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Double bass advice


Iffler

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In the market for a new double bass this year.

 

Played my old Fender P 'a' neck for 25 years and now diddling with a beaten up old double and liking it.

 

Question is, where do I even start looking at double basses? I play jazz based stuff mainly but am not sure what basses are batter for a string player as opposed to orchestral.

 

the fact that prices range from £1000 to £50,000 also throws me.

 

Next question. how much does lower action effect a double bass tone when amplified?

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You probably would want to buy an upright from a dealer (preferably an independent store) instead of the high manufactured basses that chains sell. I'm not sure what everything is over in europe (i see you have the other sign that I can't figure out how to make on my keyboard). Really low priced URBs are priced that low for a reason: they are crap. You would want to be spending a good sum of money for a good bass. Not wasting your money on a cheap piece of crap.

 

I'll let the real URB players take it from here...

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in my opinion, the lower the action on an amplified upright, the more the sound will go towards the sound of an amplified electrical bass. for me, the sound lies in the high action 'thumb' you get with an upright.

 

how much does the action affect a URB tone? that depends a bit on how it is amplified. piezo's on the bridge? mike in an f-hole? both? the more you want to have the acoustical sound in your amplified tone, the more the action will have it's effect...

lower action means somewhat less dynamics, less percussive-like notes, etc...

then again your muscles are less tired, so that's a plus.

 

some people go for faster low-action with less treble, others go for higher, more open sounds. get a bridge that's adjustable in height so you can try out different actions and stick with the one you like...

 

good luck!

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Welcome to the LowDown, Iffler. You'll like it here.

 

In your situation, you might rent a bass. Good way to start. I did a bluegrass tour in France in 1998, and they rented me a bass. Not too bad, as these things go.

 

Action affects tone tremendously. Unfortunately, the lower the action, the less punch and power the URB will produce. As said above, it begins to sound too much like an electric fretless. Might as well play one of those, if you get my drift.

 

Keep that beater you've been diddlin' with. Can you buy it? Get a competent luthier to check soundpost and placement, fix all cracks and buzzes and cut a new bridge with wheels in it. Get some good strings (for small hands, the Corelli Tungsten have a nice balance between punch and playability) and study properly with real technique. It'll be fun.

 

The URB is a different instrument than your electric. Technique, including fingering is very different. Use what you know as a springboard, but learn URB properly with a teacher.

 

For further information, do a search here. I've written extensively (usually, under my "davebrownbass" personality) about upright purchase suggestions, upright buyer's checklist, upright technique. You'll find a lot of useful info.

 

If you have other specific questions, feel free to ask.

Yep. I'm the other voice in the head of davebrownbass.
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