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To those who seriously pursue both DB and slab

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Chasarms, Jan 2, 2005.

  1. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    In the past three months or so, I have doubled my workout time on DB, focusing especially on arco tone and intonation. (especially arco tone and intonation in Rabbath's 4th position)

    I have finally reached the point where the DB is starting to feel very natural. I rarely feel as if I am fighting to get comfortable.

    So, it's been years since I have seriously practiced the slab anyway, but up until recently, I have always been able to get a good tone out of it and pretty much knock off any riff that was in my mind or anyone else's. But this morning, I honestly felt uncomfortable playing it. I felt like I was molesting the poor thing. I haven't felt that way in a decade or more.

    I don't want to sound immodest, but I have a decent reputation as a well-accomplished slabbist. It's somewhat in my interest to preserve that. Not to mention there are plenty who expect me to play well when I show up to work with them.

    There's no doubt where my heart is, but I gotta find balance here. My niche is being able to double well. But, the better I get on DB and the more I understand about it, the less I feel right on the electric bass.

    Who out there keeps both oars in the water? If so, how do you keep your chops up on both instruments? I have a marriage, three kids and another career to look after as well?

    I know know our own Durryl finally hung up the slab. Is it my destiny?
  2. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    Been there, done that. Keep up your DB studies, you've worked too hard to alter that plan. You've also put in a lot of hours on the slab as well. Don't worry too much about losing out on the EB side, use it as a fun alternative to your DB practice. Get out your drum machine or band-in-box, and get a groove going, that's what EB playing is all about. You already have the technique somewhere in there, just groove a while with the machine to loosen it up a bit, it'll come.

    I don't know how much you're gigging with upright, but keep an eye out for a semi-regular thing to do with electric to keep your hand in on that end. I've been lucky enough to have a once a week gig in town with a nice little r&b band while the upright is the bread and butter these days. Not to mention some regular low brass activity at church in the middle of the week. Helps to keep the head on straight.

  3. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    I actively play both. For most of the 90's my gigs consisted of solo avant-garde classical concerts. I bugged enough composers until they would write bass solos for the bg. Around 2000 I got really tired of playing "new music" with all of it's terribly complicated rhythmic settings.

    Frankly now the only calls I get are for Double bass. At this point I will take an electric gig if it interests me but I get anough calls for DB that I am quite happy.
  4. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    A few weeks back, I didn't have my van available to me one day. So I had to get a ride to a rehearsal from the drummer, who was packing his gear plus a soprano saxophonist. We knew we couldn't get all of us and the DB into the drummer's vehicle, so I brought along the slab and a little practice amp.

    I stopped practicing slab when I went into DB -- about 5 years now -- and I really don't play it much anymore. When I do play it -- a couple of gigs a year -- it's not DB music. It's R&B/dance music. Groove stuff, as Ike says.

    Anyway, I discovered that day that I can't just pick up the slab and play jazz on it. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy (and the voice for jazz is just all wrong on the slab anyway.) Scale length too freaking small, strings too close together, frets buzzing and getting in the way, neck sticking way the hell out to port... It was actually a little embarassing -- the jazz guys hadn't heard me play slab before and I sucked pretty bad.

    I don't find that a whole lot of technique is "transferable" between the two. The DB is much more based on hearing and feeling; the slab is a visual beast.

    My main slab is a '91 Warwick Thumb bass, hand-carved, worth way too much to be spending its days in the gig bag. 2005 is the year I sell the damn thing, just wait and see...
  5. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    That's kind of the rub with me. If I sold all of my toybass stuff, I could score a shhwweeeet DB. If I sold the Shen as well, I'd be close enough to the price tag on that Pollmann I played in Chicago last month to actually start dreaming.

    But, I still play out on EBG a lot, and seriously, I don't see myself stopping that. At this point, if I get in the mix with the rest of the DB only guys, I'll be sitting plenty.

    I guess I need to spend some quality time on the slab if I expect to have it treat me right.

    My kids never sleep or eat and they get by, I guess I'll have to figure out how they do it.
  6. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    I know what you're saying. Some years back, I went into playing fretless quite a bit and still do. You might find more in common with this one and DB than the fretted beast. Cheat lines help, too, with this short of a scale.

  7. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    I do indeed like fretless much better now -- and GEE, my intonation's way better than it used to be on the darned thing! My fretless slab is doing some shop time or it would have made the trip.
  8. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    I've played BG for almost three years now, started on DB today. I definitely plan to seriously pursue both of them (as I'm going to school for bass, after all) and I definitely want to continue to play electric well. I'm primarily a fretless player anyway (a smattering of fretted for when the chops want to be exercised a bit). I love the sound, feel, and look of DB playing -- especially the feel. There's nothing quite like having the notes you're playing vibrating in your stomach and chest!
  9. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    I actively play both and have for 20 years. I devote more time to the upright because I need to. It's a more demanding mistress. But I have found that I cannot lay off the BG and expect to play it with the confidence and feel that I want. I've heard people on various forums say they don't practice electric any more and that when they pick it up it's really easy to play it. I have found the opposite to be true. When devoting more time on upright, I still practice a warm up regimen of scales and arpeggios on electric just to keep intact the feel and dexterity for the instrument.
  10. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    EB was what paid the bills for 25 yrs for me, so it'll always be there. In all honesty, I don't know that I have the life span left to become as proficient on the DB as I've become on the slab :meh:

    For some reason, though, the DB has become a very lucrative thing for me while my slab-bidness has dropped off quite a bit. I have to prioritize my practice time, so the DB gets it 90% of the time...which is certainly appropriate.
  11. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I practice only on DB unless I have to learn some new tunes for a gig that I now will be played on BG. I have a steady gig every other week that requires me to play both so it doesn't feel alien to me to switch.

    Like Damon mentioned, if I have to play something on BG that I have always played ONLY on DB I do find myself floundering a lot.