#1
So this Christmas I will be getting an upright bass. I'm very excited, but -as usual- I don't really know what to expect. As someone who stands 5'3", I know that sizing may be an issue. But I want to get the biggest sized one that it is physically possible for me to play, and I don't know what size that would be. Basically, my questions are:

1. What should I expect when trying out uprights? (pain, technique, size, etc.)
2. I'm not prepared to slap down at least 1K without really getting to play one. So, should I rent or rent-to-own?
3. What is it like switching between electric and upright? I've played a fretless before, but it still had fret markers.
4. What size I should get

By upright, I mean one of these: http://band-orchestra.musiciansfriend.com/product/Josef-Lazar-Model-12-Bass-Outfit?sku=470326

I think contrabass is just a different name for upright, but I'm not sure.

Thanks! (:
#2
I recommend that you go to the double bass forum of talkbass.com. There are a lot of old farts there who will help you out. UG? Not so much.
#7
at that height you want a 3/4 sized bass, it's what almost everyone uses unless they're six and a half feet tall. I'm 5'5" and 3/4 was fine for me.

Technique is very specific. You'll need an instructor to teach you.

It's absolutely and utterly different from a fretless bass guitar--new neck, new scale length, new action, arco, new dynamics, etc. To be frank, it's frustrating for most people to make the switch because the upright is less conducive to fast, agile playing.

If you're not paying 1 or more for a used one, you're better off just renting/using a school one.

and those stools suck, absolute waste of furniture. Stand while you play
#9
3/4 uprights are the way to go. I'm only 1" taller than you and the few times I've been able to play one the size has not been an issue.

Epy and FbSa and few others on the forum own uprights. Bales (jazzrockfeel) also plays. If they don't post in the thread, you may want to shoot off a few PMs to them.
#10
1) It's going to be pretty hard to try out an upright without any knowledge of what you like. It's not like a bass guitar where you can dick around on it for a bit and see if it feels good and sounds good. For the most part it'll be pretty hard to tell two uprights apart, other than the most basest of things. So if you're intent on trying one out just play a bit on each and see if any of them strike your fancy. But really, at this stage you're going to find most of them very similar and for a beginner good technique is more important than good equipment.

2) You might as well rent to own. There's really no negative to it if you back out and if you find you like it, you've basically set up a monthly payment program.

3) The first thing you have to do is forget all of the technique and ideas you had about electric bass when playing the upright. Think of it as a completely different instrument all together and you'll get much further.

4) 3/4 is pretty much the standard size for anyone who is starting out. There's an end pin in them F.Y.I. so they're really not as tall as a lot of people think. You'll be fine.
#11
1) It's pretty much a necessity to use proper technique. Private lessons are a must. You can't really self-teach yourself upright. Get used to thumb position and the Simandl method. Learn to use the jazz-method on your right-hand. Learning arco is also highly reccomended. Your left hand is going to get much stronger.

2) Rent-to-own, I think. That's what I've been doing for years.

3) It's nothing like bass guitar. Don't try and view it as the same instrument, it's completely different.

4) 3/4 size should be fine. I had to play a 1/2 size for a while and it was awful. I'm around 5'8", so you shouldn't have a problem. You can always adjust the endpin.
#12
its a new technique and its a much less agile feeling instrument but if you work at it and treat it like a new instrument altogether you should be able to pick it up alright, if you wanna learn fast you might want a teacher, if not you'll learn slower but once you get the technique down you should be good
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#13
Double bass is to electric bass as electric bass is to Guitar Hero.
Squier VM Fretless Jazz
Warwick Rockbass Streamer 5
Ashdown MAG 300 210
#14
Quote by CurbstompBass
1) It's pretty much a necessity to use proper technique. Private lessons are a must. You can't really self-teach yourself upright. Get used to thumb position and the Simandl method. Learn to use the jazz-method on your right-hand. Learning arco is also highly reccomended. Your left hand is going to get much stronger.


I agree on getting lessons. If you play them wrong, you can mess up your wrists very quickly.
#15
thanks for all the help, everyone! I realize that it's a completely different beast, and I know that I'm back at the bottom rung as far as upright is concerned. I have no notions of going in, picking up, and being able to play it just as well as I can play electric. I'm heading to Toronto next weekend to see what I can find, so hopefully it will go well.

Thanks again (:

edit: It may not be possible to find lessons, seeing as I live in a hick-ish town. But, I don't want to begin with a bad technique. Is getting a book or online lessons recommended?
Last edited by Canadian_basser at Dec 6, 2008,
#17
Books and online lessons are okay to an extent, but chances are you'll end up with poor technique. There is no substitute to a live teacher. Especially with such a technically demanding instrument as the upright bass. On electric you can get away with poor technique, and obviously you can with upright because the bass player in the video TooFast posted is proof, but you're much better off learning right from the start.
#18
Okay, I'll see what I can do about a teacher. I mean, I agree with what you're saying, and I want a teacher too, but there may just be no-one to teach me. Thanks!