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Using an EUB to learning fingering on a 3/4 instrument?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by PauFerro, Dec 29, 2016.


  1. PauFerro

    PauFerro

    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    So, I continue my search for the right instrument. I was wondering what others think about learning on a 3/4 EUB. People say it will take 2 years before you can get out there gigging with a 3/4 size instrument reasonably presentably. So, I was considering learning on a 3/4 EUB for a while, and then reselling it later in the game, in favor of an accoustic URB. At that time, I will know if I have bonded with instrument, gotten past the fact that it seems so big, and learned how to get around on the EUB. If it doesn't work out, I can just sell the EUB easily for a loss that will be far less than renting for say, 6 months.

    The reason for asking this is that it's way expensive to get into a quality laminate bass that won't implode (like around $2000 or so, for a Shen). And they are hard to ship and resell if it doesn't work out. So many of the accoustic upright basses I see for sale are listed as "local pickup only" which isn't practical for many of us.

    But you can get a Stagg 3/4 for $500 plus shipping, and then turn around and sell it, and ship it a lot easier than an accoustic URB if it doesn't work out. Rentals for accoustic upright basses around here cost $150 a month when I checked.

    So, do you think you can get some productive learning out of an EUB on how to do URB fingering? I know the EUB too is considered a different instrument sonically, but is it something you can learn URB fingering on effectively?
     
  2. madbanjoman

    madbanjoman

    Feb 23, 2011
    Pittsburgh
    I started on the Stagg and then got a ply DB. Up until this month I regularly gig with either one depending on the gig requirements. This month I got an EUB that is closer to the feel of my DB, so the Stagg will no longer be the EUB I take out. The Stagg is fine pizz arco is tougher. The fingerboard arc is less then a DB. I use EUB about 75% of the gigs I do. I was gigging on DB/EUB within a year of deciding to learn DB.
     
    PauFerro likes this.
  3. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    Tennessee
    I don't believe it's ideal. I've never come across an EUB that really feels like a DB; and since you're looking at EUBs at lower price points, you'll definitely be dealing with a different instrument. There's simply no comparable way to learn DB than by playing/learning on a DB. If you've truly exhausted your other options it would surely be better than nothing. But have you looked into used ply basses? You ought to be able to get a used Shen/Christopher, etc. ply in the $1k-1.5k range.
     
    ColdEye likes this.
  4. PauFerro

    PauFerro

    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    What was the brand of the EUB you are using that feels more like a DB?
     
  5. Harry Monkley

    Harry Monkley

    Jan 16, 2016
    The EUBs that have the important physical landmarks of a DB tend to be quite expensive - learning to play over the transition from neck->heel->thumb position and develope good habits might be difficult on an EUB that doesn't have shoulders and a neck heel.

    You might need to accept the necessity of being willing to make a road trip to check out potential purchases, it isn't convenient, but then again nothing about owning a DB is.

    Maybe renting a DB for a few months locally would be a good idea.
     
    PauFerro likes this.
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I think it's a lot easier to play an EUB once a you've already learned on a DB. The big difference is that everything you do on a DB, all your technique and every movement you make, is predicated on the acoustic sound that results from what you are doing. You just don't get that with an EUB, and if you haven't already experienced it, you would simply have to start all over again in that respect when you finally do start to play a DB. To a double bassist, it's no small thing to put "developing a big acoustic sound" at the bottom of the list when for most players it's at the very top.
     
  7. Matthijs

    Matthijs

    Jul 3, 2006
    Amsterdam
    Those 2 years of training you refer to are all about getting the technique down to be able to develop a reasonable acoustic volume during a whole gig. You won't train that on a EUB. You might use a EUB to get the basics down, but you need flighttime on the real thing to make the transition to gigging with a URB
     
  8. gnypp45

    gnypp45

    Apr 21, 2014
    Stockholm, Sweden
    I learned the left hand basics on an NS NXT EUB. It is not that expensive, the string length is the full 41.5'', and the neck profile is close enough to the real thing for learning the lowest positions. I enjoyed being able to play along with my favorite music over headphones, while my kids were fast asleep in the next room. This way I lay a solid foundation with the Simandl fingering system up to position IV.

    However, as Harry Monkley pointed out, an important aspect of the double bass playing is the neck->heel->thumb transition, or just having the heel as a reference point, which is missing from the NS NXT and many other EUBs.

    So after a while, I considered modifying the EUB with a screw-on heel to provide this reference point. In the end I bought my first double bass instead, and my EUB has remained unplayed since then.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
  9. madbanjoman

    madbanjoman

    Feb 23, 2011
    Pittsburgh
    IMG_1012.JPG
    MK Studio. Here is a pic of mine.

    the web site:
    Mod.Studio - Contrabbassi Elettrici MK

    And yes they are more expensive than a Stagg. The difference from the Stagg is the fingerboard angle, the lean point and fingerboard curve.
     
    GKon likes this.
  10. +1 to all above. A used ply with a pro setup will be cheaper than renting, AND you get to keep/sell the bass afterwards.

