We hope you enjoy your newly hired instrument. Please take the time to read the following guidance in order to keep the instrument in its best condition.

Instrument Size Guide

  • Double basses are available in a range of sizes to suit children of different ages and height.
  • Listed below are the recommended sizes of double bass for various age groups and heights.
  • These are rough estimates and based on typical sizes for heights for ages.
  • If you have any doubts in sizing please speak with your child’s tutor.
  • We hope you enjoy your newly hired instrument.
    • 1/4 size is suitable for those aged 7 to 9
    • 1/2 size is suitable for those aged 9 to 13 years
    • 3/4 size is suitable for those aged 13 and above

Caring for your instrument

  • Cellos and double basses are expensive and large instruments, and as such great care should be taken when moving and transporting them.
  • There will be a spike on the bottom of your instrument, which may be sharp so please take care when setting the instrument down.

After Each Use

  • We recommend that you wipe down the strings of your cello/double bass after each use to extend their life.
  • Sweat from playing causes strings to corrode and rust which eventually results in a dull tone.
  • Any excess rosin should be wiped from the body of the instrument.
  • The bow should be loosened after use in order to keep it in good condition.
  • Always carefully retract the spike and then put your cello/double bass back in its case after playing to avoid accidental damage.

Periodic Maintenance

  • Strings inevitably break and need replacing. Some shops will sell individual strings however many will only sell full sets.
  • Please ensure you buy the correct length strings for your size cello/double bass.
  • Your tutor should be able to show you how to replace strings, however many tutorials can also be found online.
  • Some shops will also offer a restringing service for a small fee.
  • If you find that the pegs are slipping or difficult to adjust then a peg compound such as Hiderpaste can be used.
  • Never use commercial cleaning products or polishes to clean your cello/double bass as they can damage the finish.
  • A damp cloth is all that is needed.


  • The hirer is responsible for any loss or damage to the instrument and as a result we recommend taking out insurance.
  • You may be able to insure the instrument under your household policy, alternatively there are many companies specialising in musical instrument insurance.

Damage and Repairs

  • In the unfortunate event that your instrument is damaged, Essex Music Service should be consulted to seek approval and advice before any repairs are undertaken.
  • The hirer is responsible for any costs incurred to repair the instrument through a result of misuse, accident or neglect.
  • We may either ask to receive the instrument back whilst it is repaired, or alternatively we may be able to recommend a repairer for you to take the instrument to.

Returning your Instrument

  • Please contact the Music Service to arrange the return of your instrument.
  • Please ensure the instrument is clean and that all accessories that came with the instrument are present to avoid any charges.
  • If any accessories are missing we encourage you to purchase these yourself before returning the instrument.
  • Included accessories provided with Violins/Violas along with their respective costs are:
    • Rosin £2.00
    • Bow £15

Lessons and Ensembles

Essex Music Service provides quality music tuition and ensembles to schools and colleges throughout Essex, covering all major orchestral and band instruments and musical styles. Playing or singing together with other people (ensemble) is one of the most exciting and enjoyable musical experiences. We provide a whole range of opportunities for young people of all ages and abilities, covering almost all instruments and voice. Many of our groups offer students the chance to tour in the UK and abroad!

If you’ve never played or sung in a group before, one of our workshops would be a great way to get started. In collaboration with our partners, we offer regular workshops in singing , jazz , strings, wind, brass, guitar, percussion and rock – sign up to our newsletter mailing list to receive details.

If you’re a bit more experienced you could join one of our groups that meet regularly, either monthly or in the school holidays.