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Uh, Is it OK to use the Upright as a Bongo?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Mud Flaps, Dec 26, 2003.

  1. Yes

    4 vote(s)
  2. No

    8 vote(s)
  1. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    I sit next to the percussionists in my Jazz Ensemble. Recently they've decided that the bongos weren't enough so they occasionally reach over and give ye olde upright (implying that it is probably at least 10 years old, or at least looks that way!) a smack. The rest of the bassists (who don't play upright except when fooling around) think that it's not a problem. I'm a little worried though. Can this sort of thing cause damage to the bass?
  2. Absolutely not! Israel "Cachao" López, the godfather of Afro-Cuban bass, used the body of his upright to make percussive sounds all the time.
  3. Definitely NOT! NO-ONE touches my bass except me (and my luthier). If you let them start slapping it around, who knows where it will end - before you know it they'll be helping themselves to it, riding it, leaping up and down on it, living in it!!! - no, tell 'em to keep their bloody hands to themselves! If you don't, you'll be asking for trouble!!!


    - Wil
  4. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    I'm sorry, but the idea of some bongo students living in an full upright just made my day.
  5. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Usually they just slap ME. And in the case of Ester Godinez, I kinda like it.
  6. I used to play in a symphonic percussion section; we had a younger guy who we used as a percussive instrument quite often. You'd be amazed at the range of tones you can extract from the human body...

  7. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    you guys are dodging my question and using elusive language :meh: .

    Assuming that I moderate things to the occasional thump, and not let the percussionists hit it with sledge hammers, will it cause damage to this bass that will cause it to be unplayable? Keep in mind, this bass already looks like it has been put through a woodchipper.
  8. In short, no. It won't hurt the bass. Even if it could, I'd say do it anyway because if you can't use an instrument to create music the way you want, what's the point? There isn't much on a bass that can't be fixed, so go for it.
  9. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    My first answer was totally serious; let's see if you like this one any better;

    No, it probably won't hurt your bass if the perc gives it an occasional thump or two. i personally find it a little irritating. Try this test; put your drink on top of the guy's conga, and see what kind of response you get. It'd be sort of like me going over and banging out notes on the piano during a performance.
  10. Yeah. I guess it would be pretty rude if it was somebody you didn't know or if they were just messing around. But if it's in the context of an actual performance, and somebody you know and everything, I wouldn't mind... and realisticly it's probably not going to damage anything unless either the bass is really fragile, or you really wail on it with some big mallets or something.
  11. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    No, no. I let them do it. Or at least I did not raise any objections.

    Cool, problem resolved.
  12. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    I think the school needs to have another bake sale and buy another conga.

    We have a slightly perverse habit of entertaining ourselves around the shop by finding new and exciting ways to destroy old school instruments that have seen their musical end, or that have graffitti explitives scratched in too deep to remove. Sometimes we photo the moment, I'll do the next one with a pair of mallets and post for your enjoyment.:)


    ^^^ BB Gun Trophy.
    I wish I would have photographed the time the 4wheeler caught air and came down on a cello. :D
  13. I would definitely not be cool with other people using it as a conga, but I occassionally do, when the effect is appropriate.
  14. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I had to buy this little rubber do-dad that rests on the floor, impaled by my endpin, when I play, cause the endpin is so sharp. Pointy really. Damn near a screw if ya think about it. I'm thinking it could even impale a person. A bongo player slapping Alma might be a good time to see if I'm right about that.
  15. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Or, if you have a cheap bow, like mine, you can do the ol' Catholic school Nun trick, ala the ruler across the knuckles.

  16. You guys do that too? ...We play soccer with old beaten beyond recognition school fiddles when they have outlived their usefullness. On one occasion a cello chucking contest resulted in the cleanest/quickest top AND back removal. The cello landed on it's end block and the resulting shock caused the top and back to come off leaving the rib garland standing vertically. Definetely a kodak moment. :p
  17. I myself use the body of the uprigt as a percussive instrument. There's nothing wrong with playing it with your hands-- within reason of course.

    I think it really breaks down to a matter of manners and concideration. I personally would be pissed if they just decided to be funny and reach over and smack my bass...

    If it was ME who was doing it, I have no problem with it. If they asked me ahead of time, and it was part of "the show" i would still be irritated with it, but i would probably let them do it.

    If they think they are being cute, I might go Mingus on their a**.
  18. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    One sub gig I do regularly calls for me to drum on the bass. I've actually gotten pretty good at it! As you might expect I get more applause for this than any of the hot licks I whip out during the night :rolleyes:

    I wouldn't do it on a fine carved bass but on my plywood bass...why not?
  19. as long as they put away the fibreglass sticks and use brushes, i say no problem.

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