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question for upright players

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by guitarsark, Oct 2, 2008.


  1. guitarsark

    guitarsark

    Nov 30, 2007
    I am an electric bass player looking to learn upright. Do you recommend learning fretless first or going directly to upright from electric fretted?
     
  2. Go directly to the upright. There is no need for a "transitional" instrument. Make sure you get a good teacher though. No need to hurt yourself or reinvent the wheel.

    And make sure you get a bow!
     
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I don't think fretless BG will tell you any more about playing Double Bass than fretted will!

    If you look at what is distinctive and different about DB - it is the size and scale, thickness of strings etc. - the fact you have no frets is a tiny consideration compared to that!
     
  4. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    I agree with what both Bruce and Bass Boy said. Definitely get a good instructor as the technique is quite different for the upright.
     
  5. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Ditto. The DB is a different animal. Get a teacher even if only for a couple of lessons so that you can begin to develop proper habits and avoid injury.
     
  6. Ditto again. Fingering on a DB is a whole different ballgame than fingering a fretless or fretted electric.
     
  7. guitarsark

    guitarsark

    Nov 30, 2007
    cool. i will do that. what should i be looking to spend on a bass? what brands should i look at?
     
  8. Check out the sticky threads at the top of this forum. There is some great info for beginners

    I would go so far as to say that a fretted bass will better prepare you for upright just because your ear will be well accustomed to hearing everything perfectly in tune (assuming your intonation is spot on). A lot of fretless players are solid in the low register but get really sloppy in the higher positions. Having a solid ear is one of the greatest assets you can have when trying to learn a fretless instrument.
     
  9. uprightben

    uprightben

    Nov 3, 2006
    Boone, NC
    I've been playing upright for about ten years, and i can't play a fretless eb well enough to gig. they just don't translate.
     
  10. This was my path to fretless electric: electric 4-string fretted for 31 years, 4-string DB for 2 years, 5-string DB for one year, 5-string fretless EBG. I think it is actually better to play a DB for a while before playing the fretless EBG. If you are used to finding positions by harmonics and sound, you won't need the "fret-marker" style EBG.

    While I would say that fretless EBG and DB are really different instruments, some of the principles involved are similar, particularly with regard to finding the center of correct pitch.

    After playing DB a few years, the switch to fretless EBG was really fast. I play all of them now.
     
  11. caeman

    caeman The Root Master

    Sep 17, 2008
    Ohio
    I have a similar question, but about string count. I have a 5-string electric bass. Would I find a 4-string upright or 5-string upright easier to adapt to? Is the 5-string upright strung the same as most 5-string electric basses (BEADG)?
     
  12. I'd stick with a four string DB. A five string can be a little cumbersome and it cuts down on your buying options at this stage of the game.

    I play more 5 string electric than 4, but my DB has always been a four. There is more call for a five string DB in the orchestral world.
     
  13. All my EBGs are fives, my DB is a four. Now, I'm an orchestral player, so I would use a five string, but I've never been able to afford a decent one; I make do with DADG tuning most often. If you're not going to be playing in an orchestra a LOT, you don't need a five string.
     
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Some countries seem to favour extensions over 5-strings to get lower notes - also, I suppose if you find a really great old bass, it's always possible to add an extension but unlikely you can convert to 5 strings...?
     
  15. Correct. Germany and Austria both generally lean more towards 5 strings than extensions. My instructor uses a very old English bass that had a C extension put on, but he says that he would probably rather play a 5 string because C extensions are such a hassle. They rattle or come loose over the years. My stand partner last year had a very nice Kolstein with a perfectly functioning C extension, then all of a sudden during rehearsal it just popped off. I personally play a 5 string; I would rather spend a year getting accustomed to a 5 string than my whole life dealing with a C extension. :p

    Anyway, electric bass does not really translate to upright. I've found that I'm actually better at playing upright nowadays. Getting a fretless wouldn't really help except you get used to "feeling" where the notes are.

    About the 5 string EB to 5 string UB thing... The only reason you'd really want a 5 string is if you do a lot of orchestral playing, so I would just stick with a 4. 4 strings are much easier to start out on and they're much easier to find.
     
  16. Dbassmon

    Dbassmon

    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    I would not suggest a fretless as an intermediate step to playing upright.
    Get a fretless bass guitar if you like, they sound great but there is no correlation. The guitar family is completely different than the violin family and really the only thing that is transferable is your musical knowledge, technique and fingering is very different and arco playing adds another whole dimension.

    +1 on get a teacher.

    It is the toughest and most rewarding thing I have ever tried to learn.

    Good luck.
     

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