Do you also play DB?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by foolforthecity, Dec 15, 2015.

  1. Yes - finger style (pluck/slap)

  2. Yes - bow

  3. Yes - both finger style & bow

  4. No - never had the desire

  5. No - but have thought about it

  6. No - would rather eat carrots with peas

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    I do. I played a Carruthers EUB briefly years ago in college but my real intro came about six years ago when I was playing in a salsa band and decided to get my own. I bought a used NS WAV off Ebay. It showed up on a Tuesday and that Saturday, after a crash course with my old Evolving Bassist book (Rufus Reid), I played a four hour gig on it. My tips were killing me but I survived. It's not rocket science. Sure, it's different. You play it vertically, not horizontally, but it really isn't as different as a lot of people make it out to be. My gear works fine for either but my taste in electric amplification has always skewed towards DB oriented gear (Polytone, Walter Woods, etc).

    I played salsa and jazz on it for a couple of years but kept missing out on gigs because I didn't play a "real" bass :bored: so I did a rent-to-own deal at Lemur Music for one of their house basses. I love playing it but usually only play it at home or on paying gigs since it's too much of a PITA to schlep to rehearsals. My arco chops are not super strong but they have gotten me through a couple of arco-heavy musicals.

    It *does* require a good ear and you do need to play it regularly. It's a very difficult instrument to play well "off the couch".
  2. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    I voted Yes, although the proper word would be "used to play" upright. I began bass with an old upright. But then I went bass guitar and sold the upright. Never looked back for years. But TB (it's always TB's fault isn't it?) periodically gets my GAS stirring for another upright again. Especially keep looking at 5 string Bulgarian uprights sold by Bob Gollihur.

    Fully Carved Bulgarian Bass at Gollihur Music - Double Bass, Upright Bass, String Bass Specialists

    The only reason I haven't given in is the price of even passable uprights compared to even boutique bass guitars. But I know me and with threads like this one I'm SURE one day I'm going to give in to upright GAS again!
    foolforthecity and TMARK like this.
  3. I started playing the DB hen I was 35 or so, after years of electric bass playing. I tried it one night at a jam and had the impression it was easier to play that what I thought. I bought a cheap plywood instrument second hand and discovered it was much more complicated than this. Followed years of classical music lessons. The feeling is totally different of an electric bass. To make it short, an EB is sweet on lest hand and relatively hard on right hand (small emplitude of the string) where a DB is hard for lest hand and soft on right hand what is somewhat worse. be prepared to suffer from your right hand fingers. As said above, you have only 3 notes in your hand (German/French method : fingers 1-2-3/4 Italian method : 1-2/3-4. chose the way you are the more comfortable with). A good position is of utmost importance to play correctly tonewise and to avoid physical issues. Don't hesitate to try, it's rewarding (the sound is fantastic when properly amped) but be prepared to work hard and to suffer a bit.
    foolforthecity likes this.
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    My avatar says it all. Started on BG in 1974, first DB in 1981 although until I started lessons around 1990 I was clueless about playing it. The bow that came with my first bass was broken and I didn't even know, that's how green I was. The DB opened the door to lots of gigs for me because at the time DB players were hard to find, just owning one was enough to get me hired.
  5. TMARK


    Jan 10, 2012
    Richmond VA
    I used to play DB. I always loved Paul Chambers. Took lessons in school, played with a bow mainly as all the DBs I had access to were set up for bow.

    I stopped and haven't gone back because the investment in time, money and space was better spent on other things, like EB, piano and guitar, especially in light of the fact that I would never really use it in a band setting.
    foolforthecity likes this.
  6. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Yes, albeit poorly. Mostly fingerstyle, trying to learn to bow (ain't easy).
    foolforthecity likes this.
  7. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Albuquerque, NM
    A couple more things about the Palatino:

    Although you can play it right out of the box after setting up the bridge and string height, a few mods you
    may want to do:

    - A piece of inner tube rubber either under the piezzo p'up, or one or both of the bridge feet. I experimented with
    mine and ended up with a piece under the piezzo and another small piece under just the treble side of the bridge.
    This mellows out the tone a bit and makes it more AUB sounding.

    - You may need a mute at the metal tailpiece, to stop sympathetic vibration of the tailpiece. I use a piece of black
    polarfleece material.

    - The support bar that comes with it is, in its stock form, useless for resting the bass against your body and playing it
    properly, meaning you use arm weight to finger the notes, which requires that as the arm/hand presses on the notes, the
    bass is up against your body for support. I bent mine 90 degrees and now it works out great. If you do buy one let me know
    and I'll walk you through the process.

    - Replace the stock endpin rubber tip with one from a cane or walker that has a metal insert at the bottom. The stock one is
    flimsy and will tear, and if the new one doesn't have a metal insert, the metal endpin will cut through the bottom (don't ask
    how I know that, lol!).

    These are all minimal fixes needed. You can read of others that change out the strings right away. As a new player you (and I)
    won't notice a difference).
    Also, some people tear out the electronics and install new ones. Again, not something you at all HAVE to do.

    Let us know how the search goes!!

    Here is a pic of mine after I installed some 1/8" pinstriping tape. Also some pics of the bent support bar and new endping rubber tip.


