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How Much Does A Double Bass Cost How Much Does A Double Bass Cost


How Much Does A Double Bass Cost

Written by: Arlyn Jurado

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The double bass, often referred to as the ‘king of instruments’, is a large and majestic member of the string instrument family. With its deep and resonant tones, the double bass holds a crucial role in orchestras, jazz ensembles, and various other genres of music. Whether you’re a professional musician, an aspiring bassist, or simply a music lover, you may be curious about the cost of owning a double bass.

The price of a double bass can vary greatly depending on several factors, including the quality of the instrument, its craftsmanship, the materials used, and its age. In this article, we’ll explore the different factors that affect the cost of a double bass and provide you with a rough idea of the price ranges you can expect for a student, intermediate, professional, vintage, custom, or handmade double bass.

Investing in a double bass is not just about the monetary value; it’s a commitment to an instrument that will be part of your musical journey for years to come. By understanding the cost range of double basses and the factors that contribute to their prices, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your budget and musical goals.


Factors Affecting the Cost of a Double Bass

The cost of a double bass is influenced by several key factors that contribute to its overall value and quality. Understanding these factors can give you a better idea of why some double basses are priced higher than others. Here are the main factors that affect the cost of a double bass:

  1. Quality of Materials: The materials used in the construction of a double bass play a significant role in its cost. Higher-quality woods, such as spruce or maple, are more sought after and can contribute to a higher price tag.
  2. Craftsmanship: The skill and craftsmanship of the luthier who built the double bass also impact its cost. Well-known and respected luthiers are often associated with higher-priced instruments due to their expertise and reputation.
  3. Age and Condition: Vintage double basses, particularly those made by renowned makers from the past, can command a premium price. The age and condition of the instrument, as well as any historical significance, can greatly impact its value.
  4. Size: The size of a double bass can affect its cost. Larger double basses require more materials and intricate construction, leading to higher prices.
  5. Accessories and Features: Additional features and accessories, such as high-quality strings, adjustable bridges, and sophisticated pickups, can contribute to a higher price. These features enhance the playability and versatility of the instrument.
  6. Demand and Market Trends: Supply and demand dynamics can also influence the cost of a double bass. Limited availability or high demand for specific models or makers can drive up prices.

It’s important to note that while these factors play a role in determining the cost of a double bass, they do not necessarily indicate the quality of the instrument. A higher-priced double bass may not always be superior in terms of sound or playability. Ultimately, the choice of a double bass should be based on personal preference and how well it meets your specific musical needs.


Student or Beginner Double Bass Prices

For those just starting their musical journey on the double bass, student or beginner instruments are a popular choice. These instruments are designed to be affordable while still providing a solid foundation for learning. Student double bass prices can range from around $1,000 to $5,000.

At the lower end of the price range, you can find entry-level student double basses that are machine-made and constructed from laminated wood. While they may not possess the same tonal qualities as higher-end basses, they still offer decent playability and durability for beginners just starting out.

As you move up in price, you can find student double basses that are handcrafted and feature solid wood construction. These instruments often have better sound projection and tonal depth than their lower-priced counterparts. Some reputable brands that offer reliable student double basses include Eastman, Yamaha, and Engelhardt.

Keep in mind that while student double basses are suitable for beginners, they may not possess the same level of refinement and complexity found in professional-grade instruments. As you progress in your musical journey and gain more experience, you may eventually outgrow your student bass and consider upgrading to an intermediate or professional-level instrument.

It’s recommended to try out different student double bass models before making a purchase. This will allow you to find a bass that feels comfortable to play and produces a sound that you enjoy. Additionally, consider seeking guidance from an experienced bass teacher or knowledgeable musician who can help you make an informed decision.


Intermediate Double Bass Prices

For those who have gained some experience on the double bass and are looking to upgrade to a higher quality instrument, intermediate double basses are an ideal choice. These instruments offer improved tonal characteristics and playability compared to student models. Intermediate double bass prices typically range from $5,000 to $10,000.

