|Photo by Rod Waddington|
Like most other string instruments, double basses are made in a particular way in order to get the right sound. Maple, spruce, and ebony are the three different kinds of wood that are used in its construction. The strings of the earlier double bass models were made out of the animal gut, but today they are made out of steel, which holds a better pitch and a better volume when played. The strings are quite durable and are normally played with a bow, though they are sometimes plucked.
Another difference between the double bass in the past and the one that is constructed today have also differed. The earlier double bass was only constructed with three strings. Today, the double bass has four strings. It is interesting to note that while the double bass had only three strings in earlier times, other string instruments in its family had five or six strings. Today, the double bass is tuned in fourths and the strings are tuned to E, A, D, and G. While this is the norm, there are the odd basses that are tuned to fifths; it often depends on the musician's needs of the instrument. As a result of the size, the musician also has the opportunity to choose whether they would like to play the instrument standing up or sitting down. Most these days prefer to sit down to play the instrument. They will sit on a stool that is measured to a certain height so that the musician can reach the notes easily.
The double bass might not be as picked as often as some other instruments by beginners, but it is one that can be a rewarding instrument to play. While it is sometimes used as a bass and is referred to as a bass, it does have the ability to play more than background notes. It is quite flexible in what it can play because of the range of notes it can hit, it is only that the pitch is so low that many will prefer to have it in the background. It might not be a good choice for someone who is new to reading and playing music, but it could be if it is something that the person really wants to play. Musicians who have played a few other string instruments may have an easier time picking it up because they are more familiar with playing string instruments.