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Thread: I don't want to be hater but...

  1. #1
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    Default I don't want to be hater but...

    I just hate washtub/teachest basses. After devoting many years to becoming proficient on electric and upright bass, it just irks me to see someone playing one of these random pitch generators under the delusion that they are creating a functional bassline. I realize that constructing and playing a home made folk instrument can be a lot of fun, but these things add nothing when played alongside real instruments. When ever I share my opinion on this subject, people always tell me about someone they know or have heard that can play real basslines on a washtub bass. I'm sorry, but I've watched the videos and heard the recordings. At best, the pitches are approximate.

    At this weekend's Tampa Bay Ukulele Getaway (which was super awesome, by the way) we had an after hours jam and I was playing my upright bass with a group of great musicians on some old jazz standards, western swing tunes and classic Hawaiian songs. Then someone set up their washtub bass and soon my playing was obliterated by the tuneless thumps echoing through the lobby. It was like trying to sing on pitch while the person next to you is off by a half step. Someone asked them to pull it back a bit, but the washtub-ist got offended and left to join another jam session. I hated the fact that one of the festival attendees got upset, but I was so thankful that they stopped playing as I was ready to quit the session.

    I'm sorry if I sound judgemental, but if someone expects to play bass along with other musicans I think an actual bass instrument is a prerequisite.

    - Steve
    Last edited by bassfiddlesteve; 11-07-2011 at 09:10 AM.

  2. #2
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    I would think even two double basses in the same jam would be difficult to deal with.

    One thing nice about washtub basses is that they don't sound any worse when you leave them out in the rain.
    Mainland Mango Concert and Red Cedar Soprano, Kala KA-ASKS Soprano, KoAloha Concert, Boat Paddle Tenor, Moore Bettah Tenor, Boat Paddle Mseries Baritone

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by olgoat52 View Post
    I would think even two double basses in the same jam would be difficult to deal with.
    Actually, one of the other people I was playing with was Kathy Reitz who plays double bass. We both play uke as well, so we swapped roles throught the jam sessions.

    Quote Originally Posted by olgoat52 View Post
    One thing nice about washtub basses is that they don't sound any worse when you leave them out in the rain.
    I can't argue with that

    - Steve

  4. #4
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    I think olgoat52 is right that two basses don't work well together regardless, and I can't remember ever hearing a bass duet. I also think the washtub bass is a bit analogous to the ukulele in that some people find it hard to consider it a serious musical instrument. But check out some of the videos of "Friends of Old Puppy", which features a washtub bass, and it sounds pretty good to me.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v= hFL8op44Phs

  5. #5

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    I believe Spinal Tap used 3 basses on Big Bottoms. No problem there.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougf View Post
    I can't remember ever hearing a bass duet.
    Here's a bass duet for you: Dos
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v= hFL8op44Phs
    _______________________
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  7. #7
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    Hey Steve, have you got any thoughts on something like the Kala Ubass? Toy, irritant or actual worthwhile instrument?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by whetu View Post
    Hey Steve, have you got any thoughts on something like the Kala Ubass? Toy, irritant or actual worthwhile instrument?
    A very worthwhile instrument indeed! Here's a video of me playing my U-bass at a Barnkickers house concert:



    - Steve

  9. #9
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    I hear ya, Steve. A homemade instrument just can't cut it up against real instruments. I'd think that someone would be polite enough to ask if they can join you in a jam with some weird homemade thing, before they chime in... some people just don't care... I don't bring a kazoo or mouth harp to ukulele jams...

  10. #10
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    I'm not a bassist but I do know wash tubs are real big in old hawaiian music. I'll take your word steve. You rock. But i wonderif at times people feel the same way about us Uke players. I am very aware of my sound when playing with others if I can tell that I'm messing the vibe up I stop. Of course I'm not really that good.

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