You will never get the sound of a double bass with a bass guitar.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Vinny_G, Aug 3, 2021.


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  1. Vinny_G

    Vinny_G

    Dec 1, 2011
    Neustria
    The bass guitar is, as the name suggests, a down tuned guitar. In this case, it is tuned an octave below a guitar. Everything connects it to it: its design, its construction method, the way you hold it, the way you play it, etc. It has nothing to do with a double bass.

    Its pitch is shorter, it can be played horizontally with a strap around the neck, it does not feedback when it is amplified, it is much lighter and resistant to all kinds of mistreatment, we hear it much better even in large ensembles, it is much more precise in the hands of beginning musicians thanks to its frets, it moves the bodies of the crowd more efficiently and is much easier to transport.

    The bass guitar is therefore superior in every way to the double bass. Except on one point: the sound. Don't get me wrong, I love the sound of the double bass, it is unmistakable, and that is probably its main asset as well as its main flaw. Just a sound, extraordinary, but unique. The bass guitar is capable of a myriad of sounds, each different and each more incredible than the next.

    I love the double bass, I love the bass guitar (otherwise I wouldn't be here), but they are two totally different instruments. Trying to make one sound like the other, in any way, just doesn't make sense to me.

    Thank you for your indulgence (I love you). :)
     
  2. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Hollow body, tape wounds, tone off, treble up.
     
  3. Nev375

    Nev375

    Nov 2, 2010
    Missouri
    Did someone claim you could?
     
  4. fretno

    fretno Supporting Member

    May 10, 2009
    Los Angeles
    OP I agree but the audience will not care or even think about it as long as you make them dance . Heck you could use a keyboard if you wanted too :eyebrow:
     
    M0ses, Justinian, Bboopbennie and 7 others like this.
  5. Vinny_G

    Vinny_G

    Dec 1, 2011
    Neustria
    Sorry but that has nothing to do to my ears. Do yours tell you it's the same? :unsure:
     
    FatBoutedGirls, M0ses and bradd like this.
  6. Vinny_G

    Vinny_G

    Dec 1, 2011
    Neustria
    Not in real life. But here on TB this seems to be a recurring question, and I've never figured out why.
     
    Justinian and J_Bass like this.
  7. Vinny_G

    Vinny_G

    Dec 1, 2011
    Neustria
    Some have been caught in the act of doing so. So, do you think the bass guitar is overrated?
     
    fretno likes this.
  8. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Never is a powerful word :) ....


    61uKhscNltL.jpg
     
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  9. bass12

    bass12 Turn up the Eagles - the neighbours are listening Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    I guess the “why” is that sometimes people want the sound of an upright without having to: a) learn to play one; b) lug one around. The closest I’ve come is a Rob Allen with tapes but it still doesn’t sound like an upright.
     
    walking Bass, J_Bass and Vinny_G like this.
  10. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    Oregon
    IIRC Will Lee once mentioned having some trick for getting an upright sound out of an electric bass. (Whether he was referring to the gut string sound or a new set of Spirocores recorded with a ribbon mic, he didn’t say.)
    Sadly that wouldn’t work with the clients of mine who want upright bass mostly for the look.
     
    M0ses, seang15, Admiral Akbar and 2 others like this.
  11. RSBBass

    RSBBass

    Jun 11, 2011
    NYC
    That can come close. One thing that I think people trying to emulate upright on electric miss is the timing. That 42" string takes a while to get moving and that big body full of air takes a while to get projecting. So the articulation of an upright is pretty different from a bass guitar. Oh, and then their is the bow and an E-bow doesn't cut it.
     
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  12. Yeah I agree to a point. The only reason I don't play DB any more is because the years of commitment to learning sound and technique are just not possible at the moment (maybe later, we shall see), not because one is better than the other.

    There are lots of other things going on with upright - the show factor is a really big one. Audience and fellow musos LOVE to see a double bass and don't even care if it doesn't sound like one (magnetic pickup, bad EQ etc..)! Also the opportunity to really dig in at a full body level is not necessarily there on an electric. Or play fully acoustically.

    You are right though that you might hit some EQ points with an electric, but it will NEVER sound the same. Peace.
     
    RSBBass, Dabndug and Vinny_G like this.
  13. Nev375

    Nev375

    Nov 2, 2010
    Missouri

    I think you can get a tone that's close enough approximation to work in a band mix. (for most folks)

    But getting "THE" sound of a double bass. No, not really and I don't think I've heard anyone claim you could.
     
  14. bass12

    bass12 Turn up the Eagles - the neighbours are listening Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    On a lot of gigs that’s what it comes down to. Many people simply like the look of the DB, regardless of how it might sound.
     
    Holdsg, daveman50, Wasnex and 2 others like this.
  15. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    Oregon
    Conversely, it’s pretty easy to get an electric bass sound out of an upright. Slap a magnetic pickup on there (make sure you’re using steel strings) and Bob’s your uncle!
     
    HateyMcAmp, Liam Wald and Vinny_G like this.
  16. fretno

    fretno Supporting Member

    May 10, 2009
    Los Angeles
    most all of my heroes play Electric bass guitar... "overrated" by who ? Keyboardist :smug:
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2021
    Vinny_G likes this.
  17. Vinny_G

    Vinny_G

    Dec 1, 2011
    Neustria
    Yes but no. It's a very interesting device, with lots of possibilities, but it still has nothing to do with it. This is what makes me think the bass guitar is more versatile.

    But maybe the word "versatile" is a dirty word :p
     
    pasmithy and Joe Nerve like this.
  18. msb

    msb

    Jul 3, 2002
    Halifax,N,S. Canada
    The upright is an acoustic instrument , but things get a little hazy once you start to amplify one , especially if you are using a magnetic pickup .
     
  19. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Never? Like never ever?

    They said you couldn’t get all the fish pee out of the ocean. Done.
    They said you couldn’t get all the roe out of your teeth after sushi. Done.
    They said the Falcons couldn’t give up a 25 point lead in the 4th quarter. Done.

    Never say Never.

    You can’t now for any cost but some day, it’s on!
     
    Winslow, 4SG and Vinny_G like this.
  20. Vinny_G

    Vinny_G

    Dec 1, 2011
    Neustria
    I really like your comment. When I was in music school (19 years old) I had the opportunity to take some notes on a double bass that was on stage before a jazz concert that evening. Apparently I was not allowed to do this and was reprimanded by the security guard.

    He told me that it was a fragile instrument, expensive and quick to detune. It was enough to turn me away.
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Sep 20, 2021

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