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Upright Bass Sizes

Basses come in multiple sizes including 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4.  The 4/4 is not used, even Symphony players and professionals use the 3/4.

The best thing to do is to talk to your teacher and have them  help you find your size.  Not only do they have experience in this process, they will be your advisers and helpers moving forward so their choice and knowledge is intrinsic in getting the proper fit.

If you are not able to have the teacher's input, Golden Music can also help you.  We help thousands of students every year find their size and can make the process fun and successful.  If that isn't an option (doing the contract online for delivery or the student is not available at sizing time), please refer to the following guide.  Remember, in our rent-to-own program, there is no charge for delivery or for changing sizes, so we can adjust the size if needed.

This size nomenclature creates some confusion as a 1/2 bass, for example, is not really half the size of a 4/4 bass.  As you can see by the chart below, the sizes are actually only slightly different.


 Bass Size

 Total Height

 Body Height
1/4
61.5"
 37.5"
 1/2
 65.5"
 40"
3/4
71.5"
43.5"

The various sizes accommodate the player's height, arm length, and hand size; it's more comfortable to play a bass that's your size and your hand more easily reaches the notes.

Unlike violins where a violinist typically grows into a 4/4 violin, with the bass the standard and most popular size by far is 3/4.  Very few 4/4 basses are made or played.

One of the biggest reasons for this is that the bass requires long stretches with the hands.  Most bassist feel that the difference in sound between 3/4 and 4/4 isn't enough (indeed many prefer the 3/4 sound) to justify the extra lengths that must be traversed.