New DB player! Lots of Questions!

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by emuhleestarr, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. emuhleestarr


    Jul 16, 2013
    I've played bass for about 6+ years and it's finally time to get a double bass! Always wanted one and now I finally have the money! As of right now I am planning on getting a custom Engelhardt from Fantastic Musical Instruments in CA. I am interested in using a bow the most, then slap, etc. Except their custom basses come with Weedwackers nylon strings. How well would a bow work with the nylons? I've looked online and it looks iffy. Are there strings that could be used for bowing and slapping? This company also offers to lower the strings for better slapping but what affect would that have if I tried a bow? Should I just choose between slapping and bowing? Is there any inbetween strings/ string set up I could use? Also, what bow should I look into? Thanks! :D
  2. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Inactive

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Find a teacher. LA is LOADED with them.
  3. First of all, congratulations on making the leap! May you have many years of challenges and fun.

    Before you plunk down your hard-earned money, play as many basses as you can at a bunch of different shops. I have an Engelhardt strung with whackers and like it for what it is but it's very much a one-trick pony.

    A great many strings can be used for slapping, bowing and pizzicato. Whackers are ok for slap and can be decent for pizz, but FMI whackers are not well thought of by the rockabilly players I know. If you must have whackers, talk to Brandon at Superior Bassworks but I highly recommend you start with a good quality, low tension steel string like Thomastic Spirocores in Weich (light) gauge. They are truly a do-everything string. Other choices include Pirastro Obligato, Corelli, Innovation and D'Addario's Helicore strings.

    Getting back to the bass itself, you should check out Shen plywood basses or Lemur Music's house brand basses (assuming you live in SoCal near FMI). If you take anything from my response, it should be try as much as you can before you buy and read the newbie stickies at the top of this forum, which were painstakingly cataloged for the benefit of new players like you.
  4. emuhleestarr


    Jul 16, 2013
    I think the bass comes with whackers... I'll ask if they can switch them out with anything, if not I'll grab some Thomastic Spirocores, they look like what I need. What would you recommend as a decent bow?
  5. What's your budget?
  6. emuhleestarr


    Jul 16, 2013
    Well I see bows can get quite expensive... I would give myself about $100+ just to start with since I want to slap, pizz, etc... I guess I should just spend the money on a good bow than cheaper one..
  7. +1 for the teacher. You can't (shouldn't) do this alone. May the force be with you.
  8. $100 will buy you just about the cheapest new bow on the market or a good used bow if you get REALLY lucky. Just having them rehaired is over $50.

    Upton Bass and Gollihur Music have decent wood bows for not much more than $100.
  9. Please pay attention to what has been said about your bass purchase. You have apparently saved for years. Now is not the time to be in a hurry.
  10. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Congrats on your decision and for saving up! Welcome to TB! :)


    I suggest that you start right HERE.

    I'll echo the advice about getting a teacher. A good teacher will be of enormous help with your purchase and in setting you on the right path in terms of technique, which is quite important for the obvious reasons as well as to avoid injury.

    Buy a bass from a real bass shop and not from a musical mass merchant and/or guitar shop. The quality of the setup work is paramount. It should be done by a skilled bass luthier.

    IMO, if you're looking at an Engelhardt, you're quite likely on the wrong path. That is, unless your budget is extremely limited. What is your budget?

    I suggest that you pull up a chair, use the search function, and read through a fair amount of relevant threads here.
  11. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Do what drurb said.
  12. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Inactive

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    I agree. I don't want to say anything "negative", but Fantastic Musical Instruments in CA is not the place to be buying a Double Bass.

    L. A. Bass Works, Stein on Vine, Lemur are a select few in SoCal. Go there.
  13. El Thumpo

    El Thumpo Four strings, no waiting Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2006
    San Francisco Bay Area
    That might be a bit of a blanket statement, perhaps. I'm not a Southern Californians, but from what I can discern FMI specializes in Rockabilly-type instruments, where plywood and weedwackers abound. They don't seem to make any bones about it. If THAT's the kind of bass you're looking for, it might be the place where you find it.

    That being said: since the OP says they're looking to play with a bow primarily, then an Englehart with weedwackers ain't gonna cloud your ears with joy. Without disparaging FMI, Stick's suggestions of L.A. Bass Works, Stein on Vine and Lemur are spot on.
  14. Bows: Have you decided German or French??..THEY ARE EVERY MUCH DIFERENT.

    1968-69...Due to a wrist injuruy in High School PE, I could not use a 'French' bow.. thought I would never be able to play symphonic bass.

    Next week Orchestra leader provided me with a 'German' bow..PROBLEM SOLVED!
  15. powerbass


    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    as for bows I purchased a very nice brazil wood now from Golihur Music under $150.00, French grip.
  16. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Inactive

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Yes, it was a blanket statement. And FMI is a Rockabilly-oriented place. I have visited it. The owner is a nice guy.

    However, the OP's post indicated (to me) that he was interested in bowing (set up, strings).

    If one wants a Rockabilly bass - FMI might be the place to go (actually go, not an online page visit).

  17. powerbass.. you probably have a great bow. Find an instuctor who can show you bowing technique.. there is a lot more to it than just 'sawing away'...Rosin-up and play!!...

    Bows are like everything else.. a money game. No way would I ever pay $1000 or more for a bow.. but they are out there and $1000 may be considered a 'bargain' to some.

    Doubtful the audience can hear $850 difference..even in a Symphonic context... in my opinion..
  18. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    It's not always about the audience. :)
  19. Chris Symer

    Chris Symer

    Dec 13, 2009
    ...... Differences in sound, feel, response etc.. from bows is VERY noticeable for the player and also audibly quite different for the listener as well. Play a bunch of bows, have someone else play them while you listen, do it blindfolded and unaware of the price tags if you want. Much more than just the "money game" that you say it is, finding the right bow for your bass and your playing is at least as important as string choice and set up for arco playing. It all works together and the bow is a huge part of your sound. Believe it, or check for yourself and actually know!
  20. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    I don't know how serious you are about arco playing, but I would not tell a beginner to put on Spirocores. They require an extra degree of 'touch' to not sound raw and scratchy under the bow.