Buying and Double Bass - New or Used?
*Updated 21st Dec 2022
*It is highly recommended to consult an expert/instructor before committing to purchase the instrument.
A question I get asked a lot is whether one should go for a new double bass or a used one.
The fact remains that double basses are not cheap - a lot to do with economic reasons.
The same amount of wood that is used to construct the double bass could be used to create 4 violins which will probably fly off the shelves much faster than a double bass because of the bigger market demand.
Prior to getting a new/used double bass, do take note of the sizing information as well.
Do take note that this is a very general gauge based on the average build of students at that age group.
It is only within the recent decade or so that fractionals became popular as more kids start their string playing journey earlier.
1/8, 1/4 - For kids around 9-11 years of age (rare to find this size in the Singapore market, usually have to pre-order from retailers)
1/2 - For kids around 10-14 years of age (more common nowadays but a pre-order might be necessary depending on available stock)
3/4 - For students 12 years and above (most easily available, orchestra basses are usually this size, easiest to find)
7/8 - For intermediate students with bigger arm and finger span (uncommon in the market)
Do check your teacher, if you are unsure which size of double bass is suitable for you.
Otherwise you can also get a retailer to help size you up.
Getting a wrong sized bass (especially one that is too big) might be problematic, because it will be difficult for the kids to get the correct posture, which might translate to intonation/relaxation problems in the future.
Hybrid or Fully Carved?
Hybrid basses are those with a carved top, laminated sides and back. They are affordable (range from S$1400-S$4000) for beginners to intermediate students. This is usually the option to go with for sizes before 3/4.
Fully Carved basses are considered the best option (dependent on the manufacturing process as well) to get if it can fit into your budget (range from S$3000 and above) as the sound gets better over time (with constant playing of the instrument and good maintenance habits).
New Double Bass
If you are looking for a new double bass that is between S$2500 - S$3800, I do recommend the following:
Samuel Eastman Double Bass Model VB80
Eurostring Double Bass Model 300
Synwin Double Bass Outfit (SVCDB2001)
Do give them a call before making your way down so that they could setup the instrument properly prior to the test.
The good thing about getting a new bass from reputable shops is that you can always go back to them for fixes if you encounter any problems.
Accessories like bass bag, bow, rosin (recommended Nyman or Carlsson) are also bundled with the double bass sale (check the type and quality of what they are giving you prior to committing the purchase).
Usually, the staff at the shop will be able to tell you more about the type of wood that is used to make the double bass, where the wood is from, where the bass is made, the drying process of the wood, whether it's hybrid or fully carved etc.
If you find that getting a new bass isn't an option for now, you can always consider getting a used double bass.
Used Double Bass
There are people who are letting go of their pre-loved basses on Carousell.