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Thread: Upright bass cross posted in the guitar section by mistake

  1. #1

    Question Upright bass cross posted in the guitar section by mistake

    OK I have a question for the very talented and knowledgeable musicians on this site. I know nothing about music theory, my daughter wants to learn to play the bass preferably an upright one, what do you do once you have learned the chords? How do you know how to incorporate that into the songs we play on the ukulele? Is it as simple as finding the songs in bass tablature or chords? If she decides she is serious about playing I will get her lessons, but have no clue where to start, I know we can rent the bass from her school I would rather she learn on the a regular base or the ukulele bass with the big rubber strings as the uprights are huge and we do not have a large car, though we do have several trucks she is in a guitar course at her local high school. however it appears that she is not learning much theory Every time she sees the upright she expresses the desire to learn. What is the natural progression for learning? Any tips, info a starting point?

  2. #2
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    My answer in the other thread:

    There is a specific bass forum, you can get to it below right with the popup Quick Navigation list. I started playing bass about two years ago without knowing anything about theory. At first I tried to learn on the internet, but I took it up to play with the ukulele to which I belong, so I was anxious to get proficient, so I took lessons, the best move I made.

    For the almost 50 years I played guitar I was often told to take up the bass, but I didn't want to be encumbered by a big electric bass, forget an upright. When the leader of our uke group asked for volunteers to play bass, I looked up and discovered bass ukes and other small basses. I would strongly suggest that your daughter take her firsts steps using a bass ukulele. They actually have a very similar sound to an upright, especially using the Road Toad Pahoehoe strings. As you see by my signature, I've accumulated a good number of basses, both poly string ukes and mini electric steel string.

    You can get a very good bass uke from www.Rondo.com (in New Hampshire) for around $160-180. As Jim mentioned, the bass is played one note at a time, both to harmonize with the chords being played by other instruments and to help keep the tempo. Another nice circumstance is that a good part of playing bass is the pattern of notes on the fretboard, they tend to be very consistent as you play with the chords in the song.

    So taking lessons would be very good, and using a small bass too.
    Last edited by kohanmike; 11-10-2016 at 12:33 PM.

  3. #3

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    Thanks much for the reply it was insightful and makes sense. Have a great day!

  4. #4

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    +1 for the Rondo Hadean uke basses, I have one each of the acoustic and solid-body, and find them both to be a good value for the money.

    I use mine for songwriting and home recording.

    I will soon be selling my huge 34" scale electric bass, and the gigantic 4/4 full upright bass, likely to a local music shop since shipping either is going to be both a major hassle and very expensive. The upright bass is nearly 6.5 feet tall and about 30 inches wide across the lower bout. I used to play it in college in the school jazz band, but I never gigged with it.

    It was a nightmare to transport it, and would mostly use it for practice at home, as my school had a 3/4-sized upright for use in the music room, and when possible I'd have them transport it if we did a performance outside the school, for they had a box truck dedicated to transporting the band instruments that would follow the regular school bus when we played at nursing homes, etc...

    I cannot imagine a high-school girl would find it fun to play, never mind take care of a full size upright bass, unless she was obsessed with Stanley Clarke or something, and was a real hardcore purist...

    Look at the Rondo basses, they are under the 'Acoustics' section and the 'Bass' section on their web site (link is above in Mike's post). Shipping is about $15, which is very reasonable, and took about 4 days to NJ when I got mine.

    Sure, I'd love a Hutch Hutchinson Kala U-Bass, but for the very occasional play time, I cannot justify spending nearly 7x the cost of a Rondo Hadean model.
    Guinea proverb: "A cow that has no tail should not try to chase away flies."

  5. #5
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    I defretted my hadean omega because the intonation up the neck bothered me, and these ubasses don't have the adjustability you have with an electric bass. The strings on the ubass don't allow the special features of a fretted electric bass to be used anyways (slapping and somewhat tapping).

    I'm not seeing any fretless at rondo, might be worth contacting them to ask.
    In order of play time: Martin OXK, Lanikai LU21B, Islander MT4, Rubin Sopranino

  6. #6

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    I suggest that you go over to the web site talkbass.com. That's where the bass players hang out.

    There seem to be two routes to being a bass player: 1. Take lessons on upright or electric bass, keep it up, join school orchestra or organized bands and get experience, or 2. Start out as a guitar player and someone asks you to play bass (or you decided to on your own) and if you know enough about music and can find the notes, you figure it out.

    Upright bass is a discipline in itself and really needs a teacher. Serious bass players will tell you that learning upright bass is incredibly valuable if one wants to play professionally. Upright requires use of proper technique and paying close attention to intonation. I wish that I could play upright.

