Tech Tip:What is a Double Bass?


A double bass is simply, an upright bass. The name “double bass” refers to its name in classical music history. In the early days of the orchestra, the Violoncello ('cello) was the “bass” instrument. The upright bass doubled the notes of the cello section down an octave, hence the name “Double Bass.”


When the electric bass was invented, the double bass was often called the “upright” bass to make a distinction. Electric basses are played transversely; the double bass is played in an upright position.


Over the years the double bass has gained a few silly nicknames like “the dog house,” “bass fiddle,” “bull fiddle,” and “the bass-ment,” just to name a few. The most common names now used for the instrument are “Double Bass,” “Upright Bass,” and “Acoustic Bass.” To make a distinction from the upright bass and an acoustic bass guitar, “acoustic bass” usually means, upright; “acoustic bass guitar” means an acoustic bass played in a transverse (guitar) position.