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If its decended from an upright.........

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Pbassred, Apr 6, 2006.

  1. If I understand my history correctly, The first electric bass was made by Leo Fender for use by upright bass players. bands often included an upright acoustic bass. They found that in larger venues, they often could not be heard above the electric guitar amps.

    Upright bass players would record on the upright and then use the electric for live shows. obviously They played the same notes and used the same techniques.

    So: If its decended from an upright bass cello, how come they call it a bass guitar??
  2. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    It's not really "decended from an upright bass". As many sources tell us, Leo's primary motivation was building an instrument that would enable his guitar-playing friends to double on bass. Obviously, an instrument played in the "guitar position" and with frets would facilitate this much more. Additionally, it at first was merely referred to as the "Fender Precision Bass". It's much closer to a guitar in design if you think about it (than to the bass viol), aside from the tuning.
  3. Dragonlord

    Dragonlord Rocks Around The Glocks Supporting Member

    Aug 30, 2000
    Greece, Europe
    Just look at it. It's a guitar. With lower notes. Hence the bass guitar.
    Leo could have created it for drummers or for crocodiles for all that I care, it's still a bass guitar.
  4. WillBuckingham


    Mar 30, 2005
    Please don't ever say "upright bass cello" again . . . it's a bass, not a cello.
  5. Dan1099

    Dan1099 Dumbing My Process Down

    Aug 7, 2004
    Who cares? I always laugh when people get upset when billed as a bass guitarist and not a bassist. Seriously, the name isn't important, the SOUND is. :rolleyes:
  6. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    The range of the Cello is just annoying to me, same with violin.

    But then again, I guess thats because I played viola for a bunch of years and just switched to DB...

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
  8. +1, I think I died a little inside when I read that:smug:
  9. i think somewhere along the line the "cello" was dropped from the "Double Bass" or "Bass Cello"

    plus its not a cello because it's tuned differently...well, upside down (from a piccolo bass) technically :)
  10. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    I recall seeing in the late '60's bass parts in dance bands and jazz groups that were labled 'Fender Bass' meaning electric bass. Often these parts were written in treble clef. I'm assuming that is because a 'Fender Bass' would be played by a guitar player, who would be more likely to read treble clef than bass.

    At any rate the BG has been accepted with a bit of confusion by the music community in general. And frankly, that is one of the reasons that I was attracted to it. You can make it be whatever you want it to be. I find it a freeing experience to play an instrument with a wide range of expectations.
  11. No. The double bass never was a cello of any sort. What it was, and is, is a bass viol.
  12. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000


    I had a "die inside" moment at work. Ok-in most situations i'd say "at least they know it was a bass instrument", but-well, i work in the Chicago Symphony Store. I was straightening the merchandise/wandering around the store doing my normal routine, and i heard some customers talking and sounding remotely intelligent, and then i heard them say "look at the bass fiddle". when referring to an ornament of an upright bass. I thought at that moment "this isn't a country-western store".
  13. tricky...i knew that there wasn't a family of "bass" i knew there was another family that the upright bass was the "bass" instrument of that family...i had a 50/50 chance :)

    oh well, 50/50/90 rule :)
  14. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I realize you're old enough to remember those times and well-old enough to be my parents, but in jazz settings i've still come across many of those same parts that are labeled "Fender Bass". Heck, when i have my Ray5, i get "you brought your Fender". The reference to having the electric bass being a Fender has stuck really well. One of the guys to say "you brought your Fender" was only 23 years old.

    Now for the treble clef music part-i could understand that, i always assumed it was due to the amount of lead sheets bass players have been expected to read. E.g. when a sheet is handed out in combo rehearsel, it's always in treble clef for C instruments. Bb/Eb instruments transpose and bass clef instruments are expected to be able to read appropriately in treble. I think your reason makes more sense though since it was referring to a part written for the instrument rather than a generic lead sheet.

    Thread starter/topics.

    The electric bass wasn't taken in with the most open arms by upright bass players. Heck-it still isn't amongst a chunk of them. There are the exceptions, including those of us who double [play bass BG and DB]. It took awhile before it became widely used. I'm not saying that no one started playing them initially, just that they encountered a large amount of resistance.

    IMO, it was the same sort of attitude that many people have now towards ERBs. The Electric Bass Guitar was a change from the normal-a string bass, and thus many didn't want to accept change. It used to be odd/frowned upon to play a 5 string. Now that is nearly a co-normal with the 4 banger. 6+ Strings are a lot more common now than they ever where in the 1990's. However, i do not believe that 6+ string basses will get the same type of overwhelming change that the Fender Bass did. The catch, i'm guessing people in the 1950's said the same things towards the Fender Bass.

    Initially, i believe the concept was to allow guitar players to play a bass instrument. Hince the original 51-52 basses having a finger rest [treble side of the strings i think it was about 2 inches away from the strings at an angle]. This would faciliate the bass being played with the thumb ala jazz guitarists.

    The frets, body design, and many other physical elements of the bass were also derived from the Telecaster/other guitars at the time. If you look at a Tele and a 51 P-bass and then look at the modern P-bass and a Tele, you'll notice a striking similarity between the 51 & Tele and a more subtle resemblence between the modern P and the Tele.

    There is a wealth of information available via here, Fender Forum, and the net ingeneral on this topic. It's an interesting topic to research.

    take it easy.
  15. My appogies to anyone who suffered any kind of internal death at the "cello" comment. I am a simple fool (but learning). I was thinking meerly in the way of:- baby bear, moma bear, papa bear in regards to orchesteral hollow stringed instruments. I hope you feel better soon.

    It was interesting to learn of an electric bass that predated the Fender. Actually my 78 pbass orriginally had a finger stop under the strings. I couldn't see the point at the time so I screwed it on to the thumb position.

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