Double Bass Set-Up

Position With The Instrument
There are generally three different ways bassists position themselves with a double bass. Some bassists play standing (with a straight endpin) which makes the bass nearly vertical. Some bassists play sitting (with a straight endpin) which makes the bass more horizontal. Lastly, some bassists play standing (with a bent endpin) which also makes the bass more horizontal. Each bassist must find which set-up works best for them. Some bassist's will use the same set-up all of the time, while others will change how they are set-up depending on the context within which they are playing.

Bow Selection
There are two types of bows for playing the double bass, German and French. Generally, the French bow is suited better for solo playing (melodies), and the German bow is suited better for orchestral playing (accompaniments.) (This is indeed an oversimplification and there are virtuoso soloists who play with a German bow, and virtuoso orchestral players who play with a French bow, e.g. Edwin Barker.) Nevertheless, each bassist must find a bow that works well for them. Many bassists choose to use a different type of bow depending on the context within which they are playing.


Pictured to the left is a German bow, above, and a French bow, below.