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Should I learn double bass?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by AcidShred, Jan 1, 2007.


  1. AcidShred

    AcidShred

    Nov 9, 2006
    Hey I'm a young bass/ guitar player. I have the oppitunity to learn and get have the school loan me a double bass. I probabely will make a career out of music, but I can't see it being in DB is worth it just to improve my musicianship. Should I join the school band if it means I might have less to dedicate to my 'rock' projects.
    Should I learn double bass?
     
  2. yes
     
  3. AcidShred

    AcidShred

    Nov 9, 2006
    A little explianation would be nice. It's not an easy choice.
     
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Of course you should. Listen, if the only thing you ever do associated with music is play bass and you can make a living at it, you are one of the lucky 1 in a million. Even top bassists don't make their living playing bass exclusively. Some write method books, some score movies and TV shows, some own bass-exclusive music stores, etc. And this business of focusing on rock...good luck EVER making a living doing that. Those people you see on TV playing in famous bands...guess what? The bassist often makes the least of anyone in the band. The star of the band usually makes all the money and pays everyone else a salary.

    So my advice to you is to rethink your rock-only stance, learn some DB, learn some different styles of music, learn some other things you can do besides play bass, etc.
     
  5. AcidShred

    AcidShred

    Nov 9, 2006
    I also play guitar and I'm okay at jazz on bass. I'll take what you said to heart.
     
  6. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Stanley Clarke. Guitar School magazine, March 1992, p. 135.
     
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Then why does Stanley play electric if he feels that way? See kids, even the greatest of bassists can occasionally have their heads up their butts.

    Don't get me wrong...I play both and think Stanley made a good point, up until the toy part.
     
  8. AcidShred

    AcidShred

    Nov 9, 2006
    I don't think so. I think he just meant it made electric much much easier.
     
  9. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    It probably is easier, but they are very different instruments.

    the real question becomes - do you want to play double bass?

    Maybe you should try cello, or tenor sax?
     
  10. Petary791

    Petary791

    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    If you're gonna play real jazz, then yes. For sure yes.
     
  11. anechoic

    anechoic

    Oct 31, 2005
    Shirley, MA
    Hell yes, do not pass up this opportunity.

    Look, I'm not gonna give you any of that "real bass players play upright, blah blah blah" crap. I play strictly for fun in a three piece punk/indie/alternative rock band. A couple of years back, I took a chance and spent $800 or so on an Ergo 6 string upright. It ended up being a great fit for some of our songs, and that's what I play roughly 25% of the time now (the rest of the time I play a 5 or 12 string bass guitar). Now, an electric upright isn't quite the same as an acoustic double bass, but it's a huge difference from a fretless bass guitar (which is what it replaced for me). I just wish my arco technique was better.

    So yeah, if you've got the chance to do it in school, learn upright. Including how to play with a bow, even if you don't see an immediate need for it. Even if you decide later it's not for you, at least you haven't spent thousands buying an instrument that just sits in the corner. If you're seriously considering a career in music, I would think that being able to play upright would make you more marketable than someone who only plays bass guitar.
     
  12. Bassist4Life

    Bassist4Life

    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    You have an opportunity, take it. If you don't like it and you don't see it going anywhere, then give the bass back (after you've given it a fair try). It can open doors that you didn't know existed. Who knows... you might fall in love with it.

    I studied classical double bass in college. After I graduated from college, I fell in love with electric bass. I play electric 99% of the time now. My double bass is up for sale and I'm going to use the money to get an Electric Upright Bass. I don't want to completely lose my chops.

    Anyhow, give it a shot. What's the worst that could happen?

    Joe
     
  13. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    If it's free, go for it. There's nothing better than free lessons IMO. That's the only reason I picked up double bass and it changed my life for the better. I learned many things: the thing is big, the thing takes over your life, and the thing is possibly the most gratifying instrument I've learned. To be able to be 19 years old playing jazz on an upright one night and rocking out on an electric the next is one amazing feeling. Go for it man, you'll be glad you did.
     
