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Anyone around here play upright bass?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by MistaMarko, Feb 25, 2006.

  1. MistaMarko


    Feb 3, 2006
    I've always wondered how much different it is than electric bass. If anyone plays these well, can you please tell me the difference? Are they harder? Easier? I've never known much about them.
  2. Geezerman


    Nov 28, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    You should probably post it in the upright bass forum.

    Totally diffrent animal IMO
  3. I agree. Other than the tuning it is a totally different animal. No frets, higher action, thicker strings, different fingerings, playing arco...

    I'd say they're physically harder to play than electric, by a long shot.
  4. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Completely different monsters, but playing electric will make the transition to doghouse much easier than jumping in cold turkey. I did it a couple years ago.
  5. ArwinH

    ArwinH run rabbit run

    Dec 1, 2005
    Southern California
    I jsut started upright this year, I play with two jazz bands and an orchestra. Completely different animal, to me.......no real comparison.
  6. Rico_2212


    Jul 6, 2004
    Dietzenbach, Germany
    Peavey Amps Club #64
    You can't really go in with the idea that you can do anything on the upright that you can do on the electric. That' a recipe for frustration. Your best bet would be to find a teacher or at the very least go and watch as many players as possible. I just got my upright in December and I imagine that it will take a while before I don't feel like a complete a$$ with it.
  7. I actually play upright more than electric (but hang out on this side more often).

    Like said before, two different animals. There are very few people that can play both at very high levels (ex Patitucci). Absolutely different techniques. Tuning is the same.. Knowing electric does make it marginally easier just because you already know the intervals between notes and such.

    Only correlation between eletric and upright is if you play unlined fretless. Not because both of them dont have frets. Mainly because with unlined fretless you need to become more reliant on your ear. Using your ear on upright I would say is 50% of your playing. On fretless electric bass, proper intonation has alot to do with the size of you hand. On upright bass, proper intonation is effected by your whole physical structure. The size of your hands, your height, arm length, even how big your stomach is changes how you have to stand to be able to reach upper positions.

    Upright is a GREAT instrument. I absolutely love playing jazz on it. There is just something about an acoustic instrument that large vibrating against your body (upright players know what I'm talking about) that literally makes you feel the music. Not knocking electric because I love electric too. But they are two different feelings. Hittin 2 & 4 on upright (ala Ray Brown) is alot different than electric.

    Don't expect to play upright any good right out of the box. I've been playing upright SERIOUSLY since 1998 its been just within the last couple years that I've felt comfortable enough to gig regularly on it without bringing my electric as a back up if I get too tired or if my intonation is really sucking. Learning upright, though, has brought me a LOAD of new gigs that I would have never have gotten if I just played electric (check out my calendar at http://www.myspace.com/bobbykokinos ) and new ones are being added weekly.

    It can a very rewarding instrument, financially and personally. But, be prepared to put ALOT of time in.
  8. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    I've played one for about 3 years.
    for me, it's my second instrument.
    A pain in the ass to carry around a 3/4 upright to gigs.
    I like playing it, but I'am still better electric player, than acoustic.
    Looking for a good EUB.
    There fun with acoustic instruments.
  9. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    I play a short-scale EUB, which is obviously NOT the same as playing a 3/4 doghouse, but some of the basics are the same - plucking, position/height of bass, etc.

    As others have said, it's a completely different animal, but it is quite fun to learn. I'm a beginner at it, myself.
  10. ArwinH

    ArwinH run rabbit run

    Dec 1, 2005
    Southern California
    I think BobbyKokinos and Mojo-Man Hit the nail Right on the head!

    I'm definitly much better at electric than upright right now. And it's true very few doublers show good musicianship let alone virtuosity on both intruments. Some people pull it off though. I also play lined fretless, and they are very very very different animals, I rely on my eyes and ears to get intonation on the fretless.....and I'm usually good with intonation on electric, no complaints.

    I can't even compare the fretless electric to playing upright, and I even play a very acoustic sounding fretless. I approach intonation on upright solely by ear, I'm usually reading charts anyway. I have three markers on the bass I use at rehearsals, but I never use them, they're on for another player. I can be very off on acoustic when I first hit the target note, but I just listen and adjust, that's really the ket to the db in terms of intonation.

    Also, you're whole body affects the playability of the instrument. I have to make sure I'm holding the doghouse at the right angle, with the endpin seated at the correct height, with my elbow up at the 90, and on my fingertips....and I'm not even talking about thumb position here! I find it really hard to get good intonation in thumb position, but I'm still learning the rops in acoustic. I also really love playing jazz on the acoustic, It becomes a part of the song just underneath and supporting everybody, and also you kind of get to approaching it like a big drum sometimes....when you're walking and nailing the 2 and the four like Bobby said. It's definitely a different feel when you swing, then it REALLY becomes just a big drum to me......it's that whole "any ole go to hell note" thing.

    I think Bobby's last line sums it up pretty well.
  11. mheintz


    Nov 18, 2004
    That's funny. Me too. I have a great upright and probably won't buy another, so my gear lust draws me to this side of the forums.

    To second (or third) what everyone else said, they are two different beasts. However, (and this is probably just my bias) a decent DB player could probably pick up a fretted electric bass, play it for a couple months and fool a whole lot of people into thinking that they were an average electric player. Then again, maybe I've forgotten how hard it was to learn electric. I do think that the reverse isn't true. I found the learning curve on the DB much higher initially, particularly if you want to enjoy what I consider the best part of the double bass... playing arco.