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Who Played 5 String DBs in '20s-'40s Jazz??

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by rockyjo, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. rockyjo


    Jan 7, 2011
    Denver, CO
    Hello Everyone,

    I'm having a tough time finding out names of any bassists who played the 5 string Swingmasters in 1920s-1940s traditional jazz...can you help?

    It's almost as if these instruments didn't exist, but these vintage 5 string Kays were in their heyday then, so some big name recording artists must have played them.

    I'd love to hear some recordings if I could find out what bands or bass players to look up...

    Has any artist in any time period really made his mark playing an upright 5 string?

    'Would appreciate hearing from you :)

  2. pedulla-2007

    pedulla-2007 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2008
    What makes you think there were 5-strings back then ? Can you offer proof? Am almost 60, and do not remember 5-string uprights.
  3. rockyjo


    Jan 7, 2011
    Denver, CO
    Because there are 40's 5 string Swingmaster Kay upright basses, for example.

    So in thinking about your question, I have one answer to my own question: Chubby Jackson presumably played the 5 string as he has a signature model from the '40s, the S-51 Kay Chubby Jackson 5 string bass.

  4. maybe check Roger Stower's website or contact him directly?

    Kay Bass Information and Registration

    I had a 1951 Kay Chubby Jackson 5-stringer I restored a few years ago but alas was lost in a car crash :bawl:. Odd bird to say the least, but mine was set up sometime before I got it to 4 string. The neck, machines, and tailpiece survived so hope someday to build an EUB around them.
  5. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    Barre Phillips, Renaud Garcia-Fons, Torsten Müller, Barry Guy, Paul Rogers, Paul Warburton play fivers as their main instrument (Rogers now plays a 7!).
    Mark Dresser has one, I am sure there are more!
  6. Damon, thanks for thinking of me in your list of great players.
  7. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    I know that Paul W. plays with a low B string, and (I think?) Chubby J. played with a high C string, but what of the others?
    I don't even care to hear about the guy that plays the 7-string. After 5 it starts getting silly!
  8. The more than 100 year old bass method book by Simandahl has a bit on how to be a hip orchestral player you are probably going to need a C extension or 5 strings. Getting performance significant grunt on notes below the E is a challenge and takes a really good bass.
  9. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    old bass method book by Simandahl has a bit on how to be a hip orchestral player you are probably going to need a C extension or 5 strings.

    Neither of my 50 year old copies of Simandl Books I and II (German/English version) mention anything of the sort. Do you have an up-dated version? Possibly Japanese/English?
  10. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    Simon H. Fell also plays a 5, low b. PW, Müller and Rogers have low Bs, Phillips and Guy High Cs.
    Rogers 7, like my EUB is low B, high C and F.
  11. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    Chubby Jackson (Woody Herman).

    Kay made a Chubby Jackson model in the late 1940's.
    Strung E to C

    I used to own a pre-Chubby, made in 1941. I had it reworked by Upton Bass, maybe they still have pics. It used to be on there website under preowned/customer basses.

    I sold it (traded it), because I wasn't using it much.
    My Azola EUB is my main instrument.

    john m
  12. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    Thanks for the info, damensmith. It is very interesting how we players "think" bass. It's what justifies my love for both Charlie Haden's gutsy, seemingly simple, low-register playing and NHOP's pyrotechnics.
  13. Not sure about Swingmasters but look at the dude next to Oscar Pettiford!!!! Oscar was born in 1922 and he was still very young when the picture taken, the 5 string bass his mate playing looks old too. 5 string basses go back far dude!! 5-String Double Bass by Joseph Hill, London circa 1765 - #2114 this baby was built in 1765! Some more proof???

  14. Mine has got to be less than 50 years old. It was a section in there not about method but rather the author or editor talking about C-extensions, who in what European City had a design, and that "the musical trends" looked to be such you would need 5 strings or an extension to be current. As someone coming from bass guitar with a 5 string fretless this amused me to no end.
  15. robgrow

    robgrow Supporting Member

    May 1, 2004
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    My first DB teacher back in the early 70's had a 5-string Prescott, which I believe that was the bass' original configuration, and of course was from the early 1800's. A magnificent bass!
  16. rockyjo


    Jan 7, 2011
    Denver, CO
    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks for your responses. I looked up all the bassists mentioned.

    Except for Chubby Jackson, is appears that we haven't come up with any notable bass players who played 1920's-1940's traditional jazz, with or without Swingmaster basses?

    It seems like there would be at least a few stand-outs of the period and music style who's names as significant bassists would have lasted through time...?

  17. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004

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