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Re: Strange Question

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Posted by James on September 21, 2001 at 23:16:41:

In Reply to: Re: Strange Question posted by §žurious on September 18, 2001 at 17:17:54:

>>Well, it's also analogous to "why play bass guitar when you can play upright?" Different bands require different sounds. <<<

Yes of course. I have a 1958 Precision that I love and still use on pop gigs. The sound they got on that particular instrument on all the old Motown records was perfect for that music. But for jazz, classical, folk, bluegrass etc., when it comes to moving air with other acoustic instruments, nothing beats the quality and impact of a big maple and spruce sound box. To my ears, bodyless basses and / or pickups and amps have not even come close to the sound of air coming out of the f holes on a real upright. I can't stand listening to them in any context. Sure, you can be heard easier and they travel well, but what a compromise...

>>>The bassist for Holly Cole and Shirley Eikhard (George Koller) uses an electric upright when on most tours, and I've seen a few others out there.<<

I'm not familiar with Koller, but I'm sure that if you asked Dave (if he's still with her), he would tell you that the primary reason he uses one is for the ease in traveling with one. But of course Holly is doing more pop tunes now, so maybe that comes into it. He likely still uses a real upright for most of their recording, especially the jazz tunes.
Ask Krall if she would mind if her bassist uses an electric upright. She'd kick Ben's ass. He's a serious gut strings and mic player, and she loves that sound because it blends so beautifully. It's that great sound all the Blue Note guys were getting back in the 50's and early 60's and that's why so many jazz players are going back to that setup and why bluegrass & folk players have never changed.
When I talked to Ray Brown about gut strings, he said he loved the metal ones when they came in, no more tuning and fraying problems etc. But I think Charlie Hadden's right, it's worth it for the quality, especially on a 200 year old instrument.

>>Take a brand new, top of the line, EURB and put it up against a student model upright that's seen ten years in a high school music room. You tell me which sounds better.<<

Absolutely no question. I'd still pick the old beater plywood upright.

>>>Problem is, finding a plywood bass for $500 CDN. <<

Put a want-ad in some of the free buy & sell papers across the country. You'll find one eventually. Hammond Ashley down in Seattle Washington is importing some amazing basses for the price from Eastern Europe and China. I think we'll see more of those coming in and driving the prices back down on old ply basses.


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