Electric Bass Guilt...

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by dhadleyray, Jan 1, 2005.

  1. dhadleyray

    dhadleyray Guest

    Dec 7, 2004
    My question is... has anyone ever decided to play double bass after years of feeling, well... inferior playing electric? I used to play an R&B gig 4 sets a night, 7 days a week, 360 days a year in Spain for 3 yrs. There would be frequent power losses which left me standing there holding an "inaudible" lump of wood. I started wondering "gee, since the power is off, what's the point if there's no hope being heard?" I also hated the fact that even though I could play jazz, people wanted to "see" a double bass. The EB "looked" too easy. A former drummer with Oscar Peterson said to me, "I want to hire (bassist), but he plays electric. The clubs don't care if he's good or not.." Hmmm.. I feel better playing both, and must admit, lately I keep seeing guitarists and drummers gigging on the EB as a sideline. Even though they don't "play" like an experienced bassist. I aso noticed that IMO, a lot of guitarists are nervous having me behind them. I've been playing EB since 1977, so I can get around on it ok, but guitarists are more intimidated having somebody behind them that has more technique than they do. A kind of fear of what you "could" do if they let you cut loose. On records and gigs I don't play more than what's needed, but at jam sessions when told to solo, I'm thinking Charlie Parker, 3rd's and 7th's, chordal and tritone. Overall, I love playing four to the bar on the double bass! Knowing and applying harmony is exciting whatever the tempo. I feel better and less self conscious playing both... Any similar experiences? I was pondering. :bag:
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I wouldn't say I "felt guilty" so much as I would say I followed my heart and made an informed life decision. I picked up DB for many reasons, but the ones that are bass related are simply that I wasn't particulary happy with the kinds of gigs I was getting playing slab, and/or that I wasn't happy with the plank sound when I was playing the kind of music that moved me. There are a lot of great electric bassists out there, but my musical goals didn't lead me in that direction, so I adjusted to where they did seem to be heading. In short, DB was the sound I was chasing in my mind's ear, so the most logical thing seemed to be to start playing the instrument that produced that sound. A few years later, I got rid of all of my slab gear because I was happy doing what I was doing on the upright and felt no need to keep playing an instrument that didn't offer me any happiness.
  3. dhadleyray

    dhadleyray Guest

    Dec 7, 2004
    But what if I mentioned "Anthony Jackson" and the way he "approximates " a DB sound? Are you saying you completely prefer the sound of Double bass over EB?
  4. JazznFunk

    JazznFunk Supporting Member

    Mar 26, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    Lakland Basses Artist

    You can approximate all you want... only a DB can sound like a DB, hence the reason we spend so much time trying to perfect our amplified sounds so as to NOT sound like a slab. That being said, I play electric with a band or two here and there, as well as in the studio on occasion. I enjoy it, and I have a long history with it since that's what I started playing bass on. That said, I approach the instrument differently in terms of tonal quality and my function in the tunes because it's so different from DB. In short, only the DB can offer the qualities that some try to "approximate" on electric. They're two totally different instruments, IMO.
  5. dhadleyray

    dhadleyray Guest

    Dec 7, 2004
    I must admit , I agree with you whole heartedly. They do have different sonic textures. When I play electric, i feel like I'm going to work, but when I play DB (since I'm practicing only DB...), I feel like the fun is back in the music. :bassist:
  6. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

  8. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I think i am one of the least experienced/youngest players to respond to this thread....I play both because in order to get the sound that i wanted and needed to have available-i needed to be able to play electric and upright.

    The hardest thing for me with regards to amping the upright is getting the sound to be NOT slabish. I have a separate preamp dedicated to upright, and I think i have gotten right about as close as I am going to get [have the Bass Master Pro package on my Cleveland going into a SansAmp RBI].

    On the CD that was made of our last big band concert, the bass sounds pretty good, and going off of what one of my directors said [percussion primary, used to teach orchestra] the tone was spot on.

    I however, wouldn't try to get my upright to attempt the sound of my Ray5 as that is beyond my ability, yet on occasion if i need a psuedo-upright tone, i have tried to cop it on the Ray5 even though to anyone that plays/knows upright, it's no where close.

    Different but equal.

    That's all