Higher End Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bleachstained, Sep 30, 2001.

  1. bleachstained

    bleachstained Guest

    Apr 22, 2001
    So here's the situation. I'm sitting in the living room this morning. The family's watching a music video. My dad sees an Ernie Ball being played by a guy that also plays a double bass on the group's other video. He says "You stick with bass, and maybe I'll buy you a double bass someday." So I said, "why, when you wouldn't consider the Ernie Ball before would you now maybe buy that?" He says, "Well, maybe I'll help you get either one you would want." So here's my dilemma-

    If I do stick with bass and decide to make a career out of it (which means college-keep that in mind), and dad decides to get me one, what would be better.

    The Ernie Ball/Warwick/High end Fender/Modulus
    for a nice electric bass

    Or a double bass (I know nothing about them) which I would think I need for college.(Don't most colleges just teach in the double bass format?)

    If going to college for bass studiesand playing in a band-what would be the better choice?
  2. Well, the double bass is really a completely different animal than the electric. I have played double bass for about 12 years now and am a student at the University of Washington. I love playing electic as well but many of the things you will learn technique wise on each instument will not directly transfer. If you are only interested in the electric bass and playing in a band, than I would do just that and study with a good teacher. I don't know of any universities except for maybe Berkley that actaully teach electric bass. That isn't to say that you shouldn't go to college. If you want to play electric at school I'm shure you could try out for a jazz combo and still get some musical instuction. If you want to play double bass, which is really a great instrument to play, than that is really a seperate issue from whether or not you should go to college or play electric bass.

  3. wildbillking

    wildbillking Guest

    Sep 27, 2001
    phoenix, arizona
    remember to keep this in mind; although you are looking at high-end electric basses, they are still alot cheaper than a high-end URB. my first electric bass cost less than $200 and i have played a couple of big shows with a used mexican p-bass. (hot rodded of course). but let me tell you what i would do. if he's willing have him buy you a cheaper plywood URB and go get an electric one too. and although chris makes a good point about the basses being totally different animals, remember that they are still in the same family. if you practice and play enough i beleive having both of these tools will help you to be a well rounded player. i get alot of gigs just because i know how to play an URB. and as you get better you can then worry about upgrading your equipment. it is important if you want to do this for a living to have high quality tools, but for now, tools that will just do the job and get you out playing should suffice. as far as work goes i can't stress enough how important it is to double.:) just an opinion :)
  4. Which one would your heart be in ???
  5. Sammy


    Aug 31, 2000
    My friend / instructor Steve went back to college ( a local comminity college) where they taught electric only, double only, and mix. He also maintained a light constant gig schedule while in school, increasing the number of shows after he finished. The college was "good for him" to break out the rut he was in by learning more theory and styles. He now writes for one band, and just plays for another. I'm trying to learn theory from Steve so when I'm playing "out of the box" I have a better map in my mind of where I'm going.

    Steve also met a boat load of other musicians at school. I'm sure there are plenty of "colleges" that due the same, and the best thing is, if they don't work for you, you can try it and leave! (I did, and went back later for something else!)

    Good Luck
  6. pesci1313

    pesci1313 Guest

    Jun 2, 2001
    Urbandale, IA, USA
    as anyone will say, play each. but as far as urb versus electric, it depends what you want to do. if you think you prefer electric stay with it, if you'd like to try urb then try it. And lets see just i'm not a great ernie ball fan, i don't think you can do as much with them and get great tones for it, and i think they don't feel very sleek, figured, basses, like women, should be nicely figured. High end fenders, well maybe, the urge 2 looks nice, i'd like to play one, and the new jazz's look interesting. Now we get to my pick though, modulus or warwick. Well this comes down to the feel and sound of wood, versus the versitility comfort and still great even tone of graphite. I love both, warwicks have that growl, and the woody sound and you just can't get it(of course each warwick has different tone slightly, i like the streamer stage series, and most off the dolphin) and modulus' have great tone, great ability to play live, i love the feel of the graphite neck too, it feels wonderful to me, and the ease of playing, and no dead spots is wonderful. So anyway there ya go, sorry i get longwinded
  7. Larry Kaye

    Larry Kaye Retailer: Schroeder Cabinets

    Mar 23, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    What type of music turns you on playing wise? If it's jazz, classical, or swing, for instance you can still "learn" on an electric upright, but the mindset of these styles on a fretless vs a fretted bass is in MHO quite different.

