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Newbie questions about double bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by squeally dan, Apr 28, 2009.


  1. squeally dan

    squeally dan

    Mar 30, 2008
    Here's a bit of background:
    I played electric bass some back in high school, but have been a guitar player most of my life. I am real busy playing in a funk/dance/wedding band. Recently I have picked up a few gigs playing bass instead of guitar. I Fould that I enjoy playing bass as much as playing guitar.

    I have always loved bluegrass, country, rockabilly, and am getting in to jazz more and more. I love the sound of the upright and would love to learn it. Is this a crazy idea? I am just now getting back in to electric bass. Should I just play that for a while and see if I stay interested. Also, if I decide to try the double bass, can I really not teach myself? I have always been mostly self taught. WIth work, family, and gigs, I don't know if I could fit a teacher. Also, money is tight. I'd probably have to sell one of my strats to raise the money to get a DB. Can you get a decent gig-worthy double bass for around $1000? THANKS!
     
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    That's just about every Noob DB question in one post - well done!! :p
     
  3. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Welcome! Take a look at the newbie links. They contain a wealth of information. Then c'mon back with questions. If you are buying a new bass, then the minimum you will need to spend for a quality instrument with a good setup (very important!) is around $1500. There's no way around it. You'll end up spending that one way or another. Stay away from guitar stores and on-line musical mass merchants. Buy a bass from a real bass shop.

    Now, one of the most common bits of advice for someone in your situation is, "Get a teacher." The DB is a different instrument. In order to avoid bad habits, prevent injury, and get started along the right path, you will be well served by a good teacher. IMO, it's just about essential.

    3027
     
  4. squeally dan

    squeally dan

    Mar 30, 2008
    Thanks for the the info. I'll check the links.

    I'm in no way set on getting a new bass. Most of my guitars I bought used.
     
  5. 400$Bass

    400$Bass

    Jan 18, 2009
    Central Indiana
    AMEN TO ALL OF THE ABOVE !
     
  6. 400$Bass

    400$Bass

    Jan 18, 2009
    Central Indiana
    ***** TIS *****
     
  7. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    You sure can get a decent used bass for $1000. You'll have to be careful, diligent, wise, and informed. There are well-worn potholes along the path. You can always ask questions here about any basses you are considering and pictures are always immensely helpful. Keep in mind though, that there is a limit to what we can glean from your information sitting across the internet. It would be best to hold aside a minimum of $50 or so to have a luthier check out anything you might be buying. If you will be having that luthier do additional setup work or will be establishing a relationship, many might just wave the check-up fee. Consider that icing on the cake but don't count on it. Good luck! :)
     
  8. Drurb's advice is flawless. I would add just two points.

    First, tell us in your profile or in a message where you're located. Somebody might be able to send you a lead on a used bass or suggest where to look.

    Second, on the teacher front, at the very least set aside money for a couple of lessons up front to learn proper stance and technique. This thing is a beast and it really can cause you pain. Also, it will be much easier to learn by using the right approach from the start than to try to unlearn any bad habits later.

    Good luck.
     
  9. Eric Swanson

    Eric Swanson

    Oct 8, 2007
    Boston, MA
    3027 it is.

    +1 to all of the above.

    To the OP, welcome here. So happy to hear that you are loving the bass!
     
  10. squeally dan

    squeally dan

    Mar 30, 2008
    I'm in Huntsville Alabama, which is in northern alabama. I'm less than 2 hours from Nashville, Chatanooga, and Birmingham. If anyone can point me towards a good used bass in these parts it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


    3027?
     
  11. 3027 is a joke, it's a count (not, I think, accurate) of how many times that exact question has been asked on these forums.

    I'll say the get a teacher bit again. Not because there isn't a lot you can teach yourself, there is, but because you really need someone who knows what they are doing to help you figure out the right physical approach to the instrument. DB can cause terrible hand and back injuries that never recover if you do the wrong thing, and that's not something you want to risk. Once you have the basics right there's plenty you can do yourself, and don't for a moment think lessons will stop you developing your own style... they can only help. Oh, and if you don't read standard notation yet, learn. Tab is no use whatever for DB.
     
  12. Squeally, I don't know anything about your area as to whether there are good bass shops there, but if there is one, and money is tight as you indicated, you might consider renting a bass first, before you buy one. By renting, and taking at least a few lessons to get you started, you can tell whether you want to stay with it or not and decide if you want to invest in buying a bass.

    Rental basses ain't gonna be the sweetest sounding isntruments you've ever heard, but it's a good way to start out without having to lay out $1500 right at the start. Some music stores will give you credit for your rental payments towards the purchase of the bass, if you decide you want to go ahead and buy it.
     
  13. You might investigate Dustin Williams. He has a rental program, a wide variety of quality basses close to your price range, and could very well connect you with a teacher. It would be well worth a 2 hour drive to visit his shop.
     
  14. mlz77096

    mlz77096

    Oct 16, 2007
    Houston, TX
    The good $1000 bass is probably still out there, but you will have to look. Craigslist is where I found mine about two years ago. It's a 45 yr old German laminate - nothing fancy, but for another $30 at a luthier, the action is great and I love it.

    A friend of mine just paid $900 for a luthier reworked Englehart after the original owner became unable to play it. I've known the history of that bass since it was new. It was a great deal.

    So, there are prizes out there, but you have to be patient to find them.
     
  15. squeally dan

    squeally dan

    Mar 30, 2008

    I'm not in a rush. So I guess I can afford to be patient.
     
  16. caillean

    caillean

    Mar 2, 2008
    east anglia
    If you've got time - try out lessons and lots of different style basses in the meantime - then you can pounce and grab what you want when it comes up ...
     
  17. squeally dan

    squeally dan

    Mar 30, 2008
    One more newbie question. I like all styles of music. Would love to play jazz as well as bluegreass, cajun, classical, etc. Can one DB do all that? Do the different styles require different basses or just different types of strings, or what?

    THANKS!
     
  18. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    You could use one DB to play all those styles.

    Strings . . . some strings are optimal for certain kinds of music. Some strings are better for bowing, but you could get a set of strings that would work well for all those styles.
     
  19. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    I think it's fair to say that the optimum bass/set-up/strings for each of those styles would differ. Rarely do we deal with what's optimum. I would say that, in consultation with a good luthier, you can have a bass/setup/strings that will let you play all of those styles. It will involve compromises and you may choose to have the bass set up in a way that is more optimum for one or another style depending on what your mix of playing is.
     
  20. MCML

    MCML

    Dec 8, 2006
    Dan, I too am a bass guitar player who has decided to explore the DB a bit and see where it may lead. I have taken the plunge this very day and bought a DB from Steve at Ideal Music (aka Yankels aka bassesonline.com). Check that out and you might find a good bass in your price range. There are many, many references here on Talkbass to Steve and his basses and all of the references are favorable near as I can tell. I think that Bob Golihur also has some instruments that you might want to take a look at (gollihurmusic.com). Bob's site is also the source of a wealth of information.
     

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