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Double Bass Strings

Also commonly known as: Bass Fiddle, Bass Violin, Contrabass, String Bass and Upright Bass
Corelli Double Bass Strings
D'Addario Double Bass Strings
GHS Double Bass
Jargar Double Bass Strings
La Bella Double Bass Strings
Pirastro Double Bass Strings
RotoSound Double Bass Strings
Super-Sensitive Double Bass Strings
Thomastik-Infeld Double Bass Strings
The double bass is the largest member of the orchestral string family. Double bass strings are tuned E, A, D & G. There are some five string instruments; these are tuned B, E, A, D & G. There is no standard size for the double bass, but the most common instruments are ¾ size, and have a body about 115 cm long. A full size bass, which is much less common, has a body about 140 cm long.

Until the twentieth century, double bass strings, as well as strings for most other string instruments, were made of gut. Modern double bass strings usually have cores of steel or nylon. Although gut is still available, it is very expensive, and rarely used. Steel or nylon core strings are much more stable than gut. Today’s steel and nylon string hold their pitch better than gut and are less sensitive to temperature and humidity. They are also considerably less fragile that gut strings. Most players use either steel or synthetic core strings. Gut still survives however, and is used primarily by players seeking period correct tone; it is also used by rockabilly and bluegrass players, some of whom prefer gut because it is easier to play percussively, due to the lower tension of gut strings.

Modern steel and nylon core double bass strings also allow playing techniques that were not previously viable due to the particular characteristics of gut strings. Modern strings retain their tone up and down the fretboard, and remain clear and musical when played in the higher registers. Gut strings are not as playable high on the neck because they can become muddy when played too high on the fingerboard.

Although double bass string sets are often described as “steel”, “nylon”, Perlon (a brand name of nylon synthetic), and “gut”, they are, with a few exceptions, always wound with metal. Most double bass strings, made by most manufacturers are wound with metal. They can be wound with: aluminum, chrome, nickel, silver, or tungsten. Each of the various winding metals provides a different sort of tone. La Bella makes some special sets that are wound with nylon and nylon tape. These sets are suitable for pizzicato (finger style) playing such as in bluegrass or rockabilly settings and may not respond well to bowing.

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