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Electric bass in jazz setting

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by chardin, Apr 7, 2003.

  1. chardin


    Sep 18, 2000
    I hope this is the right place for this message.

    I'm wondering how many people play electric bass in a jazz group that plays standards like "Satin Doll" and so on. I only play electric and for some reason, I have this idea in my head that only standup basses are allowed to play jazz.

    I would like to be in a small jazz combo but I'm scared that serious jazz players look down on electric bassists. Any thoughts?
  2. In general, serious jazzers DO look down on electric bass, but not all of them do. If you look hard enough you'll find some are more open-minded. I have a friend who gets a lot of jazz gigs, and he plays electric. It's all about feel.
  3. Noobai


    Aug 25, 2002
    Stanford, CA
    My teacher plays in jazz combos, and hes more than proficient on both electric and upright.

    9 times out 10 he uses his electric's, fretlesse's, all of them, but still electric. He says they are a ton more versatile, get more mwah, and he likes the punch (he plays G&L's and StingRays)

    So yes, very possible, Ive heard him paly both, and sometimes its hard tyo tell the difference.
  4. Ben Mishler

    Ben Mishler

    Jan 22, 2003
    San Jose
    Electrics are becoming more accepted, espically when you are talking fretless. Fretless seems made for jazz IMO. One listen to Heavy Weather gave me that idea.
  5. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    I play both URB and electric and I have to admit to a little upright snobbery on the Jazz Standards side. Having said that though I would have no problem taking my Modulus Q5 (well ok...I would put a set of TI Flats on it) to a jazz standards gig if for some reason I couldn't use my upright.

    Now (forgive the semantics) if the gig was Jazz Standards with Contemporary Jazz Standards (geeeeeezzzz) I sure wouldn't like doing Chameleon or Birdland with an upright. This is all so confusing.

    At the end of the day (gig) it's how well you played your 3/4 URB, 7/8 URB, 4/4 URB, fretted electric, fretless electric, four string, 5 string,6 string, gut strings, round strings, flat strings, round core, hex core........................................hohum!
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well this has been discussed at great length before, in previous threads - I would suggest a search for more info.

    But in summary, I go to straight ahead Jazz gigs every week and have been to literally hundreds in the last few years - 2 or 3 have had bass guitar, but over 95% have been with Double Bass.... :meh:

    I don't think it is snobbery as much as the "sound" that people who go to Jazz gigs expect to hear - players and audience! ;)
  7. I play jazz on a Warwick 6 string fretless. Some musicians frown when they see it, but they always compliment the sound I get. Singers are particularly happy to play with electric bass as the fundamentals are easier for them to hear and follow. Plus you have so many many more options for soloing - bigger range, chords, speed etc.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I think the Electric bass sounds great in Jazz. It doesn't give you the thump of a Double Bass, but it has a very defined tone. Most of the Jazz gigs I play are with electric.
  9. I wish there was a lot more electric playing in the Jazz world. Patitucci and McBride are both fantastic on upright, but, it's their electric playing that blows my mind, especially McBride's. He has no right to have that much talent. :cool:

    I recently saw my baby Jane Monheit, and I have to admit that an electric would not have had the same feel with her stuff. (Old standards)

    If you get the chance, see her. Her entire band cooks. :)

    We have to face it: Jazz is going to continue to be very slow in accepting the electric without raised eyebrows.


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