We Make it Easy to Rent an Upright Bass in St. Louis!

If you are looking to avoid commission-based sales staff at music stores – you’ve come to the right place. Our staff doesn’t work on a commission-basis: we are simply here to help you!

We are a local St. Louis stringed instrument store which specializes in selling, renting, and repairing stringed instruments. If you are looking to rent an upright acoustic bass, you are in the right place. Our bass rentals start as low as about $50 a month (when paid annually), and our carved basses rent for $100 a month (when paid annually). Those prices are on our annual plans and they give you the lowest calculated monthly cost, but you can also pay quarterly or monthly if you prefer.

NEW! As of July 2017 you can now rent your bass online by filling out the form at the bottom of this page. We can deliver the bass to your child’s school or you can pick it up from one of our stores – whatever works best for you.

Also, feel free to stop by one of our stores, give us a call, or send us an email (we respond to emails)!

By the way, we do not work on commission. We are here to help you.

Photo of Ted adjusting the strings on an upright bass in our Maplewood store workshop.
Ted, one of our co-owners, adjusting upright bass strings in our Maplewood store workshop. While Ted is highly skilled with all of our stringed instruments (violins, violas, and cellos), his true love is the upright bass.

Why Rent An Upright Bass from Top Notch Violins?

Insurance Included

Peace of mind! All of our rentals include insurance against theft & accidental damage! We want you to enjoy your instrument without any stress or worry about it being damaged.

3 Years' Worth of Rent

Three full years’ worth of your rental payments can be applied to the purchase of your rental instrument! Avoid the “is-it-better-to-buy-or-rent” decision by renting from us.

Replacement Strings

Save Hassle! If a string breaks (which will eventually happen), we do not charge labor to replace the strings, and our rentals also include 50% off all replacement strings (D’Addario).

Our Rental Basses Include:

  • Ebony fingerboard and high-quality tuning pegs
  • High quality, American-made D’Addario strings
  • Choice of either a French-style or German-style bow with real horsehair
  • Lightweight padded bag
  • Rockstop (your choice of color)
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Pop’s-brand rosin
  • Insurance against theft & accidental damage
  • Us! We’re here to support you!

Available Upright Bass Sizes

1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 5/8, 3/4

If you rent online (further down this page) we provide information to help match your child, based on your child’s height, to the proper sized bass. We also provide typical ages and grades that would use the various bass sizes. If you stop by the store to rent your instrument, we’ll make sure you get the right size.

Photo of the front of a Top Notch Rental Upright Bass
Photo of: some of Top Notch's Upright Bass selection

Select Your Bass Series

Our 1000 series entry level basses are plywood made from properly aged maple sides and back with a spruce top. Plywood basses are durable and resilient. A great choice for someone beginning to play the bass and an affordable choice for someone who travels extensively.

Our 2000 series intermediate basses are hybrids containing a mixture of plywood and aged, carved wood. The sides and back are aged and lightly flamed maple. The top is spruce and has a hand applied oil varnish. The idea behind a hybrid bass which contains some plywood panels and some carved panel is to get the durability of plywood with the sound of a carved bass. This is a great choice for any upright bass player.

Our 3000 series advanced basses are fully carved and made from 5+ year old aged, heavily-flamed maple for the sides and back with a spruce top. The basses have an antiqued oil varnish. While a beginner may not be able to discern the difference in tone between a plywood bass and a carved bass, you simply cannot beat the sound/tone of a carved bass. Carved basses can travel just fine, but you don’t want them exposed to freezing temperatures and you will want to be a bit more careful protecting them. Our 3000-series basses will help you, or your student, to stand out in your ensemble or orchestra. You cannot go wrong with one of these.

We can help you choose which series of bass is best for you based on your skill-level, ear, playing needs, and your budget.

What Does it Cost to Rent an Upright Bass?

1000 Series Bass Rental

$600year

  • The annual rate translates to a monthly cost of $50 and by paying annually you are saving almost 30% over the monthly plan.
  • Or pay quarterly $180 and save 15%.
  • Or pay monthly $70.

2000 Series Bass Rental

$900year

  • The annual rate translates to a monthly cost of $75 and by paying annually you are saving almost 30% over the monthly plan.
  • Or pay quarterly $270 and save 15%!
  • Or pay monthly $105.

3000 Series Bass Rental

$1,200year

  • Due to the value of our 3000 series basses we can only offer them as a $1200 yearly rental (which is about $100/month) and we do not offer a quarterly or monthly payment option.

NEW! Rent online...

Fill out the form below...

Simpler than a shopping cart: we chose to use a “form” instead.

We will then call you...

For your credit card information.

School Delivery

Based on what you selected in the form below, we will either deliver to your child’s school ($5) or you can stop by one of our stores to pick out a bass!
Fill out my online form.

How to Rent an Upright Bass?

  1. Previously, you had to stop by one of our conveniently-located stores in the St. Louis metropolitan area to rent your bass. Now, you can either do that or rent online!
  2. To rent online fill out the 4-part form immediately above. You can choose to have us deliver the upright bass to your child’s school for only $5 (how awesome is that!?) or you can pick it up from one of our stores. We can also ship your bass to your house, although we do have to charge for the shipping – and due to their size and weight, it’s not inexpensive to ship an upright bass.
  3. After you have filled out and submitted the form we will call you for your credit card information.
  4. And, as a “heads up”, the most difficult part of filling out the form is the very first field: figuring out what upright bass is the right size for your child. However, it’s not as hard as it sounds: next to each bass size we provide the approximate height of a child who would play that bass, as well as approximate age and grade ranges. If you aren’t sure what size – don’t worry – just select the size you think is best and mention it when we call for your credit card information.
    • What happens if your child ends up with a bass that is the wrong size for them? Simple. Just bring the bass back to our store and we’ll swap it out for a different size!
Stephen, one of our co-owners who is usually at the Maplewood location. He taught orchestra in the Parkway and Rockwood school districts for years - and is an avid bass player.

Caring for your Upright Bass

  • We include an instruction sheet with each rental but we also want to include some care tips here on our web site.
  • The bass’s bow hair should be slightly tightened before playing, and slightly loosened after playing and for storage. The bow strings are tightened by turning the screw below the frog. Your bass teacher will help you with this, and we can also show you how to do this.
  • Bass bows need a small amount of rosin applied to the hair for sound. Don’t worry: we include rosin with your rental! The amount of rosin to apply is something your bass instructor can help you with (and you’ll get a feel for how much and how often to apply over time) – and we can also get you set with the first rosin application before you leave the store.
  • Each time you are done playing your bass we recommend gently wiping the strings and the top of the bass to remove any rosin dust. And yes, we include a cleaning cloth with your rental. Gently wiping the bass helps to avoid building up rosin on the strings or the instrument itself.

Different Styles of Bass

While most of our bass rentals are for those who play stringed upright bass at school or in a local orchestra, we also rent upright basses to those who play jazz, country, bluegrass, rockabilly, and other musical genres. If you pluck 100% of the time and don’t play with metal strings, we can even get you set up with nylon strings.

Renting an Upright Bass

While we also sell new basses and provide bass repair, most of what we do here at Top Notch is to provide rental instruments to members of our community or traveling musicians. We love seeing our basses being used in local schools and orchestras in the St. Louis area. Yes, partly because that means the bass was rented from us, but more than that it means someone else is experiencing music and falling in love with the amazing, mesmerizing, and deep resonance of the bass the same way we have. Our technicians wouldn’t spend their free time building basses by hand if they didn’t love the amazing tone and resonance of these instruments!

If you have any questions about renting or buying an instrument from us, feel free to contact us.