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Thinking about a double bass..

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by madisonisrad, Feb 27, 2006.

  1. madisonisrad


    Feb 27, 2006
    Well, I am quite new to this whole thing, and I have checked some of the newbie stuff, but I still have some questions!!
    First off, I'm wondering about size.. I know that 3/4 is like a standard size.. I'm around 5"10.. so I'm wondering what would be better, 3/4, 4/4, or even a different size?
    Also, I really like punk, rockabilly, and psychobilly as well. I was wondering if there are certain kinds of basses, pick-ups, etc for playing these types of music?
    And lastly, I've played guitar for around 2 years now and I'm wondering if a double bass is alot harder to play than a guitar? I would definately want to play a full-bodied bass, and I know the strings are definately alot thicker!
    I'm really just starting to research and learn about this and would greatly appreciate people's opinions!

  2. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    Don't even THINK about a guitar when you pick up a double bass. Approach it as a completely new instrument. The mechanics and such are very different and the only things that really carry over are theory knowledge and your ears.
    As far as basses, you DO NOT want a 4/4 bass. Get a 3/4 or a 7/8. I'm 6' and a 7/8 is very comfortable for me, but I play a 3/4. If you are going to put a lot of abuse on your bass it is best to stick with a laminate such as an Englehardt or King. Upton bass, Shen, Christopher, and Norton customs all provide good selection as well.There are a lot of options for quality plys under $2000
  3. I also play guitar and mandolin. I find that the guitar is not really a help at all to playing the upright. Though at times when I am in a guitar mood and play for several weeks and rarely play the upright, I return to the upright with more energy and enthusiasm. For an odd reason, though, I find that the mandolin and bass fit well together and I can transcribe mandolin parts for bass and visa versa. Anyway...I can't really add anything to the above advice. However, I would add that the upright is a different instrument than even the bass guitar. I for one can barely play a lick on the bass guitar and find the upright to be more for me and much more enjoyable, so I recently sold off my last electric bass.

    I agree that a laminate is the way to go for rockabilly. I found that the people at Upton were helpful. Bob G is also a great help for advice, basses and accessories. I also went to a local shop and took a look before deciding on an Upton. It can be helpful to look around before. I think there is also a rockabilly bass forum out there. Do a google search. I don't play rockabilly, but found that site helpful.

    You will probably want an instructor to play upright. I had one for a while and also have found jam sessions to be helpful and instructive. I also play with some seasoned musicians and they have been helpful. DVDs can be helpful as well. I think that Rocker has a DVD for slap bass out which I have heard is good. You will also need to consider strings. I had Eurosonics for slap and they were nice. Some use a combination of guts and other strings for their slap bass. I have been playing mostly jazz now, so I took off the Eurosonics and how have Labellas on and like them more.

    Finally, do a search of the archives of Talkbass, as this topic is frequently recycled. Good luck and welcome to the light side.
  4. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    All good advice, especially the bit about not even trying to relate the double bass to an electric instrument. It's just too different... In a good way ;)
  5. madisonisrad


    Feb 27, 2006
    Thanks so much for all the information! I'll definately have to read up on some stuff and do a little more research :)
  6. madisonisrad


    Feb 27, 2006
    Ohh also, one more question.. do the kinds of strings make a huge difference as to how the sound comes out?

    I mean I really like the sounds of bands like Mad Sin, Koffin Kats, Batmobile, Demented Are Go, etc.. are their certain kinds of strings you should use to play different styles/genres of music?
  7. I think with slap bass you may wish to use a softer string so the strings are not so hard on the hands and fingers. I have always preferred softer strings even at the expense of volume. I even use flat wounds on my acoustic guitar and mandolin because I like the soft feel.

    Anyway, do a quick search under the string section and you will find a ton of information about strings for various styles of music.
  8. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002