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Joining the upright clan

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by MooseKnuckle, May 7, 2010.

  1. MooseKnuckle

    MooseKnuckle Guest

    Apr 8, 2010
    I'm going to be joining the ranks of playing upright, and am new to it. I was looking at basses, and have seen a few I like. I would obviously like a Sparkle King, but also sought interest in Takamine's TP-10. Anyone have any experiences/recommendations on the latter?
  2. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    The TB-10 isn't an upright. It's an acoustic bass guitar with an endpin.

    I wouldn't recommend dropping 4 grand or whatever the King is gonna run you on your first upright. It's a very challenging instrument, more than you would ever guess before taking it on. That's a lot of money to invest for a beginner on the instrument.

    Take a browse the newbie links. There is a wealth of information there.

    Be prepared to spend a lot of time, and a lot of money if you want to be any good at it.
  3. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    First of all, welcome. It's not "obvious" at all that one would want a Sparkle King. You're taking about a plywood bass with a fancy paint job. It has it's niche but it's a pretty narrow one. What type of music are you planning to play? I happen to believe that it's a good idea to get the best possible instrument (within reason) that you can afford. If a newbie were dead set on learning the DB, had lined up a plan for lessons, and were dedicated to years of training, I could see spending $4k on a really nice ply bass or hybrid. That, however is a rare situation. Please do read the newbie links as suggested. Then c'mon back with questions. By all means, don't buy a bass from an online internet music mass retailer or a guitar shop. Buy from an actual bass shop that will provide an appropriate and expert setup and that will stand behind the instrument. You simply cannot overestimate the importance and value of the setup. With all due respect, it seems you've got the cart a bit ahead of the horse. :)
  4. eerbrev


    Dec 6, 2009
    Ottawa, ON, CAN
    I'm going to +1 on not getting a sparkly upright bass for your first.

    One of the really cool things about transferring from electric to upright (I too, am also an electric player) is that you may transfer thinking you'll only do one thing (such as play rockabilly, jazz, folk, rock or classical), but the universe has other plans for double bassists. Once word gets around you can play, you may get calls from other styles to sub in.

    the honest reality of this is, Kind Double Basses are designed mostly for rockabilly, rock, and their offshoots (psychobilly for example). they have a certain sound that lends towards that style, and their finish is reflective (not to point out the pun) of that. But that being said, if you showed up to a folk or jazz gig, you'd at the very least get some funny looks, and you'd likely get asked to find another bass to use for the concert in classical, because you'd stick out of the orchestra like a sore thumb. The illusion of uniformity is important in an orchestra, even though you'll have all sorts of different shades of varnishes, and shapes of instruments etc.

    So I say that you find yourself a bass that you can love and enjoy that has a varnish that both fills your aesthetic eye and will also fit in anywhere, because you never know where your upright adventure will take you. I mean, I went to a college to learn some theory and started to learn on upright because thems was the rules, and now I'm in a classical performance program at a university! I don't play rock shows that often anymore, though I do miss it a lot, but I've been called up to fill in on folk rock gigs on a couple of occasions and i've been glad I have a contact mic for my bass.

    Best of luck to you. I hope you find a bass that you like, whether sparkly, or with candy flames (always my preferred King Double Bass option). who knows, you might find a pretty blonde or brunette around who strikes your fancy!


  5. mkandolf


    Nov 21, 2007
    Saint Clair, MI
    Welcome to the DB side (I'm one of many on both sides)!

    Head on over to www.gollihurmusic.com! Take a look around there for your first upright bass. Bob and Mark are very knowledgeable and have a great site set up to help you out.

    I purchased the Englehardt Gollihur Classic model from them, an amazing value for a little over $1100. It is a lmainated bass, very good for starters, has been serving me well in various styles I've been playing with a set of Thomastik Belcanto strings on it.

    They've got many other models there for you to choose from and they are wonderful people to deal with.
  6. Bass


    Nov 10, 2003
    Welcome! I would like a Sparkle King too. Trouble with King Double Bass is that a Sparkle King will probably take at least 2 years between order and delivery. So if you're a professional with plenty of patience, and you want to look good, then a Sparkle King is a good choice.

