What all am I going to need?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by hoedown_j, Mar 20, 2005.

  1. hoedown_j


    Mar 3, 2005
    Well it looks like I may be getting a double bass soon. I brought up the point with my mom that she bought my brother a $1000 Alto Sax when he was just starting (he quit after a couple more years) and that I had been playing EB for 6 years, and now am playing my school's mediocre (Kay) upright and doing well on it, last night I played at a gig for about 2 hours straight.

    So here's my question: If I am going to get a double bass, what am I going to need other than the bass?

    Am I going to need to buy a seperate pickup and pre-amp? (I'm guessing basses don't come with these) I know I'm going to need a bow; if I spent around 1500 on a bass, how much would an equivilent level bow cost? And how much for the bass to be "set-up"? (still not sure what being "set-up" really is)

    The basses I am looking at are Strunals, recommended to me by my teacher, with whom I had been taking lessons on electric and a few times on the school's upright, and will resume lessons (hopefully on DB) after I am done with the golf team and/or school. My budget will probably be around $2000, my parents probably paying most (birthday is soon) and I will be paying for some and selling one of my electrics to help pay. I will be playing mostly jazz, but want a versitile bass which will also work well for bowing.

    I have a bow which my teacher gave to me and said was pretty much the lowest of low, although it has good horsehair.

    I have an amp, a SWR Workingman's 15, will that work fine with a DB?

    In case you are wondering I live in the Seattle-Everett area and am a high school junior, since people always seem to want to know and it's not in my profile. I've read a lot of the newbie links and still am a bit confused. Thanks in advance.
  2. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Also try to look into Shen Basses. They are great for the price and their higher end Basses are a bargain.

    For a Bow, get the Best you can afford. It will hold it's value better and you will also Play alot better. The hair is not a factor in buying or keeping a Bow. It's like the Strings on a Bass, you change them when they wear out. A Bow is judged by the Playability and the Stick first and then it's fittings.

    The Amp you have is fine. Just find the EQ that works best with your Bass and pickup. For Bowing I turn off all the treble and the Horn as well. For Jazz, I do the same but adjust the mids for clarity if I need it.
  3. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    If you haven't already, you should also budget for a good quality cover for your bass. I suggest something with some padding not just cloth..
  4. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Take a trip to the luthier's with your teach. Explain your project and see what he has to offer. Do this around town as much as possible and you may end up with a pretty good setup.
  5. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    If you can purchase your bass from a bass shop or music store that employs a luthier (string instrument tech), by all means make that a priority. It is important to deal with someone that services what they sell; comes in handy down the road.

    Setup work can be between $200-$600. However, this work would be included in the price (hopefully!) when you purchase a bass from a bass shop.

    The setup consists of: the fingerboard, nut, bridge, soundpost, and strings. These are the main components of the setup; there are others... but let's stick with the basics.

    The fingerboard on the upright bass has a slight "camber" or "scoop" along the length of the board; from the nut to the end of the fingerboard, where you place your right hand for pizz playing. It's very shallow, just a few millimeters. But, if the board has bumps, or no scoop, or is convex (it happens) you get notes that buzz, terrible playability, and a general un-evenness across the register. The general height for the strings at the nut is a business card-distance off the fingerboard. (You should be able to slip a card in between the strings and the board...)

    Factory bridges and soundposts vary from company to company, but all of them need to have a final fitting, done by a luthier. (This is where the Sam Ash-type stores really fall short...) Most bassists have adjusters installed into the legs of the bridge. This allows the player to raise and lower the string height (action) as the weather changes and as you develop your technique. The projection of the fingerboard over the body of the bass rises and falls with the seasons (humidity), and the string heights go up and down. In the past, bassists had to have different bridges (summer bridge, winter bridge). Bridge adjusters put an end to that, resulting in more control for the bassist and less trips to the shop to get things adjusted.

    The Workinman's 15 is a fine amp for upright. You can use a number of pickups without a preamp (Fishman Full Circle, Realist, Underwood). Expect to pay over $100 for a good pickup...

    There is a great deal of useful info in the Newbie links regarding setup. Keep searching and reading. Hopefully this post has cleared some things up for you!

    Happy bass hunting...
  6. For an inexpensive pick-up that works well without a pre-amp, you might try the K&K bassmax. I use one and it is a great pick-up for pizzacato, not so good for arco. It is pretty hassle free to install and use and sells for just under $100. It is available from Lemur or from Bob Gollihur. Other things that are handy are a good bow quiver and a sturdy stand for the bass. If I have to trek any distance between vehicle and final destination, I put my bass on an inexpensive folding luggage cart that I have attached padding to. I assume you already have a tuner, but if you don't, you might try using a simple "A" tuning fork. I like these because the batteries don't go dead and they require your ear to do a little work.

    See if you can try some german bows as well as french bows. The bow hold is quite different between the two. I use and like the wooden German bow that Bob G. sells for a very reasonable price. He has French models as well. These are great starter bows. German bows are unique to basses and less common, but more comfortable for some players.

    Good luck with your DB playing, and welcome to this forum, hoedown. (Is that from The Blues and the Abstract Truth?)
  7. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    Hey-i've only got a year on you for schooling [high school senior here]. I won't comment on bass as my dad agreed with me that the goal was to get me a bass that was to the level where we wouldn't feel like it was a "first bass", but "my bass". However, up until we had that talk-i was 90% sure that i was going to get an Engelhart ES1 [after hearing what i have now......i am extremely glad we made the decision we did]. Ok-here's my actual post...

    The things that i think you need/should get: Bass Max pickup-i have played this pickup both with a preamp and without. On my bass-i run the Bass Master Pro setup [Bmax + a double big twin along w/a blender pre]. I like the sound for both pizz and arco. Surprising how well the arco cuts in a marching band. [oh the joys of being in the midwest]

    It is nice to have a quiver. I bought mine off of a guy on here and he included a bow. IIRC, it's the quiver and fiberglass french bow from Bob G. The school has provided me with a bow that has "Eastman" stamped on it-all i know is that it's a wooden french bow. I like that one far better-but i imagine it costs far more than the $60-75 i paid for the bow and quiver.

    Above all? Listen to what the other guys have said. They know more now than i will ever.
  8. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    Hey Hoedown,

    I'll do my job as "Joe Map".
    You're in a bit of a bass mecca in terms of good shops. You have around Seattle, from North to South:
    Barrett Basses (360) 732-4100
    The Bass Church (206) 784-6626
    Hammond Ashley (206) 878-3456
    Honeytone Bass Clinic (253) 529-8732
    Pete's Bass Shop (Portland) (503) 777-7027
    All bass specialists, all good.

    Lots to look at around there. Good luck!
  9. hoedown_j


    Mar 3, 2005
    thanks everyone for all the info, I'll probably go down to Hammond-Ashley sometime in the next couple weeks if I can find time, and I'll look into those other places you listed.