Double Bass is a commonly confused term in music, so let’s talk about it for a second!
The instrument in the photo is called a Double Bass. It’s a stringed instrument and sounds like this.
This is not a cello! They are commonly confused but the double bass is larger. It’s also sometimes just called “bass” but that’s even more confusing for our purposes, so we’re sticking with double bass.
“Double Bass” is also a term for metal music, where the drummer will have two bass drums. Here is an example.
So why or when would I need to know this as a songwriter?
If you’re asking a producer for “double bass” on a track, you could get very different results if there is a misunderstanding! Of course, if you are a metal writer or classical composer, it will be easier to determine. But still, it’s important to specify what you mean just to avoid costly errors. When the producers have to hire out session musicians, that cost affects your cost (unless you or your producer happen to be gifted double bass players of either variety, which is rare). Even if the track is not used, the musician still gets paid, so you don’t want a double bass track that you’ve paid for that you can’t even use.
Good producers will always clarify and ask questions to determine your needs, but if you go into the session already knowing you want “a double bass stringed instrument” or “double bass drums” that will save a lot of time and confusion!
For more tips on communicating with session musicians and producers, check out my book, Way Less Cowbell here.