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Mingus w/ an Electric?

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by mattzink, Sep 20, 2005.


  1. mattzink

    mattzink

    Jun 21, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    I read either in Mingus's autobiography or in another book (whose name escapes me) that Mingus tried electric bass ever so briefly, but hated it.

    My question is does anyone know of any accounts or photos of Mingus playing an electric? I'm guessing if he hated it so badly he probably never even took it out for a gig. Still, I had to ask. . .
     
  2. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    Herb Mickman studied with Mingus for awhile. One night Mingus came to hear Herb play an EB gig. Herb asked Charles if he would like to sit in. Mingus played the EB propped on a barstool in the vertical position. That's all I remember.
     
  3. teleharmonium

    teleharmonium

    Dec 2, 2003
    There is an Ampeg ad that has a picture of Mingus playing a solidbody 'baby' bass (electric upright) and BT-15 amp.
     
  4. bass_means_LOW

    bass_means_LOW

    Apr 12, 2004
    Las Vegas
    I remember reading a blurb in Downbeat in the mid 70's, maybe 76? They asked 32 bassists what they thought about electric vs acoustic. Most all answered something like; 'The setting/music dictated which they would use.'
    Mingus was really the only one who stated emphatically that the very moment a microphone (contact pickup) touches the bass, it ceases to be electric. I doubt if he had time for a slab.
     
  5. Davehenning

    Davehenning

    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Chuck Rainey said the same thing. He said Mingus sat in on a King Curtis gig and propped up Chuck's P-Bass just the same way.
     
  6. bass_means_LOW

    bass_means_LOW

    Apr 12, 2004
    Las Vegas
    I can dig it.
     
  7. i can't imagine Mingus on an electric. He digs in so hard on upright I think even a heavy bass like a Precision would break under the pressure. But the idea of him sitting the PBass on a barstool upright just reminds me of how uncompromising Mingus's attitude is. Always keeping it real.
     
  8. mattzink

    mattzink

    Jun 21, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    That P-Bass story is killer - maybe one of the best I've heard.
     
  9. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I think you mean "ceases to be acoustic", right?
     
  10. bass_means_LOW

    bass_means_LOW

    Apr 12, 2004
    Las Vegas
    Thanks for that! Do you think Mingus has a point?
     
  11. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Yes, absolutley. DURRL et al have some great points about practicing using your pickup/amplifier interface so that you can get as close to the sound of your bass out of it as possible. But the bottom line is an acoustic instrument puts sound out into the air in a very different (and to me more 3-dimensional) way than electric instrument. The move towards using an amplified public address system strikes me as being primarily commercial in origin - how can you present entertainment in an environment that was not designed for it? If the room isn't conducive to distribution of the sound, just make everything LOUDER.

    We all want to be heard, to be able to hear ourselves. There are many times that the room, the band, the circumstances call for some kind of reinforcement; be it microphone or pick up and amp. I find it kind of sad that plugging into an amp is the default rather than one of several options.

    There's a wonderful quote from David Grisman; he was doing a tour with Bela Fleck and was interrupted by someone yelling "Turn up!". He held his mandolin up to show that it wasn't plugged into anything and said "Son, these are acoustic instruments, you need to listen harder."

    Despite everything we all do to "fine tune" our amplified sound, I still think it's akin to trying to get across by shouting instead of talking. the more all of us "shout" the harder and harder it becomes to concentrate on what's actually being said.
     
  12. bass_means_LOW

    bass_means_LOW

    Apr 12, 2004
    Las Vegas
    www.bassplayer.com has a great interview with Mr Carter.
    He thinks bassists who only use a mic are 'making a mistake.'
    My thinking is that bassists might want to take that idea of playing acoustically to build chops. The idea being, to pull the most out of your bass so as not to rely too heavily on amplification when it comes to your sound.
    Perhaps most 'old school players' wouldn't want to go back to the way it was 50 years ago, but maybe that's the reason they sound the way they do, because they put in time in an acoustic atmosphere.
    Check out his interview.
     
  13. To paraphrase Rufus Reid:

    puny sound + amplifier = LOUD puny sound
     
  14. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I read the article Ron had in the ISB mag, I imagine it's much the same thing. he is, of course, more than welcome to his opinion. Maybe Ron wouldn't like my sound, I don't like his currently. He does sound great on MODE FOR JOE.

    The article for ISB was written in response to an article in the previous magazine by Neal Minor encouraging bassists to explore playing without a pick up.