Some people think that you can play mariachi with an acoustic base. So can you?
In truth the answer is no.
Without the guitarron, the ensemble loses that punch and lacks the characteristic mariachi fat low-mids. I don’t know if you’ve ever gotten to play or mess with a guitarron, but their entire design is based on sound projection. Unlike a well constructed double bass that will last decades and even hundreds of years, the tension on the guitarron is usually so high that even the highest-end, well-maintained instruments will begin to warp after a decade or 2. Also, the tuning is designed to be played in octaves unlike the double bass. I will say though: they are so much fun to play! That is, after you get over the blisters you will immediately get…
Now, you CAN play double bass with a mariachi ensemble – in the same sense that you can play electric bass in a dixieland ensemble or tuba in a rock band or big band. It’s possible but it’s not going to sound right, whatever that may mean. In all honesty, the general population will probably not even notice, especially if your main audience is non-hispanics.
Btw, there are plenty of Mexican genres that utilize the double bass (more specifically, the rustic cousin called the tololoche) mostly from the Northern parts of Mexico.
And to answer your last question, nope. No self respecting professional group would do that.
Either way, I’ve rambled on way too much. Hope this helps and feel free to PM me if you have any questions regarding this stuff. I do this for a living and I love to educate people who are willing to learn about my beautiful culture!