What Bass is right for you?

22 Mar
March 22, 2012

Number one is your budget! But there are a lot of other considerations too. 

Laminate basses

are more immune to weather related problems such as open seams and don’t crack like carved basses inevitably do. Laminated wood is more stable due to its construction. But, if you punch a hole in laminate, it’s much more difficult to repair because the wood layers splinter and don’t fit back together very well. Laminate material isn’t as vibrant as properly graduated solid wood and therefore laminates tend to have a more dampened sound, especially with the bow. In some cases this is not an issue at all. Many great jazz, folk, R&B, bluegrass, country, rockabilly, etc. recordings were made with laminate basses. However, it is almost unheard of to find a laminate in a professional symphony orchestra. If you play outdoors a lot, tour with a band, don’t have much money, or for instance are buying a bass for a high school student and don’t want to spend a lot now in case they decide to quit, a laminate might be the way to go.

Hybrid basses

might be the ticket if you don’t want to spend the money for a fully carved bass but would like to get some of that carved bass sound. Perfect for advanced high school or college or non professional classical playing, great for jazz and just about anything else. The Double Bass Workshop Hybrid (and laminate too) basses are built with solid ribs. Only the back on The Double Bass Workshop Hybrid bass is laminate so you’re actually getting a mostly “carved” bass!

Fully Carved bass

If you can afford a fully carved bass, and don’t mind the added maintenance and care involved, consider a carved bass. Fully carved basses tend to be louder, richer and deeper in tone and the sound tends to be more “mature” over all. There are more developed higher partials in the sound giving the bass more clarity. The lows tend to be clearer, fuller and louder. The highs are more focused and projecting. The bow sounds much better. The pizz. sound will be clearer and have more sustain and growl. If you are serious about studying your pedagogy and playing classical music, a good carved bass is important but you certainly can get a long way on a laminate or hybrid if it’s set up right. A good carved bass will sound excellent in just about any musical context.

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