Double bass: characteristics, price, and history of orchestral instruments


The contrabass is one of the famous musical instruments in the orchestra. The cello is a violin instrument that is a larger version of the violin, but the contrabass is a direct ancestor of the viola da gamba’s lowest-pitched instrument, the violin. Therefore, only the contrabass is an instrument born from an ancestor different from the violin. The modern contrabass falls between the violin and viola da gamba genus.


This instrument was created in Europe. The double bass is basically an instrument that has a sound that supports the entire bass range of a song. It enhances the sound of violas and violins, so it is more appealing to play than others. Even if you are a beginner, you can be successful as a regular player if you acquire the necessary skills by learning many playing methods. Since it is a large instrument, it requires the most physical strength even during wind band practice, so you may need a chair. . It is different in jazz, where it is played and used as a wood bass.

About the price

Contrabass prices range from over 100,000 yen to over 1 million yen.

Development company

There are many contrabass manufacturers in the world today.

Company nameCountryfeature
SuzukiJapanJapanese violin maker. it has a good reputation for his know-how of over 100 years of stringed instrument production.
WilferGermanyA long-established German manufacturer that produces contrabass and cello.
PermanGermanyMeister of contrabass production in Mittenwald, Bavaria.
Johannes LubnerGermanyOne of Germany’s top brands made by traditional techniques.
Karl HofnerGermanyGermany’s largest stringed instrument manufacturer.
EastmanUnited StatesA company in the suburbs of Boston.

History of contrabass

The cello is a violin instrument that is a larger version of the violin, but the contrabass is the ancestor of the viola da gamba’s lowest-pitched instrument, the violone, in the 16th century. Violone is an ancient instrument used in Europe around the 16th and 18th centuries. It is a small ensemble that was widely used as a basso continuo during baroque music. In the 17th and 18th centuries, there were various types with different structures, chords, and numbers of strings. The number of strings was not constant from 3 to 6 even in the 19th century, but the frets in Violone disappeared, and in the 20th century the number of strings became four. The contrabass has the shape of a shoulder, which is characteristic of the Viol family.

There are two types of modern contrabass, “French bow” and “German bow”. The “French bow” is similar in shape and holding to the violin bow, but the “German bow” used in Germany and Austria is a development of the Viola da Gamba bow. It is characterized by being gripped with an underhand.

Features of contrabass

The appearance of the contrabass is very similar to that of a violin or cello, but the size is completely different. It exceeds the height of an adult from 180 cm to 200 cm, and has a sufficient thickness with a waist circumference of 50 cm to 60 cm. The inside of the large body is hollow, and by resonating the vibration of the strings in it, that plump bass is realized. In the past, there were contrabass with 3 or 6 strings, but now there are 4 strings.

When you play the contrabass, you basically stand up and play. Support the instrument with your left hand and press the strings with your fingers other than your thumb to create the pitch.

Contrabass song

Contrabass has also been used in jazz in modern times. However, because the style is different from classical music, it can be surprisingly difficult for classical musicians to play jazz songs. The bass used in jazz is the same as the contrabass used in classical music.


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