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A question for those that [i]do not[/i] double

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Aaron Saunders, Jan 5, 2006.

  1. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    I'm coming up on my 1 year mark of playing the double bass and while I can understand those who left electric behind in favour of focusing on DB, I'm curious as to the motivations of those who started on DB and have no interest whatsoever in at least garnering some proficiency on slab.

    It seems to me that it wouldn't really require a lot of investment time-wise, or even monetarily. Hell, the reason I bought Obligatos instead of Animas is because I could finish paying off my new professional quality BG for the same cost as the Velvets. While some guys (Ed) don't use an amp that much, I mean, we ALL have one, right?

    So...why? Is it just a complete and total lack of interest?
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Well, I started on Slab, but only for about 6 months before I got a real bass. I dont' have a slab and haven't played one much for a long time, but I have gone through periods where I have.

    The slab just doesn't talk to me. I can play it and sound like a slabbist, but even funk and rock I'd rather be playing with what I want, which is the vertical member of the family. I'll let Foghorn at that one rather than rephrase.

    The AlterEgo EUB has been a grand appearance in my arsenal, as now I can keep up volume-wise with loud bands. A week from Saturday I'll be in LI with a band that does all the funk and rock stuff, from The Meters to Zeppelin, and the Basszooka got me and keeps me the gig. I never thought that folks would buy the concept of funk arco, but they love it :)

    But, back on point, it's all about the instrument for me. I can play all that I can hear on the bass, but on the slab I always feel like an imposter.
  3. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    Pretty much. Knowing what I had to do to get to the level that I am on upright I just don't have the motivation to do that on the slab. I also have no clue as how to sound like Victor Wooten, George Porter or any of the terrific bass guitarists that I have heard. I too feel like an imposter on EB. Or trombone for that matter.
  4. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    You oughta start hitting on all those singers you work with.

    A-RON - sort of like Ray. I just wasn't hearing BG anymore, the ONLY reason I played one was because I got called to do a gig and they asked for electric and WITHOUT FAIL when I was on the gig I was kicking myself for taking it. Didn't like the music, didn't like the vibe, didn't like the sound. Plus, up here, there's a MILLION cats that just sound great on BG. So not only did the instrument have nothing to offer me, I really had nothing to offer the instrument. If that's the case, why keep doing it.

    If I felt the same way about a BG that I do about my bass, I would still have one even if I never did a gig on it. I did play a Carl Thompson that got me thinking about it, but that quickly passed. I didn't pay that much for my bass!
  5. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    After a decade of not playing slab, I got back into it. Electric bass hasn't really done much for me lately, then I got turned on to Duck Dunn's playing... made me want to buy a slab, some flatwounds, and a piece of foam.
  6. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    So the fact that proficiency in electric bass will *absolutely* get you more paying work holds no meaning for you?

    I would also wager that there are more electric bassists playing their axe for a living than DB players doing the same...

    You already know how to play the thing. Artistic snobbery aside, why wouldn't you want to extend your versatility to an instrument that would require little additional practice?
  7. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Why would I want to do something that I have no interest in doing?

    If I wanted to do something that I'm not 'in to' with something I love, I'd rather sacrifice my time for large amounts of money than sacrifice my hard study and aesthetics, as well as jeopardizing my love for music, by playing stuff to which I have no connection for less miserable sums of money than I make now. I've been around that corner a few times and know quite clearly what makes me happy, what makes me miserable, and also where I can exercise patience when I want to.
  8. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Nope, it ain't what I'm hearing. "Paying work" don't mean **** to me, playing music that I want to play does.
    hmmmm. I'll wager that the percentage of people who play upright that are making a living on their axe is greater than the percentage of people who play BG that make their living playing BG. What's bigger, 3 out of 100 or 2 out of 20?

    No, I don't. At least not as well as people who ****ING LOVE playing it, right?
    And "versatility"; to me it's kind of over rated. Sonny Rollins isn't a "versatile" saxophonist, Jim Hall isn't a "versatile" guitarist, Roy Haynes isn't a "versatile" drummer. That ain't the water that floats my boat. If it is yours, more power to ya. To me, developing my own personal voice is more important. SO that if somebody calls me for a gig,it's cause they want me, not somebody who can cut the gig. Because of the way I sound, the way I'm hearing the music, how it feels when it's me in the rhythm section. Not another player who sound the way they sound.

    Or one of a million other players who could be anybody.
  9. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Not to sound too much like Francois, but since you don't have your profile filled out I don't know where you're at. My supposition is that you ain't here. Markets like NYC are a lot different from smaller markets precisely because you have the liberty to "specialize" if you will. I (in general terms) don't have to try to cover everything because I can do just fine doing what I want to do.

    Kind of.
  10. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    I chose to focus my time away from DB on Information Technology. The pay is *absolutely* much better than what I could get playing bass guitar. And I now get to play gigs that I really want to do. That holds meaning for me in my life.
  11. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    I started my musical studies on Piano and trumpet as a child and came to the bass and guitar in my early teens. Disregarding a short time in high school on the DB I have been a bass guitarist for decades and am a relative newcomer to the DB in comparison. The last two years my musical studies focus on DB technique, learning Jazz standards and Latin tunes.

    Last night I played the first Fender bass gig I've had since this past summer. I felt pretty weird for the first set and a half. I had only a half a dozen Fender gigs vs. over 100 DB gig calls in 2005. All my gig time and practice time in between has been on the DB and it took some time to reset my brain to play the Fender again. By the end of the gig I was my usual old Fender self again.