  14. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    -because there has never been a real jazz song played on electric bass. :rolleyes: (by the universally accepted definition of "real jazz song" anyway)
     
  15. Snarf

    Snarf

    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    Pff, your second sentence offends me. Stop addressing me as a kid! Nyaaaa!!!

    See, I can take one little thing out of context and get super offended too! Whee look at me!



    Anyway, back to the topic. Acidshred, you won't make a career out of rock music, especially as a bass player. What you need to do in order to be taken seriously is learn to play jazz, latin, pop, rnb, country, and everything else you can get your hands on. Not playing db will close a lot of doors that will be open if you play it, and play it VERY well. What Blisshead said is common among electric players who are too stubborn to accept the fact that good jazz players don't want to play with an electric player, period. Learn db, or you'll never get in with the right people.

    Oh, and you may think you're pretty good at jazz. But let me tell you, in jazz you're pretty much expected to have ridiculous chops, tone, feel, and some serious swing. Start working on it NOW.

    And what JimmyM said back there is true, if you can make the main part of your living playing, you're lucky. Don't kid yourself, it's stupid hard, even if you can play. No one goes for very long saying things like "I'll probably make a career out of music." That usually ends up becoming "Holy crap I'm paying $30k a year for music school with no prospects of steady work, what the hell am I doing??" Half the people I see walking around at Berklee aren't going to be making any money in any way out of any aspect of music. Stastical fact. If you really want it, you buckle down, play with everyone you can, sacrifice your personal life whenever it can help your networking and playing opportunities.

    Stop your rock projects, and learn everything else, including db. If you make bass your life from now until college (I'm just assuming you're in high school, I don't really know), you might make a good music student.
     
  16. +1.

    playing upright has taken me WAY farther than playing electric.

    2 albums and trips to Europe and the States? got them with my upright.


    Everyone will always be looking for an upright player because they are on the way out, unfortunately.
     
  17. Yes.

    Even at my "advanced" age, I'm looking into getting a teacher.

    To make a career of playing bass,
    (and I'm still having trouble doing this) you must be as versatile as possible. Concentrate on being the guy that people want to call, not the rock star.
     
  18. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    I don't know about that.

    I once asked Ron Carter what he thought of the electric bass as a jazz instrument. His response, "I don't."
     
  19. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    The ONLY reason to play upright is because that's the sound you hear.

    The double bass does have the advantage of an historical, well developed technical approach and pedagogy and, especially if you don't have a teacher on electric that is giving you a good foundation in musical fundamentals, CAN help develop some skill sets that will be useful. However, if you have a consistent, progressive and focused approach to practicing musical fundamentals on electric, it really doesn't make much sense to waste time practicing on an instrument that you don't have any intention of playing. You would be better off spending that time learning to play piano.

    Being a competent musician and making a living playing music are, unfortunately, NOT dependant on each other. There's plenty of ways for hacks to make a living by playing music. And, adversely, there are plenty of great musicians out there who don't make their living playing music. You just need to decide which is more important for you personally, the music part or the making a living part.

    Should you join the school band? It might cut into your "rock projects", but you have the chance to learn some basic fundamentals that will serve you no matter WHAT kind of music you choose to play. And seriously, what long term benefit are you looking for from a high school "rock project"? If you HAVE to learn to play DB to join the band, sure. Play it and drop it as soon as you feel. But if you don't care at all about DB (and do you really know until you try it? do you listen to any music that is DB based?), why not sound the band director about playing electric. If it's not an orchestral ensemble, there may be no problem.
     
  20. AcidShred

    AcidShred

    Nov 9, 2006
    Being a competent musician and making a living playing music are, unfortunately, NOT dependant on each other. There's plenty of ways for hacks to make a living by playing music. And, adversely, there are plenty of great musicians out there who don't make their living playing music. You just need to decide which is more important for you personally, the music part or the making a living part.

    What does that mean exactly? I can't see it relating to anything about me taking up DB
     

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