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Electric vs Upright tough descision

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Mackanbass, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. Mackanbass


    Mar 17, 2006

    Ok, so I really need some helping advice here :D
    I´ve been playing music for over 15 years, mainly playing Electric 5-string basses. A few years ago I started playing with a acoustic bluegrass band. So I got an acoustic upright bass. Yes, it takes a lot of practice to get it right but it is the best thing for this kind of music.

    Then the problems started. An 3/4 upright bass really is a pain to move around, even if you have a car. And, living in sweden with all the temperature/humidity changes has caused my bass to break. I´ve had the neck glued back into place, new bridge, top glued back and it just goes on. And according to my repairman most of this normal with classical instruments under these weather conditions.

    Then there is the practice bit. Having 2 kids and a full time job I can´t find the time that this instrument takes to have my fingering and technique in good shape. I have longer experience playing electric bass so that takes much less time to get me up n runnin´.

    Me, being a electric bass player really isn´t used to all this, maybe it is normal and just stuff that you have to live with if you really want to play upright bass.

    So bottom line is. I can´t figure out if it is worth all the pain to have the right sound. I have tried small amps and electric bass but it just doesn´t feel right and all the Acoustic bass guitars that I have tried just isn´t loud enough so you need an amp anyway. Sience I already have the upright bass and in a way I like it + the sound is right, but should i get rid of it and get a smaller speaker and an acoustic bass? At least it looks almost right on stage ;)

    Anyone have had the same experience/thaughts?
    So, enough of my whining ;) Thanks for reading!:p

  2. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Have you considered acquiring an electric upright bass (EUB)? Granted, it's not quite the same as a genuine acoustic upright, but there are a number of makes & models that can approximate that sound pretty closely. And the real benefit to you, of course, is that an EUB would be far more rugged, far more stable, much more compact in size, and virtually weather-proof.

    You might want to look into it... :meh:

  3. Mackanbass


    Mar 17, 2006
    Yes, have been there. I'm thinking that an amp would be needed and In that case i'm probably better of with an acoustic bass guitar so that I don't have to learn and maintain practice on a new instrument.

    You're right that the durability will probably be much better on an electric upright. I looked at the NS basic model but it is close to impossible to get one in sweden :(
  4. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    It seems that the problem is not the double bass. The problem is Sweden. :)

    It's a difficult problem. That sort of music isn't going to swing properly with a bass guitar. Maybe an electric upright with some gut or nylon strings? It might be worth trying. Stagg make a cheap one that I've heard other people say nice things about.

    As for practising your intonation and stuff - how much of the fingerboard do you really use for playing bluegrass? You shouldn't need to spend that much time practising, certainly not if you're gigging regularly.

    Like you I played bass guitar for many years before I got a double bass but perhaps unlike you I really love playing the double bass so it's never been difficult to find the motivation.
  5. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Ask your band mates.
  6. blue4


    Feb 3, 2013
    St. Louis area
    I've seen BG groups do just fine with acoustic or even electric bass. IMO you don't need an upright for BG any more than you need a 5 string for metal. You could try a semi-hollow short scale, or even a kala ubass.
  7. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Commercial User

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Manager of Brand Identity & Development, GHS Strings, Innovation Double Bass Strings, Rocktron
    I'm in your situation.

    I play in a folk group (two acoustic guitars, vocals) and used my URB for many years (had it since HS) with no problem. I ultimately sold it, mainly because it took up a lot of space for the few times I'd play it live, plus any musical theatre gig I did that initially requested an URB changed to electric when we 1. got to the crowded pit area or 2. realized all of the mic'ing that was needed in the pit. I bought an NS Design EUB and it has fit my needs perfectly.

    Back to the folk group. When I joined them, I had the luxury of being allowed to play an electric, as they wanted me to play on what I was most comfortable on (we met at a jam, when I was playing electric). So to switch to the EUB was a small shock, but nothing they really cared about. Since then, I'll play either the EUB, my U-Bass or the Warwick Alien fretless AEB for the gig. All of which require some sort of amplification (ranging from the EUB needing a lot and the AEB not as much). They're more interested in the note choices and playing over what I'm playing on...although the one guitarist always giggles when I bring the U-Bass around, shakes his head and says "That ain't right!"

    Ultimately, be upfront with your bandmates and tell them your issues and see what they say/think.
  8. Mackanbass


    Mar 17, 2006
    Thanks for all the input guys!

    I will borrow a AEB on a gig this thursday. EUB can be a good choise but I really enjoy playing my MM stingray 5 so that will probably be the best thing for me. AEBs that i've been trying has always required an amp no matter if my band-mates play just acoustic or with mics. A brass banjo is very hard to compete with in matters of volume. AND we're not gigging that frequent, wich i really need for my URB technique, band practice isn't quite the same for me.


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