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

  1. #11
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    Heh, heh. I've known (and gigged with) one guy who would make the OP eat his words. Of course, he also played doghouse, electric bass, drums, and harp. Honestly, though, his pitch sense and "touch" on the washtub were so good that, other than the timbre of the instrument itself, you'd have a hard time telling blindfolded whether he was playing his tub or the doghouse.

    It's kind of like lumping all bodhran players into one bushel - yeah, 99.9% of them are wannabees with no sense of rhythm who figure they can grab a $20 bodhran and jump right into the session. But, there is always that 0.1% that knock your socks off.

    I went to the wedding of a musician friend in the Ozarks years ago and we all jammed at the reception (just guitars, kind of an unplanned thing, we had our guitars 'cause we'd played at the wedding). One of the groom's uncles wandered into the kitchen and came back with a pair of ordinary metal table spoons. I'm thinking, "oh, great, there goes the jam" but in twenty seconds the guy blew my hair back and we suddenly had a rhythm section that rocked.

    Frankly, for every wannabee on a tub I've seen ten people with very expensive "real" instruments who couldn't play their way out of a paper bag (shoot, sometimes I've been that person LOL). I'd rather play with someone who has a tub, talent, and mojo than with somebody who has $5k worth of equipment and no talent! Music is kind of the great leveler - you can't buy talent or skill. That dude on table spoons brought more to the music that day than some people I've known could bring with a full kit.

    John
    Last edited by OldePhart; 12-31-2011 at 05:56 AM.
    I'm not entirely convinced that it is possible to polish a turd. However, if one were to accomplish that feat one would still have a turd, and one all the more noticeable for being shiny.

    Check out my ukulele-themed "stuff" at http://www.cafepress.com/fivebyfiveukulele - proceeds go to a good cause...UAS treatment!

  2. #12
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    Yeah, I agree that the guy's real "jam violation" was barging into a situation where there already was a bass. That's the crux of the problem.

    So what if he was playing a washtub bass? And so what if he was playing it poorly? I can deal with that in a jam, no problem. Jams should be welcoming to people at all levels, as long as they're considerate and approach things with a bit of humility and taste.

    Sounds like this guy didn't do any of that, and therein lies the fail. I wouldn't be so quick to blame the instrument. What matters is the music that comes out of an instrument and the enjoyment that it brings to the world. Not whether it's a "real bass" or a "real" anything. I'd think that we ukulele players would be a bit more sensitive to dismissing instruments outright, seeing as how often it's done to us.

    (And I don't think that it even takes a virtuoso to "legitimize" an instrument. I'd still think the uke was worthwhile, even if the Jakes and Smecks and John Kings of the world didn't exist.)

    JJ
    "Talent is just a pursued interest. In other words, anything you are willing to practice, you can do." -- Bob Ross

  3. #13
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    Could have been worse. Might have been a bagpipe player.
    Ian
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  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ichadwick View Post
    Could have been worse. Might have been a bagpipe player.
    made me laugh! thanks.
    I've heard some upright players that play the same way though. Couldn't play root / 5th if you put a gun to their head. Not because they were fancy jazz players or something. They just didn't have a clue.
    I remember A few years back my Dad and I were comparing notes on our previous night's gigs. He said "I played a gig last night with a bass player that didn't play one right note all night, not even by accident"!
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  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by cb56 View Post
    A few years back my Dad and I were comparing notes on our previous night's gigs. He said "I played a gig last night with a bass player that didn't play one right note all night, not even by accident"!
    What's your dad's name, sounds like I might have played with him once... LOL
    I'm not entirely convinced that it is possible to polish a turd. However, if one were to accomplish that feat one would still have a turd, and one all the more noticeable for being shiny.

    Check out my ukulele-themed "stuff" at http://www.cafepress.com/fivebyfiveukulele - proceeds go to a good cause...UAS treatment!

