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Do you Play DB Too?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by bdengler, Jan 15, 2006.

  1. bdengler


    Jan 23, 2000
    New Albany, Ohio
    Do you play a double bass in addition to your bass guitar, and how do you decide whether to bring it to a gig? I'm in a bit of a dilemma. I play at church (I'm an amateur). For health reasons (arthritis), I need to get away from using double bass (and frankly, I'm tired of lugging it around). Last night I used an electric upright bass (a Moses model that's no longer being made), and the director of the group and others said that they "heard me" for the first time. It was like an endorsement that I no longer need to use the wooden dog-house. Our church is so big (it seats 1,400) that all instruments need to be amplifed. It seems to be that the bass guitar is the way to go. It's much more clear in such a large setting. But occassionally I've been asked to bow. I'm wondering if any of you have advice or experience on what type of instrument or combination of instruments to use in my situation. I love the idea of using an electric bass guitar because it's so portable, and I believe it opens opportunities to build lines that you can't on a double bass. But the bowing option hangs over my head. Thanks for your suggestions.

  2. PB+J


    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    I play both and would rather play the upright ay day of the week if given a choice. I like the sound and feel of the upright so much better, even though A: it's expensive, B: it's hard to lug; C: it's fragile, especially a solid wood bass, and D: it's much harder to get a good amplified sound. even though all those things are true, i still prefer the upright.
  3. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    The question is - how did YOU like playing the Moses? Becauses from you're saying, an EUB would be the best choice in that it's it's more easily transported, amplified + you can bow it. There's an EUB section in the TB double bass forums - check it out!
  4. the_home

    the_home Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2005
    Pensacola, FL
    I am also primarily a church player, and I play both slab and upright.

    Slab accounts for maybe about 90% of my time, because of ease of transport, because of ease of amplification and because it sits better in the mix of instrumentation most of the time.

    I use upright generally for the 'je ne sais quois' - the ambiance which it provides (almost always through bowing). Some songs become so much more, it seems, when played on upright (this is evident around Christmas). So I guess I would say that the song determines which instrument I employ.
  5. Tumbao


    Nov 10, 2001
    There is not substitute for a DB, at least Keep on bowing.
  6. agreed, i play both, double bass is my main ax, and as much as i love electric, sometimes there is just no substitute for that beautiful droning of a bowed upright. i understand the arthritis problem too though, my mom has the same problem in addition to carpal tunnel and it has killed her flute playing days, needless to say upright is much much harder on your hands, if you're not physically able to play electric might be the way to go. how does the moses sound with a bow? i'm sure its no upright but as you said its an ametuer gig and everything doesn't have to be perfect, maybe throw a little reverb on it and you can get a more upright sound, but in the end tehre is no subsititute for teh real thing.

  7. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Thoroughly Nice Guy Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    I play both, but haven't gigged steadily on electric since my last rock band broke up almost 10 years ago. Most of my DB gigs have been jazz, so the bow has remained at home aside from some work with a college string ensemble.

    I prefer the DB for jazz and most other serious playing, but there's always going to be a part of me that loves the rock/pop music bass guitar seems tailor-made for. I really thought I'd left all that behind, but rock's surrounding atmosphere (crowds, parties, etc.) is so much fun that I've found myself pining for an opportunity to play more of it. The jazz crowd is kinda lame by comparison- I sometimes wish I could turn rock groupies into jazz groupies.
  8. anonymous278347457

    anonymous278347457 Guest

    Feb 12, 2005
    i REALLY want a double bass

    in my school, down in the music lockers there is a double bass.
    me and my friends always play it when we put our instruments down there for storage (i play clarinet for a school band)

    everyone thought it was really funny when i started playing rage against the machine's "bombtrack" on it
  9. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    You might ask this over in the eub forum inside the double bass forum.
    I play and enjoy both db and electric!
  10. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    I only got two chances to noodle around on a DB a few minutes so far and I still really want my own. Maybe someday.
  11. bdengler


    Jan 23, 2000
    New Albany, Ohio
    Folks, thanks for your comments. The Moses did a nice at church. I didn't bow it last night and I may experiment with it. Frankly, a regular double bass (IMHO) does a much better job with bowing than the electric ones. Typically, at church, I use a mike on the DB when I bow and I run the Underwood pickups to an amp to serve more as a "floor amp." I think for me the best solution is to use an electric upright, because it gives me some flexibility and makes me a little more unique than the other bass players at church (we have six of them) since I'm the only one who plays an upright and can blow it.

