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Thread: Walking bass music?

  1. #1

    Walking bass music?

    I am on euphonium but have a kid who wants to switch from violin to upright bass. I also have a flugabone and have been wondering if I could find ways to play it for background music in jazz/blues jam sessions. I thought I could try to play with him (an octave up). Can euphonium do the equivalent of walking bass? Is there a resource you can recommend for this?
    Jupiter 462 & 470, XO 1270
    Stork 4.5 mouthpiece

  2. #2
    It's very doable, and if tightly played with a light touch on the euphonium, doubled on the octave with the bass, would sound quite good.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Central North Carolina
    I think that with the proper mouthpiece and some practice, euphonium can certainly do walking bass -- and not just "the equivalent." I've done some of that. You should have no difficulty playing in the bass or even some of the contrabass tuba range -- down to the F an octave below the bass clef staff, and what more might you want for walking bass? The instrument can play lower, and so can you -- with practice and the right equipment. Another way to look at it is that the 4-valve euphonium plays in the range of the bass trombone -- which often plays bass lines.

    You might want to take a look at Building Walking Bass Lines for some of the theory and technique of bass lines.

    However, ... surely it's the upright bass that should be playing the bass line and the euphonium playing melody? Your kid might get a lot more enjoyment out of that as well. Or you could go in this direction, substituting your euphonium for the trombone -- although it might be a bit advanced to start with ... Elgar: Duet for Trombone and Double Bass.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (DW 3XL or 2XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE 104, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba (with std US receiver), Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K10/112/14 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  4. #4
    In the past when our worship band’s only bass player wasn’t available leader asked me to cover bass part on my euph. We have 3 bass players now, but one is also a drummer who basically went full time on drums since our primary drummer moved on. Said bass player/drummer was a tuba major in college. He often threatened to bring his tuba some week he was scheduled for bass, said he has played bass parts before on his tuba. Any not get to hear that now. Gotta watch how low I play now, grandson is playing bass now, he doesn’t want me hogging the low notes. He plays trumpet, euph occasionally, piano, then he took up the bass…where did I go wrong??

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2023
    West Virginia
    So somebody has to bring up that the flugabone is a variant of the trombone and would be quite at home at a jazz gig. The euphonium can work surprisingly well if you don't have a piercing horn section as it is at home with call-and-response and countermelody. Maybe pick it up for the odd solo when you bring the flugabone.

    There's a lot of music where the bass is in the same register as euphonium: anything with the human voice, for example. It's just mostly music that's too "delicate" for brasses.
    Jeremy S Tanner
    Cerveny Sousaphone circa 1920s
    Wessex Duplex Double-Bell Euphonium
    Various custom electric guitars and basses

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