acoustic bass guitar

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
2 years ago
859 posts

Thanks for the thoughts, Wout.  There was a jug bass there, but the guy who brought it is a beginner musician and isn't very good.   He doesn't really understand the role of a bass and was just kind of mimicking the melody line.

When I played bass I did a version of what you describe, just moving from the tonic to the third, the fifth, and then back to the tonic, for example. But that was getting tedious, I think.  I was able to throw in some bass runs when the chords were changing, but I got a little stuck on those tunes that sit on the same chord for a while.

By the way, I was using the tapewound strings you recommended. I love the tone.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
-- Pete Seeger
Wout Blommers
@wout-blommers
2 years ago
101 posts

I always thought the jug has to play the bass, by definition bigsmile

In most music groups the bass tells the other musicians what the tempo is and 'where are we in the song'. Riffs and breaks are used to communicate. If the chord is in 'hold', mostly a kind of improvisation mode, play just the notes of the chord or partial, like tonica-third-fifth-third-etc or tonica-fifth-octave-fifth. Create a nice rhythm with these tones.

In your old avatar you hold a guitar, so record a chord progression and try to create bass lines for yourself. You will find a repertoir for yourself. There will be a moment a descending bass line in triplets will blow yourslf and the others away bigsmile 

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
2 years ago
859 posts

I joined a jug band group last night and played this acoustic bass for about 1/3 of the tunes. It was fun, but I still have a ways to go.  I just don't have enough ideas of bass riffs to play when the melody sits on one chord for a while.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
-- Pete Seeger
Wout Blommers
@wout-blommers
2 years ago
101 posts

Don't forget the three ways to produce sound: the pick (I use a stiff one); the thumb (plucking down or slap: thump up and hit the snare with the first thumb knockel) and the fingertips of the index and middle finger. That's all at the right hand...


updated by @wout-blommers: 10/15/15 04:13:17PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
2 years ago
859 posts

Tumbleweed, I guess we'll be learning the bass at the same time.  If you've got any tips, pass them along.

 

Wout, I put on the tapewound strings yesterday and really love the sound.  The tone is wonderful, reminiscent of an upright bass fiddle.  Thanks so much for that suggestion!




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
-- Pete Seeger

updated by @dusty-turtle: 10/15/15 05:44:10PM
Wout Blommers
@wout-blommers
2 years ago
101 posts

Ah! An asset!?!

Tumbleweed
@tumbleweed
2 years ago
21 posts

Hubby = male species that messes up around the home and expects Wife = long suffering female species to clean it up.  But he's cute and has a job and loves me bunches so I will keep Hubby. happys

Wout Blommers
@wout-blommers
2 years ago
101 posts

:-)

Being a not native speaker I thought that Hubby was just a nice guy, buying a lot of things for every one. Reading the last post here I realised you mean 'husband' :D Or spouce or yokefellow or helpmate or old man...

BTW write the SpellCheck or another name of the spell controller: it doesn't recognise its own name. Never trust someone helping with how to spell who can't spell its own name, doh?


updated by @wout-blommers: 10/15/15 01:21:22AM
Wout Blommers
@wout-blommers
2 years ago
101 posts

Not only the temp, but also the question: "Where are we in the song?"

Dusty, you are a guitar player already, which is the normal way to get to the bass. You are used to think in chords. The bass uses the chord indication in the score and the players' ears. The bass guitar and the double bass both have the same string setting as the 4 lower strings of the guitar (which is already the bass of the guitar family), only one octave lower. You have to know where the notes are on the neck and which notes are in each chord. Also the exceptions, like the blues, so don't start practising that, unless you have to play it already in an ensemble.

But most of all: PLAY in an ENSEMBLE! The only way learning to play the bass is playing together. In contrast to the guitar, a bass never plays alone.

Also, bass players are a certain type of people, at least, here in Europe: don't like to be in the spotlight, a practical sense of humor (watch out, ladies) and highly social people, on stage and in  the bar. And they can ignore the drummer of the band who's telling you have to be there at his/hers bass drum hit... No, that hit has to be there at YOUR bass note.

