By Megan Westberg | From the September-October 2023 issue of Strings Magazine
Unlike its violin cousin, the double bass is a somewhat variable creature, its ideal size dependent upon the size of its player. If you’re 5’1″, for example, a full-size bass might be a bit much to maneuver musically. Eastman, in an effort to “help you sound your best no matter how you’re built,” has recently unveiled two new bass models: the Busan and the 5/8.
The Busan is 7/8 size, based on the work of 18th-century Venetian maker Domenico Busan. Its larger-body pattern has an arched back with a bend meant to make it more accessible in the higher registers. Deeper ribs are intended to provide enhanced air resonance and lower note fundamentals. Eastman’s Pietro Lombardi VB502 and Andreas Eastman VB605 are available in the new Busan pattern, offering an amber-colored spirit varnish inspired by Italian makers or a “luminous” German-style finish respectively. This bass is primarily meant for orchestral players.
The 5/8 size is designed for a smaller player looking for an instrument with a big sound and powerful low end. This pattern is deeper than an average double bass this size, with violin corners and a focus on ergonomics that includes a shorter string and body length. The 5/8 is available in the Andreas Eastman VB105 and VB305 models, with options primarily in terms of finish and fittings.
Busan Pattern Bass
- 7/8 size designed for orchestral playing
- Spruce top, maple ribs and back, hand-inlaid purfling, Despiau 1 Tree bridge, Rubner brass tuning machines (French style), ebony fingerboard and tailpiece
- Antiqued spirit varnish “reminiscent of Italian makers” (Pietro Lombardi VB502) or “luminous German style” (Andreas Eastman VB605)
- Price $9,538 (VB502); $10,556 (VB605)
5/8 Pattern Bass
- Deeper violin-corner pattern for bigger sound
- Ergonomic, with shorter string length, for maximum playability
- Andreas Eastman VB105: spruce top, maple back, laminated maple ribs, hand-inlaid purfling, Despiau bridge, Rubner brass tuning machines (Tyrolean), ebony fingerboard and tailpiece, shaded spirit varnish
- Andreas Eastman VB305: spruce top, maple back and ribs, hand-inlaid purfling, Despiau 1 Tree bridge, Rubner brass tuning machines (Tyrolean), ebony fingerboard and tailpiece, antiqued spirit varnish
- Price $7,006 (VB105); $8,511 (VB305)