    At least with an electric upright, you could play some other types of gigs but I've very very rarely heard an amplified double bass compete (an editorial comment: why is it that double bassists don't ever seem to have a decent amplifier by the way? They bring the smallest, crappiest, oldest piece of junk with them, you still can't hear them, and they're bobbin' and weavin' their heads, grunting, dancing and no one but themselves can hear a single note they're playing half the time!) effectively in literally any band situation whereas a EUB could, with the right amplification, be an effective alternative to playing any type of live music short of classical.

    Good luck, the fact that your father will support you in your musical journey is a great deal for you regardless of which bass path or paths you take.

  8. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Rickbass basically said it all!

    However, to go along with that...what are your career aspirations? If you're planning to be a rock player, then you probably don't need the DB. If you're playing traditional jazz, then you'd probably want the DB. However, if you're planning to play country or general sessions, then you'd be best off buying a fairly inexpensive but versatile bass yourself, like a Fender Jazz, and getting the DB.

    Personally, I love playing double bass, and am trying to locate the funding right now to be able to buy one. I really suggest getting one. However, you really need to look down the line and figure out if your heart will be in it, and whether you think it will be worth the time and effort and expense that you'll have to put in to it.
  9. bleachstained

    bleachstained Guest

    Apr 22, 2001
    Well to answer a few questions-

    Right now I'm not sure what I'm really going to do with bass, I'm just positive it's what I want to do. I would be willing to play bass in any style. I am learning Jazz in lessons and am always studying various Rock music(RHCP and Dave Matthews Band).

    The main reason I wanted to know is for college.

    Are there any colleges besides Berkley that teach Electric?

    How much would it be to go to college at Berkley?

    What careers are there in the bass field besides playing in a band or orchestra and how would I go about getting into those positions?
  10. MtnGoat

    MtnGoat Guest

    May 7, 2000
    To be a professional player and make a living by playing bass it is not necessary to get into the double bass, but many pros play both upright and electric bass. You will benefit by being able to play both types since you will be able to take gigs on both. For jazz, many groups only want a player who plays upright bass.
    Keep in mind that a cheap entry-level upright will set you back $1500 or more and a good upright costs ~$10K.
    Berklee is in the neighborhood of $20K/year, but that is not the only great music school out there. Many community colleges in So. California have instructors who are also top LA pros. The Bass Collective, Bass Institute (GIT), and other programs exist for electric and/or upright bass. Check out your options before you decide on your career path.
  11. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook Sheet Music Manager
    My suggestion:

    Do some research, using the internet you can probably get the answer to most of your questions. To find out how much Berkley charges, ask the folks at Berkley. As far as careers, take some time to think about what you want to do with your life because no one here can really help you with that.
  12. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Is your father aware of the investment required to acquire and set up a decent double bass? A well set-up student quality double bass will require about $2000. A decent bow and bag will add maybe $500 more. Amplification (combo) and pickup: $800 or thereabouts. Someone on the DB boards mentioned the "multiplier effect"; he was basically right about a DB costing about 5 to 10 times as much as a bass guitar of similar quality.

    Assuming that your dad is willing to foot the bill, and you're willing to put up with the transportation woes, I'd say that you have nothing to lose by learning the double bass. After learning proper technique on DB, bass guitar will feel like a toy. Exposure to standard classical and jazz repertoire will also open up professional opportunities for you. (Not to say you can't learn this repertoire on bass guitar, but it's harder to get jobs if you don't double. You can also blow past the music snobs who don't consider the electric bass a musical instrument.)

    Kung Fuqua mentioned Mannes and North Texas State as examples of schools that take electric-only players. I think BerkLEE is the best of the electric-only schools; graduates include not only technical monsters like Hamm, Victor Bailey and John Myung, but reasonably well-paid session players. I think Berklee alumni also tend to be more industry-savvy than most music school graduates; the school teaches them the bare minimum about how not to get screwed by agents, lawyers and labels. I guess that answers your question about career opportunities outside of bands and orchestras. Join the AFM, become a hired gun, play advertisements, Celine Dion concerts, corporate shows, etc.