upright bass? where do I start?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by meinl, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. Hey,

    I love jazz and the sound of an upright. About 5 months ago I got the chance to play a nice upright made in france that started a fire of wanting to play a double that is ;)

    So I'm looking into getting an upright sometime. I'm guessing used, but what are good the brands? What are the good pickups? I'm thinking it will be used for bluegrass, rock and roll, and jazz. Probably most for jazz though.

    Also (stupid question) what is a setup is that like a professional tuning?

    Just wondering what to keep an eye out for. So hopefully I can start playing the double.

    If I had to get a new one is this one good? Engelhardt Swingmaster

  2. never mind just ignore this
  3. Grey Dad

    Grey Dad

    Apr 14, 2007
    Somerset, UK
    Meinl, as you've probably guessed, start here. Have a good read, there's a mine of information in there, then pop back when you've got a bit of basic knowledge and ask some more questions. Despite their fearsome reputation the people here don't bite (well, not too hard anyway) and will give you plenty of help and pointers.

    Oh, and don't forget Rule 1: find a teacher as early as you can, before you buy anything.

    Good luck!


    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Yes, solid advice! The teacher is a very important thing when starting out. They can help you find an instrument that will suit you. Don't be swayed by "brand names". Buying a double bass isn't like ordering a bass guitar. Good luck!
  5. Nagrom


    Mar 21, 2004
    Western Canada
    Yes, its' kind of like asking "what is a good brand of oil paintings?"
  6. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Those older Italian ones are pretty good! :D
  7. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    I just don't agree when looking for an entry-level bass. That is, I think it makes a great deal of sense to discuss "brand names." Think of brands often mentioned around here, e.g., Engelhardt, Shen, Upton, Thompson, etc. Considering only entry-level instruments, there is remarkable consistency within those brands. Sure, every bass is different and all that. Still, in my experience, there is far less variance within than across the brands. For example, pick any Engelhardt you like. You'll never find one with the general characteristics of an Upton and vice versa (leaving aside which of the two one might prefer.) One can depend on the reliability of the characteristics of those brands.

    Now, higher level basses are another matter entirely. There, the oil-painting analogy becomes more apropos as the artistry of the maker and individual character of the tone woods comes into play. You'll even find that to be true within the "brands." Among, for example, high-level Shens and Uptons and basses from "one-off" luthiers, individuality is evident and, in many ways, is counted upon.