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When to use EB and when to use DB?

Discussion in 'Recordings [DB]' started by Libersolis, May 4, 2005.

  1. Libersolis


    Sep 9, 2004
    Austin, TX
    For those who play both and record and do gigs, what dictates ( other than band leader telling you to) what bass you play for what tune. For me it depends on the tune and the instrumentation and what kind of setting I am in. If I am doing a gig with just a piano player and a drummer I will probably use Double Bass, simply to keep everything acoustic and organic sounding. Other than that its up in the air, and depends on how much I want to cut through.
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If you're talking about playing jazz, I think smooth jazz and fusion tunes probably sound best on electric as a rule, although I'm quite a fan of Christian McBride's funk double bass playing. Trouble is, not many people are that good. For standards and more bebop-oriented stuff, the double bass is best. For other kinds of music, I use the original versions as a guideline. But when in doubt, it's best to just use your own judgment, and you'll probably make the right decision most of the time. And if you get it wrong, so what? Nobody dies.
  3. Chrix


    Apr 9, 2004
    I tend to do everything (including funk and whatnot) on upright, mainly because I'm a lazy bum and don't like to have to carry more gear than I already do.
    That being said, I usually stick to UB on straight ahead/modal/bossa, etc...And I'll pick up the EB on Funk/Rock tunes. Latin and Samba tunes are Wild Card. Basically, if I just got done playing a funk tune and we're going into a latin tune, I'll stick with the EB. But mostly I stick to UB.

    That's just me, anyways...
  4. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    I tend to not use both on the same gig--either it's an upright gig and I do the one or two things that might work better on an EB with the double bass (usually earning appreciative comments from the hoi-polloi), or it's an electric gig and I do the one or two jazz tunes with the EB (changing the EQ or whatever and approximating the tone as best I can, as opposed to sticking with the characteristic EB sound or trying to Jaco-fy it). I've had some long-term gigs (mostly Latin/salsa) which I originally thought would be cool on upright but which I eventually turned into EB gigs just for the sound/volume thing (I definitely try not to make the decision based on portability issues--otherwise, everything would be an EB situation).
    I always feel like I can answer this question with some introspection--does it feel right that I'm playing EB right now, or am I being lazy? Is it really as cool as I think to be playing disco on an URB, or am I just be different for the sake of being different? (This takes into account the fact that URB is my main axe and has been for some time, whereas ten years ago EB was my main instrument and URB was the specialty "double" [in union terms]).
  5. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    My new rule:

    If I choose: DB
    If they are paying: whatever they say. (and I will ask)


    I double a lot now. Almost all of the time it is about 1/3 orchestrated stuff that calls for arch. 1/3 stuff that is pure pop and slab is the best bet. 1/3 is stuff that is doesn't really matter.

    Honestly, if the tune is in the later third, I usually allow the song order and what I am expected to play on before and/or after to drive the choice.
  6. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    So i just graduated high school-i played for a variety in there. It really depends on the song and group for me.

    When i played with our show choirs-there where times where i really wish i would have had the chance to play the DB as to me, it would have sounded a lot better e.g. ballads and jazzy tunes. However, space, volume, and director say otherwise.

    I have played Tower of Power tunes on Upright before-i was in pain afterwards...our school jazz band [big band] had a gig outside in a tent. The temperature started to drop as soon as we got there. I believe it was around 34 degrees and then it started to snow. The pitch of my Ray5 couldn't take it and it just kept on changing and acting like the horns [one tune A would be 435, next tune 430, next tune 437 etc]. So i gave up on trying to play electric [fretted] since even though it was in tune @ A=440, wasn't even close to the pitch of the band so i put away the electric and did the entire gig on upright. The pros of that? Well, i got to play Tower of Power [Attitude Dance] and Earth Wind and Fire [In the Stone] on upright, to my ears-it sounded nice-really thumpy, except since i couldn't exactly feel my fingertips i had a nice size blister afterwards.

    So the things that dictate what i am playing are: style, setting, and director.

    That's all

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