    IMG_9186e.jpg IMG_9188e.jpg IMG_9191e.jpg
    foolforthecity likes this.
  8. I would like to. If I can my bass this month, I'll be learning upright around the same time.
    GKon and foolforthecity like this.
  9. Fondsdale


    Sep 30, 2015
    I wish! I don't really have the space with all the other gear I have, plus they are pretty expensive.
    foolforthecity likes this.
  10. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    NOT PALATINO! I bought a Palatino upright because I didn't have the money for anything better. I should have listened to the guys on the on the Dark Side: wait until you have the money for a decent bass, do not cheap out. In my case it's less that the bass is falling apart on me or is unduly difficult to play, it's that it does not have an ebony fingerboard. This, in my experience, makes a big difference when you need to find someone to work on your bass. It's also not the greatest sounding bass, but the non-ebony fingerboard has been a nightmare from a maintenance standpoint.

    (oh, you were talking about EUB, not a dog house... if you go EUB, I'd go with an NS...)

    All that said, do it. It's a blast and can really change your perspective on the instrument.
    foolforthecity likes this.
  11. Fondsdale


    Sep 30, 2015
    What's wrong with rosewood?
  12. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    I haven't seen an upright with a rosewood fingerboard.
  13. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Albuquerque, NM
    I agree, Palatino UB is not the way to go.
    From the reading and limited experience I have, very few fingerboards are real ebony anymore (unless you want to spend a lot) as opposed to ebonized i.e. dyed wood.
  14. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    I would *love* to play upright one day, but:

    (1) I'm a lefty, which adds some complications;

    (2) I have so many muscle issues and overuse injuries that I have to constantly adjust my electric bass playing to compensate, which I imagine would only be worse with an upright.

    Still hoping to try one day, at minimum with an EUB.
  15. trothwell


    Apr 9, 2008
    I've tried one. Enjoyed playing it, and enjoy the sound. I would much like to get one, but I guess the question for me is, would I get enough use out of it to warrant paying for one and letting one occupy so much space in the studio... :)

    Probably someday.
  16. jasonrp


    Feb 19, 2015
    I got an upright around feb/march and I think I've played my electric 3 times since then. For me, I get an enjoyment out of it that I never got from the bg and I'd now consider my fender as my secondary instrument.
    GKon likes this.
  17. Jay Corwin

    Jay Corwin Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    I switched from BG to UB around the age of 30. It's what I play 100% of the time in bands/gigs now. It's my drug of choice. Getting decent on upright is a long, very gradual incline...but also very rewarding each time you add another tool to the box.

    I still tinker with my P-bass quite a bit around the house. Can't sit on the couch and play upright bass! I don't think I'd ever want to be a doubler and drag both to a gig, but a lot of people do.

    I'm in the camp that would not recommend a cheap Chinese bass, but you will find varying opinions on that.
    GKon likes this.
  18. Jay Corwin

    Jay Corwin Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    Most respectable manufacturers still use ebony on a majority of their models. If you're buying an Ebay mystery bass, than not so much.
    GKon likes this.
  19. vanderbrook

    vanderbrook Some days, I miss frets... Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2001
    Denver, CO, USA
    I acquired an Engelhardt upright and a new Guild B-302A almost 40 years ago, while in high school. The upright became the object of my interest, and I got fairly good despite developing bad habits in the absence of proper instruction. As my life progressed, I stopped playing, and eventually sold both those instruments.

    Then, about 15 years ago, I got the urge to play again. Bought an Azola EUB to test the waters, then a lovely, $7,000 carved German upright. Found my way into a once-a-week house band position (piano trio) at a restaurant. After maybe 18 months that gig went away, my playing slowed, then eventually stopped again... until I got involved with a blues power trio. That was different -- I've always been a jazz guy. Turned out to be a big mistake, but that was because of the people, not the genre.

    A little over two years ago, I sold my NS WAV4 EUB, my beloved German upright and the rest of my gear -- due mostly to frustration with the music "business" and the people I'd gotten involved in.

    A little over a month ago, I started acquiring BGs again. I now have four ...and I want another upright. Can no longer afford (nor do I desire the headaches associated with) a carved instrument; my next upright will be a laminated model, probably an Upton.

    I've owned several EUBs... Azola, Ergo, NS. Except for the left hand positions, they play nothing like an upright. They play like looooong-scale fretless basses. Not a one of them really sounds like an upright. Good to have for a tiny bandstand, inclement weather, etc.? Absolutely. A substitute for the Real Bass? Uh, no. (If you really want one, I recommend the NS NXT EUB over any of the others. Can't be beat for the price.)

    There's a lot of wisdom in the DB forums here for DB-newbs. Heed it. Generally, avoid Engelhardts and most Chinese uprights (although Shen basses are well-respected, as are some Eastmans and Christophers). If I were buying my first upright, I'd stick to a laminated Shen or an Upton. These are sturdy, properly-constructed, musical instruments. On eBay and at a number of online retailers, you'll find a lot of BSOs -- bass-shaped objects -- that will be a major waste of money. Plan to spend $1,500 to $2,000 minimum for a proper laminated upright (plus a bit more for a padded case). If not initially, plan to acquire a bow (minimum, about $250) soon. Know that a proper setup is crucial to the DB. Develop a relationship with a skilled luthier. (Resource here.) Get at least some initial instruction from someone qualified to teach the instrument. Avoid developing bad habits that will eventually limit your facility with the instrument.

    Playing DB is a lot more work than BG. It's a lot more expensive than BG. But if that woody tone -- which you'll never get from any other type of bass -- is the sound you're after ...go for it. Just know what you're getting into.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2015
    CatSquare likes this.
  20. At least they aren't drum solos!!
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    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.

    Jul 27, 2021

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