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Moving to upright bass...

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Nordic Groover, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. Hi all,

    Just wondering if those who have made the transition from bass guitar to double bass / upright bass might like to share their thoughts on how they find the experience, why they did it, and particularly what technical aspects were the most challenging?

  2. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    It was a LONG time ago, but the first thing to embrace is the GIGO (garbge in, garbage out) philosophy of amplification. If you get a thin, non-projecting sound out of the instrument, when you amplify it you get a LOUDER thin, non-projecting sound. No amount of knob twiddling, string changing, instrument changing is going to get you to a warm, open, projecting sound; THAT you have to be able to physically produce from the instrument itself.
    After playing DB for 18 years or so, I finally went to a teacher (about 13 years ago?) that got me to a place in physical approach that I do a majority of my gigs without an amplifier. Playing with a projecting sound isn't about playing harder, it's about playing smarter.
  3. I did it for the sake of loving the instrument and also to get more gigs, which it definitely does. Add jazz and bluegrass to rock and you get the calls more often.

    The hardest thing, to me, is that your hands do quite different things physically on an upright than on a BG. The left hand especially. I strongly suggest taking at least a few lessons to begin with.
  4. skychief


    Apr 27, 2011
    South Bay
    If you get a UB before taking lessons, dont play it more than a day or so.

    The more you play it (before getting proper instruction), the longer it will take to unlearn all the mistakes you'll make on those first few days.

    Keep in mind the only thing a bass guitar has in common with a UB is they both have 4 strings tuned in 4ths. The similarities kinda stop there.

    You'll be using your pinky alot.;)
  5. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    Why? Because I'd always wanted to and joining an alt-country band was the kick in the pants I needed to finally get an upright.

    The biggest challenge has been, once my hands got strong enough to take on the physical nature of the instrument, intonation. I'm solid to the fifth 'fret', but above that I still have a lot of work to do. Unfortunately, with two bands and a full time job I don't have as much time and energy as I would like to devote to the instrument.

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