Where to buy an upright bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by dllive, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. dllive


    Dec 30, 2011
    Hi all,
    I play a Fender Jazz but would like to get into playing an upright bass (for playing funk and blues). Ive never played one, and before spending big money on one (from what Ive seen there is no such thing as a cheap double bass - I guess because of the size and amount of material that has gone into it) Id like to try one and see how I get on with it. Does anyone on here play double bass? How did you first start? can you hire them? would an electric bassist be able to fairly easily pick it up?
  2. nickn


    Oct 6, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    I have almost no experience with double basses other than a short stint in high school Orchestra, so I really can't help you with that, but there is a whole section of this forum dedicated to double basses: Double Bass Forums - TalkBass Forums You'd probably get a better response there :)
  3. lowfreq33

    lowfreq33 Guest

    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    No, they'll just tell him to find a teacher :)
    Sam Dingle likes this.
  4. nukes_da_bass

    nukes_da_bass Inactive

    Feb 19, 2006
    west suburban boston
    Depends on where you live- most big cities have a double bass shoppe (its a snobbish world so many of them ARE spelled "shoppe" lol!).

    You CAN just take it up. Your fingering WILL be wrong, mine is. You SHOULD at least watch some youtube tutorials on proper fingering- you can get injury's if your fingering is bad enough.
    There are usually two or three student level uprights in the DB classifieds for 2 grand or less. I believe you need a supporting membership to sell or purchase in the classifieds, you can browse for free tho.
  5. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    1 - Not knowing where you're located doesn't help anyone trying to give you a recommendation for possible retailers.

    2 - As already mentioned, there is a double bass section of TB. If you haven't already done so, you should post your questions there as well.

    3 - Upright basses are not the same as bass guitars in terms of how one goes about buying one. While it's relatively easy to learn how to do basic setups and maintenance, doing the same work on uprights requires way more expertise. That said... it's not just a matter of buying an upright, you also would be well served to have a place you can bring that instrument to for it's initial setup (a must) and any future work.

    But... it's a wonderful instrument and IMHO well worth the effort to find a good one. Best.....
  6. I made the transition about a year and a half ago. Here's what I recommend:

    The very first step is to find a teacher (go ahead and flame on!). Electric bass and upright are two very different animals and the techniques you've learned on bass guitar are not directly transferable. The scale length is much longer, left hand technique is different (3 "fingers" as opposed to 4), right hand technique is different (side of the index instead of tip), the approach is different (maximizing the use of open strings instead of avoiding them) etc. Basically you're learning a new instrument from scratch.

    Most major music store will have rentals available. I highly recommend you rent an instrument for the first few months while you take lessons.

    Once you've confirmed your interest and you're ready to commit big bucks for a bass, your teacher can put you in contact with his luthier, who will be able to get you a bass that fits your needs and budget. I bought my bass through my teacher's luthier and ended up with a much better instrument than the same amount of money would've bought me at the music store. Chances are your local music store sends the double basses they sell to the luthier for set-up before they deliver them to the customers, anyway...

    If shopping for a used bass through classifieds, always bring your teacher along (he'll be able to spot potential problems you wouldn't be able to find and will prevent you from buying a problem bass and getting ripped off).

    Most of all, be patient: learning the double bass can be frustrating at first for BG players (everybody thinks they can just pick it up, and the challenge of intonation alone can drive you crazy at first) and finding the right bass takes time...but it is very rewarding.

    Enjoy the journey!
  7. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    :scowl: Awful advice

    :) Good advice

    Start right here:
  8. playbass0410

    playbass0410 Guest

    Feb 8, 2008
    I'm in transition since about half an year after more than 30 years semi-pro e-bass playing.

    Frank77 is right - different instrument, different approach, different expression: wheras on the E-Bass you may celebrate lightening fast licks and runs throughout the fingerboard, on the double bass you do more celebrate the sound of every single note, play less of them, but play better ones.

    To me personally the double bass is a more 'musical' instrument than the e-bass. Hard to explain why, but I bet that lot of the other players here would agree.
    Learning this instrument is a great chance to make you a better musician by starting from scratch with the help of a teacher and not just to play e-bass-like on a double bass.

    Also you my think "ok, ok, well, well" when you read in here that injuries my occure when playing with wrong technique, but I advice to take this very seriously. Only a slightly collapsed fingering hand caused aches and a lame index finger to myself - my teacher corrected it and now I can play without problems - I myself didn't recognized the root cause of my pain.

    So I agree:
    without teacher - bad advice
    with teacher - good advice
  9. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    +1! Indeed! I play in a couple of jazz/dance bands that play all sorts of charts, and some are obviously bass guitar parts transcribed more or less off the record. After talking to the respective bandleaders, who want DB on the charts, judicious simplification while keeping the "feel" is the order of the day.
  10. brandau


    Jan 30, 2008
    Just check out as many as you can before you buy one... Craigslist, local music stores, friends, etc... get familiar with the instrument in general before you get one. You'll know a little better what your looking for and what you like and don't like. Possibly even take a lesson and get an experienced teacher to give you a run down of the instrument and some tips on what to look for when buying one... I've given several lessons to beginners who don't own a bass yet..its very informative.

    And you never know... I bought my 1949 Kay for $200 a couple years ago:)
  11. nukes_da_bass

    nukes_da_bass Inactive

    Feb 19, 2006
    west suburban boston
    Nope, he can just go and jump on double bass.
    I guess Willie Dixon was wrong too.
    When I posted I was addressing the OP,
    not the peanut gallery.
    OP- get a bass, watch some technique vids and have fun!
    Flame on, peanut gallery!
  12. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard Commercial User

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Black Dog Bass Works
    This is good advice, IF the OP wants to hurt himself in the process of playing out of tune. Sure, it's possible to make some thumping and slapping noises on a cheap stage prop but it takes more than a Youtube video or two to learn to play the DB. FWIW, Willie Dixon played out of tune, badly.:rollno:
  13. oleskool


    Sep 27, 2011
    Detroit, Mi.
  14. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2004
    Yeah, that's a cello...
  15. skychief


    Apr 27, 2011
    South Bay
    I dont think you need to be a supporting member to purchase.
  16. Rocky

    Rocky Inactive

    Jul 21, 2000
    Los Angeles
    Hi, there are a few things you can do to start right now!
    2) Read the newbie links in the Double Bass forum
    3) When you finally find a bass have a qualified BASS luthier (not a violin luthier or electric bass tech or the luthier at the shop selling the bass) look it over even if you have to pay them to do so. A good teacher can also help with this as well as guide you in finding a bass, and learning proper technique.

    I hope this helps.
  17. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2004
    Or sell in the DB classifieds.
  18. oleskool


    Sep 27, 2011
    Detroit, Mi.
    See they have it listed as a double bass. The picture sure looks like a DB. I saw one guy on here with something that looked the same. I look at DB and say nah i better not;) Now that I look at it again it does look too small to be a DB. Too slim too. At first I thought that end pin thing-a- majig was just missing. Good eye.
  19. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2004
    The seller has a Stradivarius violin FS, too, now $100.