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Buying a Double Bass from a Professional Luthier

If you are preparing to find your first double bass or, perhaps, making your first purchase without the assistance of a teacher or friend, there are many factors to consider, and none should be overlooked.

How to get the best long-term value for your money and how to make sure the bass you purchase is in top condition and has a professional setup.


Beginning bass buyers may not realise they might have to choose between the more extensive maintenance required by a bass that produces higher-quality sound (Full solid wood basses) or an easier-care option that can take more of a beating.


This is why it is particularly helpful to turn to a local shop with an experienced luthier who can guide you in the right direction and ensure a professional setup for long-term enjoyment of your instrument.


What is a Luthier? 

If you are just beginning your musical journey into stringed instruments, you might be experiencing an overwhelming vocabulary expansion as you begin to learn about scale length, endpins, tailguts and upper bouts. If you have yet to purchase your first bass, another term you may not have previously heard is luthier. Simply put, a luthier is a craftsman who makes or repairs stringed instruments, such as the double bass. The crafting of stringed instruments, which is known as lutherie, has been practiced for centuries by expert woodworkers with a love of music.


Musicians who play instruments that can be prone to issues because of their size or construction materials should be particularly vigilant when purchasing or seeking repair for their bass. This is one reason only a skilled luthier should be trusted with the repair of your bass, and you should always make sure your chosen instrument was set-up by a luthier with a passion for his or her work and an attention to detail that cannot be matched by an impersonal online store.


Buying a Double Bass from a Professional Luthier

Seemingly lower prices for upright basses offered by faraway Internet chain stores can be enticing, but shipping costs, overall value and instrument quality can quickly lead to buyer remorse. While there are some reputable online dealers selling quality instruments, nothing can surpass the personalised attention, ongoing relationship and ability to try the instrument before you buy it that are only offered by local shops.


Here are seven benefits of choosing to buy your bass from a professional luthier at a local shop rather than an online instrument dealer:


  1. Personalised attention: A professional luthier understands the varying needs of musicians who play jazz, classical, blues or bluegrass, which means they can make sure you understand your best options as they walk you through the choices available.
  2. Get more for your money: A visit to a local shop provides an opportunity to talk to a professional who can understand your needs and help you find the best bass for you within your budget.
  3. Professional setup: A professional setup from an experienced luthier well versed in working with basses can make the difference between stellar music-making sessions and ongoing issues with these trouble-prone instruments.
  4. Try before you buy: A local shop offers the opportunity to try out a variety of instruments before making a purchase.
  5. Seeing is believing: Rather than trust a website to provide an accurate, you can see your potential purchase in person and confirm its condition when you shop locally. This is particularly important if you are considering buying a used instrument.
  6. Build a local relationship: Your bass is likely going to require repairs and/or maintenance at some point. Making sure your bass is repaired correctly is easier if you have built a relationship with a local luthier who is familiar with your particular needs.


Buying an upright bass is an investment, which is why smart shoppers do well to make sure they get the best value for their money. Seeking the assistance of a local luthier who will take the time to understand your needs and help you find the best bass that fits your budget is sure to result in a more satisfying shopping experience and have you on your way to making beautiful music far into the future.


photo credit: chadmiller via photopin cc

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