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Attention All Doublers!!!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by NJL, Dec 2, 2004.

  1. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    This is my first thread in the DB side of TB. I have done a few
    searches and have yet to find an answer. Here's the deal:

    I play an EUB (www.messenger.com) with a 41.5" scale and DB strings.
    I have yet to ID the strings, but obviously they have a lot more tension
    than my Fender. Recently I have been playing a lot more EUB than the slab.
    I really don't have a problem with this, in fact I really enjoy it. I have learned a lot playing my puppy crate. I don't know what my string height is (don't have a ruler handy), but my teacher (a symphony bassist) says that I have it set just right (in case you are wondering why I just didn't ask him - he doesn't play slab and I haven't had a lesson in a few weeks due to money, but plan to start up with him in a couple of weeks).

    My main question is:

    For those of you who double, how do you have your slab action set up and do you use higher gauge/tension strings? When I play, it just feels like my strings just don't have much tension anymore (duh).

    On my Fender Jazz, I have DR Low-Beams SS 45-105's right now with the action set higher than I used to play. The gigs that I usually play on slab are Reggae, Funk, R and B/Motown and Rock. I do occasionally slap, but not through entire tune.

    In realizing that the DB and EB are very different instruments, when it comes to my EB, should I set up that action up high and use higher tension strings - or - just deal with the fact that I need to re-learn how to play the EB - BTW, NOW I KNOW WHY YOU GUYS CALL THE EB THE TOYBASS!!!!! :D In my hands, it's starting to feel like a toy (not that I'm some monster on either basses).

    BTW, the reason I posted this here, and not in BG, is because I wanted the perspective from someone who's "been there and done that" and plays the DB more than the slab.

    Also, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Chris for letting me post here.... :D ;) ;)
  2. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    HEY!! Get back up here!!!!

    What did we tell you about wandering!!!!


    Wow, it's nice down here....

    *backs away slowly*
  3. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Well, I had to pull some strings (no pun intended) and call an emergency meeting of the castle moat council (some of whom I now owe a favor or two), but for you, it was worth it.

    I don't slab anymore since I sold my Smith 6, but when I had it I liked it a lot better set up with thick strings and with the action jacked up higher than most BGers like. Before I adjusted the setup, I always felt like a bull in a china shop, and I was always digging too hard and making the strings rattle. A deeper question, though, is what kind of sound are you hearing that you want to produce on BG? If it's a sound most easily produced by low action and a light touch, I'd follow that, whereas if it's the more physical thump that you get with high action, I'd go that way. We doghousers tend to set up our axes based on the sound we're going for, and I think that good players of all instruments do the same once they start hearing a particular sound or tone as their "voice". Follow your heart and your ear, and they'll lead you to the promised land if you listen.
  4. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    Thanks for the advice, Chris!

  5. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I do the same as Chris, and just set each instrument (no matter what it is) for the best tone. I've always tended to play EB with a pretty stiff attack...I like the "bark" that results, so my action is a little high. I've been told by other URB players that my action on my big basses are a little low for their tastes, so maybe I'm meeting in the middle somewhere. I feel like I'm really digging into my URB as well, and my volume is as loud as it needs to be for my current gigs.

    I have lots more problems with my left hand mechanics when I double, than with my right...I wanna squeeze the life out of that little Jazz-bass size neck...
  6. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    My slabs of Smith are all set up with a nearly flat neck, medium/light guage strings, and an action so low that it nearly plays itself.
  7. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    My URB action is medium low. On the URB I like the E low, and the rest are in the middle. I have small hands so when my E is set to high the left hand really doesn't deal with it well. Plus the E sings with a light touch, or I get the rattle I really want when I dig in. But I have have played basses with lower action.

    On the Fretless Jazz bass I have the action is pretty high. I like to play near the neck (big phat tone). I usually keep the g low because I do enjoy the buzzing when I really dig in for solos. On slab I like to elminate as much string noise as possible. Now that I think of it, I am really looking for the upright sound on my slab. Guess that is why I don't really play it much anymore.
  8. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    I have been playing DAddario Chromes on my Stingray 5. The feel of the strings is more DB like than most electric strings. However, I have sworn off slapping for the time being. I was never very good at it in the first place.
  9. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    The thing that hear from most guys who seriously double (and don't just have an electric to do gigs on when they get the call) is that they spend as much time PRACTICING on each instrument. Just cause you got a tuba doesn't mean you get to stop practicing trumpet.
  10. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    +1. Although this should go without saying. I was lucky enough to have a mentor in college that drilled this into me. The idea was that be be best you can be on both or your technique and reputation will suffer for it.
  11. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    funny, my main axe is trumpet, but I do refuse to play tuba.

    Ed, you raise a good point - yes, I have been neglecting my slab (practice my horn and and EUB much more) lately.

    so, Ed, would you be in the realm of saying "practice, set up and play the EB for what it is, an EB -and- practice and play the DB for what it is"? just curious....

  12. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Well, I don't play electric. But cats I hear like Tim Lefevre, JP, James Genus, Cliff Schmitt, Mike Pope etc. don't appear to set up their electric basses as anything other than electric basses. The only one I've actually played was Cliff's J bass, it was set up pretty much like a regular e-bass. I've seen Mike and Tim's basses pretty close up, again it doesn't LOOK like there are heavier gauge strings, higher action etc.
  13. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    interesting - point taken

  14. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    anyone else?

  15. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I agree with Ed. My practice time on DB and EB is equal. Zero. :meh:

    All of the doublers I know (myself included) have their slabs set up low and easy, just like their fulltime slab brethren.

    GHS Boomers on a MIM Jazz, in my case.
  16. I say they're 2 different animals- mine are both set up low, but definitely practice both. I might actually be good if I did.
  17. dhosek


    May 25, 2000
    Los Angeles, CA
    DB and BG are different instruments. If I want to play DB, I PLAY DB. If I want to play BG, I PLAY BG. When I play tuba, I don't try to make it feel like I'm playing DB, why would I do that to my BG?
  18. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    I have most of my my EBs setup with medium action and flats, and lowish string height on my DB [my bass has a 43” string length, which makes the strings a little tighter, so I have my strings low to compensate a bit] and EUBs. As others have said already, my setups have nothing to do with one another other than to get the sounds and feel that I like on either one; you just have to put in the practice time on both.