In this price range, you can expect to find double basses that are handcrafted with solid wood construction. The quality of materials, such as the spruce top and maple back, is often superior to student models, resulting in better tone and resonance. Luthiers who specialize in intermediate level instruments meticulously craft these basses to ensure a balanced sound and responsive playability.

Intermediate double basses often feature more refined craftsmanship and attention to detail, resulting in enhanced playability and tonal expressiveness. These instruments may also come with better quality hardware, such as higher-end tuners and adjustable bridges, which can further improve the overall performance.

When considering an intermediate double bass, it’s essential to explore various brands and models to find one that suits your playing style and preferences. Some respected brands that offer intermediate-level instruments include Shen, Gliga, and Christopher.

Investing in an intermediate double bass is a significant step towards honing your skills and achieving a higher level of musical expression. These instruments provide a stepping stone between student models and professional-grade basses, allowing players to develop their technique and explore more advanced musical repertoire.

It’s beneficial to spend time playing different intermediate double basses and seeking the advice of experienced bassists or teachers. Their expertise can help you select an instrument that not only suits your current needs but also accommodates your future growth as a musician.


Professional Double Bass Prices

Professional double basses are the pinnacle of craftsmanship and are designed for advanced players and professionals who demand the highest quality instruments. These instruments offer exceptional tonal richness, projection, and responsiveness, allowing musicians to express themselves fully. Professional double bass prices can range from $10,000 to well over $100,000.

In this price range, professional double basses are typically handcrafted by master luthiers using the finest quality materials available. The woods used in the construction, such as aged spruce and highly figured maple, are carefully selected for their acoustic properties, resulting in superior tonal characteristics.

Professional double basses are meticulously crafted with precision and attention to detail. Every aspect of the instrument, from the arching of the top and back to the thickness and graduation of the wood, is carefully considered to achieve optimal sound production and responsiveness.

The craftsmanship and expertise of the luthier, as well as the reputation of the instrument maker, can significantly impact the price of a professional double bass. Instruments made by renowned luthiers, such as Gasparo da Salò, Giovanni Paolo Maggini, or Antonio Stradivari, can command exceptionally high prices due to their historical significance and scarcity.

When considering a professional double bass, it is crucial to play and compare multiple instruments to find the one that best suits your playing style and musical preferences. It’s also recommended to consult with experienced bassists or teachers who can provide valuable insights and guidance in selecting a high-quality instrument.

Investing in a professional double bass is a significant commitment, but it can greatly enhance your musical journey and performance capabilities. These instruments are designed to bring out the best in skilled players, enabling them to express their artistry to the fullest extent.

It’s worth noting that professional double basses require regular maintenance and care to ensure their continued performance and preservation. Investing in a high-quality case, humidification system, and regular check-ups by a professional luthier are essential to protect your investment and keep the instrument in optimal condition.


Vintage or Antique Double Bass Prices

Vintage or antique double basses have a unique charm and appeal, as they carry a sense of history and craftsmanship from a bygone era. These instruments can be highly sought after by collectors and musicians alike. The prices of vintage or antique double basses can vary widely depending on factors such as age, condition, maker, and historical significance.

When it comes to vintage or antique double basses, the age and historical value of the instrument play a significant role in determining its price. Double basses made by renowned luthiers from the 18th and 19th centuries, such as Giovanni Battista Guadagnini, Domenico Montagnana, or Carlo Bergonzi, can command exorbitant prices due to their rarity and artistic importance.

The condition of a vintage double bass also affects its value. Instruments in excellent condition, with minimal repairs or modifications, are generally more valuable. However, some collectors may be interested in acquiring instruments that require restoration, seeing it as an opportunity to bring the instrument back to its former glory.

The availability of vintage or antique double basses is limited, which further contributes to their higher prices. Finding a well-preserved instrument with a rich history requires thorough research, patience, and sometimes a stroke of luck.

