may be because I got more for my money or maybe because (like the lady above) I'm deluded.

 

Epilogue:  after I gave up on the 1/2 size bass and went back to the 'cello for 10 years, my school friend Karen, inherited it and went on to get a distinction at grade 8.  Hey ho.

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I bought a 1/4 size the other day,later saw my old 3/4 in my pal's living room.

 

1st thought."Thank Christ that monster's at his place" 😁

 

Zero interest in anything orchestral,never asked the seller about a bow. The 1/4 fills my need to make thumpy noises without taking over the house. Added bonus is I don't care about the folks next door hearing me mess up,not nearly as loud as the 3/4. Transport is a breeze,roll the back rest down and it fits the passenger seat of a Micra 👍. By contrast the 3/4 filled the boot,backseats and the passenger seat 🤣

 

£125 inc pickup & bag. That'll do nicely.

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I'll keep an eye on this, as I will need to make a purchase soon. Just shrinking the thing a little could be a big help.

I'm quite tall and usually have the endpin at full extension on a 3/4- does anyone find that the pin is a bit short on 1/2 size basses?

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Is this a half-size bass? The guy playing it is Kyle Eastwood.

904E24FA-F4CE-41DF-BE58-3B87F715999E.jpeg

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50 minutes ago, DaveFry said:

It is a Czech-Ease http://czech-ease.com

Dave Holland also plays one ;

 

Thanks for identifying what it was. I did try googling it. 

 

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Posted (edited)

Esperanza Spalding too.  Pretty much full scale so no deep note issues, just quieter ...THIS could be your solution.  There was a bloke on here trying to make one from a normal laminate bass ....

 

Edited by NickA
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On 13/07/2019 at 15:24, kodiakblair said:

Transport is a breeze,roll the back rest down and it fits the passenger seat of a Micra 

My 4/4 fits in my Skoda Citigo and frequently does, along with stool and music stand! 

Recline front seat and feed it in neck down the foot well and bum side on the back seat upright.  The bloke at Bassbags reckons he can fit a bass in anything, though a BMW 3 series saloon was a challenge!

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4 minutes ago, NickA said:

My 4/4 fits in my Skoda Citigo and frequently does, along with stool and music stand! 

Recline front seat and feed it in neck down the foot well and bum side on the back seat upright.  

Which door/opening do you feed it through?

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2 hours ago, NickA said:

Skoda Citigo

Boot space seats down 959L vs Micra S boot space of 589L.

 

For a small car the storage space in the Citigo is massive.

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I guess that's one reason I bought it.  The boot is tiny but the car is surprisingly voluminous for its external dimensions.  Literally has "a wheel at each corner" which keeps wheel arches out the way.

I load the bass bum end first through the passenger front door, pushing it in far enough that the neck then slips into the footwell.   

Lots of vids on line of people doing it.  Here's the one I learned the method from.  Note the bit about supporting the body using a pillow or the headrest, so the weight doesn't go on the neck.  The neck will "probably" survive but it bends the tuners.
 

 

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Meanwhile here is the wonderful Esperanza playing her CzechEase (her full size bass has a nicer tone - but this is not something you'd complain about).

 

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27 minutes ago, NickA said:

I load the bass bum end first through the passenger front door, pushing it in far enough that the neck then slips into the footwell.   

Ah, good, thanks for clarifying.  I have a hatchback, but I have found loading through the passenger door more convenient than through the rear.  However I've been doing it the other way round - neck in first - so the body ends up on the front seat and the headstock on the top of the rear seats.  I'll definitely try it your way next gig - seems to make good use of the passenger foot well, which currently with my way is not being used at all. And being able to seat-belt it in sounds good too.

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I tried it this way, and it's better than the way I was doing it.  It's easier to get it in, and then once there it's more stable.  👍

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