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  #1  
Old 03-25-2021, 08:36 AM
jdmulli jdmulli is offline
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Default Double Bass Lessons

I've been playing guitar for about 20 years. During the last year, due to a lack of a bassist at church, I've started holding down the low end. It's been fun, and I've feel like a more complete musician (if that makes sense).

Anyways, recently (past two or three years) I've develop a love for jazz in general and, more specifically, the sound of the double bass. My current favorite is the soundtrack for Ascenseur pour l'échafaud. I recommend you check it out if you are a Miles Davis fan or just like the film noir feel of the album.

Long story short, I'm very excited to be starting double bass lessons next Friday. Wish me luck!
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  #2  
Old 03-25-2021, 09:46 AM
reeve21 reeve21 is offline
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Very cool! Look Ma, no frets

I'm not familiar with the movie or soundtrack, and when I looked it up the only player in that Miles band I knew of was Kenny Clarke on drums. Looks like most of the band was European. Will check it out.

I love the bass and have a secret ambition to learn it some day.

Ron Carter is one of my favorites in jazz. VSOP and stuff he has done with Sonny Rollins and Pat Metheny knock me out. In rock, Kenny Gradney (Little Feat) doesn't get much attention but he is fabulous.
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Old 03-25-2021, 09:48 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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I lack the will to obtain, maintain, and tote around an upright bass, but love the sounds they make, and make do with that love playing my smaller bass guitars. Besides using virtual instruments to play double bass using my MIDI pickup guitar or little plastic keyboard, I can get reasonable approximations of most things save for arco playing using the a DeArmond Ashbory or U Bass with nylon strings.

I agree with you regarding “Ascenseur pour l’échafaud” -- and it's all the more remarkable in that it's a pickup band of otherwise not highly regarded* musicians that were handy for the gig and the pieces were almost completely improvised. The pieces are short, but the musical ideas and concepts are strong.


*I'm letting "highly" carry a lot of weight in that statement. The bass player we're talking about on that record, Pierre Michelot, was a respected player on the Paris scene, but compared to others who've played with Miles Davis, not nearly as well known or spoken of.
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Old 03-25-2021, 10:57 AM
catt catt is offline
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Congrats! DB is the king of strings. https://youtu.be/vmTbm_qz82c I played/studied about 20 years. Its physicality combined with my arthritis led me to have to give it up.

Talkbass is a great site - lots of jazz materials..
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Old 03-25-2021, 02:57 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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I played Fender-style bass for several years in various bands and when I developed an interest in upright I saw a year-old Englehardt with a great gig bag in the local paper for $500. I immediately called, and it was home with me within the next hour. I played it in a couple of old time music bands because it fits the "image" of the music.

I eventually sold it off a couple of years ago and now have a short scale fretless semi-acoustic and a 30" scale P bass that I keep for recording purposes and the occasional gig when someone needs a sub. I have extensive build topics posted on Talkbass for both of those instruments.

One of my favorite guitarists is Richard Thompson, and I always remember seeing him introduce Danny Thompson, his upright bass player, for the show. When Danny Thompson came out on stage with his full size double bass Richard said "Now that's a REAL man's instrument!".

Who can argue with that?

I don't know what you're playing, but if it's a student model bass the best thing you can do is put a good set of strings on it, especially if you're going to stick to mostly pizzicato playing.

There's so many great bass players to check out on Youtube. Don't forget Ray Brown!

A proper teacher is really important for initial lessons on upright, as it's an easy instrument to develop bad playing habits on that can actually cause you physical harm.

Last edited by Rudy4; 03-25-2021 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 03-25-2021, 04:54 PM
Kerbie Kerbie is offline
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That sounds like a lot of fun, jd. I love the bass. When I was young, I was the percussionist at my city's theater. Our orchestra had a lady playing upright and her bass was 200 years old. It was beautiful! She let me play it several times and I was wowed. Simply a gorgeous, rich instrument.

Let us know how the lessons go.
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Old 03-25-2021, 08:24 PM
jdmulli jdmulli is offline
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Thanks for all the comments and suggestions.

