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Comments Please: Barbados - Solo

Discussion in 'Recordings [DB]' started by hdiddy, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

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    Here's a tune I got hooked on and dearly love playing it. Recorded using a Zoom R16 using a Mic up close (EV Cardinal), the onboard mic's on the zoom, and line out from the Realist -> Headway EDB-2.

    Strings are Labella 7710 black tapewounds. This is after I jacked up the string heights so now that I have a better acoustic sound.

    Critiques welcome. Also let me know what you think of the recording itself. Recording is new to me.

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2014 at 4:08 AM
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Administrator

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    Huy - a lot of good stuff going on there. I can hear where your lines are going with clarity and follow the bird blues changes over the 10 bar form during the solos. The biggest critique I have right off the top is the space between the notes in the longer lines and phrases; this might be an intentional thing, or it might be a technique issue. When I teach line playing, I usually have people sing the lines they are playing or trying to play, then compare the sung version to the played version. If you did that here, I think you'd find that the sung version would be more connected, with a defined beginning of the tone envelope of each note, but less of a defined closure to each note before the next note starts. Of course, I could be way off base here, but since you asked for thoughts...

    Good stuff. I keep thinking we need to open a dedicated forum for this kind of thing now that websites and soundcloud are so prevalent. Thanks for posting.
  3. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

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    Thanks Chris. I hear ya on the connectedness thing. This one in particular I was focusing on flow, intonation, and time. My courage wasn't exactly there to stay with the phrases I created and end them properly. I feel like I managed to do it a few times but the mere point that you're bringing it up means I'm probably not being emphatic enough about them.

    I often sing my lines but am still working on the craft of honing those phrases into individual ideas instead of cobbling them all together - IOW: having more control over the overall sound.

    I'll do another recording if a different tune and will see if I can make that side of playing more pronounced.
  4. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

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    Disclosures:
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Huy --

    Very solid playing. You're developing ideas, which is just, like, music, eh? GIGANTIC bass sound too; you have been hitting the Wheaties. People who hire you are getting their money's worth.

    After absorbing The Wisdom of FitzDurrl you might want to think about these:

    BIG TOPIC: RHYTHMIC VARIETY. When we think of Charlie Parker's rhythmic aspect, what aspects come to mind after 'blazing speed'? Triplets. Spaces. Variety. Your solo is eighth-notes unless I missed something. No triplets and no spaces lasting longer than a beat. So yeah, I'd love to hear you shred some but I'd also love to hear you hit a half note then take a bar off too. Perhaps the exercise for this moment is to take three beats off between every phrase.

    ONE NOTE NIT TO PICK: Try to nail that one high note in the melody. However much work it takes to just land that one note smack-dab from anywhere on the bass will be worth it. Spend a day or a week getting it to smack now and you'll be able to smack it for years.

    Play on, brother. It's great to hear you!
  5. tcl

    tcl

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    Just saw this. I've been traveling a lot the past month. I'm not nearly as developed as DURRL or Sam, but maybe I can relate better because of it. I thought it sounded very good. If you listen to a lot of the recorded bass solos of the Masters, they typically, IMO, sound very similar.
    After two listenings, I thought your ideas, rhythm, and intonation were remarkably good. The one concept that was brought up that I really agree with was variety. For this particular solo, I would have enjoyed more half and whole notes - space. You can also employ more *devices* - slurs, hammer-on-pull-offs, bends, triplet hammers, and odd-tempos - 5 against 4, etc. Thumb pos?
    You could also briefly try playing outside of the harmony but quickly rein it back in. If you play outside too long, the audience just thinks you're off pitch, but doing it briefly adds a nice harmonic tension that lesser players tend to lack. The typically thing there is motif in harmony repeated a few times to motif out of harmony a few times to resolution back in harmony. Think Little Sunflower.
    Hope that helps. Your soloing, I think, sounds pretty similar to mine, except that I'm starting to incorporate the suggestions I've made, which I've learned from the players I play with regularly who are more developed than me, so I hope it helps. The one thing that I've been stuggling with that you're not in this recording is playing in pitch during the solo, so my kudos to you. It's kind of a odd issue because I'm generally regarded by those I play with as having very good intonation and time, but sometimes when I solo, I briefly lose intonation. I get it back, but not before I ruin an otherwise very valid solo, at least from my POV.
    If I'm off-base, please return to your normally internalized solo, listen to those more knowledgable than me, and forget I ever provided any suggestions.
    I'd say, though, keep at it, you're sounding better than a lot of so-called pros, IMO.
    It is kind of funny though. There's one bass player here in LA - same circles - that's just a little bit better than me, but he solos better than many pros I've heard. Wish I knew how he does it. I frequently have him sub for me when I can't make a gig. Depending on who you talk to, he's better than me or vice versa, but until recently anyway, everyone would say that he solo's better than I do. Hopefully, that's changing.
  6. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the kind words fellas.

    I took me a bit to figure it out why there were so many comments about the rhythmic variety but I guess it wasn't obvious that I was also trying to maintain and outline a sort of calypso/bossa feel. I guess I should've played a couple of choruses of just time to state it clearly but I think your comments about putting in more space during the solos are still valid.

