Ampeg Baby Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by PolkaHero, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. PolkaHero


    Jan 5, 2002
    Not sure if this is the right forum, but I heard somebody playing one of these this weekend and thought it sounded just like an upright. Seemed to have more of an authentic upright tone than alot of modern electric upright models I've heard. Anybody play one of these or know how available they are on the used market?
  2. Jazzman


    Nov 26, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    Azola makes RI's of them. Most people will agree these basses are pretty useless unless you play island/calypso music...otherwise just get an upright.

    Do a search in the electric upright forum.
  3. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    If you can find one used and in good shape, you'll probably pay a lot of money for it.

    My brother-in-law had one for quite a while, and I played it a little. I wouldn't say it sounds like a real upright bass, but it does have a certain percussive aspect to it which is upright-like.
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    We will? I would agree that you probably wouldn't play classical on one, but as a jazz bass they're fine. People say that they're too deep and dark to play anything but Latin and calypso, but I don't hear it. Joe B Mauldin of the Crickets uses one and I've played it and it's as bright as you want it to be.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    I have had some baby bass gas lately , their are several builders making some pretty hot copies. :cool:
  6. GM60466


    May 20, 2006
    Land of Lakland
    There is a very well know dealer in Nashville who has one on his site. I think it is priced around $2500.

  7. Jazzman


    Nov 26, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    If you show up to a jazz gig with a baby bass, you will get laughed at. First of all, it sounds like an EUB, not a least in my experiences, this would be a big problem. It also looks foolish, nobody will take you seriously - I have seen this type of thing at open jams. (I am talking old school bop - it may fly with some more modern stuff.)

    On top of that, with the two I have used, the body doesn't respond well to your fingers. It is hard to get the phrasing to feel right. A double bass has a certain feel when you dig in, which is due to the top don't get that with a baby bass. The mechanical properties of a maple bridge probably contribute to this also. The whole playing style feels different to me, which changes your playing style.

    I guess you would have to approach it as an EUB instead of a double bass substitute or alternative.
  8. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Dude, what??? :confused:

    So you think showing up to a jazz gig with an EUB will get you laughed at? Some of the most exciting professional Latin jazz shows I've been to (and Latin jazz is a major thing for me) have featured a bassist playing an EUB, and often enough even an Ampeg.

    Maybe you didn't like the Ampeg for your tastes, but to say somebody would be laughed at for playing one... THAT is a joke. I've seen some real-deal touring pros using them in serious headlining shows.
    Danomatic72 likes this.
  9. Another great bass to try if you're on a tighter budget and want that upright-type (not Jaco-type) sound is a Godin A4 fretless.


    I had one, but sold it to my best friend (I'm just not a fretless guy). I could get a fantastic upright-type tone out of it, and it had a jazz-style neck, so it was really easy to play. They're available for under $600 used. Really lightweight, too, since they are semi-hollow. Fun bass. I miss it.
  10. Ed Goode

    Ed Goode Jersey to Georgia Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Maybe I'm just having a bad day or something, but what are you talking about :confused: I played for years with a fairly high profile NJ/NY area big band using a Baby Bass and never heard so much as a snicker.....

    The original Baby Bass and most subsequent copies are used regularly in significant latin jazz groups and are highly sought after by the players. Additionally, real hard core professional jazz musicians wouldn't care if you came in with a 2x4 strung with chicken wire, as long as you can play.

    Of course, there are some purists that only want to accept a true DB for certain settings, just like there are some purists that only want to accept a 4 string Fender slab. But in any musical situation, real professionals are only concerned about the end result product (your sound, groove, swing, feel), not how that product is delivered ...... :cool:
    Danomatic72 likes this.
  11. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    This part of the post bugged me too. All of that sounds like a problem with the PLAYER, not the bass. If an instrument requires subtle ("a certain feel") adjustments to your playing style, you either make those adjustments or you decide that you don't want to. It's about you, not the instrument. On a more exaggerated level, bass guitars were originally a practicality-based compromise against DBs- many people thought bass guitars were laughable, and that you could never bring them to a jazz gig. Some people found it worthwhile, however, to learn how to get the most out of them. ;)

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    I would like a Greenburst baby bass copy like some of the carved azola copies. :bassist:
  13. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    I just got a fretless Tacoma Thunderchief 4 string and put some flats on it. It sounds fine and very upright-like.
  14. jamiefoxer


    Dec 2, 2005
    THANK said exactly what I wanted to say. I've seen some of the best in the latin-jazz world perfectly at home playing on EUBs or Ampeg Baby basses, even in "walking" bass settings. Most salsa players like to emphasize the sweetened, darkened, boomy "ping-bom" sound for salsa...but that doesn't mean you can't tweak a little more treble and a little less boom on the tone and get a more earthy "thump". Besides, when you're playing in a group, what matters is just groove.

    Sure, I could play jazz on my Yamaha Beech Custom drumset, which is designed and set up to sound like a funk, afro-cuban drumset...and it would be fine...OR...I could go with a three-tom traditional setup with calf-skins, deeply tuned, and large 22-inch ride cymbals with rivets...and sound more "authentic" as a jazz drummer. Bottom line...who is REALLY gonna care in the audience, except the 2 or 3 purists who can only appreciate a jazz drummer if he's playing on the second setup I highlighted?

    Tell it to John Lee, who played electric bass on Dizzy Gillespie's "Night in London Recital hall" DVD...they were playing a lot of jazz that upright, double-bass in sight...or tell it to Jaco...or tell it to Buddy Rich, who on the last DVDs he made (Channel One Suite, the Lost west Side tapes) had an electric bassist playing the entire show. Did anyone question the authenticity of Gillespie's or Rich's band because they had an electric bassist?

    If you're rich, and you want to have perfect purist sound, buy yourself all three (an electric, an EUB, and a double-bass). I would stick with electric for cheapness sake...but the reason I want to get an ampeg is because I want to learn to play a fretless upright...otherwise, I'd stick with electric basses...cheaper, more versatile, easier to play.

    Music is about trying new things, not purity.
    SLTuba and Danomatic72 like this.

Share This Page