Upright Bass Facts
The upright bass, or double bass, is the largest and lowest-pitched string instrument. It can be played played with a bow (arco) or by plucking the strings (pizzicato). Classical music calls for the natural sound produced acoustically by the instrument. In other genres such as jazz and blues, the bass sound is usually amplified. Bass amplifiers have equalization controls that allow a player to boost low frequencies. Amplification gives a bassist more control over the tone of the instrument.
Among classical performers the instrument is called a contrabass, from its Italian name contrabbasso. Other common names are string bass, to distinguish it from a brass bass instrument, or simply bass. In jazz and other non-classical music genres, the instrument is called an upright bass or acoustic bass to differentiate it from the electric bass guitar. In folk and bluegrass music, it’s referred to by many names, including bass fiddle, bass violin, doghouse bass, and bull fiddle.
More Upright Bass Facts
A person who performs on this string instrument is called a bassist.
Notable jazz double bassists from the 1940s and 1950s include Jimmy Blanton, Ray Brown, Ron Carter, Paul Chambers, George Duvivier, Milt Hinton, Charlie Parker, Oscar Pettiford, and Wilbur Ware. Influential bassists in the post 1960s era include Stanley Clarke, Charlie Haden, Charles Mingus, and Jaco Pastorius.
Featuring Bill Black on Upright Bass
Listen to the Double Bass
“Heartbreak Hotel” Performed by Paul McCartney
In a brief clip from Chaos and Creation at Abbey Road, legendary musician Paul McCartney introduces an upright bass with ties to another music legend, Elvis Presley. The instrument was played by rock and roll pioneer Bill Black. He was the bassist in Elvis Presley’s early trio that also included guitarist Scotty Moore.
Limited Edition Poster Portrait
A Legendary Upright Bass
The Blue Moon Boys: The Story of Elvis Presley’s Band
by Ken Burke and Dan Griffin, Foreword by Brian Setzer
We Love Upright Basses
Shop for the Best Upright Bass Gifts
We’ve created more than 2,500 products for string instrument players and music lovers. Find a unique gift for your favorite bassist.
Find an Upright Bass Online
Cecilio 1/2CDB-100 Upright Double Bass with Adjustable Bridge
- Rosewood fingerboard
- Plated brass tuning machine head
- Premium grade ebony tailpiece
- Bridge with thumb wheel height adjusters
- Hardwood endpin plug with 10mm endpin
- Padded nylon soft case with accessories pockets
- Brazilwood bow with ebony frog and unbleached genuine Mongolian horsehair
Shop for Upright Bass Gifts
Would you like to sell our string instrument products online and earn referral fees? Here’s how to become an affiliate.
Shop for Upright Basses and Accessories
Explore String Kings Music
Missed Something? Go Back
- 1 Upright Bass Facts
- 2 More Upright Bass Facts
- 3 Elvis Presley
- 4 Listen to the Double Bass
- 5 Paul McCartney
- 6 A Legendary Upright Bass
- 7 We Love Upright Basses
- 8 Shop for the Best Upright Bass Gifts
- 9 Find an Upright Bass Online
- 10 Shop for Upright Bass Gifts
- 11 Shop for Upright Basses and Accessories
- 12 Explore String Kings Music