Jump to content

Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

what do you call it?


Recommended Posts

This came up in a book I was reading. Bass player was asked "what's your axe?". She answered "standup". How would most bassists respond to that question if they played an upright? "Standup" threw me a bit. Sounded like she was describing her comedy act. :)


And if you play electric, do you just say electric or give the make and number of strings? Or does it depend on who's asking and in what context?


Thanks for answering another dumb question. Maybe I just need to find some bassists to hang out with. :)



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 9
  • Created
  • Last Reply

(in Stone Gossard voice)


"Well Bob, there are a few to choose from. First of all, there's my noname 4 string fretless that I modified myself (selfish grin towards camera). Secondly, I have this wonderful Washburn 5 string that I picked up along the way. It's an excellent bass."


"Uh, thanks"


"No, thank you Bob." (more selfish grinning towards camera)


(end Stone Gossard voice)


I'm sorry, what was the question?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I went to mt 2 volume World Book dictionary.


"designed and built for standing upright".


Sounds like an upright to me. Standup bass, bass fiddle double bass, doghouse, and many other terms have been used as names for a URB.




Acoustic Color


Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah....this is actually really confusing to a lot of people.


"Oh. You're a musician. What do you play?"


Normally they really don't care, they are just trying to be polite.


"I play Bass."


At this point, a look of puzzlement...trying to squirrel out if that instrument is even used anymore.


"You know...Bass. Virtually every music you've ever heard in your life has a bass player. It's the most important instrument in all of music."


Now, a look of distrust and a glance at the exit. My polite friend is CERTAIN I'm lying, and wondering just what about my physiognomy justifies my grandiose personality.


"You know...the Upright!"


And now they are wondering why I refer to my instrument in phallic terms. They are thinking I need an analyst.


"I also play the electric. In fact, I do most of my gigging on electric...but I still play the upright in an orchestra."


Electric sounds fairly modern, and I did mention orchestra. However, "gigging" sounds like something you do to frogs with sharp sticks. I notice looks of fear, restraint and morbid curiosity.


"The upright, contrabass, standup. You know...we play it in an orchestra with a bow and a tuxedo. That really big thing fat guys are standing up and holding in the background. Some people call it the DOGHOUSE bass."


A glimmer of recognition and they understand. However, they also look at me like a fossil, something curious, old and frozen in stone. Why on earth would anybody play that? What kind of pent up insecurity, twisted unrequited love affair or sordid deal made me play that? And why do I have to lie so much?


"Oh," dryly. "I played clarinet in high school."


As if clarinet were what normal people play.


"Do you play guitar too?"


I have had this conversation at least one million times in my life!

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.


Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tell people I play bass, but if you want to get particular, I play electric bass guitar. In music school you will hear people refer to the upright as a string bass, to distinguish it from bass clarinet, contrabassoon, and other low-Q instruments. I also like "bull fiddle," a term I first heard in the movie "Some Like It Hot."


"What do you play?"


"Bull fiddle."


"Oh really? Do you bow it or pluck it?"


"Well, usually I SLAP it."

"I had to have something, and it wasn't there. I couldn't go down the street and buy it, so I built it."


Les Paul

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...