The decision to buy a doublebass is both an occasion that can be a great moment or a frustrating one. Having all the right research to inform you is a great help, but unfortunately not everyone has the leisure to do go through a wealth of information. Even the professionals by necessity focus more on their play, the pieces they must learn, the teaching, the maintenance of their instruments and those their students use. The only people who focus entirely on the purchase and sale of doublebasses are of course those directly within the industry themselves.
As businesses have an interest to survive, some sales people have ulterior motives in the promotion of some instrument models over others. At Animato Strings you can get the impression that Dietrich, the owner, is often more critical than his customers when it comes to offering a double bass.
Being aware of your needs or the person you are buying for is essential. Unfortunately, due to inadequate research or misinformation, the customer may make poor choices. Those poor choices are often made by overlooking the importance to have string instruments properly set up. Particularly in case of double basses, it is a crucial factor. One major task for the specialist is to plane the finger board so that buzzing of the strings is avoided. To perform this task, the finger board has to be crafted from ebony, not from painted timbers that you often find on low quality basses.
The next items to amend are the bridge and the sound post. Some luthiers charge in excess of $1000, just to set up a double bass. At Animato Strings, a proper setting up is always included in the price.
It is excellent you have chosen to take up this soulful instrument. With correct instruction (we can recommend quality double bass teachers) it will provide you with a great pastime and vast enjoyment as you improve. Probably, you do not intend to to buy a Gasparo da Saló, or a Storioni double bass, two famous makers for upright basses as you'd spend as much money for one of those as for a house if are just starting out! If you or your child are a novice to the doublebass, affordable, properly set-up models with reasonably good quality strings will be very satisfactory. Each bass is fine- tuned to produce the best possible sound it is capable of. Set up by our instore craftsmen they retail for around $1500. This includes a German or French style bow, a good Nyman rosin to keep the bow sticky enough, and a padded bag.
If purchasing a new instrument whenever your child has a growth spurt sounds daunting, but Animato Strings offer excellent trade-in terms. We do recommend the outright purchase of our instruments as the ongoing costs of rental can become prohibitive. Considering your child may need only one or two upgrades over the years of learning the double bass, this may prove to be your most economical option. A rental option is also open to adults, but as you won't need an upgrade based on size we recommend that purchase is the best course of action.
Once you have some practice under your belt and your skill level has become 'advanced' you may want to consider upgrading your instrument. Just come into the store in order to ascertain which instrument suits you best.
If possible, set aside some time to sample the quality of each instrument in the display room. It is best to bring in a piece of music that would represent what you prefer to play, to ensure a suitable pairing between the musician's style and the instrument.
Three levels of double basses in terms of construction
What they have in common:
All basses from Animato Strings have a maple neck and scroll, and the finger board is always made of solid ebony timber. All basses are professionally set up. In most cases, Animato chooses bridges with a wheel that can adjust the height. This may be handy if adjustments are desired at a later stage. Bridges without wheels can also be adjusted, but only in one direction: They can be lowered whereas bridges with wheels can be both lowered and made higher if required.
The resonating body of the instrument is made of plywood venneer. Interestingly, there are different qualities of plywood, and even more interestingly, each plywood double bass has a slightly differentr sound, comp[ared to other plywood basses. This shows, that even plywood of the same quality can sound different, depending on the differences in the grain in the plywood.
The top of the resonating body of the double bass is made of solid spruce. Back and sides are made of plywood. The reason why only the top is made of solid timber is that hand-carved spruce is very costly. The top is the main responding part of the resonating body, as the bridge is in direct contact with the top. The vibrating strings transfer the vibration via the bridge to the top plate of the bass.
The resonating body is fully made of solid timbers. The top plate is carved of solid spruce, the back and sides are made of solid maple.
To purchase solid timbers is costlier for the makers and solid timbers take a long time and a lot of effort to carve by hand. That explains why solid double basses are more expensive than plywood basses. Keep in mind with the double bass there are two distinct styles, the French and the German. Depending on the teacher one or the other is preferred. In Australia, about 80% of bass players use the French style, whereas in Germany and Austria close to 100% use the German style bass bow. Animato has both versions in stock. If you don't have a teacher who insists in one or the other, you can try both styles and choose what feels more natural to you. We have both in stock, and it might be a good idea to try each to feel what suits you. For a truly exceptional bow from a European Archetier (bow maker) the cost could be up to five thousand dollars.
Once you feel your playing has progressed past the point of your current instrument, with advice from your teacher, the options really begin to open up. The Amore and the Marcello are of superior quality while still being affordable to the student or enthusiast. Priced at just 3500 currently, the Amore is a particular favourite of our customers for its balance of sound, craftsmanship and economy. The Marcello is a step up in all respects and is well worth the expense at 5995. Don't be dissuaded by the price tag, sometimes you must try the instrument yourself to appreciate the quality.
Here at Animato we aim to service all aspects of your musicianship. From instrument setup, bows and rosin to cases, accessories and repair we can accommodate almost any requests. Paired with tuition and our extensive library of sheet music from a variety of genres the only limitation is your practice and devotion to the craft.