Thursday, October 6, 2016

30 Days of Weird Instruments, Day 22 -- the Octobass (or Octobasse)

What do you get when you take an upright bass and make it so large that you need a platform to play it?

The Octobass!

This low end beast was invented around 1850 by French luthier Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume. It towers above the player at a gargantuan three and a half meters tall (that's roughly eleven and a half feet).

It presents an interesting challenge to the performer in that the fret board is too high to play by hand, and climbing high enough to reach it makes one unable to bow the strings. This problem is solved with a series of levers and pedals that correspond to particular notes. Pull a lever or press a pedal, and a contraption at the top presses down the corresponding note on the fret board.

The Octobass's lowest note is said to be C1, the lowest C on a traditional piano.

What better way to witness the Octobass in action than playing the iconic bass line from Jaws!

Tomorrow's instrument has a will of hardened stone.

Purchase I AM DRUMS!

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