It took 42 years to take up the acoustic bass
This week I picked up a 1950's bass built by Karl Wilhelmina Lederer ..I started on electrics in 1970..switched to fretless in 1976 and played a lot of jazz..have played just about anything since..but rarely a standup. Actually I bought one in 1999 while living in Holland from a luthier in Amsterdam..with aim to resume my reading skills first born from trombone and tuba (1966-1974) and chord changes thereafter on the bass. The 3 finger thing was a shock..whadaya mean you don't play with 4 fingers on your left hand! You want me to what?.. I gave up..sold it to a rockabilly guy in London
This time the aim is to play bluegrass, acoustic blues and new American folk music.. No reading required..and maybe no 3 fingers..
Today I ventured to a bluegrass gathering at the farmers market in Oak Park Il. Every tune is in D. I'm at the 5th 'fret'..no way am I playing open strings..I made it 1:15 before both hands collapsed in a heap..but no open strings..we electric guys hate open strings..they are weak..too many harmonics! But maybe I need to reconsider...maybe a mix..watch this space..
It' never too late. Keep at it...and remember that open string and 1-2-4 fingering are your friends when it comes to the double bass.
Open strings are something to get used too..especially in the keys of the opens strings, i.e. climbing up or down to an open string is certainly a new experience. Oddly it sounds really nice amplified compared to acoustic - do you employ any damping technique on the left hand to deaden the most extreme harmonics? (Sort of a post pluck kiss? I tried but couldn't stop from killing it all together..)
DB dudes..a rookie question from an EB vet..
I'm reading a bit on the common issues for experienced DB newbies..as I spend an hour a day on 'Mofo' - the temp name of my beast - I'm already making some progress on using open string scales and the 3 finger patters (1-2-4) building callouses etc.
When playing in Bb in the 1/2 position it would normal for me to toggle between the 1 and 5 (F1) crossing both with the 1st finger, and not fingering the Bb directly..my 1st week of play and my left hand is too sore to do it very long in the mid digit.
Is it a lost cause? Or will my fingers toughen up in that area as well?
Btw I'm finding fingering on the tip gives me a much clearer tone than the tab..I assume this will improve to a good tab play in time..
Appreciate your experience on this..
I think it depends on the setup of your bass. Even at half position those notes can be a pain if the bridge really needs to come down. But for practice purposes I would stick with the fingertip as often as you can..... this is no time to start a lazy habit.
Open strings on the DB are great because they're loud and powerful and, assuming your bass is in tune as well as the rest of the band, you don't need to worry as much about intonation (they also help get closed notes in tune by using the open string as a reference). One of the goals then is to work towards making all fingered notes sound and feel as if they were open (make sense?). Also, maybe get a lesson or two just to get you going? It's a whole different beast.
Took me 48 years
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