  12. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Hey BDengler...again, and just like DB, some strings bow better than others. Probably lots of advise on this in the other forum too...do you know what strings were on there?
  13. Tom


    Sep 7, 2005
    Davis, CA
    I play both, but I keep them pretty separate. For example, I wouldn't bring an upright to my alternative gig.
  14. lamborghini98

    lamborghini98 The Aristocrats

    May 1, 2005
    NYC; Portland, OR
    Ironically, when Im lazy I play the DB because my school keeps them on a rack in the actual band room... as opposed to lugging out and manuvering the amp + bass so i can go plug it in. They keep all their basses in terrible condition, so its never really a pleasure to play any of the basses. :bawl:
  15. bdengler


    Jan 23, 2000
    New Albany, Ohio
    I have no clue on what strings are on the Moses. It's got to be something custom because of the odd head stock and tuning gears (the tuners are at the tail piece). My regular DB (my Paul Bryant, which is the picture for my icon) has Jagers. The Jagers are dark, high tension, but they really bring out the bass. The best success I've had in bowing EUB's in the past are Helicore orchestrals on an Eminence and Helicore orchestras on a Zeta Electric upright. I once owned an NS Design, which was my most favorite EUB, but I never liked it for arco. I once put Corelli TX 370's on there and they seemed to do better for arco.

  16. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003
    I do, but for me it's my second instrment.
    I grew up playing electric.
    Have been playing DB part time, last five years.
    It's fun.
    Use it for acoustic blues, and bluegrass gigs.
    For me to be great on DB, I must play it all the time.
    Just don't want to give up the electric bass?
  17. JohnThomasson

    JohnThomasson Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, DR Strings, Source Audio,& Fishman
    I play both. I had a NS Design EUB for a while for touring and situations like yours, but I sold and got a Gage Czech-Ease. I just couldn't get my double bass technique to transfer to that stickish body and I wasn't crazy about the sound. I take my Czech-ease to some in-town gigs over one of my regular Double Basses. I has made me lazy and my regular double basses seem comically large now. The Gage has a wolf tone at C# that really annoying when bowing, but man is it easy to carry around.

    I also have some hand issues. It hurts less on bass guitar, but even then it comes back after a while. I just can't take those 3-4 set a night gigs anymore which is a bummer because most jazz gigs are that long. I can only take shorter jazz gigs. I've gone back to playing more Rock, Pop, singer/songwriter stuff because it is easier on the hands, but I love to use my double bass in non-traditional settings like those. Especially the bow.

    I would probably just play bass guitar in your situation unless you feel really comfortable playing one of those EUBs. I just couldn't do it and I love my Czech-ease. Maybe you should take a look at one of those. They are so easy to play and thumb position is a blast since the shoulders are shorter. My DB technique totally transfers over, but you will still have to deal with the sound issues in your church since it is an acoustic instrument.
  18. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I play both, having starting my bass playing "career" in grade school on upright. I played mostly classical and jazz on upright until college, when I found myself playing bass guitar in a rock band. I've been playing mostly electric bass since then, but I try to work in some upright when I can (Stray Cats, Barenaked Ladies, etc.).

    To me, it's a lot of fun to play both. But my true "love" is certainly the double bass (I play tuba, too, BTW! ;)).

  19. bdengler


    Jan 23, 2000
    New Albany, Ohio
    John, is the Czech-ease really portable? Can you really throw it in the back seat of a car? I look at the pictures and the Czech-ease still seems long.

  20. bassjus


    Mar 30, 2004
    I play double, but I mostly only use it for classical right now, so I kind of know when to bring it and when not to(although I do have an electric solo in mission impossible *score*).

    If I were in your position I'd try to use the DB if you (I?) could. As someone said, there is no substitute for it.
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