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Double Bass question

Discussion in 'off topic' started by cutting42, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Not even close! As far as I can tell no instrument has ever made any other instrument obsolete. All newer stuff does is add additional options to the existing palette, it never remove anything previous. A double bass is to a Fender Precision what say a piano is to a Minimoog, just a different thing for a different context. Similarly the piano didn’t make the harpsichord obsolete, the TR-808 didn’t banish all drum kits to junk shops etc. As an electric bassist I have nothing but fascination and respect for double basses, they are wonderful things. I’d maybe even go as far as arguing that folk like me who have only ever played fretted electric instruments in rock bands aren’t even bassists! Were something else, something ultimately far cruder and less interesting.
  2. MikeMA

    MikeMA pfm Member

    People who play the electric bass are guitarists, basically.
    Dozey likes this.
  3. Tim Jones

    Tim Jones pfm Member

    Nonsense. the electric and the upright are tuned (usually) the same, and fulfil mainly the same function. Your snobbery speaks (ironically) volumes. I played both, live, for a decade.

    It's no good straw manning it with guff about "how music works". I'll ask again - who actually believes that an upright will "out-project" an electric bass with significant amplification behind it?
  4. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    The body of a 4/4 seems a bit small for the frequency range of the instrument, how on earth does it work?
  5. cutting42

    cutting42 Arrived at B4 Hacker Erg \o/

    It's magic!
    George J likes this.
  6. MikeMA

    MikeMA pfm Member

    Talk about completely missing the point .....(and my joke)!
  7. Stunsworth

    Stunsworth pfm Member

    Why is this important? It depends on the ensemble, I can't see the Berlin Phil replacing the bass section with someone on a Fender anytime soon - despite the cost saving involved, and I can't see many rock bands replacing their bass player with unamplified DB. Horses for courses and all that.
  8. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    I wish I had not replied about the respective qualities of the electric bass and the orchestral bass.

    As for a direct practical demonstration, this actually happened to me. I was playing in a school production of a musical [West Side Story], and the ballet scenes were re-scored and arranged for rock-band. So I was surprised to find that I had a part to play even though there was a powerful electric bass guitar also playing.

    I assumed that this was a mistake as there was no way [in my mind] that I could keep pace with four big speakers in a huge cabinet!

    I layed off and the conductor [at the rehearsal] asked me to play. This was awkward to say the least as it was hard to hear myself playing. All pizz. [plucked] in these parts.

    Of course there were several people in the body of the hall during the rehearsals, so I asked one [whom I knew as a friend] whether I was adding anything at all to the ensemble. Apparently further back, I was making a clear and rhythmic contribution that was much more focussed than the electric bass. I found that a great surprise, especially as [under the player's ear] I seemed to be only barely audible. There was no great pleasure in that for me as you have to be able to hear yourself to play well and in tune. Fortunately the notes fell in the lowest positions on the finger board, and not in no-mans land further up! So I stayed in tune in spite of the seemingly much louder amplified bass near me.

    Just a little story from my playing days, but if you play the bass you get asked to do some quite musically incongruous things!

    Best wishes from George

    PS : My two nice basses in the FLIKR link below. [Also contains Troughline photos and a clock!]


    The dark brown bass [without me in the picture] is the London bass circa 1770/1780, which once belonged to Gustav Holst, and was insecurely attributed to Father Fendt. The nut brown five string was finished in early 1996 by Ian Highfield of Rednal. Both are strung with gut, except that the five stringer had a steel low B string. You can get a B string in gut, but thick as a clothes line! Also the E string is silver round wire covered gut rather than plain as in the three higher strings. Sorry about the quality of the amateurish captures, but they are examples of my hopeless photographic skills!
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
    MikeMA likes this.
  9. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    It depends on your definition. Obviously no acoustic instrument can compete with the instant distorted hearing damage of Motorhead, Mogwai or other bands that force their audience to wear industrial hearing protection if they want to retain functioning ears for the rest of their life, but whether one defines that as ‘projection’ is a whole other thing. It is also worth noting that a lot of rock bass amps actually have very little real low-end, a double bass will almost certainly cover a far wider frequency range plus is an omni-directional sound source. If you are just talking about a volume weapon to damage ears, then yes, rock music and its tools will always win, if you are talking about projection in any proper audiophile sense then it is a very different thing. Start massing double basses in an orchestra and something very special happens where you get enormous scale and power in three dimensions with none of the hearing pain that comes from loud rock music via PA systems. A whole different world IMO.
  10. narabdela

    narabdela who?

    Agreed. Unfortunately those who've never attended a live orchestral performance will have trouble understanding the concept. No audio system, at any price, can reproduce the visceral impact imho.
    GML and MikeMA like this.
  11. cutting42

    cutting42 Arrived at B4 Hacker Erg \o/

    It was this that got my son interested in the DB. My daughter played in the youth orchestra and they played some amazing pieces from John Williams scores to Mahler 1 to a really high standard. My daughter got to play at Birmingham Symphony hall, the RAH and ended her time with the orchestra with a masterclass day with Sir Anthonio Pappano. We were watching a concert about 3 years ago and my son said that he had missed out not playing in an orchestra and picked out the DB as the instrument he wanted to try.

    The Watford music school were amazing and really helped him get with a lovely teacher and pretty much fast tracked him through all the various string bands and symphonia's until he was ready for the youth orchestra. He is now preparing for the summer concert (or will be once his A levels are done) with a Star Wars overture, Haydn's Creation and something by Sibelius he can't remember.
    foxwelljsly, narabdela and George J like this.

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