Viola da gamba vs cello vs piano vs double bass

July 22, 2017, 6:13 PM · Since I've gotten some free time, I've been wondering if I should learn a new instrument, but I can't decide between viola da gamba, cello, double bass or piano.
I really love viola da gamba's sound, but where I live there are no teachers available or even ensambles featuring viola da gamba
Learning cello would be useful, since I have had opportunities of playing it many times, and I have a lot of friends that play it and could teach me.
I really enjoy the double bass' sound quality, and the teacher of my school already said me that he would teach me if I get one.
And I would like to play piano because it would be very useful to me.
What do you think? What would you do if you were in this situation?

Replies (8)

July 22, 2017, 6:28 PM · From my observations, learning the viola might make you the brunt of jokes, although it makes a wonderful compliment to the violin.

I think the double bass is just cool. They never fall out of popularity in small groups.The cello is also a wonderful compliment to many situations.

The piano is wonderful for both accompaniment and lead work. Probably the most versatile.Playing piano also lets you into the world of piano like instruments.

July 22, 2017, 6:48 PM · What size car do you have? Double bass is not for subcompacts.
If it were me, and all other things were equal, I would consider what teachers were available, the kinds of music I like best to play, and (not least) budget for purchase & maintenance of an instrument, b/c each instrument you've named is its own adventure & opens a different part of the musical panorama.
July 22, 2017, 6:57 PM · The viola wasn't mentioned. It's the viola da gamba.
July 23, 2017, 9:04 AM · Double bass (the "stand-up" variety) is kind of tough to grow old with. We have 3 double bass players in our chamber orchestra, but we only use one at a time (it's all the bass we need to balance 12 violins 4 violas and 4 cellos) - so the other two are potential substitutes. Our regular bass player is now in his mid 80s and I have watched his increasing struggles moving the thing over the past 5 years I've played with this group (he has played all his life - some of it professionally) there are half a dozen steps down to our rehearsal hall. Our other 2 bassists are regular cellists in the 30-piece ensemble, and one of those also plays viola and violin (but finds them tougher on the hands these days - his wife, in her mid 70s is still a cellist with the San Francisco Opera orchestra).

So --if I were in OP's situation I would study PIANO. In fact, 15 years ago,, when I had an adult cello student who was a full-time professional piano teacher, I started to play piano (without lessons) and learned a couple of simple sonatinas. Playing piano does not exclude playing something else as well. I know and have played with one local pianist who has also taken up violin and viola to the extent that he is often hired as a ringer on either of those bowed instruments to fill in missing seats in local ensemble performances.

Edited: July 23, 2017, 11:14 AM · For me it would be the viola da gamba because I LOVE the early music! Consider it against the piano, for example, the gamba was pretty much done before the piano even came onto the scene. The choice of instruments inevitably presents period and repertoire questions. So I'll ask you, what MUSIC do you actually want to play the most?
Edited: July 23, 2017, 12:31 PM · It's a choice between three string instruments and the piano. At the end, I think the real competitors are the cello and piano. Although I love the sound of cello, I would pick piano for its ultimate versatility. The piano is a must if you want to get serious in creating your own music later on.
July 23, 2017, 12:55 PM · Yeah, I think I will choose piano, I would love viola da gamba, but as I mentioned above, is very difficult to find a teacher or even an instrument here. Thank you all!
August 4, 2017, 9:30 AM · The Gamba has a fabulous repertoire, which I often adapt for violin (one octave higher) or viola (one fourth higher), with mitigated results. It can also "adopt" many lute pieces, due to analagous tuning.

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