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What songs not typically played on URB have you played?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Hoyt, Aug 23, 2017.

  1. So, I play in a mostly Rockabilly band. We typically try to play the rockabilly songs no other bands in our area cover that aren't 1-4-5's, but we also play some newer rockabilly, old country, blues songs, and more recently punk and classic rock.

    Thing is, I REALLY enjoy the challenge of trying to play songs that were initially played on bass guitar on the upright bass. I get to be creative and put my own stamp on it.

    I'll post a link to it, but an example would be covering Barracuda by Heart. We also do a version of Zeppelins "Good Times, Bad Times" that is an absolute blast to play.

    Am I alone here? Does anyone else enjoy stepping outside the box a little bit?

    I love seeing players like Miles Mosley cover Voodoo Child or Adam Ben Ezra's Beatles cover being posted. I think it expands the realm of possibilities for the instrument.

    Curious if I'm in the minority here.

    Here's a FB link to a snippet of us playing "Barracuda" last Friday night. Not the best quality, but you get the idea.

    Mrlen613 and Groove Doctor like this.
  2. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    The only good example I have is "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People. The bass line is super recognizable. My old band would start it out pretty well close to the original with me playing the bass line, then it would descend into some breakneck, bluegrass jammy thing.
    Ant Illington and Hoyt like this.
  3. That actually sound like a blast. We did something similar with "House of the Rising Sun" where it started off like the Animals version, then ended up like a mix of hopped up bluegrass.

    Another fun one was Howlin Wolf's "spoonful". We did the first two verses like the popular version, but we transitioned the last two into the version he put out on his psychedelic album (which I hear he hated).
  4. EddiePlaysBass


    Feb 26, 2009
    My last band was interested in the fact that I play an electric upright so they had me play Whole Lotta Rosie (AC/DC), Rocking In The Free World (...) and the likes on that thing. Very challenging! We also played Smooth Criminal but I never got around to attempting that. Mind you, never did it during a gig, though!
    Hoyt likes this.
  5. Whole lotta Rosie sounds fun!
  6. EddiePlaysBass


    Feb 26, 2009
    Truth be told, I had more fun playing it on the upright than on the bass guitar. And the drummer loved every minute of it :D
    Mrlen613 and Hoyt like this.
  7. Steve Boisen

    Steve Boisen Your first second choice™ Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    I generally don't enjoy covering electric bass parts on the upright, especially ones that are idiomatic to the original instrument. Two recent ones that stand out are "Boogie Oogie Oogie" with it's incessant octaves and Stevie Wonder's "I Wish" which requires constant shifting when played in the original key.

    - Steve
    Hoyt likes this.
  8. Sweet Child of Mine (Guns'n'Roses).
    How Sweet It Is
    Have you ever seen the rain.
    Wake up little Suzie.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
    Hoyt likes this.
  9. How do you pull off the intro to Sweet Child o mine? Thumb position?
  10. Back then I just played it an octave down, piano played a modified guitar part, and sung by a female singer or I sang it an octave down.

    Post-Modern jukebox did a very cool swing version of it.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
    Hoyt likes this.
  11. My band is typically all electric, but we did a "lounge style" gig where I used the urb. Then we covered "From out of Nowhere" by Faith no More. Was a lot of fun, but pretty difficult by my standards.
    Hoyt likes this.
  12. Get Lucky by Miracles of Modern Science.
    Singing DB, violin, 'cello, mandolin, drums.

    Chris Fitzgerald and Hoyt like this.
  13. Josh Kneisel

    Josh Kneisel

    Jun 17, 2016
    pretty much my whole setlist with the trio... we have done at various times: 46 and 2 (tool), Time (Pink Floyd), Knights of Sedonia (Muse), Eraser (Thom Yorke), In Bloom (Nirvana), Empire Ants (the Gorrillaz), No Diggity (Blackstreet), Wandering Stars (Portishead)... I could go on for hours worth of music....
    Mrlen613 and Hoyt like this.

  14. YES! THAT is what I'm talking about! Also, I'm a big Tool fan, but I haven't tackled any of their tunes on upright yet. About the heaviest stuff I've done has been Motorbreath (Metallica), and some of the prerequisite Misfit covers every aging punk rocker knows.
    Josh Kneisel likes this.
  15. Steve Boisen

    Steve Boisen Your first second choice™ Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    I'm pretty sure that was cut with an upright bass

    - Steve
    Hoyt likes this.
  16. I used to do a Sunday morning brunch gig in the 90's on double bass with my old bandleader playing guitar and singing. We did the same songs as the full band, so:

    Chain of Fools

    Crossfire- SRV

    Dreams to Remember - Otis Redding

    And a ton of other things I've forgotten, probably The Thrill is Gone.
    Hoyt likes this.
  17. We do some old blues numbers by Magic Sam, Junior Wells, Fats Domino, etc., and I always thought that the upright sat better in the mix for those songs and that style.

    Part of the reason I get excited about trying to play things not traditionally associated with the upright is because I think technology has advanced to the point where the upright can be every bit as loud as a bass guitar which replaced it due to amplification and portability.

    There's SO much history in the instrument, but I feel like it's up to players now to get out there and prove it can do most things a city bass can do, and in some cases do it better.

    Of course, we've also reached a point in bass history where most of the players attracted to the upright are generally conservative about how, when, and where it should be used.

    It's an interesting dynamic. I'm just an aging punk rocker/metal head, but I see SO much potential for the instrument to break down barriers.

    Arco through a wah pedal alone is one of the coolest sounds ever that a bass guitar just can't replicate.

    Aside from some thrash and speed metal, I don't personally see any reason the URB couldn't be used anywhere.

    Heck, I thought it was cool playing in my old hard rock band back in the day.

    5StringBlues likes this.
  18. Mrlen613


    Jul 19, 2008
    I actually I actually just started to do this as well. We play a mix of jazz standards and some rock tunes depending on what singer we are working with. I used to switch between the electric and upright but then decided just to play everything on upright and haven't looked back. I'm enjoying it more and it brings something to the band that is a little less common. I would say go for it!
    Hoyt likes this.
  19. "Maybe I'm Amazed' by McCartney, with an arco bass solo…last week someone commented with how impressed he was that we had 'countrified' that song. Countrification really wasn't the goal of our arrangement, but I'm happy he liked it.
    Hoyt likes this.
  20. It is important to understand that this is and has been a very "typical" idea for some time now. If you don't at least have a strong and clear idea to play a particular song then you are just jumping on a "bandwagon". It you want to stand out, approach whatever genre you are in with irony-free rigor.

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