Welcome to the wonderful string family world of double bass sizes! If you’re looking for a new instrument, then you’ve come to the right place – our Double Bass Size Guide. Here we will explore the different sizes of double basses, discovering which one is right for you and your musical needs. So buckle up and let’s get to exploring!
The double bass, also known as the contrabass and even an upright bass, is a cornerstone of classical and jazz music. Its deep, booming tones give the music unparalleled resonance and depth.
Double bass players have a variety of sizes to choose from that range from soloist models to larger orchestral models suitable for ensembles. There are also variations within each size category such as different woods used for construction or even six-string models rather than four.
To better inform your decision-making when selecting your perfect instrument here is an overview on understanding and buying the ideal double bass for you!
What is a Double Bass?
However unlike other stringed instruments such as guitars which come in left and right-handed versions; double basses are always built to be played exclusively left-handed meaning that when holding it vertically the scroll should be towards your left shoulder.
Does Size Make a Difference When Buying a Double Bass?
When it comes to buying a double bass, size does make a difference.
Double basses come in five different sizes: 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and 4/4.
The dimensions of a double bass typically vary, but the average height ranges from 42 to 48 inches, while the body length measures about 43 to 47 inches. The width of a double bass can span from 16 to 20 inches, depending on the model and design.
Understanding the differences between double bass measurements should be at the forefront of your considerations when purchasing a double bass.
What Size Upright Bass Should I Get?
If you’re thinking about playing upright bass, then one of the first questions you’re probably asking yourself is what bass size should I get?
Your choice will be based on the style of music you want to play, your body type, and reach. That’s where double bass sizes come in.
What Sizes Do Upright Basses Come in?
Upright basses come in a variety of sizes, each suited to a specific purpose and musician.
1/8 Double Bass – Usually for children around 5-7 years of age.
1/4 Double Bass – A smaller instrument, usually for 7-9 year olds
1/2 Double Bass – Mainly for younger students, usually for 9-13 year olds or very small adults
Upright bass sizes typically range from 1/10 to full-size. The measurements refer to the length of the instrument’s body, with smaller sizes recommended for beginners or players of smaller stature. Full-size upright basses are commonly used by professional musicians and offer a rich, deep sound.
The height of a double bass, also known as an upright bass, typically ranges between 180 to 195 centimeters (6 to 6.5 feet). The dimensions can vary based on the instrument’s construction and the player’s preference.
The standard height allows for comfortable playing while providing optimal sound projection and resonance.
3/4 Double Bass – Designed for smaller adult players and larger children aged around 14-18. This size works well with jazz, pop and classical genres due to its lightweight and smaller body.
4/4 Double Bass – A 4/4 or full size upright bass is ideal for larger adults who require greater range and extra depth to their playing.
Many professionals prefer this size because it has greater resonance and more acoustic volume due to its larger body size and numerous tones available from the strings that span across it.
|Age of Child (years)
|Double Bass size (fraction)
|9-13 (or small adult)
|4/4 (only if very tall/large hands,
otherwise stick with a 3/4)
Double Bass Sizing Terminology
The double bass is a large instrument and is sometimes referred to by various sizing terminology. The most important terms are “inch”, “full size” and “fractional sizes.”
Inch refers to the overall length of the instrument, usually from the top of the neck up to the endpin (the metal spike that rests on the ground).
Full size typically refers to any standard 34-inch stringed instrument and can be called a 4/4 bass.
Fractional Sizes refer to any double bass that has been reduced in overall length from a full-size.