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ichadwick View Post
    Could have been worse. Might have been a bagpipe player.
    ROFL. But, hey, what have you got against pipers?
    I'm not entirely convinced that it is possible to polish a turd. However, if one were to accomplish that feat one would still have a turd, and one all the more noticeable for being shiny.

    Check out my ukulele-themed "stuff" at http://www.cafepress.com/fivebyfiveukulele - proceeds go to a good cause...UAS treatment!

  7. #17
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    I realize there are actual two issues addressed in my original post/rant. One was jam ettiquette. There were three bassists at this session and we took turns playing upright bass throughout the evening. Since we all play ukulele too we could swap roles and no one had to sit out. The washtub player simply set up and started thumping along without a word to anyone and took offense when someone asked her to pull back. I've been at many jam sessions ranging from jazz to bluegrass and it's common courtesy for bass players to take turns or agree to play together if that's even possible. Either way, you shouldn't just show up with another bass instrument and join in like you can with a ukulele.

    The second issue is the musical qualities of the washtub, bass which I still maintain are lacking. Yes, it might sound a bit like an upright bass...one being played badly. Even the best washtub players produce approximate pitches most of the time which wounds up sounding like the "clueless" bass players cb65 mentioned. Ukuleles may be regarded with disdain by some, but we know they are real instruments that can create real music. Until I'm shown otherwise, I don't feel that description fits the washtub bass.

    - Steve

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bassfiddlesteve View Post
    Ukuleles may be regarded with disdain by some, but we know they are real instruments that can create real music. Until I'm shown otherwise, I don't feel that description fits the washtub bass.
    Well, that gets into the rather esoteric question of "what is real music?"

    A few weeks back I was in Phoenix, Arizona and wound up visiting the Musical Instrument Museum. If anyone gets the chance to go there, I highly recommend it, by the way.

    Anyway, it's not a showcase for rare or famous instruments (although they did have one of Jake's ukes!) It's really more a collection of everyday instruments from around the world, from different cultures, across different periods of time. You come away with a strong sense of the basic, human connection we all have--and have always had--to music in all its forms.

    Some of the instruments were exquisitely crafted, and some were basically made of junk: Animal bladders stretched over a frame with a stick poking out and a single gut string drawn taut along the length, played with an equally crude and simple bow. There were drums made out of hacked up logs and old barrels. Other random things made out of washboards, or tin cans, or animal bones.

    Are these "real" instruments? Could any of these make "real" music? Maybe not by modern standards, to western ears. Maybe we'd consider it to be tuneless thumping and out-of-pitch twanging.

    But they sure as heck made perfectly legitimate music and were considered perfectly legitimate instruments in the culture from which they came. People sang, danced, cried, and laughed to these instruments and the music they made... and in some cases, in some places, people still do.

    That's real enough for me.

    JJ
    "Talent is just a pursued interest. In other words, anything you are willing to practice, you can do." -- Bob Ross

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bassfiddlesteve View Post
    Ukuleles may be regarded with disdain by some, but we know they are real instruments that can create real music. Until I'm shown otherwise, I don't feel that description fits the washtub bass.

    - Steve
    My previous post about "Friends of Old Puppy" apparently hasn't convinced you, but check this one out. I'm not a bassist, but it sounds pretty good to me.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYteeiF2wek

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougf View Post
    My previous post about "Friends of Old Puppy" apparently hasn't convinced you, but check this one out. I'm not a bassist, but it sounds pretty good to me.
    That's a nice performance with some good musicianship. The washtub bass does give the impression of a bass line being played on an upright bass, but most of the notes are outside of the chord progression and key center. Listen to the actually notes the bass is producing. Occasionally it seems to be in the same key as the rest of the musicians, but imagine how much better this would sound with a solid bass part with discernable pitches that supported the harmony with chord tones and connecting scale passages. The washtub bass is quiet enough so that the off notes don't intrude and spoil the performance, but I think this group would benefit immensely from the addition of real bass instrument of some kind like an upright or U-bass. At least that’s my opinion.

    - Steve

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