Due to the investment nature and rarity of vintage double basses, it’s essential to thoroughly inspect the instrument and consult with experts before making a purchase. Expertise from appraisers, luthiers, or knowledgeable musicians can provide valuable insights into the authenticity and value of a vintage double bass.

While vintage or antique double basses can be expensive, they offer a unique playing experience and a connection to the past. Musicians who appreciate the historical significance and craftsmanship of these instruments often find them inspiring and gratifying to play.

It’s important to note that vintage double basses may require additional care and maintenance due to their age. Regular check-ups by a skilled luthier and proper storage conditions are crucial in preserving the instrument’s integrity and ensuring its longevity.


Custom or Handmade Double Bass Prices

Custom or handmade double basses offer a level of personalization and craftsmanship that sets them apart from mass-produced instruments. These instruments are built to the specifications and preferences of individual musicians, resulting in unique and tailor-made creations. Prices for custom or handmade double basses can range from $5,000 to well into six figures.

The cost of a custom or handmade double bass is determined by several factors. The reputation and experience of the luthier play a significant role. Well-established luthiers who are highly sought after for their expertise may charge higher prices due to their craftsmanship and artistic vision.

The materials used in the construction of a custom double bass also impact its price. Luthiers often offer a range of wood options, including aged and highly figured materials. The selection of premium woods, such as top-grade spruce for the soundboard and highly figured maple for the back and sides, can increase the cost of the instrument.

The complexity of the design and customization features can also affect the price. Additional features, such as intricate purfling, ornate carving, custom varnish, or unique inlay work, can contribute to the overall cost of the instrument.

Each custom or handmade double bass is a unique creation, and the process of crafting a custom instrument involves close collaboration between the luthier and the musician. The luthier takes into account the player’s playing style, sound preferences, and physical ergonomics to create an instrument that is perfectly suited to their needs.

While custom or handmade double basses can be a significant investment, they offer unparalleled craftsmanship and the opportunity to own a truly one-of-a-kind instrument. The level of attention to detail and customization ensures that the instrument not only sounds exceptional but also offers a high level of comfort and playability for the individual musician.

When considering a custom or handmade double bass, it’s crucial to research and seek recommendations for reputable luthiers. Examining their previous work and talking to musicians who have commissioned instruments from them can provide valuable insights into their skill, reliability, and ability to bring the musician’s vision to life.

Investing in a custom or handmade double bass is a deeply personal decision that allows musicians to have a instrument that reflects their unique musical identity and brings out their artistic expression to the fullest extent.


Additional Costs to Consider

When purchasing a double bass, it’s important to consider not only the cost of the instrument itself but also the additional expenses that come along with owning and maintaining it. Here are some key additional costs to keep in mind:

  1. Bow: A bow is an essential accessory for playing the double bass. While some double basses may come with a bow, you may need to purchase one separately. Bows can range in price from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, depending on the quality of the materials and craftsmanship.
  2. Strings: Double bass strings wear out over time and need to be replaced periodically. The cost of a set of double bass strings can vary depending on the brand and type of strings, ranging from around $100 to several hundred dollars.
  3. Case: A sturdy and protective case is necessary for transporting and storing your double bass safely. Cases can range in price depending on the level of protection and quality, typically starting from a few hundred dollars.
  4. Insurance: Double bass insurance is highly recommended to protect your investment. The cost of insurance will depend on the value of your instrument and the coverage you require. It’s important to shop around and compare insurance options to find the best coverage at a reasonable cost.
  5. Maintenance and Repairs: Like any instrument, double basses require regular maintenance to keep them in optimal playing condition. This can include services such as rehairing the bow, adjusting the bridge, or repairing any damage. It’s essential to budget for these potential expenses.
  6. Accessories: Depending on your playing style and needs, you may choose to invest in additional accessories such as a pickup, a bass stool, rosin, or a humidifier. These smaller items can add up, so it’s important to consider them in your budget.

