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What unusual bass instruments are you using?


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My 'other' bass instrument use is restricted to a bit of very occasional synth stuff courtesy of my Novation K Station. Really wish I'd kept the old Roland SH-09 I had back in the 80s. It'd be worth a lot more now than what I sold it for. :(

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Nothing outerworldly, but:
- guitar with octave pedal of some description
- electronic piano through Big Muff
- pedal keyboard of electronic organ
- piano
(incidentally all in the same gig coz we were a trio without bass player)

- electric piano
- Casio toy ewi type instrument through pedal or synth
- synth
- flute through Korg MS-20

I'm sure there is more. Loved creating unexpected, weird sounds that I thought worked.

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I also play Bass VI (this the way I describe a short-scale 6 string bass tuned E-E to differentiate it from long-scale 6-string basses either tuned B-C or F#-G).

 

It's used in a post-punk/goth influenced band - Hurtsfall - where the only other instruments are synths (and of-course vocals). It allows both myself and the synth player to swap between bass and melody parts as required by the arrangement of the song. I currently own three bass VIs - a Squier Bass VI, Burns Barracuda, and the Eastwood copy of the Shergold Marathon 6-string bass. For my needs the Eastwood is by far the most suitable and the Squier the least (and will consequently soon be up for sale) most due to it's very narrow neck. I don't find any of these instruments suitable for playing chords of more than 2 notes, unless it was in the extreme upper register, and TBH if I was playing a lot of parts that required that I'd use a guitar instead.

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I can't say i've really used an alternative to a bass guitar for the bass line - except in a couple of electronic experimental pieces where the bass was programmed synth.

I did once decide (well, [email protected] think about) I was going to do  project of a small set of acoustic recordings where the bass was played by a non-stringed acoustic instrument. I looked at bass recorder and bass harmonica and maybe one or two more. When I saw the price of the bass versions of those instruments compared to the 'normal' ones I didn't take it any further 😕.

 

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Technically I'd say it still counts as a bass guitar, but it's definitely unusual:

 

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It's a Longbow "American Classic" fretless 2-string, but in the one band where I had a use for it it was affectionately known as the "IKEA table leg".

While it may look very crude and rough, it's actually pretty nicely made. It's an oil-finished piece of flamed maple without a truss rod, with a bone nut and two generic tuners. The two monorail bridges are recessed, and even strung through-body (below the strap button are two ferrules). The pickups are two custom made stacked humbuckers, roughly in the P-position. By request they would also fit the pickup in the Gibson EB-0 position, which they called the "dub" option. It's incredibly uncomfortable to play since the beam of maple used is almost as thick as it is wide, but wherever I whip it out I can be sure to get a reaction. The manufacturer recommended a rifle bag for transportation, which will raise some eyebrows when you carry it in residential areas. 

 

The one pictured is a righty, but the one I still own is a proper lefty. I've owned two, one righty 30" from the original batch and one lefty 32" that I ordered new during their brief resurrection years ago.

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I kind of have two answers as a result of developments over lockdown. Firstly I bought a six string baritone bass to use on the album I am doing with my main band. However, as of yet I haven't had a chance to use it (the song it was bought for appears to have been shelved now but I will try and shoe horn it in somewhere).

 

Away from that I am doing some post punk / goth / darkwave with the guitarist from my old Sixth Form band. We both play mandolin and decided that as an alternative to the electric stuff with the drum machine, we'd do some acoustic versions too. I have been playing bass lines on a bouzouki! All screamingly good fun. 

 

IMG_0543.jpg.9f4766325c136cc9a284c712dab5b311.jpg

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Enjoying the mention of bassoon earlier in the thread.

 

My main instrument is the Contrabassoon.

An octave lower than bassoon, it descends to low Bb, a semi tone below standard 5/6 string bass guitar.

 

I fell in love with the instrument when I was a double bassist and was writing for the bassoon for my ensemble. I could only ever recruit session musicians rather than a band member, so I decided to become the player I couldn't find.

 

10 years later my main project is solo performance of my electroacoustic ambient music, but I do sessions and guest in bands with more regular bassline playing.

 

Here's the only gig from last year - A live stream set for Nick Luscombe's Musicity project.

 

And a recent release:

https://thomasstonemusic.bandcamp.com/album/host

Edited by Woodwind
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And in action the bass instrument extravaganza that is ORE.

 

The Tuba Doom group is normally massively amplifed and we're all playing through octave pedals for super sub-bass action, but this was a rare completely acoustic set at Supernormal Festival in 2017 (Now my favourite festival and this may rank as my favourite ORE show)

Screenshot_20210329-212441~2.png

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30 minutes ago, Woodwind said:

And in action the bass instrument extravaganza that is ORE.

 

The Tuba Doom group is normally massively amplifed and we're all playing through octave pedals for super sub-bass action, but this was a rare completely acoustic set at Supernormal Festival in 2017 (Now my favourite festival and this may rank as my favourite ORE show)

Screenshot_20210329-212441~2.png

I think we need to hear this in one or both versions! 

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