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Flying with a Double Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Landy67, Jan 11, 2014.

  1. Hi all,

    This fall I met one of my music heroes while traveling, and we really connected. As a result, I've been invited on a week long tour with him and another musician that I've heard of. I was told that they would "welcome a double bass player" to jam with on the trip between stops and shows. I would really like to play bass for these two, but since I don't own a double bass, I'll have to get a complete setup.

    How hard is it to travel with a double bass? Does anyone know the cost to check a bass on a flight? Are there any concerns checking a bass?

    This seems to be a real expensive proposition, I can't get over the cost of a flight case! (talk about sticker shock!)

    Should I be looking at something with a removable neck? I will only travel with the bass 2 times a year, three this year, but I really don't want to spend 3K for a case!

    Do you think it would be acceptable to get an Eminence and something like a Phil Jones Briefcase, or would that really put off a couple of serious folk musicians?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Herbie 80's

    Herbie 80's

    Dec 15, 2008
    You don't own a double bass but you want to start by buying a flight case, a bass (maybe with a removable neck), and then fly around with it? This is a lot of money to do that.. If you don't play double bass, maybe you should just bring an electric, 'cause DB isn't a "pick me up in two days" kinda instrument.
  3. How hard is the transition from fretless electric to double bass? I've played one at a bluegrass fest, and I was able to keep up with the rest of the group. I didn't have much style, but I got the notes OK.

    I was looking at the airline fees for oversized baggage, and it looks like it's more money than I'm going to want to spend for a few days of dragging it around.

    I may be better off staying a mandolin player. Those things are easy to take with you!
  4. Herbie 80's

    Herbie 80's

    Dec 15, 2008
    It's pretty important to note that the only real difference between DB and electric is the tuning. Sure, there may be some cross over, but it's very little.

    You may have played one at a bluegrass festival and "gotten the notes right" but it's very hard to play very well in tune, without any technique (since you've never studied DB).

    Remember that the bass sounds very different from where your are standing (behind the instrument) and where the other people are. Furthermore, playing pizz on DB has a fast decay and is hard to play in tune, and this is furthered when you have no RH technique.
  5. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    Flying on Southwest with a trunk seems to be the best reliable way for now. It's only $75 for each leg of the trip and the staff are usually very friendly and prepared to help.
  6. I don't understand what you mean about the tuning... Every DB that I tried at the Bluegrass Fest was tuned exactly like my Electric basses. EADG, BEAGD, or if it only had two strings A & D. Do they normally tune a DB in fifth's like my mandolin or a cello?

    It's actually not that hard to play in tune without frets, and it doesn't take that long to adjust to the different scale. I usually play Rocksmith with my fretless Godin A4. I'm not as fast as I am on my Stingray, but I still do pretty good. I can stay close enough in tune that I still get decent scores.

    I think I can probably pick it up, at least well enough to get by. I was talking to the folks at Upton Bass. They have one I can rent for a couple of months, and they said I can take lessons there as well. I'm looking forward to learning.
  7. I've done a lot of bluegrass dates for a higher profile act. Rarely will the you see the bass player fly with a bass. It's REALLY expensive. You can rent locally much cheaper.
  8. dudi8


    Apr 13, 2010
    if i may, I'm joining the question about flying, is there any cheap case you would trust to fly with? (in my case, only 1 flight)

    sorry if its inappropriate to ask also...
  9. Nagrom


    Mar 21, 2004
    Western Canada
    If you are looking for a comparison between electric bass and double bass, think about how much your mandolin playing helps your violin work.
  10. joel3000


    Feb 22, 2010
    Davis, CA
    Rent. Hauling a DB is an endeavor. It's more complicated than just the plane, although that may be the hardest and most expensive.

    Try to find a DB to play in the city and let the owner bring it to you. You can put ads on CL if you need to to find it.
  11. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters

    This is adorable.
  12. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    Bless his heart…..
  13. Problem solved!

    I picked up a Chadwick Folding Bass last night, and it looks and sounds like it's exactly what I was looking for!
  14. Now you have to get in to shape, which is going to take a few months. Don't hurt your hands while you do, that'll take a very long time to recover. Get a few lessons.
  15. ReiPsaeg


    Dec 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY
    I think that what they meant to say was, "the only similarity between the bass guitar and the double bass is tuning."
  16. ToR-Tu-Ra


    Oct 15, 2005
    Mexico City
    I think I might pick up flying. How hard can the transition from automovile to airplane be?
  17. It's going to be a little while before I can start playing. I broke my left wrist a while ago, and I'm not supposed to be playing yet.

    That gives me some time to do some research and find a good teacher. There's a bass/drum shop in the area that has a teacher that does lessons on DB.

    And, does this look like it would be worth the money? Double Bass Workout Video
  18. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    The transition from bass guitar to DB is huge!!!
    Go for it but RENT!!!
  19. Already bought and paid for!

    The resale on the Chadwick seems to be high enough that I'm guessing that I could sell it and recoup most of my money on it. I'll bet that I could sell it in a year, and lose less that it would cost me to rent for a year. Or I could just keep it forever in my collection and let my heirs worry about what to do with it when I'm gone.

    It's funny, but when I was asking about buying one of those Chinese folding basses on ebay for $700 I was told that they would be crap, and I should look at something quality made because they have resale value, now I'm hearing that I shouldn't buy one because it's hard to play compared to an electric bass.
  20. Bow tie

    Bow tie

    Jan 9, 2014
    Upstate NY
    Since you've already made the leap, good on you! I wish I would of had the option of trying one out like you did. I ended up with an Electric Upright, but it is "not quite" the right sound. Still a blast to play however.
    You've gotten some discouraging input from some guys here, but I found I could make the transition to DB. Just be prepared (if you're like me) to be embarrassing iffy on pitch anywhere above the fifth fret for quite a while. I have no idea if it's "approved" advice, but I put tiny pencil marks VERY occasionally right on the neck (not too many for fear of becoming a crutch) and it help me quite a bit.