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To help you pick out the best upright bass, we shortlisted three of the best products on the market. We based our choices on qualities such as type of wood used for the top, back, sides, and fingerboard, the quality of the saddle and tailpiece for stability and durability, as well as the quality of the strings and their proper placement heights. If you like these features, check out what the best music instruments have to offer.
Throughout our research, Cremona’s SB-3 Premier Upright Bass stood out among the rest. It’s our best upright bass thanks to its handpicked and hand-carved spruce top, maple back and sides, and its pre-installed high-quality D’Addario Prelude strings. Keep reading below for the rest of our picks.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: Cremona’s legendary renown in string instruments is reflected in the SB-3 Upright Bass. It features top-quality, select spruce wood for the top and maple back and sides that are carefully handcrafted for the most-focused sound and attack.
Cremona’s SB-3 Premier Upright Bass tops our list as the best upright bass with its top-quality craftsmanship. Its wooden top is made of hand-carved select spruce wood to assure the clearest and best volume when played. Its sides, back, and neck are also hand-carved from curly maple, which helps enhance its sound and provide the best attack signature. It features an adjustable bridge height for fine-tuning action, allowing for various styles of music. If you’re leaning towards folk music, you might also want to learn to play one of the best concertinas.
What we like best about Cremona’s SB-3 is the attention to material quality — the fingerboard is made of ebonite, ensuring longevity without compromising on finger feel, and the saddle and tailpieces are made of ebony wood that lends to the parts’ durability and aesthetic. The Cremona SB-3 comes with D’Addario Prelude strings and a padded 600-denier nylon bag for gigs. It’s available in a 3/4 size, which should be perfect for those looking for a relatively smaller student upright bass. Note that it doesn’t come with a bow, so consider getting a good-quality one to match this instrument. If you want a stringed instrument that doesn’t require a bow, check out the best dulcimer.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This upright bass from Cecilio features a premium-grade oak fingerboard and tailpiece and comes in a laminated wood finish that’s available in a variety of colors and sizes. We also like how it comes in a complete package with a carrying case, bow, and rosin.
The Cecilio CDB Upright Bass is a perfect upright bass for beginners since it comes in multiple sizes — a 1/4 mini upright bass that’s great to get your young ones started. If you want another great instrument for beginners, take a look at our review of the best cowbell. If you’re a more experienced player, you’ll want one of the bigger 1/2 or 3/4 scale upright bass sizes. There’s also an available 4/4 full-size version that could be more suitable for bigger players. What makes it great is it already comes with a bow, rosin, and a gig bag so you’re ready to bring it out to the next rehearsal. And, if you need a nice addition to your collection, check out the best wireless microphone.
The upright bass’s fingerboard is made of oak, and it also features a premium oak tailpiece for added durability. Its body is made of laminated wood and comes in either a natural wood look or an option between a black or white glossy finish. You can adjust its bridge for a more personalized sound and fingerboard feel, and its plated brass tuning machine head ensures that the strings’ tuning will hold well regardless of storage. If you need to add percussion to your band, consider the best djembe.
Award: BEST ELECTRIC
WHY WE LIKE IT: Palatino has a solid offer for those looking for an electric upright bass — its VE-500-BK is a great compact upright bass that has a spruce top and maple back and sides. The electric piezo transducer allows for active tone and volume controls.
The Palatino VE-500-BK Electric Upright Bass is a starkly smaller and sleeker instrument that features great sound customizability thanks to its piezo transducer pickup. It comes with a carrying case and features active tone, which lets you tweak its signature based on your preference.
This electric upright bass has a solid spruce top, while maple adorns its back and sides. The fingerboard is also built with high-quality ebony, and the neck is curved, so the instrument is suitable for both finger plucking or playing with a bow. It also isn’t limited in size, since it has an adjustable foot that can be tailored based on its user. These attributes give the Palatino VE-500-BK great versatility in terms of its playability. Another thing we noticed is that the bass’s active tone system is great overall. Just make sure to spend some time tweaking it to get the right sound signature for your use. If you also need a brass instrument, check out one of the best sousaphones.
When choosing the best upright bass, we considered many factors. One is durability — whether using it for recitals and large performances or rehearsals and private gigs, a good upright bass must withstand transport and hold its tune for minimal preparations every use.
The quality of the upright bass depends on the materials that were used — we focused on products that have high-quality, handcrafted single-piece wood materials that produce the best balance between sound quality and durability. We considered the fact that too thick of a material would impact sound clarity, but a subpar material will not give enough durability for hundreds of gigs or more.
We also considered the quality of materials used on the neck and fingerboard because they matter just as much as the body. We found that this also reflects directly on the quality of the sound coming from the strings, especially when the upright bass is played with a bow. We went for fingerboards that are made of hardwoods such as ebony or good-quality wood substitutes such as ebonite — these materials are often rigid enough to withstand humidity and moderate wear without being too uncomfortable to use for fingers.
Next, we considered the best upright bass with complete packages — a gig case is a must, as we know that most upright bass owners will be using their instruments daily on gigs, rehearsals, or recitals away from their homes. We made sure to choose options that also offered a ready-to-use package that includes a bow and rosin for those who play bass with bows.
Finally, we prioritized looking for offers from brands that have the best reputation with string instruments. Looking at the best price to quality balance led us to brands such as Cremona and Cecilio, which have consistently produced good quality bass and other stringed instruments on the market.
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