Happy time playing as much as you can :-)


updated by @wout-blommers: 10/15/15 01:10:48AM
Tumbleweed
@tumbleweed
2 years ago
21 posts

Hi Dusty:

Funny you should post this because I just got a bass guitar this past Friday.  It is electric. Hubby bought it for me just because. I have small hands too and find using the pinkie isn't easy but I was told by a friend at my local GC that a strong pinkie is an asset much like the little pink line that pops up on these posts while I am typing because I couldn't remember how to spell "asset" The spell check is an asset.  However, I have been watching videos and have a few books on the Bass and mostly what is comfortable for a musician is basically ok.  

TW

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
2 years ago
859 posts

Thanks, Bill.   Yeah, there is a reason the bass and drums are considered the rhythm section.  If I can just learn enough to play some decent tracks on tunes I record for myself I'll be happy.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
-- Pete Seeger
Bill Davenport
@bill-davenport
2 years ago
81 posts

Great Dusty. A Bass keeps the temp. We have an acoustic bass at a jam I go to on Thursdays. Great player. Good luck. 

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
2 years ago
859 posts

Thanks for the encouragement, James. Just in fiddling around and trying to get some blues bass riffs, I've found I'm using my pinky. But I'm going to slow down and find some online lessons since I don't want to develop any bad habits.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
-- Pete Seeger
James Phillips
@james-phillips
2 years ago
94 posts

Dusty, for a while I played electric bass in our church praise band, with no experience other then that I had played acoustic guitar for 8 years prior.  I found I really only used my first and second fingers and sometimes the third but never the pinky.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
2 years ago
859 posts

Wout, I picked up a pack of the tapewound strings and am putting them on right now. There is definitely a loss of some volume, but I like the tone and the feel.  Thanks for the suggestion.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
-- Pete Seeger
Wout Blommers
@wout-blommers
2 years ago
101 posts

The reason can be you aren't playing with a pick, but with your fingers.

The same as an normal accoustic guitar with steel strings. To less to play with drums, but surely to hard when played with a dulcimer. I play the double bass. In pizzicato (plucked) it is also to low in volume to play against a violin, but when bowed... When I play practising in the ensemble (steel string guitar, clarinet, accodeon, violin, bass and percussion) I need an amplifer, but also playing the double bass pizzicato or a steel string ABG. Bowing the double bass means a constant input of energy into the string, so it is much louder. BUT... when tuned in perfect pitch with the other instruments, the bass will sound louder, much louder! The overtones of the louder instruments will emphase the bass volume. You will experence that when you are more secure in bass playing. And that's why the intonation of the frets are so important, or that's why bass players prefer a fretless bass like the double bass.

So buying a small amplifier is a good thing. A http://www.music-group.com/Categories/Behringer/Loudspeaker-Systems/Portable-Speakers/B205D/p/P0957 will do. You don't need that much power :-)


updated by @wout-blommers: 10/14/15 02:58:25PM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
2 years ago
859 posts

Thanks, Wout.  In the video the guy is playing a bass with frets, and the strings sound pretty good.  One question: what kind of volume do they have when you are not plugged in?  Is there any reason to think they would have less volume than steal strings?




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
-- Pete Seeger
Wout Blommers
@wout-blommers
2 years ago
101 posts

Take a look at this video:

Wout Blommers
@wout-blommers
2 years ago
101 posts

Hi Dusty,

The nylon strings are called 'Tape Wound'. I don't know how they sound on a fretted bass, but on a fretless they sound great.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
2 years ago
859 posts

Thanks for the advice, Wout.  

Since I don't really play bass (I can fake it since I play guitar, but my technique is really lacking) I can't tell how the action is. It seems pretty good, for the strings even up the fretboard are not too high. I haven't formally tested the intonation, but I think I would have noticed problem if it were obvious enough. 

It's good to know I might not have to use my pinky much, but my hands are not that large, so we'll have to see.  I've been working on strengthening my pinky for dulcimer and guitar playing, so it can't hurt to keep working on it.

