Transporting the bass in a big city

Discussion in 'Accessories [DB]' started by hepcatbassist, Aug 1, 2013.


  1. hepcatbassist

    hepcatbassist

    Joined:
    May 8, 2013
    Location:
    Des Moines
    Recently I've been in Paris for a vacation, and while riding the crowded subways I often ask myself how I would be able to get to gigs in a big city with my double bass. Usually in my car I pack a stool, amp, fake books, and a stand - and of course, my bass. I'm wondering how this could be managed in a city like New York, where I've seen a lot of walkers or subway-riders. Any tips?
  2. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 1999
    Media:
    30
    Albums:
    2
    Location:
    NYC
    Disclosures:
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I take the subway all the time. The bus less often. You get light - dump the Manhasset for a lightweight folding stand (if you need one), dump the hi-end audio cab for a lightweight one (like a GK), use a stool at the club or play standing and learn more tunes. And learn to hear your way through tunes you don't know.
    Personally, I don't generally use an amp on gigs unless it's outdoors (and there's no PA), so that's one less thing to carry. Most of the first and second tier venues have drum kits, a PA and amplifiers, so usually you only have to cart stuff for restaurant gigs and club date/casuals.
  3. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 1999
    Media:
    30
    Albums:
    2
    Location:
    NYC
    Disclosures:
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Oh, and a wheel for the bass....
  4. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Location:
    NYC, Inwood.
    Ditto for what Ed said. Wheel, no amp, no stool, and let the horn player bring the fake book.
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  6. DoubleMIDI

    DoubleMIDI

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    Location:
    Germany, Nordrhein-Westfalen
    But with the horn players book you have to transpose!
    Better let the piano or guitar player bring the book...
  7. hepcatbassist

    hepcatbassist

    Joined:
    May 8, 2013
    Location:
    Des Moines
    Even with all the books and things left behind, it still seems like a challenge to maneuver the bass through a subway. Maybe I just need to stop being a girl and lift some weights!
  8. hypapanuse

    hypapanuse

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2013
    OMG This is such a simple problem. Always bring at least two friends along. Problem solved!
  9. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Location:
    NYC, Inwood.
    Carrying a bass on the subway is a challenge; you learn how to do it. I've done it since '79.
  10. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 1999
    Media:
    30
    Albums:
    2
    Location:
    NYC
    Disclosures:
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    You become an expert in planning your trip around cross platform transfers :)
  11. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 1999
    Media:
    30
    Albums:
    2
    Location:
    NYC
    Disclosures:
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Those that do use the Real Book tend to transpose from the C book. It's generally only the "raw recruits" that bring an Eb or Bb book...
  12. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Location:
    NYC, Inwood.
    ......and you develop a good memory for where escalators/elevators have been installed.
  13. dperrott

    dperrott

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2005
    Location:
    NYC
    If you don't have to take an amp, then it isn't so bad. A lot of places have amps. If I have to take an amp, then I drive. Some guys take cabs, but you have to have the neck hang out of the car. I did that once and that was enough for me.
  14. robobass

    robobass

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2005
    Location:
    Cologne, Germany
    Disclosures:
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    I was in NYC from '89 to '02. I started out using a wheel, but after awhile found it unpractical. With a wheel you often couldn't stand the bass upright in a train, and had clearance problems in some of the walkways and stairs. Better to get your strap positioned properly, even if that means paying to have a few extra loops sewn into your bag. I often carried an amp as well. Instead of the "Book" I had a little notebook of a few tunes I might need to play but didn't know perfectly. One thing about that scene is that you stay extremely fit. Even when I drove, it meant parking in front of the club and unloading as quickly as possible to avoid a $100 ticket, then finding parking maybe six blocks away, and running full out back to the club to not miss the downbeat. Then the reverse after the gig. I was a buff Italian God in those years! Only once did I damage my bass in all that time when I dropped the bridge running into a train. I was right by David Gage and he fixed it in minutes and I wasn't even late to rehearsal.
  15. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Location:
    NYC, Inwood.
    My routine: down the steps to the platform; wheel out, endpin in w/ spike exposed-no slipping; if seats at either end are available, I sit; if not, I stand. If it's crowded, I face the bridge towards me, and I'm not shy about telling people to pay attention and hold on to something so they don't bump the bass. I'll do a video one of these days. Also, I leave early enough to allow time for MTA problems and to avoid having to hurry.
  16. dperrott

    dperrott

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2005
    Location:
    NYC
    I personally have only used the kolstein stroller. I think it makes moving it so much easier. I guess the KC stroller would be good too. First off its easier to wheel, since the center of balance is lower. With the stroller the bass isn't as tall as the single wheel. Since the end pin is still in, there is no need to take off the wheel at any time.
  17. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Location:
    NYC, Inwood.
    I've tried the two wheeled strollers and just couldn't get used to them. With two wheels, you have to follow the bass; one wheel enables you to tilt and turn easily when negotiating crowded sidewalks. To each his own, although I'm sure I can outmaneuver any stroller user any day.
  18. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago
    I agree. All I've ever used and it's 35 years old now and still going. My only wish is that the wheels were an inch larger for those nasty sidewalk cracks...
  19. hepcatbassist

    hepcatbassist

    Joined:
    May 8, 2013
    Location:
    Des Moines
    I've had better luck with wheels. Good to know that I won't end up an old pot-bellied jazz musican because of hauling my bass around!
  20. robobass

    robobass

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2005
    Location:
    Cologne, Germany
    Disclosures:
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    I would say that the old guard of top jazz bassists look more fit and healthy in general than the average person in their age class. It may be down to the exercise from schlepping, or maybe they just don't have the time or money to overeat?

    On the wheel, I see I am outvoted. I would just say that no bass bags are well designed in the strap department. I had a bag from Ideal which I called my "Josef Mengele Bag", because the strap mounting points made the bass absolute torture to carry. By adding some extra handles and repositioning the strap attachments on my Moo, I got to a point where I found shoulder carrying much more convenient than using a wheel, and I never looked back. Your mileage will vary, of course, but a bit of experimentation might be worthwhile.
  21. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 1999
    Media:
    30
    Albums:
    2
    Location:
    NYC
    Disclosures:
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    The shoulder straps on the Lemur are comfortable and seem sturdy, but there's no way I can walk with the bass like that without the bottom bout hitting me in the back of the legs. It's great for stair climbing; I live on the 6th floor of my building and, when the elevator was out, the shoulder straps were PERFECT for climbing up....

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