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Upright Bass to Bass Guitar?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by grimpanda, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. grimpanda


    Mar 7, 2013
    I am new here so I have no idea if this is where I should put this but eh. :bag: I have been playing upright bass for about a 1 year and a half. One of my friends who plays upright with me said he recently started playing bass guitar and said it was a lot like the upright. Is this true? Because I have been trying to look into it for a while.
  2. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    Not in my opinion. Listen to Victor Wooten on BG and see what you think. Getting around the BG is perhaps easier, especially if you use a fretted guitar, but there's a whole new dimension in terms of what you can do with your right hand that's not typically done with an upright. I'll occasionally use a BG for a jazz gig and no one complains, but I don't consider myself a bass guitarist.
  3. eee


    Jan 17, 2009
    I'm in tcl's boat. They're similar, they fill the same role. They're tuned the same. The mechanics of it are completely different though, especially the plucking hand.
  4. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    Whole different beast. The upright bass requires using your whole body to get a good and big tone/sound, which of course is created acoustically rather than.. electrically? And then there's the matter of difference in scale/string length.
  5. tmntfan


    Oct 6, 2011
    Edmonton canada
    as someone who doubles often they seem to be very similar. the notes are located in the same places, you can play the same licks on them, even use the same figuring. but how all of that is produced is different.
    Upright is a beast to play. Takes more work to fret notes, more right hand strength to play a string and unless you play fretless, more attention to play in tune. they are both fun and challenging in their own ways and I'd say about 70% of playing one transfers to the other. so it's not identical and to make the switch is not going to sound great the first time, or even the first 10 times you pick up the opposite instatement.
    unless you are trying to play classical with a bow after only playing rock music on a BG, the Bow changes everything
  6. Mike Goodbar

    Mike Goodbar Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    Charlotte, NC
    Speaking very generally, I think you're at an advantage switching from upright to electric rather than the other way around. I played upright for a couple of years before I ever touched a bass guitar, and all things being equal (that is, playing primarily walking bass lines), the transition was pretty seamless. I just copy/pasted my Simandl 1-2-4 upright technique over and it worked fine. My teacher recommended trying to play some of the classical pieces I had been working on BG in order to learn the fingerboard better, and that helped a lot.

    When I started exploring some the extended techniques (slapping, chords, etc.) is when the challenges of BG became more apparent.

    Even so, back when I was playing a lot more BG than upright, I would need a week or so to get back in shape if I got called for an upright gig. Now, playing much more upright than BG, I can make the switch to BG with little preparation.
  7. mkandolf


    Nov 21, 2007
    Saint Clair, MI
    Each is challenging in very different ways.

    If you can, listen to the music created by both jsut to hear the differences in the tones and styles each instrument can produce. I created a jazz bass station on Pandora that I listen to regularly and I am amazed at how versatile these instruments I play (both) are.

    I hope someday to be able to play all these styles I listen to. I haven't even begun to scratch the surface.

    Have fun!
  8. Csmith


    Apr 5, 2013
    I have played upright for 7 years and bass guitar for 6 years. I started by playing upright. The notes and string names are the same. However some of the techniques are different. I found it easy to go from upright to electric.

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