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Double Bass antics

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by billio, Jul 1, 2005.


  1. billio

    billio Bass Head

    Howdy, I have a double bass and was curious to know how I would go about climbing on it - Lee Rocker fashion.

    I'm 6'1" so have my endpin out about 6 or 7 inches so that the nut is level with my eye and if I lean the bass over until the body touches the ground while the endpin still touches the ground, the bass is nearly on it's side?!?!

    If I lean the bass against my cab or a wall and then hop on, will the endpin mounting "gizmo" handle it (beacuse the endpin's stuck out so far) or will it rip the arse out of my bass?

    Probably a dumb question really, but it's late and ummm.... I really would like to know... :D
     
  2. mister_k

    mister_k

    Jul 27, 2004
    Los Angeles
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Oh, don't be an old fuddy-duddy, Jason! Bass stunts are cool and the crowd loves them. Having said that, the one stunt I won't do is stand on mine. Maybe if I lose 30 lbs...

    Most people who stand on their basses do it with the endpin all the way inside the bass because there's a lot less chance of "ripping the arse end out of it." But my pal Tommy Vee of Bobby Vee's band has his endpin out about as far as you do, so he lays his completely on its side, climbs on it, then crouches down on it to play it.
     
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Bah...what about Marshall Lytle or Frank Denunzio or Lee Rocker or Jimbo Wallace? It's pretty much a given that jazz or classical guys aren't going to do bass stunts, but in rockabilly and swing music it's fairly common and never fails to go over with the crowd. Entertain first, I always say. This music first business...who the heck came up with that crap??

    :eyebrow: :D
     
  5. I think there's a company (King maybe?) that's making basses that are actually reinforced to stand up to this kind of ---- abuse? Plus, from what I understand, modifications are the norm for bassists in this style. I heard of one local rockabilly guy who filled is bass entirely with expandable foam to elimiate high-volume feedback.
     
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Yeah, King Double Bass. They also do wild custom finishes. But from what I've been told, you can pretty much stand on any plywood bass, although the ones that aren't reinforced tend to pop the fronts and backs off sooner.

    As for this foam thing, I don't get it. You might as well just get an EUB at that rate.
     
  7. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    This is obscene. Why not just strip and light your hair while singing 'God Save the Queen'.

    Ah, but I guess there will always be a market for Velveeta.
     
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    First off, Ray, nobody wants to see me naked, not even my wife. Second, my hair's just about gone. Third, I can think of a lot better Sex Pistols songs to sing than "God Save The Queen." I would prefer singing "Pretty Vacant" or "Problems."

    I know this is the DB side of Talkbass, very knowledgeable folks here well schooled in the fine arts of jazz and classical playing, if a little bit on the traditional side. And I know most of you folks don't respect rockabilly slap style playing, and I'm cool with that. Even though I'm new to DB, I'm a very well-schooled musician myself and I can relate to the level of musicianship on here. But I make no apologies for wanting to entertain the crowds I play for. And the crowds I play for couldn't give a crap if I can pull off a Ray Brown walking line or an Edgar Meyer arco solo (which I can't). But when I lift that bass over my head or behind my back and rock out on it, I get tons of applause, and everyone walks out talking about it. And then I pick up a pretty good paycheck, and I set myself up for getting more of them.

    When I get good enough to pull off the best stuff Ray Brown did, I will play in more jazz settings and I will be more sedate with it. But i'm playing oldies rock, so when in Rome, lift that bass over your head!
     
  9. billio

    billio Bass Head

    Thanks for the suggestions guys, although I feel I may have stirred up a bit of a hornet's nest with that question.

    We play a wide range of music in our band but I wanted my DB for the "oldies". The first practice we had when I was back from vacation, I dragged out the new DB and the first thing they wanted to know was could I spin it?!?!?

    I don't want to do the gig sitting on my bass, I just want to be able to have a few "entertaining" moves up my sleeve - the sorts of moves that people know can be done with a DB and will have seen before. I like your thinking JimmyM - when in Rome.... Maybe I'll stow the endpin and play it lower?

    I've got the Stray Cats Rumble In Brixton DVD, Lee Rocker's slap bass instructional DVD and a double bass - I'm good to go!

    (damn sore fingers though)
     
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Are you slapping with steel strings? Expect blisters and blood for a while. I switched over to guts myself, which are a lot easier on the fingers. However, I just got a couple strings for the E and A which are flatwound silver wrapped over gut that absolutely love (Pirastro Eudoxas) and I'm currently using them with plain gut D and G. They're a little harder on the fingers than plain guts, but not nearly as bad as regular steels. Sure, Lee uses steels, as do a few other slappers, but the vast majority of slappers use guts, nylons, or anything but steels. www.rockabillybass.com may be a place to check out. Talkbass is mostly jazz and classical guys, while the guys on Rockabillybass understand the need to stand on your bass a little more than these guys ;)
     
  11. billio

    billio Bass Head

    Thanks for the head's up. Yes, I'm still using the flat wound steel strings the bass came with. It's not so bad on my fingers (my right hand is worse) as I've been playing 5 string bass for a while anyway, but I think I'll try a set of gut strings...
     
