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Transitioning into Upright. Help needed.

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by dyuaru, Dec 2, 2006.


  1. dyuaru

    dyuaru

    Oct 12, 2006
    Los Angeles
    I just recently joined jazz band for my school, looking to be playing electric bass. At the first meeting I was told that I had to learn how to play upright bass and that electric bass would not be acceptable. So now I'm forced into learning upright bass. I've been wanting to learn it but not so soon and definitely not for a band. The size of it is really intimidating and as I dont have any experience with playing fretless, I'm probably not going to do so well early on.

    I need some reccomendations on whats the best way to get used to playing upright bass in a jazz setting when my only background is electric bass playing. Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks!

    EDIT: Also how is this bass for beginners? I've been looking around the boards for recommendations. I'll be going around to some stores soon but I was wondering if this bass is good for the price.
    http://bassesonline.com/czechply.html
     
  2. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    So am I understanding this correctly? The instructor is demanding that you play double bass, but is not offering any instruction on the instrument and demanding that you supply the bass as well?
     
  3. WillBuckingham

    WillBuckingham

    Mar 30, 2005
    Guy sounds like a nut.
     
  4. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    I also began on EB and played in Jazz bands in high school and college. I'll never forget showing up for a New Year's Eve gig 20 years ago with my Fender bass. The gig was at a nice country club and the big band leader was very upset that I hadn't brought an upright. As I was subbing for an 'A list' player in town, it was doubly embarrasing.
    That was my first experience with Jazz guys preferring DB, but it surely wasn't the last. I finally gave in and came over to the dark side and am very glad I did. The DB is really invaluable in Jazz.
    Now, the bass you linked would work, but the Eberle has gotten good press here on TB so you may consider that also. Whatever you buy, you should have it properly set up to give the easiest playability. Also, Spirocore Weich strings are very easy to play and the standard Jazz string.
    You will NEED a good teacher. Get a teacher! I would seek out a Jazz player in your area as time spent on bowing exercises could be better spent on music theory and improvisation IMO.
    Trying to apply EB fingering technique to a DB will leave you with many bad habits. The worst probably being poor intonation. DB is a hard instrument to play in tune. It requires good technique and a lot of practice.

    You're surely not the first to make the switch. DB is a fabulous instrument. If you learn to play it properly, it can give a lifetime of enjoyment.

    Good luck
     
  5. dyuaru

    dyuaru

    Oct 12, 2006
    Los Angeles
    Well no its mainly just if I want to play in the band then I have to go with the double bass. He is offering intsruction but mainly what Im asking help for is best ways on preparing and best ways of practice as right now I havnt had any instruction since jazz band doesnt start until next week. Also, buying a bass is for my own practice use, the instructor is providing basses to play at practice.

    Sorry if I did not provide enough information but yeah hes not crazy. Anyways, anyone have any suggestions on whether or not that bass is decent or reccomendations of other basses I should check out?

    EDIT: To clink, thanks for the reccomendations and yeah the eberle seems like a good choice too, just wasnt sure which was better as the one I linked to was in the special offers page. Anyway yeah the instructor Ill ask the instructor to teach me the proper way to do fingering in jazz and find some of the more advanced players in the band to help me out a bit as well. The jazz band is rather small so the teaching will be a lot more focused which will work to my advantage as Ill probably need individual help. I'll look into getting a teacher as well. Thanks!
     
  6. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    Why don't you complete your profile. Where are you located?
     
  7. gregunit

    gregunit

    Feb 23, 2006
    South Carolina
    The band wants to do star wars cantina band
    I spent lots of time searching the web. Anyone know where I can find it?

    Thanks in advance

    Gregunit@yahoo.com
     
  8. dyuaru

    dyuaru

    Oct 12, 2006
    Los Angeles
    To the above post: ...

    Anyways, I updated my profile for you clink. Forgot to do that as I usually only come here for information and dont really post much.

    Still looking for more recommendations on basses. So far its either the Eberle or the Czech ply linked above. I looked into an Upton bass.
    http://uptonbass.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/166
    And realize that its a bit over my price range but still wondering if the extra cost is worth it compared to the Eberle.

    Thanks for all the help guys.
     
  9. I bought a Palatino VB004 for $650, but had good strings put on it as the strings a bass comes with are often of poor quality. Total price with the strings was $800. The bass is a laminate of course, but also looks great and sounds great. I wouldn't be embarrassed to play it anywhere, in spite of its low price.

    As someone else here said, it is very important to have it set up properly. My supplier works with a good luthier and my bass came with an adustable bridge that is set for easy string action. It is very comfortable to play. Check out the Palatino.
     
  10. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Ouch. Here we go again.
     
  11. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    As much as I love my new Upton Bass, I'd encourage you to make a trip to Lemur Music. You should play, as best you can, as many basses in your price range as possible before buying anything. I probably played at least 25 basses before I bought my Upton. No, I wasn't able to play it first, but playing the other basses helped me to understand what I wanted. I then trusted what I was told by other Upton owners.
    Lemur's Sunrise series looks good.
     
