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What Do You Think About The Upright Bass?

Posted

i was listening to a record i just got in the mail - "he's so good" by Earnestine Eady on Junior. it is a rollicking R&B tune (very dance worthy). as i was listening, i noticed it has an upright bass in it.

i was remembering that i read some stuff about the evolution of reggae (maybe the "Rough Guide to Reggae" book?) and it talked about how the introduction of the electric bass guitar drove the evolution of jamaican music from ska/US R&B covers to "proper" reggae because it allowed for a movement away from traditional walking basslines to sparse clusters of heavy bass notes - that we associate with rocksteady. this "heavy" sound also matched well with the massive sound-systems that most jamaican people attended - resulting in the heavy duty reggae we saw in the 1970s (HEAVIEST being King Tubby's dub work, IMHO).

so....my questions here:

a) do you spin anything with upright bass in it? are there any proper "soul" songs (vs R&B) with upright in it?

b) does anyone know anything about the transition between the upright bass to electric bass (i think Fender was the original, yes?) in US black music?

c) ....anything else people want to riff on...

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Posted (edited)

the introduction of the electric bass guitar drove the evolution of jamaican music from ska/US R&B covers to "proper" reggae because it allowed for a movement away from traditional walking basslines to sparse clusters of heavy bass notes - that we associate with rocksteady.

Rocksteady is completely built around walking bass lines so that person is not making sense to me...he must mean early reggae, 68 style

Edited by Pete S

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Posted

Rocksteady is completely built around walking bass lines so that person is not making sense to me...he must mean early reggae, 68 style

point taken, i may have mis-remembered (i am not a huge reggae fan).

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Posted (edited)

a) do you spin anything with upright bass in it?

.

In the early days of Motown James Jamerson played upright bass on a lot of tracks.

wonderjamerson.jpg

Edited by Philippe
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Posted

In the early days of Motown James Jamerson played upright bass on a lot of tracks.

wonderjamerson.jpg

fantastic pic! i had no idea!

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Posted (edited)

I like the term " Bull Fiddle " for upright bass - sounds a bit rockabilly but that's no bad thing . Clyde McPhatter - Lover Please is a good " Birth of Soul " track with Bull Fiddle on it. Jackie Wilson/ Linda Hopkins - I Found Love sounds like it could be Upright Bass too.

Edited by autumnstoned

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Posted

fantastic pic! i had no idea!

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Posted

fantastic pic! i had no idea!

And Stevie is at LEAST 16 or 17 here. So Jamerson played upright bass fiddle some years after "the early days of Motown".

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Posted

In the early days of Motown James Jamerson played upright bass on a lot of tracks.

wonderjamerson.jpg

What was the ratio of musicians to microphones at Motown?

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Posted

And Stevie is at LEAST 16 or 17 here. So Jamerson played upright bass fiddle some years after "the early days of Motown".

Yes, according to this link he played upright bass on such hits as "Hearwave", "Where Did Our Love Go", "My Guy", "Mickey's Monkey", and more.

http://www.bassland.net/jamersonhits.htm

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Posted (edited)

This is pretty cool - Upright still in use. Seen this track on a Downtown Soulville playlist recently.

Edited by autumnstoned

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Posted

I used to play in school band when I was younger, still playing an electric bass but I really miss owning an upright sometimes. Had the worst band teacher known to man who agreed for me to play it in the band, but didn't know the first thing about the instrument and basically just resented me and gave me a hard time, so I had to learn it on my own more or less. awesome to hear that jamerson was playing one on such stonecold classics!

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Posted

This killer might be.

Jordi

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Guest Brett F profile photo
Posted

This killer might be.

Jordi

I can't remember if it was Marc Forrest, Butch or was it Paul Sadot ??? play this, may have been at one of the German weekends, but man, i'm not a huge 60's or even a northern fan, but this incredible record is extraordinary, it maintains all the ingredients too reach out and simply grab your soul and imagination and by some wild and wonderful power drag you like a magnet onto the dancefloor and then BAM !! its all power, energy, and sweat drenched, evoking a million moves and twists........Genius...

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Posted

I can't remember if it was Marc Forrest, Butch or was it Paul Sadot ??? play this, may have been at one of the German weekends, but man, i'm not a huge 60's or even a northern fan, but this incredible record is extraordinary, it maintains all the ingredients too reach out and simply grab your soul and imagination and by some wild and wonderful power drag you like a magnet onto the dancefloor and then BAM !! its all power, energy, and sweat drenched, evoking a million moves and twists........Genius...

Couldn't put it better myself Brett.

Jordi

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Posted

I'd love to hear an instrumental to that, but what a record!

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Posted

I think the bull fiddle should make a comeback.

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Posted

not soul but check out esperanza spalding brilliant female bassist and jazz singer

kim

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Posted

The 'Double' bass is all over practically every RnB tune recorded before 1960, Hit The Road Jack by ray has got a classic sounding DB on it. Willie Dixon played a lot of the bass parts at Chess, on a double.

That tune posted above sounds like standard electric bass guitar to my ears.

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Posted

BABY I NEED YOUR LOVING UPRIGHT BASS AT ITS BEST

KEV

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Posted

This killer might be.

Jordi

Great tune ! Was John Harris Germany based ?