In my initial post just below the picture I have a link to a review of 4 or 5 ABGs by a bass guitar website.  According to them, the only one that could really function in an acoustic setting without being amplified is the Boulder Creek.  So although you may be right that it seems louder to the player because of the soundhole on the top (Boulder Creek's "signature" design), it appears that it really is louder than most of the others. I think it is a bit bigger than the others, too, which might be part of the reason for the volume, though Boulder Creek tries to credit their bracing system.

I'll have to look into your suggestions on strings.  The Shop gave me a free set of phosphor bronze strings since the ones on there are a bit old, but I was planning on picking up some Elixir or other "squeakless" strings.  I'll have to experiment a bit. As I've said, this is all new territory to me.  Thanks again for the advice.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
-- Pete Seeger
Wout Blommers
@wout-blommers
2 years ago
101 posts

Being a bass player I have 3 ABG's (1 frets, 2 fretless). In general, be carefull with fretted AGB's: be sure the intonation is right. Also an AGB shouldn't play heavy. If you have to push hard the action is to high. A good luthier can fix that. Also the strings are important. On the ABG I prerfer 'nylon' strings, which I like to call 'clothline' strings... Don't know the real name. On a fretless the sound is much more double bass like. Most AGB's use piëzo to amplify. When I need the snappy sound of steel strings and pick I prefer a solid body BG.

I wonder if the Boulder Creek is realy louder than other ABG's: it has a sound hole right into your face, but can the other musicians hear that as well?

Don't wory about your pinky, or you have to have rather small hands. Most bass lines I play need three fingers, mostly index and ring. If you realy need the pinky use the middle and ring on the same string to help the little one (double bass technique). But be sure the action is right!

BTW the AGB is the first step to a double bass :-)


updated by @wout-blommers: 10/14/15 01:20:48AM
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
2 years ago
859 posts

Thanks, James.  My hope is to eventually develop some arrangements that include the dulcimer, guitar, and bass, and to record them all myself. I've got a ways to go, though.  My pinky is really weak and I get a lot of buzz when I fret with it.  It's going to be a while before I'll be able to play cleanly.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
-- Pete Seeger
James Phillips
@james-phillips
2 years ago
94 posts

Neat. Have fun with it Dusty, and maybe post something with it when you feel up to it.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
2 years ago
859 posts

Thanks, Ken.  It was a good deal for both of us. The shop wanted to make room for more instruments for the holiday season and is also gearing up to move to a nicer location (with a permanent theater for all those dulcimer concerts!).  I wanted an acoustic bass guitar but would never have spent the $1000 nono Amazon lists.  

I can't wait to join some jams and give it a go.  Just playing around on it makes my fingers feel so weak, though. worried I need to do some weight training for my fingers!muscle




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
-- Pete Seeger

updated by @dusty-turtle: 10/13/15 04:58:00PM
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
2 years ago
492 posts

What a great deal Dusty. Must be a really nice music shop to give you such a good offer. Enjoy.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
2 years ago
859 posts

Well, I've never really played bass before, but I have found myself in a few jams where we needed a bass, and I have visions (fantasies?) of making some recordings where I play multiple instruments  . . . so . . . I couldn't pass up the opportunity for a really nice price in this Boulder Creek acoustic bass guitar.  I had had my eye on it for some time at a local music store where my dulcimer club meets, and they were running a clearance sale to make some room for new stock. None of the acoustic basses were chosen for the sale, but I asked about this one and the owner agreed to sell it to me for 10 percent over his cost, which is way less than half of the price on Amazon and 40 percent lower than any price I could find anywhere.  When he threw in a slightly used case, I couldn't resist.  Now I've got to strengthen my fingers to be able to play the darn thing!

 

Bass Player website has a nice review of the instrument here. What I like most about it is that it is loud enough to be heard in an acoustic jam without being plugged in, but it has a pickup and pre-amp if I need to go electric.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
-- Pete Seeger

updated by @dusty-turtle: 10/14/15 01:11:55AM