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What string height did Mingus have?

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by Lovebown, Aug 31, 2003.


  1. Lovebown

    Lovebown

    Jan 6, 2001
    Sweden
    Does anyone know how high/low Mingus action was on say, "Ah um"?. I've heard some people say Mingus used really high action and plucked very hard, but to me it sounds like he uses a medium/low action - and plucks pretty hard!;)

    /lovebown
     
  2. Hej, hur går det i Göteborg?
    All the pics I´ve seen Mingus playin´, he seems to have considerably high action. Mingus played with guts, I´ve been told, so it was a high action - low tension thang.
    When I started listening Mingus recordings, to me he sounded sometimes like he was playing with rubber bands instead of bass strings. Hard plucker indeed.

    R2
     
  3. Davehenning

    Davehenning

    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I remember watching a mid-sixties video of Mingus in a club and his bass seemed to have very high action. IIRC, the video showed him playing at home too. His command of the instrument was quite frightening.
     
  4. Lovebown

    Lovebown

    Jan 6, 2001
    Sweden
    Thing is, on the album "Money Jungle" with Duke and Max Roach he sometimes has an extremly percussive sound which makes me belive he plays very hard on a low action bass? Am I wrong? Is he making this sound not using regular plucking?

    /lovebown
     
  5. I wouldn´t like to argue, but the sound he has in "money jungle" does NOT come from low action.
    Mingus never played with low action. Keep in mind that there was only one Charlie Mingus, and his chops were the only one of the kind. Both right and left hand. He makes a lot of percussive sounds, but in purpose. Man, sometimes he stretched the G string over the fingerboard corner with his RIGHT hand to make a special effect. That´s some chops.

    R2
     
  6. Contrary to popular belief, you don't need high action to get a big sound. The big sound comes from how you pull the string. Mingus used heavier strings but his action was probably considered standard for the day with that kind of gut set-up.

    The bass is designed for the strings to vibrate sideways. Picture how drawing a bow across the strings sets the strings into motion, they go sideways with the bow. When playing pizzicato you want to create that sideways motion as much as possible. By lifting your right elbow slightly your hand will be turned out which will make the pulling motion completely sideways instead of on a downward angle toward the fingerboard. To counter any loss of punch that might result from lowing the action you can pluck a little closer to the bridge.