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Posted
On 16/09/2012 at 17:27, Guest Brett F said:

 

 

I can't remember if it was Marc Forrest, Butch or was it Paul Sadot ??? play this, may have been at one of the German weekends, but man, i'm not a huge 60's or even a northern fan, but this incredible record is extraordinary, it maintains all the ingredients too reach out and simply grab your soul and imagination and by some wild and wonderful power drag you like a magnet onto the dancefloor and then BAM !! its all power, energy, and sweat drenched, evoking a million moves and twists........Genius...

It was me....

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Posted

Brilliant record. So different. Never heard it before. See on discogs it’s been reissued in Germany I think with pic cover. Expensive though for a second. Do you still have your original Paul and what’s it worth - I see it’s previously sold for >$1000. 

Good man for playing it. Best.  Paul T

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Posted

Firstly, excellent tune!

Answers:

a)  Lonnie Liston - Expansions (RCA) which is 70’s. Sounds double bass to my ears, hard to tell!

b)  Late 90s I worked in a London music shop, one floor completely filled with bass guitars, about half were vintage.  The first ever electric bass guitar was way before Fender and Gibson complemented their 6 string electrics with own bass brands, early 50’s.  The Precision (a la James Jamerson) was out slightly before Gibson’s EB1 bass guitar, and here is evidence ‘from upright bass to electric bass’ as you say - via the Gibson EB1 design; it was violin shaped, with painted on fake ‘f’ holes and could be played either sideways, or, upright (as it came with a floor spike attachment). 

We know great soul bassists used the Precision, or Tele, or Jazz Fenders in the 60’s.   Compared to the EB1, these Fenders were preferred for several key reasons.   1. They looked really fcuking cool!   2. They sounded so much better, as per those Motown basslines! (and probably felt better).   3. The EB1 periodically ceased production late 50’s, so weren’t available anyway (only 2nd hand) until late 60’s when they were re-issued, by which time Fender was dominating the market.

No idea, who, or ‘if’ soul bassists put the EB1 to good use.  It may have sounded like a woolly mammoth farting in a cave, but could be considered thee instrument that bridged the gap from ‘upright bass’ to ‘electric bass guitar’.

Can’t mention the EB1’s ‘violin shape’ body without mentioning the Hofner (mid 50’s) electric Bass (later aka the Beatle bass - no f holes, hollow bodied).

For interest only;  clip below on the Gibson EB1 if you want to see and 'hear its sound (it's a yutube plug, flogging one, but stick with it...)

Best, Dave.

 

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Posted
On 28/01/2020 at 22:10, Rictic66 said:

Brilliant record. So different. Never heard it before. See on discogs it’s been reissued in Germany I think with pic cover. Expensive though for a second. Do you still have your original Paul and what’s it worth - I see it’s previously sold for >$1000. 

Good man for playing it. Best.  Paul T

Thanks Paul. I sold it years ago for a couple of grand. I remember going to Australia to trade it with Callum Flack who was, apart from Jason P, the only person I knew had it at the time. Traded for Bernetia Miller.

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Posted

unless you 'know' for sure,   theres no way of telling on any late 20th century recording, if an upright (acoustic)or an electric bass is being used.    i defy anyone to know otherwise. ? 

  slap bass is a different playing style entirely,  so that doesnt count

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Posted
5 hours ago, dave2 said:

Firstly, excellent tune!

Answers:

a)  Lonnie Liston - Expansions (RCA) which is 70’s. Sounds double bass to my ears, hard to tell!

b)  Late 90s I worked in a London music shop, one floor completely filled with bass guitars, about half were vintage.  The first ever electric bass guitar was way before Fender and Gibson complemented their 6 string electrics with own bass brands, early 50’s.  The Precision (a la James Jamerson) was out slightly before Gibson’s EB1 bass guitar, and here is evidence ‘from upright bass to electric bass’ as you say - via the Gibson EB1 design; it was violin shaped, with painted on fake ‘f’ holes and could be played either sideways, or, upright (as it came with a floor spike attachment). 

We know great soul bassists used the Precision, or Tele, or Jazz Fenders in the 60’s.   Compared to the EB1, these Fenders were preferred for several key reasons.   1. They looked really fcuking cool!   2. They sounded so much better, as per those Motown basslines! (and probably felt better).   3. The EB1 periodically ceased production late 50’s, so weren’t available anyway (only 2nd hand) until late 60’s when they were re-issued, by which time Fender was dominating the market.

No idea, who, or ‘if’ soul bassists put the EB1 to good use.  It may have sounded like a woolly mammoth farting in a cave, but could be considered thee instrument that bridged the gap from ‘upright bass’ to ‘electric bass guitar’.

Can’t mention the EB1’s ‘violin shape’ body without mentioning the Hofner (mid 50’s) electric Bass (later aka the Beatle bass - no f holes, hollow bodied).

For interest only;  clip below on the Gibson EB1 if you want to see and 'hear its sound (it's a yutube plug, flogging one, but stick with it...)

Best, Dave.

 

"Fender bass" was used as a shorthand for electric bass in some circles though. Can't remember where, it was probably on some Jazz LPs Prestige or Impulse which credited some group as piano, drums, sax, Fender bass. 

 

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