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Bad Equipment

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Nick Ioannucci, Apr 13, 2006.

  1. So the other day i was having a lesson at school, and my teacher commented my tone, and i was like "i dont really like my tone, it seems really scratchy to me" the bass wasnt great, and the bow was one of those 48 dollar ones since i was at school,(but my own equipment is marginally better). He said here play mine, handed me his bow and bass, and lo and behold, a seemingly nice tone(to my ears) anyone have some similar stories to share?
    P.S. i was playing vivaldi sonata #3 for anyone who wished to knkow.
  2. E.O.M.


    Dec 7, 2001
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Many times I feel limited by my equipment. I use a student-level Chinese carved bass with an equally general student-level bow. The bass is perfectly set up. I do manage to get a great tone out of it, but I feel like I have to work extra hard to get it than when I play on other basses.

    I feel that working extra hard to control the great sound on my crappy equipment will make me much more dynamic and full of nuances when I finally upgrade. Don't get down!

    I'm finally saving up for a new bow. :hyper:
  3. yeah man, saving up the extra grand to grand and a half i need on top of the trade in for my personal bass. i cant wait
  4. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    In college I played on a horid old plywood bass with a heavy, cheap bow. I went to a bass shop for a repair in my third year of college and the owner let me play an old Italian bass with a really nice ($$$$) bow. Much to my shock, I could actually play. I even sounded like a real URB player. At least I thought so.:smug:
  5. BGreaney

    BGreaney Guest

    Mar 7, 2005
    I had a lesson with Orin O'Brien @ her apt last year w/ my bass. I thought I sounded awful. Then, the week after I had one with her at Avery Fisher and played on her Grancino. The difference was like night and day, and then some. It's just the nature of the beast. I'd say a vast majority of people w/ major orchestra gigs aren't playing on their college basses. There are exceptions of course.
  6. jmpiwonka


    Jun 11, 2002
    the big question is, what does your teacher sound like on your bass???
    i played on a very mediocre plywood bass (or so i thought until i started playing some basses with shop "setups"), still it was an old plywood with some delamination and holes in the side (but that doesn't really affect tone)....it was hard to get a good tone out of and after a while i could get a good tone out of it, i'm glad i had a difficult bass to play, you have to pay attention to technique and i think it was good for me.

    my teacher still sounded real good on that bass, and it made me happy when he started telling me i was pulling a good tone out of the bass too.
  7. dragonetti11


    Jun 20, 2002
    I recently played Peter Lloyds Ruggieri. Incredible sound. It's too bad that we cannot all have instruments like these. Things that are hard on lesser basses are effortless on that bass. But it is not always the bass....I recently played a bow that was made by Roger Zabinski for a memeber of the Minnesota Orchestra. I was amazed at how it made my bass sound. Effortless response and a huge sound. I was recently shopping for bows and I must have played on over 15+ bows in various price ranges. Anyway, I never experienced a bow like that one. I would say that college/conservatory students with a decent hand carved instrument should definately consider getting a bow in the 3k+ range. It can make a very big difference.
  8. WOW this is an old thread, and i think you could be right about the bow, mine isnt the greatest, but i can still cop a decent tone. but youll be happy to know that a week ago i ordered a hawkes hybrid from gary upton, theyre about an hour away from me. sadly enough ive got to wait. o well, i saved up all the cash i could and then my parents loned me some extra because they thought i deserved it, which was nice, the hybrid was loads better than the full ply. im super excited, as my bass is ok, some what difficult to play, but as ive progressed ive learned to get a good tone out of it, my teacher recently told me that it was very strong, full and smooth. ive also been progressing with my bow work, so im really excited to get my new bass. ive also been contemplating a new bow as well, but my parents would kill me. ha ha, o well one thing at a time.
  9. During my first two years at Michigan State I used school basses. One was a Juzek and the other a Schuster. I also played another bass for a few weeks that had a 44" string length. A bit too long to play Bach with. I bought a good German bow (a Rubino) during the first semester of my freshman year and it made those instruments easy to play on. A cheap instrument can definitely hold you back though. If you can pull a good sound out of a cheap bass it will make it easier on a good bass but there are things you can do on a good bass that there is no way to do on a cheap bass.

    If you are a conservatory student seriously thinking of becoming a professional musician do whatever you need to do to get a good bass as soon as you can. I'm talking about instruments around $18,000 and up.
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Why does it have to be $18,000 and up? OK, I am relatively new to playing DB, but when I hear guys like Christian McBride playing and sounding superb on a "run of the mill" Juzek (I use the term "run of the mill" loosely because they can usually be had for $8000-10,000), it makes me question the need to spend more money than you make in a year on a bass.

    Maybe part of my feeling comes from being an electric player most of my life and being able to play and sound just as good on an average Fender as a $12,000 Alembic, but I just don't get it. So please explain to the pragmatist in me the logic behind spending so much on a DB when the vast majority of people who spend that much will probably never be able to earn it back.
  11. I'm not sure if it's necessary to have a bass in that price range for jazz players. I've heard that you can get a good jazz sound from less expensive basses. I'm mainly talking about playing classical music.

    I don't have time to type much here at the moment but there is definitely a difference when you get to the $18,000+ price range. I'll try to be more specific when I can type more.
  12. im not going to conservatory, but i will be studying music in college. i would like to do something in electronics or something, and i also would like to do it in the musical field, so i have to start looking for a college that can offer me that.
  13. EFischer1

    EFischer1 Guest

    Mar 17, 2002
    New York, New York
    I must say, when my current teacher first played my bass I had no idea what the instrument was capable of. I, at that time, assumed that I was getting the best tone out of my setup I could. WRONG.

    Since then I have hopefully narrowed that gap.
  14. yep yep, i cant wait till i get mine here. when my teacher plays my current bass, he sounds more or less the same as i do, so it seems the current bass is limiting me. soon to change. and i think i have to go look at umass, it seems to ahve both programs taht i want to get into.... and the hunt begins.
  15. I've always been amazed to hear the tone different pros have been able to pull out of whatever crappy bass I've been playing at the time. I take a lesson and play some concerto or whatever, then the teacher takes my bass and it sounds awesome. IMO, gear is highly over-rated. If you have the chops, you can pull a killer tone from most anything. And when you get to that point, top quality gear just makes you that much better, but blaming bad gear for a sucky tone is weak. Obviously though a bass that has a horrible setup is unplayable, but I think there are lots of basses out there that most people would turn their nose up at that a great player could pull a tone out of.
  16. bassist14


    Oct 17, 2005
    once i attended a master class with ludwig streicher. he didnt bring his own bass, but when he played on every bass of the attendants he sounded like he sounds on all his records

  17. Sorry for taking so long to post exactly what I was talking about.

    When you get to the $18,000+ price range there is a noticeable difference in sound quality. The biggest difference with technique is how much force the bass can handle. There is a point where lesser instruments will start to turn in on themselves. Meaning that you can do everything in your power to try to get more sound but you will end up getting less sound. On a good instrument that limit is quite a bit harder to reach.

    Higher quality instruments will show you how to make an instrument sound good. It is more noticeable when you are doing something that is not good for your sound.

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