Just a silly question from a electric bass player...

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Mike Money, Jul 7, 2003.

  1. Mike Money

    Mike Money In Memoriam

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    Do they make fretted Double Basses? Or would that defeat the whole purpose?

    It would be kinda interesting, I think.
  2. theydolph

    theydolph Guest

    Oct 26, 2002
    I don't play Double Bass and I can't answer your question but I will say that you are a very brave person for posting that question. If you make it through this I would like to shake your hand.:D
  3. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    It's not a silly question, and I suppose the answer is, someone must have, somewhere in the world. It's a big place.

    Have to disagree, though...I can't think of anything less interesting than a fretted DB.
  4. Absolutely - sort of.

    I doubt the basses are/were made with frets, however they would have been tied on after.

    In the Baroque period (approx 1600-1750), this was a very common practice. Gut frets were tied around the neck. They were somewhat adjustable which was useful in order to fine tune intervals according to the tuning system they were going to use (unlike modern electric basses whose frets are calibrated for equal tempered scales).

    Frets are still in use today by many players who play in Period instrument ensembles like Tafelmusik, etc.

    Contrary to some people's beliefs, it's not strictly necessary to use vibrato all the time. A great deal of expression can be obtained through the bow.
  5. rtharris


    Oct 22, 2002
    Los Angeles
    While playing in a Yugoslavian band in the early 90's, I found a Fretted upright bass in a closet in the Slav Hall in San Pedro Ca. The instrument was in poor repair, and I was told that it was used for traditional Croatian and Slavic musics. It was definitely fretted, though.
  6. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    As you can see, it used to be done. Staying in tune would be a nightmare, as the bass changes its geometry with weather changes.
  7. At Boogie Man Guitars in Ellensburg, WA is a Mando Bass with frets. Now that the question has been asked, I wish I had taken a picture of it.
  8. A contra bass balalaika has frets, too.
    It´s tuned like a normal DB, and has the same register.
    Played one couple of times, and fell in love with the beast. No need to say but the fret distances are r--i--d--i--c--u--l--o--u--s...:D
    No bowing included, though. It´s plucked with a plectra with size and thickness of a windshield ice scraper.

  9. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    When I was in Austria the common format for 'bands' was a trio of acoustic guitar, accordian and double bass. One of these trio's had a fretted double bass. I assumed it was an 'after market modification'.
  10. Celarier


    Sep 5, 2002
    Washington, DC
    Did anyone notice that the drawn picture JMX sent of the fretted bass and player shows 5 tuning pegs and a sixth being actually held by the player; yet the bass appears to have only 4 strings. Things that make you go Hmmm?
  11. Joe Taylor

    Joe Taylor

    Dec 20, 2001
    Tracy CA
    The picture is some sort of Gamba the other string most likly drone strings that run under the finger board. It could be what's called a violone (sp?) which means a big viol. It's the grand-daddy of our bass.

  12. 563


    Jul 27, 2003
    Yeah the old Gibson mando bass that Heli mentioned is that one that came to my mind. A guy I saw back in North Carolina made an upright banjo bass that was fretted. It used half a bass drum as the body, he made the neck. Sounded neat.

    (thanks mandolin museum!)
  13. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    I actually played one of these last week at Buckdancer's Choice in Portland. It sounded like dung -- no oomph and no volume. Perhaps the Factory Original Equipment strings contributed, d'ya think, but it's really hard to make That Noise come from a box that is so thin.
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    It may be innacuracy on the part of the artist - I have seen similar pictures and history of the time, points out that most of these instruments were made with 5 strings. In the 17th Century, most Viennese Double Basses were 5-strings.
  15. Nick Ara

    Nick Ara

    Jul 22, 2002
    Long Island, NY

    True. Could be deliberate inaccuracy, like "artistic license". Adding two more strings may not have added value from a visual standpoint. I wonder what the artist would think if he/she knew that potentially millions of bassists would be viewing the artwork over this critter we call the Internet?
  16. sinse im new could osme one explain double treat?
  17. analogfreak


    Jan 30, 2006

    I saw this 2.5 year-old thread and thought I would add to it. There sort-of is a fretted electric upright on the market. It's really more of an upright bass guitar: The Barker Bass. It even has magnetic pickups instead of the dreaded bridge piezo. It's not suitable for bowing though. The mp3 samples on the Barker web site sound really good.

    Michael Yoder
    Ambient Jazz Duo