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I’ve seen a double bass for sale locally but because of current restrictions etc can’t go check it out. The description lists it as being 162cm in length, minus the stand. Would this make it a 1/2 size or 1/4 size instrument?

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The 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, etc sizing of a double bass refers to the scale length, with a 3/4 bass being around the 41" (104cm). The full length of the bass, measured from the bottom of the body to the top of the scroll isn't  the best indicator of scale legnth as body and scroll size will vary from maker to maker.

Having said that, my 41", 3/4 size basses are about 180cm, top to tail, which would suggest (assuming the same measurement points) that the bass in question is smaller than a typical 3/4 size bass.

Edited by TheRev

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1/2 sizes are generally around about 65" in total, and 1/4 size is around 61". This one is in the middle, but I would think that it would be a slightly shorter 1/2 size, than a slightly longer 1/4, but I could be wrong.

Of course, the best thing would to be to ask for the scale length, nut to bridge. That's the only way to really know the answer.

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27 minutes ago, sblueplanet said:

What would the respective scale lengths in this instance be for 1/2 and/or 1/4 size?

Generally around 38" for 1/2 size, and around 34.5" for 1/4 size. It could vary a bit either way, but they are normally around that size.

 

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Thanks for that. This bass I’m interested in is giving full body measurement from tailpiece to top of scroll as 64 inches. Above the 1/4 size and under the 1/2 on that chart illustration.

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You will find a range of slight deviations from those sizes. Sometimes these are refered to in 8ths, such as 7/8ths, 3/8ths etc. What matters more is if the bass size suits the person.

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1 hour ago, MuddBass said:

You will find a range of slight deviations from those sizes. Sometimes these are refered to in 8ths, such as 7/8ths, 3/8ths etc. What matters more is if the bass size suits the person.

This is a great point. I was initially put off the bass I now own as it was described as a 7/8ths, and was worried as it wasn't a 'typical' 3/4. In reality it is a big bass in terms of depth and front length, but only by an inch here and there compared to a known quantity bass like a B&H or Kay. Scale length is a totally reasonable 41.5" and it has a HUGE acoustic sound that suits where and what I play. So glad I eventually went to try it out!

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