[Dixielandjazz] Where is Charles Atlas when bassists need him

willc willc at highstream.net
Sat Nov 22 19:50:12 PST 2003

Rob McCallum wrote:
(snip) IMHO, very
> few upright bass players can make their sound project in most situations
> without the aid of at least a small amplifier. 

As Foster Brooks was wont to say,m "Cocky Pop!"

I have heard with fine bass players through the years who 
projected just fine without amplifiers. One who springs to mind was 
Montudie Garland, who was about five feet tall and had to stand on a box 
to reach the top of the fingerboard on his full sized bass. Tudie played 
Teddy Buckner and occasionally with Joe Darensbourg, and his bass line 
was plenty loud, even in halls with 400 capacity. 

Part of the projection is a function of the bass itself, but my bet is
that it has a lot more to do with the player.  Tudie had huge strength
in his hands and major calluses on the fingers. He played on gut strings
(which I suspect are less prone to rip off fingers that the steel ones
neccessitated today by magnetic amplifier pickups) and his bridge was 
high enough off the finger board so that they had PLENTY of room to
vibrate even when pulled robustly.

Additional comments: I don't recall amplifiers being used by pre-war
(thet's WWII, children) Dorsey, Miller, James, Louis ad infinitum bands,
and the bass was still suffcient to propel these bands.

Conclusion: modern bass players are sissies!

Kindly (But running for cover at warp speed), 

Will Connelly
River Liffey Saloon Jazz Band
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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