Upright vs electric, disagreement with BL on which to bring on a gig

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Max Lawrence, Jul 22, 2019.

  1. Max Lawrence

    Max Lawrence

    Apr 27, 2019
    So, one of my bands recently got an acoustic gig. We've worked out a setlist of mostly easy 3 or 4 chord songs, Eagles, the band, ccr etc. Also, it's not actually a paying gig. We're busking at a local farmers market. They aren't paying us but we can put a case out for tips. Anyways, it's an acoustic gig so I figured I'd bring my upright bass. I mentioned this to the band and the drummer and rhythem guitar player thought that it was really cool. However, the lead singer (who is also the lead guitarist) thought that it was stupid. Just for clarification he isnt actually the BL like the title says (the band is supposed to be a democracy) but he is a bit of a control freak and a perfectionist and isnt always the most open minded person. Anyways, he's saying that I should bring my electric bass and a small amp. I really dont want to do this cause it's supposed to be an acoustic gig and I enjoy playing my upright but dont often get a chance to perform with it. Also, the upright has that "cool factor" that you just dont get with an electric bass in this setting.

    Sorry for the rant but I'd really appreciate your guy's opinions on this. Should I give in and bring the electric or tell him to suck it up and bring my upright anyway.
  2. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Upright. Totally. Teach the heathen what real acoustic bass is!
  3. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    My BL dictates that I play upright 95% of the time. I’m a far better electric player, so I take it as a challenge. Plus, we’re a “and the” band, so he’s clearly the boss.

    If I were you, I’d bring both. Play the upright for a couple songs and see how it goes. Play the electric enough to keep the peace.
    dan1952, juancaminos, Samatza and 9 others like this.
  4. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    The doghouse for sure! It has charisma. Maybe that is why the singer doesn't want it around. It will steal the show.
    dan1952, Alik, Aqualung60 and 24 others like this.
  5. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    Based on the repertoire, I would play it on electric, providing AC is nearby. I would not be opposed to using an ABG like my Tacoma TB10 and a small amp. Even if everyone wanted me to use string bass, IMHO it would be better with a small amp. Course the problem might be that then everyone would want an amp.

    These are halfway decent for busking, but not great.
    Roland - CUBE Street EX | Battery-Powered Stereo Amplifier
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019
    Haroldo and dkelley like this.
  6. TideSwing

    TideSwing Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2014
    Either the upright or the stack in your profile pic - either one would piss him off.
    smogg, pbass2, Gaolee and 1 other person like this.
  7. Jaymo


    Jul 7, 2017
    smogg and GrapeBass like this.
  8. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Upright, no doubt at all.
    dan1952, nbsipics, smogg and 8 others like this.
  9. matante


    Nov 3, 2003
    You know the answer here. Your band is a democracy, it's 3 to 1 in favor of the double bass, AND you're the bassist. Play what you want. You were right to listen to his opinion but you'd be making a mistake to let him dictate which instrument you take.
  10. tradernick


    Mar 19, 2008
    Absolutely upright. He has no idea. Way cooler at a farmer’s market gig. Possibly upright with amp if you have a pickup.

    And you know what? There’s a chance that after the gig he’ll say ‘That was kind of cool’.
    Samatza, dBChad, Jaymo and 8 others like this.
  11. Tony In Philly

    Tony In Philly Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Filthydelphia, USA
    The fake BL seems like a real jerk. Acoustic guitars and upright basses sound great together!
    dan1952, cerrem, marmadaddy and 3 others like this.
  12. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    If you can't play a DB at an acoustic farmer's market gig for tips, then where would he possibly think it is appropriate???
  13. I see some folks try to make an upright work where a bass guitar is conventional. It can of course, but two things really require some effort that maybe everyone doesn't get at first: the attack and style, and the tone/amplification.

    If you can play the same bass guitar parts, interchangeably on an upright, that's half the battle. Its easier said than done though. Its a different instrument. Different reach, different finger assignments, different shifts, different attack, etc. And you won't be playing those fast passages like Good Times Bad Times note-for-note. You'll have to be creative about capturing those licks in an executable substitute sequence. It will require work ahead of time.

    Second, the tone of an upright is pretty different than bass guitar. When an upright is amplified, its now yet another tone. And it can be bad tone. If you work with a good pickup and good pre-amp, coupled with a good combo amp, you can get a decently realistic upright tone, but with some added sustain that will help fill the bass guitar part and expectation.

    I've had the same reservation from bands when suggesting an upright, until they heard it. But I've worked to emulate bass guitar parts, and I've really worked on my amplified tone and gear. We need more upright with acoustic gigs, good luck -
  14. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008

    For your bandmate:Why does the bass have to "fit" the songs? The guitar won't have sustain or any other effects.

    You may even get gig leads with everyone acoustic.

    This thread needs a poll.:thumbsup:
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019
  15. SLO Surfer

    SLO Surfer

    Jun 3, 2009
    Los Osos, CA
    Not worth the drama for the bandleader to have started or you to go against.
    bolophonic likes this.
  16. Real Soon

    Real Soon

    Aug 15, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Does he not respect the democracy? & did he give a reason for his objection to the upright?

    Maybe he's playing a tiny itty bitty little parlor guitar, and can't keep up with the output of a big, rich, resonant contrabass?
  17. lancimouspitt


    Dec 10, 2008
    dayton Ohio
    Anytime to practice before hand? If you can get in a rehearsal before the show it might help enforce everyone else's opinion.
    FDR Jones likes this.
  18. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Gee, where on earth could you possibly find another guitarist who knows some Creedence songs?
  19. tradernick


    Mar 19, 2008
    Good Times Bad Times?

    Did you mean The Weight?


    Aug 10, 2015
    The way i see it. The band is a democracy. 3 to 1 equals upright bass. If he doesn't like it tell him that sometimes birds poop on your car, but since they outnumber me, i just deal with it. ☺

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