    I'm working on another bass feature that will be a better example of me playing with more space.

    @Sam: Yeah now that you mention it, I'll have to focus more on nailing the intonation cold than to rely on the ability to slide into place. Just messing with it for a couple practice sessions does show a small amount of improvement and yes, as you said, once I nail it regularly, I'll always have it for other tunes.

    @TCL: I didn't go too far into TP nor off of the changes mainly because I wasn't hearing it. I'm trying hard to refrain from using technical devices for the sake of using them and trying to put my inner ear first. I'm realizing I'm much more of a be-bopper and for whatever reason or how much I practice that type of thing, it just simply does not want to come out that way. It gets especially bad if I try to do TP playing when I'm simply not hearing it - everything goes wonky because its forced.

    Anyways, thanks guys. Keep it coming and Merry XMas.
  7. Treyzer

    Treyzer

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    hdiddy, I agree with Chris, Sam and some of what tci have offered. Your sound has become much stronger and very solid. 2 other things you might consider: (1) Since these are recorded practice sessions, use a metronome, maybe on 2 and 4. This might allow you to be less tied to 8th notes and try more rhythmic variations. (2) At least in my opinion, thumb position is not a separate part of the bass. Being able to incorporate/play upper register notes and phrases seamlessly with the rest of the fingerboard can only increase your soloing ability and your vocabulary. There are 2 and 3 octave scales, 2 & 3 octave arpeggios (at least from E to A) and thumb position transition exercises that can help make this area of the fingerboard much more accessible and friendly.
  8. John Wiitala

    John Wiitala

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    Hey Huy,
    Why the (mostly) 10 bar form? Special arrangment?
  9. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

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    @Trey: It's no metronome because I'm intentionally making it harder and trying to show some of my mentors (you lot) that my time has improved. If I did it with metronome, it would be too easy to lock the time it provides. Yes it would sound better but it's a personal challenge of mine to go without. It's been an issue of mine where I'm mostly chopping off beats - a weird form of rushing. The only viable solution I've found to combat my time issues to simply go without and force myself to hear the drummer internally and then do a check after recording myself playing like this. I guess it came from a suggestion someone gave me when I recorded myself playing Ornithology in 2009 and posted it here.

    2ndly, I've been focusing my playing on nailing everything in the lower register and playing as much music from there as possible. It's not perfect but I think I have a better sense now of how to intonation in TP. Took me 10 years to get where I am now from square 1, so it'll be one Everest at a time. TP is good but it hasn't been a priority so I havent' been focusing on it. It's not that I don't do it but I don't esp like to noodle around in TP. If there's clarity while heading into TP then the lines as so much better. If not, it sounds like I'm really BS'ing in a big way.

    @John: The 10 bar form comes from Joe Lovano's version which I got hooked on at Jazz Camp via Hans Halt. I'm guessing Lovano is the first to play it that way.

    It's a lot of fun. The turnaround back to the top comes around so much quicker and can catch you off guard if you're not paying attention.

    The calpso you hear in this recording is what I'm hearing in my head - hence the less rhythmic variety. Normally I'll put more "time" into my lines when I'm playing latin tunes so maybe that should be reconsidered. I do feel like I'm treading water to keep my head afloat more than I need to.
  10. Treyzer

    Treyzer

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    OK hdiddy, I hear you. Still, what I was trying to suggest, based on what my teachers have drilled into my head, is with some time keeping device nailing some part of each measure, makes it much easier for you, as well as any intended listeners, to really hear where you might rush or drag within each bar and phrase. Try using a nome just on beat 4. That is VERY instructive.

    In regards to upper register playing, I was only suggesting exercises and methodology that will allow you to use that part of the fingerboard. In no way did I advocate "finger crap" or just flailing around up in thumb. Personally, I love hearing good/great players walk, as well as solo, where the arc of their line reaches up into thumb and comes back down to the lower registers. Players that can create these lines can sound very hornlike as well as employ the whole range of the double bass. It is a beautiful and expressive part of the instrument, if not just used to "show off" and, as I said, it will expand your vocabulary, expressiveness and facility. Cheers, T
  11. geoffbassist

    geoffbassist UK Double Bassist Supporting Member

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    I think it's great and I really enjoyed it. It sounds like you are practising the right things and you have a really solid tone. The recording quality is also good.

    As far as ideas to develop it I agree with the previous comments. I guess the main thing I think you could do more of is to shape the whole solo and have more defined phrases within it. More dynamics and rhythmic variety would be worth looking at and I think that having some space would help 'frame' your ideas better. Then look at the arc of the whole thing and see if it develops and builds enough, perhaps you could leave more space at the start to allow that.

    Great job Huy!
  12. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

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    Thanks Geoff. Yeah thats what I was hearing too on repeating listenings: needs more dynamics. "Framing" my ideas - I just ran into that concept not too long ago too. I'm going to have to play with that.

    It seems like there's a delicate balance between letting the mind run with it's ideas and exhibiting control over it to produce a crafted solo. So far, what I love about it is it's getting more and more away from the mechanics of playing and just get into the act of creating. Good stuff.

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