    Ukulele bass or bass guitar are very different from upright. Learning those first is likely to lead to bad habits and not be that productive for upright. There is quite a lot of discussion about this on the talkbass.com website. Also, I respect what others have said about fretless, I like fretless too, but I'd start a child on a fretted bass unless the child were learning on a double bass.

    My musical background started with woodwinds and then I learned guitar. From guitar I went to ukulele and then started playing ukulele bass. I had a pretty solid grounding in music theory which really helped. With bass the key is understanding your role in the music. You rarely, if ever, play chords. You do use walking bass lines based on chords. However, much of the time the bass playing is only playing the root note of the chord or the root and the fifth. Your main function is to be part of the rhythm section and keep time. Many people who play guitar find it easy to transition to bass guitar (or ukulele).

    As far as incorporating the bass into ukulele groups. I had no experience or knowledge of bass but I knew the fretboard on the guitar. None of the ukulele groups will give you any kind of bass tab. 90 percent of the time with a ukulele group if you play the root of the chord at the point of the chord change (C for a C chord for example), as long as you do it in time it will fit in. Most folk and country bass playing involves alternating the root with the fifth and doing it in time. You can fancy that up with walking lines, runs and fills, but the bass primarily should provide a pulse. The most important thing is to fit in, which requires listening. Most of the songs ukulele groups do are simple, they'll give you a chart with chord changes, what notes you play as the bassist are up to you. The really hard part, and the essence, is to fit in. For me that most valuable experience was years of playing in school bands and orchestras where I learned to listen to the whole and understand how I fit in.

    I wish wish wish a thousand times that I had started out on piano. My parents did not want a piano in the house and I would go mess around with the neighbors piano whenever I had a chance. If you understand a piano keyboard it opens up a musical world. These days you can buy an electric keyboard and don't need a big piano. Even though I don't actually play piano I use a keyboard a lot. Bass is all about understanding chord structure, and piano is where you can see and understand chords.

    For me theory is the musical rosetta stone.

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    Hello Czechmate,

    Quote Originally Posted by Czechmate01 View Post
    OK I have a question for the very talented and knowledgeable musicians on this site.
    I'm not sure I am talented or knowledgeable enough, but I am a bass player with some experience in cover bands and church bands. I play electric, U-Bass, and upright. I will do my best.




    Quote Originally Posted by Czechmate01 View Post
    I know nothing about music theory, my daughter wants to learn to play the bass preferably an upright one, what do you do once you have learned the chords?
    The simplest thing is to play roots. Then expand into to playing chord tones. I, III, V of the chord. Walking lines can come next with chord tones on beats 1 and 3 (in 4/4) and passing tones in between. Then once you have a few different approaches to choose from you simplify and play what serves the song best.

    Quote Originally Posted by Czechmate01 View Post
    How do you know how to incorporate that into the songs we play on the ukulele?
    Not sure I can expand on serving the song.

    Quote Originally Posted by Czechmate01 View Post
    Is it as simple as finding the songs in bass tablature or chords?
    It can be. And once you get to the point where you know the song and how others have played it you toss it all out the window and create your own interpretation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Czechmate01 View Post
    If she decides she is serious about playing I will get her lessons, but have no clue where to start, I know we can rent the bass from her school I would rather she learn on the a regular base or the ukulele bass with the big rubber strings as the uprights are huge and we do not have a large car, though we do have several trucks she is in a guitar course at her local high school. however it appears that she is not learning much theory Every time she sees the upright she expresses the desire to learn. What is the natural progression for learning? Any tips, info a starting point?
    I'll echo the advice that lessons if are absolutely necessary for someone starting on the upright. A school rental is a good introduction. Upright basses are not cheap. Getting to know the instrument before you invest is a good thing.

    I think the natural progression for learning may be different depending on the individual. For me, it is listening first, developing the sound and note choices I want to produce, then applying this to the instrument and practicing until I can make the sound I hear in my head. Other people may have a different process that works equally well for them.

    Talkbass is a great resource. It isn't as friendly as Ukulele Underground, but then what is?

    There are plenty of great women bass players. There are plenty of men that avoid the upright bass because of the physical demands. Gender is not the limitation; dedication and drive are required for success.

    I hope this helps.
    Last edited by pbagley; 11-09-2016 at 04:01 PM.
    ===================
    Sopranos: Kamaka Gold Label, Martin S1 (Mexico, currently in violin tuning for my wife), ??Regal?? no-name, Dixie Banjo-lele
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