Graduate from bass guitar to double bass

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Peete, Oct 24, 2004.

  1. I have played bass guitar for a number of years. I am sort of itching now to start playing double bass.
    Has any one done the same? Is it difficult to do? Any advise you guys can give me would be very much appreciated.

  2. heya!

    i was in your position a few years ago and ive never looked back. fortunately for me, my bass guitar teacher is also proffesional double bassist, so i got my first year or so of lessons free!
    anyways, theres no harm in trying it out for a while to see what you think. personally i think its the best instrument in the world and ive never stopped learning on it.

    give it a shot!

  3. Steve Bassman

    Steve Bassman Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Don't do it! You'll soon neglect your bass guitar and it may develop serious psychological problems. :)

    - Steve
  4. bassbob


    Oct 16, 2004
    Hey Newbie,

    I wish you well as you make the jump to the upright. You should be able to get used to the lack of frets especially if you had an electric fretless. If not, trust your ears it eventually works out. The next problem is the blisters. Just play through it and the callouses will come with time. :meh:

    Also learn from me to speak only upright lingo on this forum or the DB PC :ninja: police :spit: will flame you for speaking planker. :crying: ( Just post anything about headstocks and you'll find out. ) :bassist:

    Good luck. :D Hey if there is any king of bluegrass interest down under you can link to some good web sites through Yahoo or Topica.

  5. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    (cue sirens)...Pull over,'ve exceeded your quota of emoticons. Ed will be over shortly to confiscate your keyboard and mouse.
  6. S'pose if I can get a special discount at the local psychiatrist to deal with the "serious psychological problems" of my BG (trying hard with the lingo :D) I should be right...

    Looks like I might go back to that music store this week... I just cant get that DB in the window out of my mind.

    Thanks guys and I'll keep you posted.

    P.S. How many :) :) is the official quota??
  7. Steve Bassman

    Steve Bassman Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Difficult to do, yes, but once you conquer some of the techinical aspects you will be able to apply your musical knowledge from the electric bass which will give you a huge advantage over someone taking up the double bass from scratch or switching over from some other (lesser) instrument. Once you reach this point, you will feel a real sense of accomplishment and you'll probably be hooked like the rest of us (no bass fishing jokes, please). As far as advice, just click on the "newbie" links posted all over this board and you'll find tons of it. The most common piece of advice for anyone starting out on the double bass (whether or not they played electric bass before) is.....ready, all together now......"get a teacher!" ;)

    - Steve
  8. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I get scared when I hear you guys say "music store". Check out the NEWBIE stickies up in BASSES and maybe also SETUP AND REPAIR to get an idea. Most "music stores" carry low end imports with a host of concerns, it's never too soon to start a relationship with your Local Luthier and they may have basses fro sale or know of basses for sale that have been played by actual double bassists and be all set up and stuff.

    I think the majority of posters on the DB side started on BG. I know I did. There are a smaller number that still double. When I made the switch, I didn't have a teacher i just started playing (as a doubler). I went to Berklee and pretty much blew off all of my classes to play sessions and it seemed like that was all I needed to learn how to get around on the instrument. I left Berklee, went back to GA and was gigging 5 or 6 nights a week, in Augusta, Columbia SC, Athens, Savannah, Orangeburg SC... feeling pretty good about my ****. Moved to NYC in 87 and within a year had hit a substantial brick wall. I spent a few years trying to get around it and about 7 years ago hooked up with my current teacher. Who has been patiently working with me to undo the bad habits I taught myself, fill in the blanks in my background, work on hearing what I want to play and having the wherewithal to hear and play it with clarity on the instrument.

    Other than being tuned the same and having some similarities in interval relationship, the DB is an entirely different instrument than BG. The way it produces sound for example - you want a BG to get louder and have more top end you just turn up the amp and turn a knob or pluck a little closer to the bridge. When you amplify a DB, the sound that comes out of the amp is just a loud version of the sound that goes in. Unless you can produce a big warm open focused and centered sound WITHOUT an amp, you won't get it with an amp. The sheer PHYSICALITY of the DB is different than BG, the action, the total body involvement, the posture - it's DIFFERENT.
    I was just getting to the point where I was getting some early early symptoms of repetitive stress syndrome when I met Joe, without his help in the physical approach to the instrument I would be telling some of the CTS horror stories you can read by doing a SEARCH (for CTS, Alexander Technique, tendonitis etc.) here.

    Get a teacher. There are skill sets you will need to learn, sooner or later. Sooner is better.
  9. FUNKonthewall

    FUNKonthewall Nailing The Groove

    Sep 29, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    Endorsing: Fodera Guitars, Aguilar Amps, Dunlop/MXR Accessories
    In the words of Ah-nuld, "Do it!"

    You'll have a new respect for your role as "the bassist", trust me. It will also build up MUCHO hand strength in your left hand (provided you're a righty). All of that added strength and control will do a lot for your electric playing, as well. Eventually, you should try fretless electric, if you haven't already. It's the best of both worlds.

    Lessons will be instrumental (no pun intended :bag: ) in getting a solid start. Most people trying to start out on their own play it like an electric bass and have no clue what a position is. Don't ever let anyone tell you that it's just a "really big electric without frets that you stand up to play". Double bass requires a completely different state-of-mind.

    Looking back, I had a lot of fun learning to play upright. Once you learn how, you'll have the resources to play ANY style of music on bass. And you'll have the strongest pinky out of anyone you know. Good luck!
  10. I made the switch 1 year ago...after 11 yrs of spankin' the plank...and I hav'ent looked back.It is alot of work,and re-learning,but it is totally worth it!The biggest problem I have is stamina-especially left hand-it requires a considerable amount more strength to play.
    So,yes-a good teacher who teaches good technique is the most important thing to get started...the rest you will learn along the way!
    Good Luck!