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Baby Bass ergonomics

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by morebass!, Feb 21, 2021.


  1. morebass!

    morebass! I'm all ears Supporting Member

    May 31, 2002
    Madison WI
    Hi bass brothers and sisters. I'm considering getting a baby bass (KK brand) and am wondering about how one would hold it. There's no bout extension or stand, and in the videos I've watched it looks like people (e.g. Ed Friedland) generally hold it up with their left hand. I play a regular upright bass and can't imagine having to do that for very long. Is there a trick to it? Are the baby basses so much lighter that holding it up with the left hand works? The bass in question is at some distance from me so it's not really a "try before you buy" situation. I'd love to hear from some experienced baby bass players on how this works.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2021
  2. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    I worked with a Kolstein Travel Bass, which has narrow upper bouts similar to some of the baby basses out there, I think. I found I had to nestle it closer to my body by leaning it in to get it in a playable position where I didn't have to hold it up with my left hand. There are videos are on my Youtube page if you want to check it out.

    Years ago I traveled with a Clevinger EUB. They came with a small bout extension but it wasn't sufficient. I made a much larger extension to match the distance of my doublebass' upper bout.
     
    morebass! likes this.
  3. morebass!

    morebass! I'm all ears Supporting Member

    May 31, 2002
    Madison WI
    Thanks Eric. The pic of you bowing the baby bass looks it would be awkward for me. But you're in thumb position so that's just awkward for me regardless. I didn't find a video with a baby bass but enjoyed your website. btw, Diane Delin and I are cousins.
     
    Eric Hochberg likes this.
  4. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    Here’s a video.
     
  5. dylanjohnson

    dylanjohnson Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2002
    Morro Bay, CA
    A lot of BB players play sitting down. Check out Ruben Rodriguez and John Benitez. It solves some of the issues of not having an upper bout. That being said, it just sit's closer to the body and you deal with it. Bowing a baby bass is difficult until you get used to it. Honestly, it's been so long since I've bowed on mine that I don't even remember what it was like. One thing I would say is that original Ampegs have been showing up for prices I haven't seen since I bought mine in the late 90's. Might be worth looking around for one!
     
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  6. morebass!

    morebass! I'm all ears Supporting Member

    May 31, 2002
    Madison WI
    Eric - you make it look so easy. Thanks
     
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  7. morebass!

    morebass! I'm all ears Supporting Member

    May 31, 2002
    Madison WI
    I prefer to stand while I perform because its better for singing. But it's a nice option to have.
    I hear what you say about just dealing with it. I guess I won't really know until I try it.
     
  8. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    The original Baby Bass did have a bout extension. Since Ampeg stopped making them over 50 years ago you can guess how many of the extensions have been lost. Looking online I found exactly one picture of it, that shows how rare they've become. I got a BB in the early 80s and it still had the extension. It's wood, mounts to a screwhole at the neck heel and the other end had some rubber to rest on the body. It was quite wobbly. It would have been better if they could have figured out a way to anchor the bottom somehow.

    hf9qRGkWEVQ2tbY5TJ6_P1AeFQ64_Aa3b7b0jol5x1g6qimWb3l_-BXxwQD33EGnKJL-D9YPlN_xr5KrFeBY1h_TSOWG6RzA.jpg

    My Azola Mini Bass (smaller BB body, all wood) has an extension as did a Zeta I owned briefly. Both were metal and were not designed to feel like the upper shoulder. They were shaped more like a "T" with some padding on the end.

    Personally I found all three difficult to play without an extension. When trying to lean on the body, my left arm was at a weird angle. Easier to play it "floating" in the air and stabilizing it a bit with your left knee. It does mean that your left hand is doing more work to hold it up, of course.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
  9. dylanjohnson

    dylanjohnson Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2002
    Morro Bay, CA
    This picture of Ruben R. shows a pretty standard BB stance.
    PS. Wonderful playing @Eric Hochberg. Thanks for sharing.
    Jan 28, 2006; Nueva York, NY, EUA; Rubén Rodríguez realiza en 'Bajo! - La gran tradición de la América Bass' en el Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Hall con la Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. Crédito: Foto obligatoria por Aviv pequeño/ZUMA Press. (©) Copyright 2006 por Aviv pequeños Fotografía de stock - Alamy
     
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  10. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Jazz & Cocktails Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Central Pa
    I’m having similar issues with my Kolstein Busetto. It’s just not comfortable to me standing as I end up “holding” it up too much with my thumb - which is no good. Kolstein does make a shoulder attachment but it’s fiberglass (I think?) and didn’t feel quite right. I’d love to have a custom wooden extension made.
     
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  11. dylanjohnson

    dylanjohnson Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2002
    Morro Bay, CA
    I feel like all electric uprights with the exception of something like the Alter Ego or maybe the Yamahas require a major adjustment of positioning and technique. They are just different and like switching between electric and DB, they require their own time to feel good on them. I bought an Azola that had a wooden piece crafted to connect to the extension, making the bass sit more like a traditional upright, but honestly, I just preferred to play it with as is with the T extension. If I was bowing it, it might be a different story. I forgot to bring the T extension once to a gig and it was truly a nightmare. The Azola, however, has a tiny body unlike a real baby bass or a KK. Also, I can't speak for the KKs, but my Ampeg is a tank. Quite heavy.
     
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  12. Charles Murphy

    Charles Murphy

    Jun 12, 2015
    None
    In response to your KK Baby Bass question:
    Just received a KK Baby Bass from Kris 2 weeks ago. The picture below is not mine but similar, a Traditional model in Mahogany burst. I have practiced with it but have not had the opportunity to try it in my Latin Jazz band. As soon as Pandemic crests we may be getting back together for practice and live gigs. Great quality on the build and Kris does a great job of packing it for shipment to the USA.

    I have a Shen SB88 and I always play in a standing position. The KK Traditional model is heavier than I thought, probably close to 30 Lbs. The upper bout is narrower than my Shen but still is able to rest on my waist with the bass edge on my belly button. Any other model has narrower bouts. In a playing position I have found that I am using my left hand more to keep the bass vertical and balanced than my Shen. So yes, the KK has a slightly different playing position than the acoustic. I think that I can adapt this to this new position but I will have a better idea on how taxed my left arm will be after a 2 hour gig.



    KK Baby Bass - Traditional.jpg KK Baby Bass - Traditional.jpg
     
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  13. Cheez

    Cheez

    Apr 13, 2009
    I have an Azola Ampeg BB copy. I find it awkward to play standing because I have to actually hold it with my fingering hand to keep it stable. It's much more comfortable to play when sitting, where I can basically lean it between my legs.
     

    Attached Files:

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  14. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    May 18, 2021

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