converting to upright?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by bassmonkey144, Jan 16, 2004.

  1. i normally play a electric bass. but my high school is running very low on bassists, we have about 2 players for 5 orchestras. my cello and violin buddys are begging me to come play for thier orchestra. thing is, ive never played an upright bass before. is this gonig to be completely different from playing electric? any other comments?
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Yes, it is completely different, except that the notes are in a relatively similar place on the neck.
  3. well, im glad to hear that. how do u mean comletly different?
  4. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    First of all, it is upright, so the orientation is completely different.

    Secondly, it takes much more physical effort to play. You really have learn to use the big muscles to help with the left hand work or fatigue will kill you. Little technique sloppies on the BG turn into severe pain and doctors appointments on the DB.

    Of course, there is nothing in BG that will help with the acro technique.

    Pizzicato is done with the fingers more parallel and again, using the bigger muscles in the hand and arm, not perpendicular and out on the tips like a BG.

    I played EBG for 17 years before ever touching a DB. I assure you, they are different.
  5. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    While being different, the transition isn't too difficult. After 3 years of BG, I switched to DB a month ago and the transition is hardly difficult, playing pizzicato that is. Arco is more to get used to.
  6. thanks dudes,
    im talking to the head orchestra lady on tuesday, and see what she has to say. thanks for u help!
  7. Get a teacher
    Start haunting ALL the Newbie Links, because you're gonna be coming up with all kinds of questions, judging by your opening one.
  8. Bassman316


    May 27, 2008
    Calabash, NC
    I've been thinking for a good long while about making the switch to upright. I've been playing bass guitar for about 8 years now and when I first became curious about upright, I thought it was the same method as playing bass guitar, except rotated 90 degrees, no frets, and the notes were further spaced apart. One day a guy at one of my local music shops saw me gawking at this beautiful upright (can't remember what kind), and said that he taught upright for a few years and started giving me some basic info on it after I told him I play bass guitar. He told me that many bass guitar players making the switch must get used to not pressing down on the strings (with the left hand) the same way they're used to. Now, I've barely so much as touched a double bass much less play one, but from what I've seen the strings are heavier and of course longer than on a BG, but how different is the actual fingering technique on upright bass from bass guitar? Novice question, I know, but like I've said, I've barely touched these things. One day (hopefully soon) when money seems to be in my account more often, I'll make the plunge... but until then, it's just wondering.
  9. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Very different. Seriously, get a teacher.
  10. Yes, it is a different instrument, besides the intonation you might have from playing double bass, eletric bass playing barely translates.
  11. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    I am glad someone found this to be an easy transition. I did not.

    In fact, it's the hardest thing I have ever tried to learn. It is also tremendously gratifying.

    If you have a good knowledge of electric bass and music in general, it is certainly a help. You are talking about moving from the guitar family to the violin family... a completely different animal, completely different fingering approach.

    Arco is completely alien to electric players and another added dimension of complexity and nuance to conquer. The scale of the instrument is very substantial and you have to have hands like a vice grip. Besides that, it's a piece of cake.

    Oh, did I mention intonation?

    This is not an undertaking for those easily discouraged.

    GET A TEACHER!! A REALLY GOOD TEACHER. sorry- stop yelling.
  12. OrangeSun


    Jun 26, 2005
    Boston, MA
    Hi I am also considering the switch from electric to upright, however not really a switch as I'd ultimately still play both. I need to sell a fretless bass I have to put the money together, but I hope to get that done in the next month or two (it needs some repairs first).

    Anyway, Im thinking an upton standard will do fine for when I take that step.

    But to offer some advice to the OP, a friend of mine told me to start focusing on the position system before switching over, specifically how to get around and own the first position. Being largely self taught, forcing myself to focus on this in my playing has definitley helped me already in my BG playing.

    He proved to be very correct as I have had to transcribe some bad plus and E.S.T songs recently and for example in the Bad plus song Dirty blonde, you can hear if you listen very closely the sound of his first note on each string because his bass has that slight gritty buzzing sound on the Eb note. So if you start getting used to thinking in the first position and knowing the keys better youll have a good start when you start playing the UB. Again, this is just advice a friend of mine gave me so hopefully itll help you too
  13. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Converting to upright?

    It's a religion now? :confused:

    Hey, I'll join..:hyper:
  14. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Religion? - perhaps.... bordering on cult. :)
  15. paganjack


    Dec 25, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    i guess my relationship with DB has been way different. i started out on the cello, then picked up the guitar :rolleyes:, then picked up the double bass, then started playing the bass guitar.
    i only ever took lessons on the cello although i thought pretty hard about taking bass lessons. but i just read books and did it by feel.
    i've played orchestral and jazz music on the DB. i kind of miss it (don't have space for it or $$$) but i never found the transition to be as hard as it sounds on this thread :eek: arco would be weird and foreign to a bass guitar player i suppose. i was much more comfortable plucking anyway because i liked playing in jazz groups more, but even that is accomplished differently than on BG...
    it didn't ever feel like a huge switch to me, but i guess i had a different background...
  16. RLT


    Jul 10, 2004
    South Central OH
    Cult definate cult. You all need to wear the orange robes and stand around airports.
    Only after months of this will you reach the correct state to become one with the arco,
  17. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Hillsdale, Portland
    Seems like if you play long enough, you get around to it.
    Taking the plunge as soon as I buy a car large enough to transport one around.
  18. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Unless you own a Smart Car or a Miata, most DBs will fit in any car.

    My journey was piano->blues guitar->accordion->hand percussion->rock guitar->jazz guitar->electric bass->double bass.

    Feels like I just started. :crying:
  19. So, I've only done the transition the other way, but... BG is so physically easy by comparison, I'm sure you can get away with technique issues that will give you major pain... and I mean literally major pain... on the upright. Upright is very physical, enough to be an athletic challenge.

    You'll never look at BG the same again either. It's not a toy, it is a serious instrument in its own right, but it's very good to see it in relation to upright. In some ways, that's where the BG came from, and it's also where a lot of the music came from.

    You NEED those lessons in the basics of upright technique, or you WILL cause yourself serious injury. It's not that difficult to learn or to build the necessary muscles, but you have to do it RIGHT.

    As for the orchestra... there's nothing in music that can touch playing bass in an orchestra, I don't think. It's just the most magical thing, underpinning such a massive outpouring of expression.
  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I tend to think that in most large orchestras it is actually Tuba that underpins everything!! :p

    Just joking - as to the question, I am with DBassmon - it's the hardest thing I have ever done musically, after playing BG for decades - DB is so much more challenging.

    I went from playing long sets effortlessly - to not being able to play two fast Jazz tunes in a row!! :eek:

    But after 2-3 years I am still really loving it!! :)