    But if you're a beginner and you want a bass in your hands now there are better options. Interestingly, when I was looking for my first bass I narrowed my choices down to a Slap King and an Upton Laminate. The Upton Laminate won, I don't regret my decision for a second (it's probably the smartest thing I ever did).
  7. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Several fine dealers have been mentioned in these threads. Personally, the offers from Gollihur wouldn't be my first choices, especially not Engelhardts. It's important to know what is your budget. Given that you were looking at a Sparkle King, are you willing to pay as much as $4k for your first bass? I think you would do well to look into Shens, Uptons, and New Standards at the very least. Take your time and play a bunch of basses.
  8. MooseKnuckle

    MooseKnuckle Guest

    Apr 8, 2010
    I have got to say how appreciative I am to having such a warm response from another community(although somewhat similar). Thank you all.:hyper:
    Yes, I'm sure I jumped the gun :scowl::rollno:by mentioning a Sparkle King, especially since I do like Rockabilly. But I do need to stay within the confines of reality.;) I'm recently joining a group(guitarist/singer, and a drummer) to form a folkish acoustic groove group(i.e. John Butler Trio). The singer asked if I played an upright, and I responded with a no, but the interest and dedication is there. I really want this project to work, so my dedication to an upright is there. Plus, I could transfer the know-how to Rockabilly(with more practice) if things don't work.:bassist: Again, I am a true newbie:bag:, for I know nothing about names, where to look for gear, info on gear, info on styles, etc. I would hate to ask a salesperson cause they just wanna throw you some info to make a quick sale. I don't even know what to search for in the search section. :confused:Any help in the right direction is appreciated while I do searches. Thanks Again.
  9. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Hey Moose--

    All things considered and taking into account what you want to do, I'd suggest that you get a quality ply bass. If you buy from a reputable bass shop, you are very unlikely to encounter a salesperson who will "just wanna throw you some info to make a quick sale." Quite the contrary! Reputable, honest-to-goodness double-bass shops care a great deal about placing the right instruments into their customers' hands and building long-term relationships.
  10. Eric Swanson

    Eric Swanson

    Oct 8, 2007
    Boston, MA
    Welcome here!

    Buy slowly. Double basses are like wives, "Marry in haste, repent at your leisure."

    Lots of good discussion in the archives about buying the first bass.

    We are glad that you're here!
  11. MooseKnuckle

    MooseKnuckle Guest

    Apr 8, 2010
    Ok(whew). With just a small effort in searching today, I've seen a few I like. I'm diggin' an Engelhardt Swingmaster cause it's Blonde. I don't know if I would look like a douchebag in the group for not having something "chocolate-y";) Plus, How do I know if I need a 3/4, or I guess a full size? Gonna continue with searches. Also, if anyone knows of a reputable shop in/near MD, I would greatly appreciate it.
  12. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    3/4 is the size that most people play. There are no true standardized sizes. What we call 3/4 typically has about a 42" string length (nut to bridge).

    Please read this thread.
  13. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    I truly wish you the best and welcome you to the instrument that keeps me up at night.
    However, you must figure out whether you will choose your bass based on tone and the way it fits you or its value as a stage prop. ;)
  14. Eric Swanson

    Eric Swanson

    Oct 8, 2007
    Boston, MA
    I lived in MD for several years, as a kid (Prince George's and Montgomery Counties), but then again, that was a long time ago...

    "Bob's House of Basses" is near you, probably. I haven't been to his shop, but I've bought stuff from him online and by phone. A cool cat with a good reputation. Good prices on stuff, too. Here's his email:


    Here the web address:


    When I lived there (I left in '78), there was a shop called "Gail's Violin Shop" run by a fellow named Bill Gail. He had a bassist working there named Thom, I think, who played well and did bass luthiery. I just looked them up; they are still in business, but I don't see anything about basses. Even so, they were good, sincere folks and could probably help connect you:


    Even if you want to play only rockabilly, or whatever, a lesson (or a few) with one of the cats in the National Symphony section will do three things:
    - Open your mind to the possibility of the bowed bass, which is a mindf@ck
    - Give you some basic playing mechanics and orientation, so you don't hurt yourself or waste a ton of time reinventing the wheel
    - Hook you up with the local DB community. Professional orchestral players tend to know where to go for basses, bows, strings, and luthiers

    Here's Robert Oppelt's website.

    He can get you going. Don't be intimidated; bassists tend to be friendly and helpful, in general. The instrument is hard enough to play without being a pr#ck. Again, welcome here.

    Here's a link to another teacher in DC.

    Baltimore has Peabody, too. Check out teachers there, too, maybe...
  15. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    ...hmm... and some people say this forum is unfriendly toward newbies and scares them away. This nice thread reinforces the notion that it's not us. :)
  16. MooseKnuckle

    MooseKnuckle Guest

    Apr 8, 2010
    Yeah, I got that too from a few treads over in Bass guitar forums. I can only rave about the extreme help I gotten from you all here. I think it's a similar fued between sailboaters, and speedboats(motorboats). Alot of the speedboaters(bass guitarists) feel that most/all sailboaters(like the DB'ers) have an elitist attitude since they're on the water the "real" or "original" way, and don't like how speedboaters drive around'em. But speedboats just wanna enjoy the water too. I think it doesn't matter the differences, and enjoy the similarities(living in the low end, and hatin' on those loud guitarists:p).
  17. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Besides, the flames really should be a custom job from a real hot rod shop. :bag:

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