Upright Bass Fans? Players? Let's hang

I just stumbled upon this thread and had to say that the progression of my love of bass started with listening to classical cello with my mum, then walking lines on double bass, and eventually onto more contemporary electric bass, and yet it never even occurred to me to learn cello or double bass - maybe it was the size that put me off - but now I’ve read this I’m thinking maybe in a year or so I’ll give it a go, and then perhaps my dream of sitting in with a trio in a jazz club will come true.

Thanks for the inspiration, information and advice.

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Killer.
May your bass dreams come true!

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I spent most of yesterday in my workshop with CDs of Miles Davis and Stan Getz playing full blast. I was really tuning in to the bass and found myself tapping my plucking fingers on the workbench to the tempo.

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OK, I’m ready for my own–this upright I’m borrowing has some issues and I took it to a Luthier who was unable to fix. I don’t want the entire bass bar to collapse in my possession. SO, Josh, you recommended finding a bass player in your area to help you buy a bass and, uh, well, you’re kinda in my area. So if you or anyone in the SF bay area hear of a good 3/4 upright for sale in the $2000 range (or less, if it’s awesome) PLEASE LET ME KNOW! (I’m in Mendo, but willing to drive). THANKS!

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I don’t have my finger on the pulse for uprights, but I’ll let you know if I come across anything! I’d check Craigslist, music stores, and maybe this Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/280608835342614/

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Hey @Gio I was just about to start a similar thread, but wisely did a search first (I wish everyone would do that), and discovered this thread.

As most of you know, I’ve been playing fretless bass for the past few months, and now I have acquired an electric upright bass (EUB). The transition is much easier since I’m already used to fretless playing.

Discover Double Bass is a great place to learn to play the upright. They offer several courses for different interests and different levels of skill. I got a chuckle when I saw one course entitled “Beginner to Bandstand”.
I’m taking the bowing course, because I want to learn to play arco as well as pizzicato.
I also joined a double bass facebook group, but was practically tarred and feathered when I introduced myself as an electric bass player. Snobby group of people, those DB players are :rofl: .
Anyway, thanks @Gio for starting this thread. Upright bass players, lets hang!

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That’s the one I just got. I’m no expert, so take my opinion for what it’s worth…

So far, I love it! I’m transitioning over from fretless bass guitar, so that’s one less hurdle for me.

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@Gio I agree that the DB sounds way different than the EUB. However, I disagree with your comment regarding turning an electric bass sideways. My Ibanez UB840 EUB has a very distinctively different sound from my fretless bass. It’s deeper and growlier (if that’s even a word). I can definitely tell the difference when I switch from one to the other.
If I had a bigger vehicle, a bigger music room, and about $5k extra to spend, yes I would have gone with the DB. But I don’t, so I didn’t.

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And then there’s this…

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@PamPurrs

That literally is a physical representation of a musical monster!

All this talk is making me want to play on the double bass more :slight_smile:

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Absolutely.
I’m so glad you got into the electric upright world!
It certainly gets the growl and the sound of the bigger, longer scale strings, and it has more body and resonance than a fretless.
For sure.

I may have been a touch (lot) flippant in my “turn an electric bass sideways” comment. It’s a huge continuum from electric bass to acoustic upright bass, and where your instrument - or any instrument - fits into that spectrum is going to depend a lot on the quality/type/etc.

I’m just happy to have someone to hang out with in the upright bass thread! (And did I see over on the GAS thread that @DaveT is going to be joining us soon?? Hmmmm???)

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Ha! It will certainly happen eventually. I have my hands full at the moment going through the course with both a 4 string Fender PJ and a 5 string Ibanez multiscale. I switch back and forth from lesson to lesson and it takes me a bit to adjust and not fret a note on the 4-string into that giant cavern between the strings. I can’t imagine adding another muscle memory challenge until I’ve at least finished the course and can nail more of the fast speeds.

Reading about that Ampeg Baby Bass, it seems to have less of the sustain and overtones that I like and more of a percussive sound. It appears to be very popular for Latin, Afro-Cuban music, which I like but may not dedicate floor space to for such a specialty instrument. It has a fascinating history though.

I like the sound of the Ibanez SRH500F with the hollow body and the piezo pickup, which I guess is a little more like an upright turned horizontally. I’ll have to compare the sound of that to the longer scales for fun.

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Hollow bodies have a great sound to them.

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I do like the sound in that Gretsch video. I’m having trouble understanding how the hollow body effects the sound when it only has magnetic pickups on the string motion. I don’t see how it picks up any cavity sound.

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I was really interested in double bass or even cello but after I’ve seen the prices it’s just not something that’s viable in my near to mid future. The option to go for a rent model exists but then again I think I would just be comfortable with trying it out - once I decided to play I would want to own the instrument…

The luthier lady I visited in cologne (and we have many luthiers here due to cologne philharmony and stuff like that. I was asotunded how packed she was with work) has a deal to rent violins for 20€ each month and after 2 years you can pay the 400€ difference to pay off the violin you rented and practiced on. That’s a pretty sweet deal but decent (beginner) violins start at 600€/$ - decent double basses are at least 1000€… Even if I pay off parts by a monthly rental fee I don’t see me doing that.

And then there’s also my girlfriend who is okay with me spending money but I guess at some point space will also be an issue.

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Sooo, the Gretsch 5440 has 3 Pups, an acoustic one on the inside to get the resonance. The switch flips between the external Pups, the internal pup or blend. The knobs set the levels of the external pups. There doesn’t appear to be any way to set the level on the interior pup relative to the exterior.

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Space is an issue for me as well, but I think if it came down to it, if I had the money to spend on a DB I would figure it out.

Meanwhile the EUB fits the bill and takes up minimal space.

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Yep, you beat me to answering it yourself :slight_smile:

The minor effect would be the same as any tonewood resonance effect on a bass - the body resonation would transmit back into the strings and change tone slightly.

The major effect comes from the piezo pickup in the body :slight_smile:

I do hear they are a pain live though, for feedback.

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Space for a double bass is certainly a thing, but when you get one, you just make room for it - something can be shifted out of the way to accommodate it. Hell, I can even fit one in my music room and that’s a small room along with all my other crap in there :slight_smile:

I was playing mine last night and noticed something - I have a pickup that slides between the gaps of the wooden bridge. I say slides, but it’s more like I have to put a fair bit of pressure on it to get it between the wood. And I’ve noticed that if it’s not in the perfect position, the amplification isn’t as pronounced. I think I’ve got it right now but I’d be interested to know what other pickups everyone uses for their double bass? I’m pretty sure mine could be a better one as I’ve only got to touch/move mine slightly and I get a different noise level.

This is what it looks like in position -

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I’ve seen ones that have multiple round bits on the end where it would presumably be placed in different areas on the bridge? Considering the one I got was about £100, I’d rather learn from you guys before experimenting with new expensive ones!

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Some GAS for all you Double Bass fans or inspiration


Jamie
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