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Sizing for Stand-up Bass

Updated: Feb 4, 2023



Sizing a child for a standup bass is crucial in ensuring that the child can play comfortably and effectively. The bass's size, specifically the string's length, should be proportionate to the child's height and arm length. Here are some steps to properly size a child for a standup bass:

  1. Measure the child's height: The child should be standing with their back against a wall and their head facing forward. Measure from the floor to the top of the child's head.

  2. Measure the child's arm length: Have the child stand with their arms straight out to their sides. Measure from the center of the child's chest to the tip of their middle finger.

  3. Determine the appropriate string length: The standard string length for an adult standup bass is 42 inches. To determine the appropriate string length for a child, use the following formula: (child's height x 0.6) + (child's arm length x 0.4) = appropriate string length.

For example, if a child is 4 feet tall (48 inches) and has a 20-inch arm length, the appropriate string length would be

(48 x 0.6) + (20 x 0.4) = 28.8 + 8 = 36.8 inches. Alternatively, to simplify things. . . this chart is another way to measure your child:



Check the scale length: The scale length is the distance from the nut to the bridge and is measured in inches. Most full-size basses have a scale length of 41 inches, which is typically too long for a child. Look for a bass with a scale length appropriate for the child's string length.

  1. Consider the child's physical abilities: Some children may have physical limitations that affect their ability to play a standup bass. For example, a child with small hands may struggle to reach the strings or press down on the fingerboard. In such cases, looking for a bass with a smaller fingerboard or a shorter scale length may be necessary.

  2. Test it out: Once you have found a bass that meets the child's height, arm length, string length, and scale length requirements, have the child try it out. Ensure the child can comfortably reach the strings and press down on the fingerboard. Also, check that the child can comfortably hold the bass upright and move around while playing.

It is important to note that finding a bass that fits a child properly is not always easy, and it may take some time to find the right one. It is also important to remember that a child will grow, and their size requirements will change over time. It may be necessary to replace the bass as the child grows.

Here are some general guidelines regarding specific string lengths for different basses: 1/8 size bass: The string length for 1/8 size basses is typically around 24 inches. 1/4 size bass: The string length for 1/4 size basses is typically around 30 inches. 1/2 size bass: The string length for 1/2 size basses is typically around 34-35 inches. It's essential to remember that these are rough guidelines, and the appropriate size for a child will depend on their height and arm length.

Properly sizing a child for a standup bass is essential to ensure that the child can play comfortably and effectively. By measuring the child's height, and arm length and determining the appropriate string length and scale length, you can find a bass that fits the child correctly. It's also important to consider the child's physical abilities and to test the bass for comfort and ease of play.


Measurement for standup bass, based on height.

Renting a bass from AAA Band Rentals offers several benefits, including access to quality, name-brand instruments appropriate for school and church orchestras, a free exchange to a larger size, and the inclusion of a bow, rosin, and bag. Additionally, teacher-selected music books and accessories are available in stock, and no security deposit is required. The program also offers low monthly rental fees and the option to purchase the instrument at a deep discount (Rentals do not apply toward purchase). AAA Band Rentals also has the most respected brands and the most extensive inventory of instruments, and supplies, and offers a maintenance, and replacement plan that includes instrument repairs at no additional charge (excluding strings) and replacement if the instrument is lost in a fire or stolen. Priority adjustments and repairs are also available through one of the largest on-site repair shops in the Northeast.

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