Nothing stranger than driving around Kuwait listening to bluegrass performed by Alison Kraus and Union Station. Definitely not the native culture. The lyrics are a bit whiney at times and the singing a bit nasal, but gotta love the musicality, fiddle and banjo with dobro and acoustic bass. The car stereo goes loud and clean.
Double bass in bluegrass music
The string bass is often used in bluegrass music. It is the largest instrument in the violin family, and is made in several sizes. Most usual for bluegrass use is the 3/4 size bass. Less frequently used are the full and 5/8 size bass.
The upright bass is plucked for most bluegrass music. Some modern bassists have used the bow.
The bluegrass bass is responsible for keeping time in the polyrhythmic conditions of the bluegrass tune, enhancing the flow of the music with tasteful fills and runs. Most important is the steady beat, whether fast, slow, in 4/4 time, 2/4 or 3/4 time.
Early pre-bluegrass music was often accompanied by the cello, which was bowed as often as plucked. Some contemporary bluegrass bands favor the electric bass, but it has a different musical quality than the plucked upright bass which gives energy and drive to the music.
Common rhythms in bluegrass bass playing are, in 4/4 time (plucking on the beats) 1, 3; 1, 4; 1, 3, 4. In 3/4 time (waltz time) 1; 1,2; and 1,3. Bluegrass baselines are usually extremely simple, typcially staying on the Tonic and Dominant chords throughout.
Cedric Rainwater, bassist for Bill Monroe and later Flatt and Scruggs, helped to define the bluegrass sound with his characteristic walking bass, where each beat in 4/4 time is plucked, going up and down the scale.
Notable bass players in contemporary bluegrass music:
- Roy Huskey, Jr.
- Todd Phillips
- Mark Schatz
- Mike Bub
- Edgar Meyer
The Wikipedia dobro article is quite interesting also.