  12. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    Good advice.

    Youtube is a great place to check out the greats.

    Also, your local library may have CD's you can take home.
     
  13. dyuaru

    dyuaru

    Oct 12, 2006
    Los Angeles
    Thanks for the links, didnt see those, and of course, I will be checking out basses before I buy anything as I know how it feels to purchase a bass and regret buying it after playing some other in the same price range.

    I'll look into Lemur music and check out what they have.
    Also I can join orchestra, one of my friends that plays double bass invited me to join. Just felt like I would be a bit out of place but Ill see what happens after I start playing.

    Wheres the best place to start with jazz music? I had some Louis Armstrong stuff but not much else. Can anyone recommend any bands that play songs that would help me out with double bass?

    Thanks for all the help.

    EDIT: Found out that my price range was alot lower than I expected. I know that I shouldn't get a cheap chinese bass but I found an ad on here about this bass.
    http://home.comcast.net/~marius.zaugg/upright/
    Was wondering if that was a chinese bass and if its at all decent for a beginner.
     
  14. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    I think Ken Smith provided you with some good advice above. Others may disagree, but if you get a good grounding in classical technique, it will serve you well as a basis for whatever style you may later choose. Sure, there are techniques unique to jazz and other styles. As for myself, I underwent formal training for years from Simandl I on up, up, up. Decades later, I began formal jazz studies. It was and is not much of a problem to learn how to modify those techniques for my current style of play. The foundation has been built.

    Now as far as basses go, save yourself heartache and wasted money. This is my opinion. If your budget is $600 or so, DON'T BUY A BASS. That is, unless, you stumble across some phenomenal deal that borders on charity. The first choice would be to increase your budget. Yes, I know, that's easy to say. I don't presume to know your personal situation but if you are serious and you can get parental support, it will be of enormous benefit. You cannot buy a quality new bass set up properly for under $1400 to $1600. As I've said before, one way or another, you will spend that money. You will either buy a decent discounted bass and then pay for the set-up or you will buy a cheapo, have it set up, and then risk it imploding on you. Even if it manages to stay together, it will never sound very good and will likely fight you all the way. You will never get much value from it when (not "if") you want to move up.

    If buying is not an option under these circumstances, I suggest that you look into renting while you save up. I'm trying to catch you before you fall into a nasty trap. I'm sure others will chime in.

    By the way, in my opinion, the Upton is very much worth the "extra" cost. As it turns out, the cost is not extra at all considering the value of the setup with which they deliver their basses.
     
  15. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    I second DRURB on renting a bass. You may be able to rent a bass that would be out of your price range and have the payments applied toward its purchase.
     
  16. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Thirds on renting. I know a lot of folks who absolutely love playing DB, and just as many who've tried it and couldn't care less. And if your only early exposure is to a crappy bass, poorly set up, with no other reference point, you aren't likely to want to continue.

    It takes a lot of commitment to excel on any instrument, and the double bass has a lot of intrinsic quirks that make it a good choice only to those of us willing to put up with the hassles of actually manipulating it. Otherwise, there's nothing wrong with playing electric bass, if that's what you hear in your head. I'm not saying don't play double bass, I'm just saying don't go out and buy one because you're being pressured to do so by someone else. You may be able to apply rental costs towards a purchase if you decide to stick with it, and you'll be much more educated after you play one for awhile, and hang out here in these forums and ask questions. There's a lot of experience here.
     
  17. BullHorn

    BullHorn

    Nov 23, 2006
    Israel
    This is crazy.

    You can't play an upright bass just like that. It will take months to learn, yeaaaars to master. And buying one, too...

    I'd just tell the to gtfo and find me a different band. There are many bands needing a bassist, ANYWHERE you might live.
     
  18. dyuaru

    dyuaru

    Oct 12, 2006
    Los Angeles
    Ah yeah the thing is, it is going to my parents who are paying for it and its difficult for them to buy me a high priced bass right now as I have just recently(this month), purhcased a new electric bass, the Musicman Stingray.

    Ill see if I can find some stores around here who will let me rent a bass, and if not I will go to my friends house each week to practice until I get enough money to buy a new bass.

    Thanks.

    EDIT: To above post, the band is a school band and I wont be playing much in the beginning. There are around 5 bassist and only one is needed to play at one time so most of the time it will be just a learning experience until later years when I am able to play well.
     
  19. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    BullHorn,
    In checking your profile as well as your homepage, I couldn't find a single clue that you have any experience with DB, much less Jazz.
    While I'm sure nobody here would want to exclude you from this discussion, I personally think it's inappropriate that you find the need to be so discouraging.
    Maybe there's something I'm missing.:confused:
     
  20. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    +1. It seems that BullHorn didn't take the time to read the posts. So far, unless I have missed something as well, he has the most apt username I have encountered in some time.
     

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