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Playing Upright and Electric??

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by ba$$88, Jun 14, 2004.

  1. ba$$88

    ba$$88 Guest

    Jun 13, 2004
    I was wondering everyone's opinion on playing upright AND electric bass. Is it better to just pick one and focus on that or should you be able to play both? Thanks in advance :cool:
  2. I started out playing the electric bass and did so seriously for 12 years before picking up the upright. I've been playing upright for 5 years now and find most of the gigs I get are for upright. I still do some electric stuff, but I don't practice the electric like I do the upright (I don't practice the EB at all). Personally I find working on the DB to be more than enough for playing the EB, I always need some time to adjust but only about 10 minutes. I don't play anything like Jaco or Victor Wooten on the electric.
  3. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Slab is a good sandbox for working things. I often practice things on the Slab so that I can get things under my fingers and in tune.

    Playing one won't really detract from the other, but time spent on the Slab won't help you get a sound out of the fiddle, where time on the fiddle won't hurt your electric sound (as long as you remember to lighten up when you go to the shoulder weapon).
  4. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Ditto. Slab's a tool, like a screwdriver. DB is the voice.
  5. McBass


    Mar 31, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    It depends why you're playing either acoustic or electric.

    Many bass players who play both consider themselves jazz players or primarily acoustic players, but they play boogie-oogie-oogie 4 or 5 times a weekend on electric. I'd say there's a point at which you're no longer just paying bills and you've become an electric player who dabbles on acoustic. At that point I think playing electric can hurt your acoustic playing.
  6. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Yeah, but for 4 or 5 times a weekend, I'm a love machine.
  7. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    As one who is the other way round; a slabbist first and then doghouse'ist. I personally think the question is null, I consider my self a bassist. Yes I tend to favor the slab, I've been playing it longer, and it works better with what I play most of the time. But, I really don't see any difference in terms of better, or more versatile. If I hear slab I play slab if I hear DG I play DG. Both basses do something better than the other. Music is art, create what you will. :bassist:
  8. bassy18


    Oct 30, 2001
    I play both...

    For me. bg is like a toy.... easy to work with...fun to goof around with, but the upright is like the real thing....i got hooked on the toy though...less thought goes into for me. So just be careful..they both can be addicting :bag:
  9. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    This thread made me realize that it had been some time since I'd played slab. So I checked my calender and discovered that it was on March 1, a recording session. Looking ahead a couple of months, I see no electric bass work in the near future. The only possibility of electric work on the horizon would be New Years' Eve, when I traditionally bite the bullet, strap on the slab, and pay my monthly mortgage in one night.

    I'm getting dangerously close to the transition to "crusty". :smug:

    Whoops, check that; I have a two week run of the "Rocky Horror Show" in October. Better go shopping for fishnets.
  10. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I played electric exclusively for over 20 years before I started upright. For a while, I got a bunch of work as a doubler (both EB and URB on the same gig), but even that gradually tapered off as my calendar filled with URB gigs. Now I rarely do EB at all. I have to admit, I miss it at times, but the upright gigs pay so much better, and I'm usually home by 10pm.
  11. Damn, I'm gonna have to move to 'Bammy. The norm around here is 4 doublebass gigs = 1 electric. This weekend I played a four-hour wedding and made $200. My jazz gig on Wednesday will pay $50 (and all the New Glarus Spotted Cow I can guzzle). Though, to be fair, I did play a private party on doublebass that paid better, but still not as much as the e-bass gigs.

    I don't think I'd play a gig that required both basses unless it was very rewarding. I'm too much of a wuss to hassle the hauling and switching.
  12. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Warning: It'd be mostly bluegrass and traditional country gigs! I don't know why, but our bluegrass band has gotten to be really popular with the local event planners and corporations. I expect it's a temporary thing and will pass, but it's going stronger every year for the past 2 or 3 yrs. Guess I'm going to just milk it while it lasts.

  13. Oh. That's different.

    Never mind.

  14. junglebike


    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    If I put down DB for a month, I'm toast; takes me a couple of weeks to get the callouses back, and the intonation and tone straightened out. I can let the EB sit for the same amount of time and it takes me ten minutes to get back on track.

    DB is a pretty unforgiving beast, in my (limited) experience!
  15. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002

  16. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    I started upright a couple of years after starting electric so I've been playing both for a while. I think of myself as a bass player so whichever I'm playing is the voice. I practice both each day unless there's a gig that requires me to work on material on a particular one and that's the way I approach it. I do practice longer and harder on upright because there's so many great upright players around here and the UB just requires more work. But I can't not practice EB at all: 1) I like playing electric and 2) gotta keep the chops up.
  17. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    I have to agree with Aaron, although my preference is the other way around. I look at it like a reed player who is primarily a tenor guy, for example, but needs to stay up on flute & clarinet and whatever else is necessary to stay in the marketplace as a viable contender. You don't play those instruments because you have no choice, you want to be able to be versatile enough to play the different styles of music that you enjoy doing and you also enjoy the doubling process. That's why I still play EB, especially fretless, and keep up the tuba chops for brass quintet and the rare moments I might do an orchestra spot or a Gabrieli antiphonal piece.
  18. Having started out on double bass then quickly learning electric as well once I learned where the notes were, I never realy questioned which I should concentrate on more. Back in the early 80's alot of guys who played double bass played some or a lot of electric as well. One of my first influences was Stanley Clarke who was into both instruments. I think you can't beat classical training on the double bass to build you as a complete musician. Some of the technical skill don't transfer from one to the other very well, but the notes you play are the same. Your fufilling the same musical role with both instruments really. I finally gave up double bass for a while because electric bass was easier and I had intonation anxiety issues. I wish I had kept with it though.
  19. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    They're both bass instruments with strings. With four strings and the same tuning, the mapping of notes to relative fingerboard locations is the same. And, you're the bass player no matter which one you're playing, having to cover off the bass function in your ensemble.

    After that, I see a world of difference in the two. Mostly, DB is physically a lot tougher to play. This means ya gotta play it more to stay in shape, both musically and physically (intonation, callouses, back and posture...)

    I find, too, that the physicality of DB means that I feel weird when I strap on the EB, both stronger and weaker than my pre-DB days. I feel like someone who has just stepped ashore after being at sea for 8 months or something. In comparison, the EB is really easy to play but consequently really easy to overplay. I used to have a heavy touch on the EB but now, with my body pretty much attuned to DB, my EB touch is way overboard.

    Also, the slab just feels too darn tiny...
  20. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I also seldom practice on EBG any more but my chops on it are far better thanks to all the time I spend on DB. I play with a LIGHTER touch (opposite of you, Damon) and my speed is way up, too as a result.

    I'm now doubling on only about 50% of my gigs, the other 50% are just DB.