  12. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Milt Hinton could have slapped all those rockabilly guys silly -- without breakfast and with a hangover, probably -- and he never did a clown act with the bass. Nobody remembers much about the circus 50 years later, but good music lives forever.

    The problem with catering to an audience that loves the clown act is that you're just a hair's breadth away from being upstaged by some audience member flashing her boobies. In the history of rock'n roll, all that clown stuff ultimately lead to Twisted Sister and Janet Jackson. They will be remembered for their clowning, not their music. The Stones never needed that crap and they are timeless.

    This is not a moral position -- one of my best friends and main musical partners is a rockabilly bassist. His bass used to belong to me and I've helped him 'billy it up. It's real sweet-looking right now -- I've gotta help him post a pic at rockabillybass. I'm also the poor shmuck that has to do all his bass work for him. I've told him if he ever brings it to me with a "standing-on-it" problem, he's on his own. I say it with a smile on my face but I don't think he wants to find out the hard way!

    But I'm just an elitist old fart who doesn't like fun, what do I know?
     
  13. billio

    billio Bass Head

    Rock Around The Clock? Possibly not quite as timeless as anything by the Stones but didn't Marshall Lytle of Bill Haley's Comets do the "clown" thing....? I've never seen him do it, only read about it and I read about it LONG after I heard and liked the song?

    Hehehe, you sound like my dad Damon - not taking a moral position and all! Careful you don't trip getting down from your soap box :D
     
  14. I played at a bluegrass festival a couple of years ago and watched a guy lay down on the stage, twirl the bass around, and scream like James Brown two or three times on each tune. The crowd did get a kick out of it at first but it really made for some crappy music. I saw it as a mediocre musician who wanted everybody's attention on him--not the band and definitely not the music.

    Some folks may like it (hey, I know people who actually like liver) but I just can't see the point in it. Music is about the sound not the sight.
     
  15. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Gimme Little Richard any day of the week. That's the real thing, baby.
     
  16. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    ...seriously, people should do what turns their crank. If that's bass antics, then so be it.
     
  17. billio

    billio Bass Head

    Exactly! Well said that man..... :p

    I'll take your bet Jason, but you'll owe me. Have a read here... http://www.rockabillybass.com/leerocker.htm

    Different strokes for different folks :D
     
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Damon, you could have come up with a better example than the Stones. If Mick Jagger's onstage antics don't fall under the "clown act" category, I don't know what does. As for being upstaged by a girl flashing her boobies, I will be happy to be upstaged by a girl showing her boobies any day of the week.

    And as for the Comets not being as timeless as Milt Hinton, I don't know if you know this, but the original Comets reformed a few years ago and they play to sellout crowds wherever they go. True, they're not playing arenas by themselves like the Stones, but they regularly sell out 2000-3000 seaters. Plus when they're on an arena show like the ones I've done with them, they always end up being the hit of the show. And "Rock Around The Clock," "Shake, Rattle and Roll," and "See You Later Alligator" are as popular now as they ever were. Don't sell the Comets' musicality short, either. They are fabulous jazz-trained musicians who have probably forgotten more about music than any of us know. Don't believe me? Listen to Franny Beecher's guitar solo in "Rock Around The Clock." It was miles ahead of anything any guitarist in rock and roll did for 13 years after it came out.

    I was sort of half joking about the "who came up with that music first crap" business. I study music very hard and do my best to keep my level of musicianship high at all times. But when I get on stage, making the crowd go home feeling good and getting paid and asked to return is all that matters to me. And we always get asked to return. Why does music have to be some dull and boring elitist thing where everyone just stands or sits there playing and doing nothing to get the crowd having a good time? Ever see Bela Fleck and the Flecktones? On electric bass, Victor Wooten takes a back seat to nobody. Yet at every show he does, he spins the bass around his back and beats on open strings just making noise. I don't see anyone saying he's a circus act. They did at first, but they don't anymore.

    BTW, Steve, I would get irritated with that crap if it happened on every song, too. That's why you only do each stunt once a night tops.

    Hey, if that's your bag to not worry about entertaining a crowd, so be it. But don't put down those of us who believe there's more to playing music than playing music.
     
  19. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    I know what you mean about Mick. On this tour Keith's pirate act is finally starting to look too far gone, too. Their glory days are far behind and it hard not to call some of their old stuff pretty clown-like, too. But there aren't too many rock acts who've got so many timeless tunes and grooves...

    And believe me, I've got tons of respect for the rockabilly tradition. I ain't no jazz snob by a long shot. All that stuff comes from the source.

    So does the bass-spinning, too, I guess. Much more from the circus side of show biz than the Duke side, but the roots are deep nonetheless...
     
  20. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    ...BTW, yeah I have seen BF & The Flecktones live and I completely and totally dug it. Edgar Meyer was playing with them...

    Victor's bass-playing was from another world but the spinning sh*t was total clown act, man.

    I guess it's time for a freaking smiley: ;)