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traditional upright vs. electric upright

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by profesorfrink, Feb 13, 2005.


  1. profesorfrink

    profesorfrink

    Feb 13, 2005
    NY
    in your opinion, which is easier to learn on, and electric upright or a traditional upright bass, like with wood and such?
     
  2. Mudfuzz

    Mudfuzz

    Apr 3, 2004
    WA...
    Almost all electric uprights are made out of wood.
     
  3. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    It's impossible to definitively answer that. Double bass is the easiest for me, because I play it so much. My EUB gets played maybe 5 times a year, and I usually spend the first set adjusting to it. EUB is hard for me.

    Both instruments require you to use proper technique to play in tune and avoid injury. The EUB may be more forgiving in the sense that you can make up for inadequate technique by just turning the volume up, although the sound will be different to anyone who's really listening.

    Another issue is one of context; by playing solely EUB, you effectively negate any chances of playing any orchestral music, and a lot of jazz music as well. You have to get hired to play bass of any kind. IMHO, you can practice all you want by yourself, but you have to go out and interact with other players at some point. That's just the nature of the instrument.
     
  4. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    NYC
    I find that most electric instruments are generally far easier from a physical point of view, if that helps......

    But really, why ask the question? If you are deciding which instrument you'd like to learn - don't choose it by degree of "difficulty" - choose it by what you hear in your head, man
     
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member


    Well - I think you have two questions mixed up in one here, which you need to sort out for yourself.

    So - if you are saying : which is physically easier to play? - then most EUBs are designed this way - they usually have lower action and require less physical effort - they have less in the way between you and the neck and typically don't have such thick necks.

    But you say "learn on" - the question then is "learn what? " ....:confused:

    If your object is to learn Double Bass, then, logically, you might as well start on Double Bass as this will get you used to it more quickly.

    So - if your aim is to play in a professional orchestra - then there is little point in learning on an EUB.....?

    The question you need to ask first is - what are you trying to do and what do you want to get out of it?

    Then we can help you with an answer! :meh:
     
  6. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    EUB will teach you nothing about how to get a sound out of the bass.

    And -- Bruce. I find thicker necks a lot more ergo-friendly.
     
  7. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    NYC
    I agree - I play a 5-string, and I much prefer it because of the neck size - and I have huge hands too, so it's very good for me
     
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I agree with you/Ray and also play a 5-string - but I think people who are new to this kind of thing and who may be smaller people (!) can see this as daunting....if you are only interested in playing EUB then you could get a relatively small one.....no problems about volume then :)

    I was really just trying to emphasise that without knowing what the original poster is trying to do - it's impossible to give appropriate advice....:meh:
     
  9. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    NYC
    Sorry, I wasn't directing the comment at the professor - should have made it more clear - I'm not telling him to get a fiver yet LOL!

    Well, Professor, talk to us - it is a forum after all! :D
     
  10. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    I agree with that -- I use my Eminence EUB for practicing on the road while I'm away from my URB. But playing the Eminence causes me to lose touch with a lot of physical cues and spatial relationships that have to be restored through practice on the URB.
     
  11. "But playing the Eminence causes me to lose touch with a lot of physical cues and spatial relationships that have to be restored through practice on the URB."

    But wouldn't you just develop a different set of cues if the EUB was your main instrument?
    A basic issue is whether you consider the EUB to be an aproximation of an URB or a valid instrument in itself. If it's role is to 'sound like an upright' it will always be second-rate. If it's role is to 'make music', then it can have intrinsic value.
     
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    That's exactly what I was saying and why we need the original poster to clarify his/her intentions before an approariate answer can be given!
     
  13. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    But wouldn't you just develop a different set of cues if the EUB was your main instrument?
    A basic issue is whether you consider the EUB to be an aproximation of an URB or a valid instrument in itself. If it's role is to 'sound like an upright' it will always be second-rate. If it's role is to 'make music', then it can have intrinsic value.


    Amen! When I got my EUB, I tried to set it up to approximate the cues I was used to from my old plywood bass. This did not work at all well. There are no "shoulders" on my EUB to reach around, and thus the upper registers can be easily accessed (for me) with the bass sitting much lower on the peg. That might be a bummer if I ever intended to go back to "real" bass, but I don't. The vast majority of my hand and wrist issues vanished with the EUB, once I found the right geometry.

    IMHO, what Marcus cited as "inadequate technique" is only such if you expect to use the same technique on acoustic and EUB. Turning up is a time honored, often effective technique on electric instruments, no? IOW, if it sounds good, it is good.
     
  14. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Well, sure. I'd say I have barely adequate technique on the EUB that I have, because I use it as a stopgap instrument for the few rare times I can't play a real bass. I don't enjoy playing it most of the time because of it, and I only have myself to blame, because I haven't taken the time to become intimate with the EUB on the same level as I have the bass. I'm a better slab player than I am an EUB player, which is a little strange, considering how much time I spend playing DB.

    It has helped me to have at least some traditional DB discipline in playing the EUB. I still need to approach it from the DB side of the spectrum, just to make it sound reasonably good. The volume is usually irrelevant; I basically play the bass the same way in a small room or a big arena.
     
  15. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    All of that makes sense. I'm very glad I had some long-ago experience on DB, I believe it helped the transition to EUB immensely. But after 8 months of gigging almost exclusively on the EUB, I finally got a chance to see if I had any crossover skills to DB, which I haven't played for about 30 years. I found barely any at all, even though I'm gigging at a fairly high level on the EUB, soloing fluently on 12-15 tunes a night, playing off charts all night, etc. The guy who owns the DB didn't have much joy playing my EUB, but I'd guess that he'd adapt quicker to a switch than I would. I do believe I could work on DB skills on my EUB if I put my mind to it, but I'm currently more interested in getting the highest musical expression possible from EUB.

    As far as slab chops, mine have definitely improved since I started playing EUB, and I don't feel a huge need to practice on the slab as often as I used to. It takes a minute or so to dial in the shorter scale, but other than that, no worries. I only play fretless BGs though, and frets mess me up a bit when I do play someone else's fretted slab. I think that the fact I'd been playing fretless for over 30 years helped my mind set a lot when I went to EUB as well, whether or not it helped in physical skills.
     
  16. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    AL/GA
    I own both (NS Cleveland and Azola Bug II) and I greatly prefer the DB...which is a large part of why I own the Azola in the first place. The EUB allows me an option when I have gigs or travel where I'd not want to risk the safety of my DB. The EUB also allows me to play upright in more genres (rock, blues, etc.) where volume or stage space would make it tough to use my DB.