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upright

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 1:30 am
by oleman
The guitar player/singer I back up on bass suggested I get a Upright/doghouse mainly for the vibe it projects. I've been gigin with it now for about 4 mos and it's been a struggle to say the least. I love the sound but I have to play much more simple lines because you just can't move the way you can on a Fender jazz bass. This may be a good thing; any bass fiddle players out there that can give me any info, tips, tricks that I can use? I use a piezo pup thru a keyboard amp with a big muff. Sweet!!

RE: upright

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 12:20 pm
by jeffl
The topic of upright basses came up in a conversation I had with a mando player on Saturday; he keeps one around the house to use when he hosts jams. Several of his buddies own them as well. This may be a "duh",but he says there is a very wide variation concerning how easy one bass plays compared to another. Nobody wants to play his. I don't know whether you've had a chance to play different basses,but it sounded like good info. when I heard it. The conversation started out on the variation in ease of playing different 12-string guitars.

RE: upright

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 4:58 pm
by ricochet
Bridge height differences, maybe?

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."

RE: upright

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 8:19 pm
by oleman
Actually Iv'e got my upright set up so that it plays pretty easy and sounds great. My problem is the switch from frets to fretless. I even put majic marker dots to indicate fret positions but my intonation still sucks. I guess it will come with practice but can my fingers hold up. I heard that playin an upright was like wrassilin a bear but damn...

RE: upright

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2005 12:11 am
by barbequebob
With an upright, otherwise known as a doghouse bass, you want to avoid doubling up on notes much, and the way to play them is to kinda pull on the strings more. It's an entirely different animal than an electric, and some blues styles, like Jump Blues, or even rockabilly for that matter, the doghouse bass is a signature sound and it's an area where electric sounds awful and most electric players will tend to be playing way too busy on, and upright and drums have to feel like they're a part of each other, and the drums need to be tuned lower in pitch to mate up as most drums since electrics became popular are tuned much brighter in pitch.

On the Elderly Instruments website, they sell a book called "Slap Bass -- The Ungentle Art," and slap bass on an upright is an entirely different thing than the funk slaps done on an electric, and learning this technique for blues and rockabilly is an absolute MUST.

The blues players to listen to for the doghouse bass are guys like Willie Dixon, Ransom Knowling, Bill Stuve, Larry Taylor, Ronnie James Weber. You can't learn doghouse by listening to electric bass.

RE: upright

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2005 2:18 am
by cheyenne
Slap that doghouse! Oh baby you KNOW that's what I like!!

I'm a fan, I always appreciate a good upright player, nothing else can substitute.

RE: upright

PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 6:30 pm
by oleman
Not quite in to the slappin yet but some mild spankin seems in order.
I have switched strings to some low tension nylon rockabilly units and the playability difference is amazing. These strings designed for pizz and not arco do lend themselves to a more percussive attack.
I'll never be Lee Rocker but with the added confidence I'm beginning to feel like a bass player and am beginning not even miss the Fender Jazz. The stripped down lines sound more musical now that I have adjusted my whole concept of the bass. Before, I have to admit that I was just another guitar player with four, thicker strings. Somehow feeling the vibration from the doghouse in your crotch changes a guitar player into a bass player. Yes there is a certain amount of erotica involved that I never got from a bass guitar.

RE: upright

PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 12:34 am
by barbequebob
[updated:LAST EDITED ON Oct-27-05 AT 08:36 PM (EST)]Most of the better upright players regardless of genre tend to use gut strings, which have such a pure, beautiful tone and playability for them, but they ain't cheap!! You gotta get out of lead bass mode with an upright and think more percussively, like you're an extension of the drums, and whoever the drummer you work with, they need to tune their kit much lower in pitch to mate up properly.

RE: upright

PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2005 2:40 pm
by santo
My son plays double bass in his school orchastra, so I always have his rental bass around the house. I've tried to find the postions for the notes I know on guitar and electric, but struggle. When I ask my son, he just says, "you can't do that" or he doesn't know about something. Since he's never played electric bass, he doesn't try to move up the neck, at all. He will use only the three notes on any string. I guess that's right.

RE: upright

PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 7:53 pm
by buffalowill
[updated:LAST EDITED ON Mar-31-06 AT 02:59 PM (EST)]I play upright mostly. My bass instructor (and my daughter's violin instructor) made the following suggestion for people who are starting out on these fretless instruments. Take a pencil and a tuner and create position makers on the side of the fingerboard. I have them in red pencil at the third, fifth and seventh fret and it does help with intonation. I just have to make sure my bass is in tune. Second, the upright takes longer to get the fingers and hands strengthened, but there are upright bassist that can play as many notes and as quick a notes as an electric bassist. Listen to some of Jazz cats playing and wow they can play fast and play a ton of notes, particularly in their bass solos. Also, guts strings are not as common as people think. For instance, Ron Carter and Buster Williams use LaBella nylon tapes, most jazzers players do not use gut strings. I think that a combination gut and steel string is somewhat common in rockabilly (I think A & G using gut). Some bluegrass players use gut, but at many of the local bluegrass jams you are more likely to see synthetic strings. The gut strings can be rather enormous, particualarly the E string.

RE: upright

PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 1:19 am
by oleman
[updated:LAST EDITED ON Apr-02-06 AT 09:28 PM (EST)]Welcome BW!
Thanks for the input. I went ahead and made small grooves at the 3,5,7 fret positions because where I usually play it is so dark on stage, I cant see the majic marker dots I put on the edge of the finger board.
Also I thought it kinda looked lame to be looking at the bass neck all the time, instead of the crowd. I can feel the grooves fine and being as how this my first upright and a real cheap Chinese Bass I don't mind the dings. I'm looking for a better bass currently even though the CCB sounds great. The word in the Bass forums is that the CCBs self destruct after about a year of hard playing.
I have found that a hybred set of strings works best for my sound.
I use a steel E and A and a nylon D & G. Broke down and got a Behringer 1200 tilt back combo amp and use a big muff effects pedal.

I'm sure the real bass players look at my technique and laugh but my bass guitar technique was never that hot either, still I never thought that I would become so enchanted with the Upright as I have.
I also have fallen in love with the sound of my brass bodied resonator slide guitar.

RE: upright

PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 7:00 pm
by buffalowill
Yeah, there are alot of upright bass players that are technique snobs...I have heard the same thing about most Chinese basses self-destructing, but there are also some great Chinese basses out there, such as Eastman and Shen. Good luck and enjoy!!!

RE: upright

PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 9:28 pm
by thinelinebob
Here's what I do. Since I'm not a real good upright player. Just create a couple of reference spots. Spots, yes spots. Use 1/4" hole punchers & some sticky back vinyl like the sign shops use. They'll probably give you some scraps. White is what I use. On the side of the neck that you can see, put a spot at the G & a spot at the A. This would be on the E string side. Use a electronic tuner. This will represent the first 5 frets as if it were a bass guitar. After some practice you will begin to hear where the inbetween notes are. These 5 frets are refered to as the money frets in a lot of music. Don't be afraid of the open strings. They will give your ears a reference for pitch. Now you know just about everything I know on upright bass. ;)
Good Luck, Bob

RE: upright

PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 12:35 am
by ricochet
>On the side of the neck that you can see, put a spot at the G

That would, of course, be the G spot.


"A cheerful heart is good medicine."

RE: upright

PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 2:48 am
by lorilu
Ricochet, do you write songs? I think you would write some awesome raunchy songs with your mind always in the gutter.