    If you really want a DB, just bite the bullet and buy one. Everything about them is harder, but soooo worth it. :D
     
  11. turf3

    turf3

    Sep 26, 2011
    Don't forget the place where the upper bout is supported against your side, also.

    I suspect that by the time you find an EUB that has the contact points in the same places, so you can learn how to support the thing properly and also learn the neck heel transitions, it will be close to the size and cost of an actual DB, but it still won't sound like one and you still won't be learning how to get the sound out of the acoustic body of the bass.

    I recall that you have asked about several short cuts, but I think in the end you will just need to bite the bullet and rent a real double bass and take some lessons from a qualified teacher of double bass, using the bow and one of the standard time-honored bass methods. No quarter size basses, stick basses, purple basses, or whatever. Just a rental plywood bass, a fiberglass bow, and an expert teacher.

    If, after putting in an honest 6 months, you decide to stick with it, you can probably throw some additional money in and own the rental bass; a lot of places will apply at least a large fraction of the rent you've paid against the purchase of an instrument; or you can go for a good quality used bass. I think you can probably get a used Shen or Christopher plywood bass for $1000-1500, in good condition with a proper setup.
     
  12. jthisdell

    jthisdell Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    I went from BG to EUB almost three years ago on an NS NXT4. I paid $1,500 but you can find them used for less. It was a lot of work but was able to gig in about six weeks. That was difficult but it improved quickly after that first gig. While there are a lot of shortcomings to any EUB I like being able to practice and not bother my wife and love the fact that I can get my whole set up, EUB, TH500, Berg CN112 cab, music stand, mic stand, gig bag in my Miata. I challenge any DB player to get their instrument in my car (and yes, with the top down.)

    That being said, I know that when I get a DB my technique will need a lot more work. But for now it is great, it plays well and sounds great (it needs a good pre, amp and cab and I switched to Obligato strings) and it works well with both my bluegrass and my gypsy jazz band. I get a lot of compliments on my sound from players that I respect so an EUB can work. As to the transition to DB I'll let you know in a few years.
     
    PauFerro and Groove Doctor like this.
  13. PauFerro

    PauFerro

    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    Very cool electric upright bass. I notice on the videos on the website for the jazz version, when the player gets really going, he makes a lot of clackety noises, like the strings are hitting the fingerboard. Is that common on all EUB's? Is it the guy's playing style, or is it something you have to put up with on all uprights, whether electric uprights, or acoustic double basses?
     
  14. KUNGfuSHERIFF

    KUNGfuSHERIFF Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2002
    Upstate NY
    A serious EUB is a good arrow to have in the quiver, but like Chris said, it's all about learning to pull a big sound out of the bass and developing the endurance to play that hard all night without tiring. You don't need to do that on a EUB. They're easier to play.

    I love my EUB. It's a great instrument that was handmade by my mentor and it actually sounds like a bass, unlike those NS toys people love for some reason. It's hardy, tidy, travels well, and won't break into a million pieces if my truck slides off the road on the way home from a winter gig.

    But it's just not the same.
     
    ColdEye likes this.
  15. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    It does seem to be a really nice EUB. The clacking sound I'm hearing in the first two videos is from the player rather than the bass - I'm betting he would make those same sounds on the double bass as well. It's a right hand percussive thing that some players do, especially when they are playing without a drummer. The instrument sounds really good for an EUB, IMO.

    LOL, WT*? OMG! :D
     
  16. madbanjoman

    madbanjoman

    Feb 23, 2011
    Pittsburgh

    I am not getting those sounds on mine.
     
    PauFerro likes this.
  17. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    These are not interchangeable instruments. Get the one you really want to play in the style of music you're planning on making. I rarely see anyone gigging on an eub around here, except in Salsa circles. At one point I played a Clevinger with a particular band because the leader dug the sound but they are not well accepted in general IME.
     
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  18. Seanto

    Seanto

    Dec 29, 2005
    RVA
    In my opinion, you would be much better served to just rent a regular 3/4 double bass at a shop that will apply a portion of your rental fee to store credit. You then have a bass to learn on, and are paying towards your purchase at the same time. I know this isn't the direct question you are asking, but i truly think that is the best path for someone just starting out. This is what i did when switching from electric to upright a few years ago. Over the rental period you will also be educating yourself to help make an informed purchase down the road.

    Now to speculate on your actual question, i don't think learning on the EUB is the best way to go, but perhaps better than nothing. I can't imagine the response and acoustic quality of the EUB is the same, and you may just produce a bunch of bad habits that you have to unlearn when you switch to the real thing. I think in this case, if you want to truly learn the upright bass, you should attack it directly. Acquire a regular DB and start putting in the time. I'm not sure why any other path should even be considered, as that is the most obvious way to go about it.

    You also seem to be concerned about the size of the instrument relative to yourself. Dont be. If a kid can play a 3/4, so can you. If you are shorter, that just means you adjust the end pin lower, and that is all there really is to it. Good luck with whatever path you choose!
     
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.