Tololoche?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by PennyroyalWe, Jun 10, 2021.


  1. PennyroyalWe

    PennyroyalWe

    Sep 2, 2018
    Oregon
    I’m mostly an electric player, haven’t really played an upright for 11 years, but I’m considering getting one for a few “acoustic only” venues where an acoustic bass guitar won’t cut it. I found someone an hour away selling what they’re calling a tololoche for under $400. From googling it seems like it’s basically a 1/2 upright thats tuned A-C. My question is, are there any real structural differences? I don’t really want to transpose everything, so I’d like tune down to E-G. Will that cause problems beyond needing a set up? At the price point, I’m assuming it’s an inexpensive mass produced bass, and the sale is in the US, which makes me wonder if it may be a 1/2 bass that’s just been used as a tololoche by this person. I’m going to look at it tomorrow. What should I look for? Anything to check for to tell if it’s a 1/2 bass v. a tololoche, or red flags to look for? Any help is much appreciated.
     
  2. Pablojmz

    Pablojmz

    Mar 12, 2021
    Bogota, Colombia
    The tololoche's bridge is flat. It's not a double bass. You should only get one if you're really into playing Norteñas.
     
  3. PennyroyalWe

    PennyroyalWe

    Sep 2, 2018
    Oregon
    The bridge looks pretty normal to me?
    C91D849D-4C08-4E5D-BC6C-2D874EEC758E.png
     
  4. Pablojmz

    Pablojmz

    Mar 12, 2021
    Bogota, Colombia
    Then it's a double bass! In any case unless money or height is a serious issue I wouldn't consider buying a $400 1/2. I doubt it's a good instrument. However, maybe you'll really enjoy it when you try it out. Play it if it pleases you.
     
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  5. PennyroyalWe

    PennyroyalWe

    Sep 2, 2018
    Oregon
    Awesome! I’m excited to try it. I really just need it for some out door jams and farmers market stuff, so the less expensive the better for the abuse it may see.
     
  6. CaseyVancouver

    CaseyVancouver

    Nov 4, 2012
    Looks like it really is a Mexican folk instrument. This is what they use if they don’t have a tololoche. You can have a sip of tequila and work on your chicote technique.

    The A - C tuning could be ok, that would be like the high C sometimes on a 5 string bass. It may have gut strings. You don’t have to transpose anything, I believe it is tuned in 4ths. So it’s like the middle strings of a guitar but instead of a high B it has C. Super easy to learn. It could sound best in this tuning, and not so great if you go to E-G.

    For $400 it could work for your outdoor gigs. If it sounds horrible, as in has zero bass sound, forget it imho.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021
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  7. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    It won't cause structural problems, but you shouldn't expect to be able to hear the low (E) string.
     
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  8. Steve Boisen

    Steve Boisen Your first second choice™ Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    That looks more like a Kay or Engelhardt M-3 than a Tololoche.

    - Steve
     
  9. PennyroyalWe

    PennyroyalWe

    Sep 2, 2018
    Oregon
    I’ll never find out. I contacted the seller and told them I’m going to pass. Just too many uncertainties, and I couldn’t get the mrs. on board with the purchase. Doesn’t seem worth the trouble at this moment. Hopefully I’ll find a sub $1000 3/4 size with a little more patience.
     
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  10. Definitely an M3. They’re almost acoustically invisible.
     
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  11. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    This is part of a compound problem with a BG player buying a cheap DBesque instrument "just for acoustic gigs". Cheap and small basses don't really produce the acoustic projection you need. Add BG technique to that and you're going to need an amp and pickup and you've basically turned it into an electric bass. It might look cool (to the untrained eye), but the BG you had will almost always be a better instrument and you would have played better on it.
     
  12. Keith Rawlings

    Keith Rawlings

    Aug 3, 2019
    That's not a tololoche. As others have said it looks like a half-sized Kay. The tololoches I've seen and messed around on are built more like a cheap classical guitar with an almost "plastic-like" finish on a very thin instrument. By thin I mean the back, top and sides being super-thin and cheap laminate wood. Also it will usually have those multicolored nylon cojunto strings on them, which slap like crazy cause they're super light tension; although I have seen some with clear nylon strings (like weedwacker line strings). I've come across several of these living in South Texas and I have yet to see one that I could consider a nice build. I'm sure there is somewhere in Mexico that makes great tololoches but none of them appear to be North of the border.

    If you really want to play double bass, get you a beater laminate/student 3/4 sized bass to start on and a proper teacher. You'll definitely be paying more than $400 but for the most part your band's guarantee will go up from playing the big bass.
     
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  13. PennyroyalWe

    PennyroyalWe

    Sep 2, 2018
    Oregon
    I have played upright for some years before, playing in school and youth orchestras and symphonies as well as jazz band through high school and 2 semesters at music school. I stopped after I joined the army and haven’t had the space for an upright since, but I have a good understanding of the fundamentals. It’ll take a while for my technique and muscle memory to come back though. If I can find a 3/4 size, I’d be pleased, but I’m not going to spend more than $1500ish as it won’t be my main player and mostly played outside. A laminate bass with a heavy poly finish would be perfect. I’ll just have to hold out for now.
     
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  14. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
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  15. Keith Rawlings

    Keith Rawlings

    Aug 3, 2019
    Well then you're ahead of the game. I wish I would have played orchestra in high school and have been a music major in college. If only I could go back...

    You can find a decent plywood bass for that amount of money. It's so much fun playing double bass -- you should come back to it. I've had times throughout the years where I've put it down for sometimes months at a time but I always pick it up again and realize just how much I love it. Good luck on the hunt!
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021
  16. eerbrev

    eerbrev

    Dec 6, 2009
    Ottawa, ON, CAN
    IMO, If you're looking for volume and you're mostly playing folk and singer/songwriter, try going three-string and tune it GDG. You'll barely miss the F# down to E. There's a reason it was preferred by bassists for a century, and you could still buy one from Boosey and Hawkes into the 1920s - It's *loud*.
     
  17. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Tuba
     
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  18. OP, haunt Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. Lots of options out there around $1500.
     
  19. PennyroyalWe

    PennyroyalWe

    Sep 2, 2018
    Oregon
    Then I’d HAVE to learn how to play banda. Though, I did play sousaphone for 2 weeks in high school. I played bass in the marching band, but I couldn’t play electric bass in the Memorial Day parade, so I fell in with the sousaphone crowd. Luckily, “Dirty Deeds” and “Life Is A Highway” have simple bass lines haha.
     
  20. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
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