bass for classical and jazz

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by marvin spangles, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. Hi
    Are any of you guys using the same bass for classical and jazz gigs. If so what compromises if any have you made?
  2. DC Bass

    DC Bass Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    Laurel, Maryland, USA
    I went for quite a while using one bass for both- and the only "compromise" I had to make was strings- and it wasn't a bitter pill either. I found that Thomastik Belcanto strings worked great in either genre. This should be cautioned with a "ymmv", as many here on the forum report not liking the Bel's pizz sound- I found it perfectly suitable- for me, on my bass. :)

  3. NicholasF

    NicholasF Guest

    Jan 17, 2012
    This is the wrong forum for the question, do you mean strings or the actual bass? Being an upright bass player, you also become a semi-luthier, learning how to take care of problems yourslef. Like moving a bridge and tailpeice, change strings, adjust a nut, and plenty more that have yet to pop into my head at the moment. The point is, is that like the ever wise DC said, if your lucky enough to find the right strings to make a bass sing the way you want, you can use just one bass. If you can't (which some of us havnt) you can find one set for each and take them on and off when you need them. Its inconvenient but it works. @ DC, I ordered Belcanto's to try, I have heard pos and neg about them, but strings are so sensitive, any factor can effect them, temp, humidity, who packadged them that day, factory temp, who spun them, what peice of material you got, ect. You know this, its just for the archives. GL finding the right sound. On my bass I have Obligatos, there ok I don't love em or hate em.
  4. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    I've been using an Upton Hawkes Hybrid with Evahs on it for both. Just used it on a jazz gig tonite (drummerless quartet) and used it on two symphony gigs with two different community and regional orchestras last week. The Hawkes is very resonant and has a good size (small 7/8) to it. The principal in one orchestra liked the size and depth of the sound better than the fully carved juzek that I used for classical before. Might switch out the Evah G for Belcanto G but it's doing the job nicely right now.
  5. Michael Glynn

    Michael Glynn

    Feb 25, 2004
    There are definitely basses that work better for different sound and playing styles, but as the previous commenters have stated, the choice of strings is often the most obvious place to compromise to make a single bass work for both jazz and classical. We should also realize that there is no one ideal sound for jazz or classical bass either. Some jazz players like a big, fat sound with lots of low end, while some prefer a bass with more mid-range punch and definition. Similarly, the ideal bass for a large orchestra gig may not be the best for classical chamber or solo playing.

    I mostly play jazz, but also do some classical work. I have a Kay with gut strings that I use for some jazz gigs, but I have one main carved bass that I need to use for both jazz and classical work. Since jazz is my main focus (personally and financially) I have chosen to mostly optimize my bass for jazz, but with strings that still bow fairly well and will fit into a classical ensemble.

    It looks like you have two basses right now that you use for different styles. Are you thinking of getting rid of one, or selling both and getting a single new bass?
  6. Thanks for those replies.
    I have two basses at present. A La Scala and a Shen Rogeri Willow. Increasingly I have been using the La Scala for both classical and Jazz. I suppose you could say I have fallen out of love with the Shen. So the upshot is that I want to upgrade to a good (for me) classical bass that will allow me to take a diploma next year hopefully.
    I have a chance of purchasing a Seth Kimmel bass over here in Ireland but it's out on loan at the moment so I have no opportunity to try it out. However if I make such a weighty purchase it would have to satisfy all my needs. I'd see myself very reluctantly parting company with the La Scala.
    I have been using Belcantos to a fair degree of success on arco and pizz. On important pizz gigs however I like the bounce and flexibility of Spiro Weichs. I have been bowing the Weich's a lot now and love their sound especially in the tenor range. They sing like hell. However my limited arco technique means that at times I get the Spiro 'scratchiness' so if I have a pressure classical gig I'll change back to Belcantos.
  7. Hi Marvin,
    I've been using one bass for both jazz and classical playing for several years now. I'd agree with the previous posts - I think the compromise is more about strings than the actual instrument. A good bass is a good bass. I've been really happy with the Corelli tungsten strings. I would have no problem playing on those strings in an orchestra, and I've played tons of chamber music with them. They also pizz quite well. Not the best for either but a really good compromise in my opinion.
  8. Michael Glynn

    Michael Glynn

    Feb 25, 2004
    Well, both spirocores and belcantos could probably handle being swapped on and off a bass (as opposed to synthetic or wound gut strings which can be damaged fairly easily this way). So, if you're not having to swap them every night, maybe that would be an option. In any case, if you do get to try out that bass, see if you can try out different strings on it to get an idea of how they affect the sound and feel.