    Doubling on the same gig is tough for me. I've done it a bit and don't really like it. I think it's hard for me to keep up both sets of chops. I approach each very differently in what I play and how I play. The instruments occupy a very different sonic space and function very differently in a groove. I feel physically different when I play either instrument and my movement has to be very different in response.

    I played last nights 70's funk thing on an old Jazz bass because it just doesn't feel or sound right on the DB. I played some rock gigs last year on an old P bass with flatwounds that was just perfect for the vibe. Many other gig calls I get I can use the DB in unusual settings (like rock and blues gigs) and it works really well. I have a Baby Bass that is the perfect voice for Latin and I dabble in that as well.

    My thinking at this point is I try to choose the right tool for the job no different than using the right chisel or scraper for the work I'm doing in the shop. Right now the DB speaks to me the most and I prefer to play it over other choices but I can find my voice in the Fenders or the Baby Bass quickly enough to feel authentic when I play.
  12. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    I started on DB and had zero interest in BG for several years. In the past year or so, however, I have begun to value some of the things that an electric bass does well. So I recently bought a new BG, and using it has been a blast. The people I play with enjoy it as an occasional change of pace, on a funk or Latin chart for example.

    Since getting more seriously into BG, my DB playing has changed. I try to help the groove sound as laid back as possible now. That's something I never really understood before.
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Let me clarify: I paid my rent for quite a few years playing slab to support my jazz piano habit, which was what moved me. Once I found DB, I dropped everything to study it exclusively. At one point it occurred to me that I had never given the slab a real shot at being an artistic fulfillment rather than a rent machine (which required no practice whatsoever). I thought maybe if I bought a slab that was a *real instrument* rather than some music store convenience, it might speak to me. So, long story short, I bought a beautiful Ken Smith BSR6P axe, which played like a dream and looked gorgeous. I sat it on a stand next to my double bass in my music room , where my originals group rehearsed. With each new tune that was brought in and rehearsed, I always had the option of choosing either. After usually trying both for several years on each tune, I ended up using the beautiful plank on - read 'em - *0 tunes*. It *absolutely* didn't speak to me at all, and it wasn't the fault of the instrument, either...it just *absolutely* wasn't the sound I was hearing.

    So, I sold it and a bunch of other stuff to help me be able to afford my LaScala, which I *absolutely* love. :)
  14. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    I play 99.9% DB. I keep an EB around for teaching. I do occasionally get calls for porkchop. I am pretty picky about what gigs I will take though. The ones that I like to do are r&b and blues (very plentiful in Chitown). Laying down a groove and locking with a drummer in that context is a ton of fun. You get crowds steppin' to r&b. Nothing like people really digging and dancing to the groove you are laying down.
  15. For me, it's easy. There isn't much room in an orchestra for it. I generally only play classical, so there's never been a need for bass guitar.

    I had one for about a year when I was younger. I had really wanted it, but after I got it I realized that it wasn't nearly as fun or exciting as playing the real thing.
  16. Had one once . . . . .
  17. How is it "artistic snobbery" when I simply dislike the sound and the feel for what it is?
    I can only name one slab player that knows how to lay down 4 and make it swing. (Not that I listen a whole lot)
  18. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    Man, I don't know how you guys survive in your world.

    I started out as a drummer. I picked up guitar in middle school because I was foolish enough to think that a drummer couldn't sing, and I wanted to sing in a band. I picked up bass in high school because the jazz band needed a bassist. Toward the end of high school and beginning of college, I picked up some piano. Throughout college, I've studied and played all the classical instruments in order to teach, which is what I do now.

    Long story short. Every single one of those instruments helps me to become a better player on every single other instrument. I find the times when I try to "specialize" on one instrument to be the times when I grow the least on that instrument. Now granted, if I'm trying to split time between 15 instruments, I'm not going to get anywhere. But when I hit three hard - like guitar, drums, and bass... ah, that's when I grow by leaps and bounds. The drum beat transfers over to the bass, the new bass line inspires a new guitar style, the new guitar style modifies the original drum beat... rinse and repeat.

    The gigs I get I get only because I've done this. I can play drums and sit in the pocket with the bassist better than most drummers. Why? Because later in the day, I'm playing a bass gig with a big band. And in that gig, I lay down the 4 better than most bass players (especially electric bassists), because I was just sitting where the drummer was. True, a specialist drummer will likely be technically stronger than I am (especially in complex fills), but I promise that I will groove just as well, if not better. By the end of the day, I have perspectives that no specialist can ever fully appreciate.

    It's those perspectives that allow me to create my "unique style", but it's also these perspectives that let me sit in with almost any group. And it's these perspectives that let me get those gigs again and again and again. Heck, it's the time I've spent studying cello and DB that get me jazz gigs that most of the time go to DB players. I can fake a great upright tone - heck, I can even fake an arco that would make a DB player laugh, but the trumpet player leading the band can't tell the difference. He just knows that I can groove, and he can still throw a funk piece at me without worrying about whether it's possible (or if it will sound good) on DB.

    I just don't get the specializing thing. I don't love playing the bass. I love playing music. I don't love performing rock music or classical music or jazz music. I love performing music. I don't strive to be a better guitarist. I strive to be a better musician. And if that means I play Coltraine or Bach or Cage or McCartney or Puccini or Chopin, so be it.

    I don't say "I'm a bassist" or "I'm a singer" or "I'm a composer," folks, because I'm not really any of those things. I'm a musician. Period.
  19. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Beware the man with one gun.
  20. The fact that some who disagree with you about BG haven't spent as much time on their bios does not render them non-musicians.