Keep in mind that these additional costs are ongoing expenses that come with owning a double bass. It’s important to factor them into your budget and plan accordingly to ensure the long-term enjoyment and maintenance of your instrument.

Additionally, it’s recommended to establish a relationship with a trusted luthier who can provide regular maintenance and repairs. They can offer guidance on proper care and help extend the lifespan of your double bass.


Where to Buy a Double Bass

When it comes to purchasing a double bass, there are several options available to consider. The choice of where to buy a double bass will depend on your location, budget, and personal preferences. Here are some common avenues for buying a double bass:

  1. Local Music Stores: Local music stores or specialty instrument shops can be a good place to start your search for a double bass. They often have a selection of new and used instruments, and you can try them out in person before making a purchase. You may also have the opportunity to talk with knowledgeable staff who can offer guidance and recommendations.
  2. Online Retailers: There are numerous online retailers specializing in musical instruments, including double basses. Websites such as StringsByMail, Upton Bass, and Gollihur Music offer a wide selection of instruments and accessories, often with customer reviews and detailed product information. Be sure to research the seller’s reputation and return policy before making a purchase.
  3. Private Sellers: Buying directly from private sellers, whether through online platforms, local classifieds, or networking within the music community, can sometimes lead to finding unique and potentially lower-priced instruments. However, be cautious when dealing with private sellers and consider having a knowledgeable luthier or musician inspect the instrument before finalizing the purchase.
  4. Double Bass Luthiers: Working directly with a luthier who specializes in building or restoring double basses can be a great option if you’re looking for a custom or handmade instrument. Luthiers can work closely with you to create an instrument that suits your specific needs and preferences. They may also have pre-built instruments available for sale.
  5. Auctions and Estate Sales: Occasionally, double basses are available at auctions or estate sales. These events can be a treasure trove for finding unique and potentially valuable vintage instruments. However, be prepared to do thorough research and have a good understanding of the instrument’s condition and value before participating in bidding.

When purchasing a double bass, it’s essential to take the time to try out different instruments and assess their playability and sound quality. If possible, seek the guidance of a knowledgeable bass teacher or experienced bassist who can provide valuable insights and help you make an informed decision.

Remember to consider your budget, the reputation of the seller or luthier, and any additional costs such as shipping or potential maintenance needs. It’s also beneficial to compare prices and options from multiple sources to ensure you find the best instrument that meets your requirements.



In conclusion, the cost of a double bass can vary significantly depending on various factors such as the materials used, craftsmanship, age, and level of customization. Understanding these factors is essential in making an informed decision when purchasing a double bass.

For beginners or students, there are affordable options available that provide a solid foundation for learning and development. Intermediate double basses offer improved quality and performance for those who have gained some experience and are looking to upgrade.

Professional double basses represent the pinnacle of craftsmanship and are designed for advanced players and professionals. These instruments come with a higher price tag but offer unparalleled tonal richness and responsiveness.

Vintage or antique double basses hold a certain allure and can be highly sought after by collectors and musicians alike. The price of these instruments varies depending on their age, maker, condition, and historical significance.

Custom or handmade double basses offer the opportunity for personalization and are crafted to the specifications and preferences of individual musicians. While they can be more expensive, these instruments are unique and tailored to the player’s specific needs.

It’s important to consider additional costs such as bows, strings, cases, insurance, and maintenance when budgeting for a double bass. Taking these costs into account ensures that you can properly care for and maintain your instrument.

When it comes to purchasing a double bass, there are various options available, such as local music stores, online retailers, private sellers, and working directly with luthiers. Each option has its advantages, and it’s crucial to try out different instruments and seek guidance from experienced professionals.

Ultimately, the cost of a double bass should align with your budget and musical goals. Investing in a quality instrument that suits your playing style will bring you joy and inspiration as you embark on your musical journey. Whether you’re a student, an aspiring professional, or a seasoned musician, a well-chosen double bass can be a lifelong companion that enriches your musical expression and performance.

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