I’ll be learning on a rental. It will actually be a rent to buy, if I end up liking the bass. My soon-to-be teacher performs in my local symphony orchestra. I also believe that he is a professor at a nearby university. From the brief conversation we had, I feel like I will be in competent hands.

I’ll come back with occasional updates. Maybe even some videos. It might be cool to document the journey!

My goal is to be able to play it at my church’s Christmas service this year. It may be a lofty goal — we shall see!
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Old 03-25-2021, 09:52 PM
catt catt is offline
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I'd say about the most fun gig I've had is playing bass in a trad salsa band. Now I'm a drummer and I love rhythm, but the bass is right in the middle of everything - it's the lubricant between everything, all the parts - there's just no other dance like that.
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Old 04-02-2021, 01:07 PM
Br1ck Br1ck is offline
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You can find a lot of good jazz recordings looking for Ron Carter or Ray Brown in the credits.
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Old 04-05-2021, 07:43 AM
jdmulli jdmulli is offline
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Default First Lesson, an Update

My first lesson was not exactly what I expected in many different ways.

First of all, we spent a substantial amount of time dealing with the size of the bass. I never considered the difficulty of just getting the beast in and out of the gigbag... not to mention my truck.

My intonation wasn't great. I expected that. This is my first fretless instrument, but I was very surprised at how much I corrected automatically, how well I could hear when I was out.

Another thing that really took me off guard is how I just can't practice for more than 30 minutes or so at a time. Double bass is such a physically demanding instrument. It's going to take me some time to get conditioned to playing for longer stretches.

Lets not even discuss arco. I've never even held a bow before my first lesson. That's going to take some time.
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Old 04-05-2021, 09:26 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdmulli View Post
My first lesson was not exactly what I expected in many different ways.

First of all, we spent a substantial amount of time dealing with the size of the bass. I never considered the difficulty of just getting the beast in and out of the gigbag... not to mention my truck.

My intonation wasn't great. I expected that. This is my first fretless instrument, but I was very surprised at how much I corrected automatically, how well I could hear when I was out.

Another thing that really took me off guard is how I just can't practice for more than 30 minutes or so at a time. Double bass is such a physically demanding instrument. It's going to take me some time to get conditioned to playing for longer stretches.

Lets not even discuss arco. I've never even held a bow before my first lesson. That's going to take some time.
I'm sure you learned a lot. When I set up my Englehardt I drilled the side of the fingerboard and installed "dots" at where the normal fret positions would be if it was fretted. Not strictly necessary, but it did help me when doing live music.
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Old 04-08-2021, 01:47 PM
Br1ck Br1ck is offline
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Just FYI. I once had a jazz group rehersing next door, talking single family houses here, bass, drums, sax, and piano. What did I hear? The double bass going thump, thump, thump. Might want to get an electric upright for practicing. Just sayin'.

But good for you.
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  #13  
Old 04-08-2021, 02:02 PM
jdmulli jdmulli is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
Just FYI. I once had a jazz group rehersing next door, talking single family houses here, bass, drums, sax, and piano. What did I hear? The double bass going thump, thump, thump. Might want to get an electric upright for practicing. Just sayin'.

But good for you.
Thanks for the advice. However, I don't think it will be much of an issue. My neighbors are all pretty cool. I also have full band rehearsals at my house and the only reaction I've ever gotten was request to park a chair in my driveway and listen.

Of course, I'm considerate with my practice times and try to limit volume as much as possible.
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Old 04-10-2021, 05:33 AM
Fogducker Fogducker is online now
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Check out Jay Leonhart with his Bass Lesson on YouTube!

Fog
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  #15  
Old 04-10-2021, 06:04 AM
Pnewsom Pnewsom is offline
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Congratulations! I'm a guitarist who took up double bass about twenty five years ago and love it. I mostly play jazz and folk/alt country on it. My bass is an older, circa1895, Czech instrument.

Early on I took a couple lessons from a symphony player, and it was most helpful. The fellow taught me correct left and right hand technique and how to create a good sound, etc. Very valuable stuff that likely saved me a lot of trouble down the road.

Aside from technique, the biggest challenge is getting a good amplified tone. Its a matter of the right pickup, strings and amp. You can spend a lot of time and money in that department.

Lots of good paying gigs out there for upright bass players!

Have fun!
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