Those who play (and started on) other instruments?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by us_soccer, May 18, 2007.

  1. us_soccer


    May 16, 2007
    upstate ny
    Anyone else out there who has been playing another instrument for a while, and learned the double bass as a second (or third or fourth...) instrument?
    I'd love to hear about any experiences -- good, bad, interesting...

    I myself am a pianist -- I have played for 25 years (classical and jazz, though mostly jazz of late) , but I wanted to pick up the bass. I have just begun and I'm loving it. I imagine that beginning the bass is a bit different for someone who already knows how to sight read, play by ear, hear chords and play through changes, but doesn't have any of the physical technique at all.

    Any suggestions as to how I should go on my bass journey? Would a classical teacher be fine, even if I only want to play jazz? Or should I look specifically for a jazz teacher (which will be harder to find in my area).
  2. moopants


    Oct 21, 2006
    Lake Charles, LA
    I started out on the electric guitar. I was starting to lose interest, and when I played an elec. bass for the first time, I just about completely lost interest. I played the slab for awhile until I got into high school. I took a class in which the director teaches you to play whatever instrument, kinda like a beginner's band. Since there were only 2 other people in the class, he spent a lot of time with me, since I was the only dedicated one, anyway. I could play bass good enough for band, but I couldn't read music! That was my main goal of the class, though I did learn a lot about the bass itself.

    At the start of the second semester, he wanted me to start on upright. I was intimidated at first, but when I started playing "Shortin' Bread" (5 or so different notes, ha), I couldn't put it down. That was my Freshman year, and I'm about to go into my Junior year.

    Now it's my favorite thing EVER to do. When I progress, it actually makes me feel better. Everytime I play a passage and it's not sloppy anymore, to when my friends yell my name from the audience during concerts, playing bass is the best feeling ever. :hyper:
  3. M Ramsey

    M Ramsey

    Mar 12, 2005
    North Carolina
    I began playing banjo (bluegrass) in the fall of 1981. Stayed right there adding a bit of mandolin around 85-86. The band disbanded in the fall of 1990 and I moved into the upright bass within a week or two and been there ever since.

    Actually played a couple of shows with songwriter
    Jim Lauderdale this past Thursday and Friday. It was a blast!
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    My story can be found Here and on the "Ramblings" page of my site, but obviously I feel the transition from one instrument to another is eminently doable. The way I see it, the music is in your head, heart, and ear, and if you can get music out on one instrument the real task is simply learning the physical technique involved in playing the new one. I do recommend lessons (at least in the beginning) for DB though, as it's the most physical instrument I've ever laid hands on and it's easy to develop bad habits that can do serious damage to your body if you don't know what you're doing.

    In my case, I was lucky enough to find a classical teacher who would teach me classical left hand technique while still letting me play pizz instead of bowing. I'm sure the usual peanut gallery response of "you shoulda learned to bow because A, B, C, D......Z" will chime in, but in my case I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. Good luck!
  5. us_soccer


    May 16, 2007
    upstate ny
    Chris, I read your story on the other thread --
    very inspiring and it's wonderful to hear about your clean bill of health. must have been scary at the time.

    I'm also a jazz pianist, but not professionally. I just have always loved the sound of the DB (jazz primarily) and the way it supports the band (big band, combo, whatever). So, finally, I decided to rent one and I have my first lesson today!! I'm quite excited and will see where the journey takes me.

    (But I have no plans of "quitting" the piano -- I don't have much time to gig anyways, but I play a lot of piano at home)

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