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A difficult instrument to learn?

Discussion in 'Ask Patrick Neher [Archive]' started by thedemiurge, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. Where would you place the double bass on the difficulty in learning/mastering scale as compared to other instruments?

    I realize that the word -mastering- turns it into a whole new ballgame, but I'm thinking about this as a new convert: one who played the electric bass for some years and wants to make the transition to the Doghouse.

    So, as a new player on the Bull Fiddle I intend to take lessons from the get-go-- to ensure proper technique and discourage bad habits early on.

    What am I in for as far as the frustration factor is concerned?
  2. nobody?
  3. Well if you know the bass guitar pretty well it's not as difficult as say learning a flute or French horn. It's just getting used to the different areas that the notes are
  4. PNeher


    Mar 31, 2005
    Bellingham, WA
    Well, first I have to say that what is difficult to one may be a breeze with another. So, I don't even use the word in my teaching, nor in my attitude towards playing.
    The bass can be quite a challenge to learn to play for many, especially if the size and shape is not appropriate for the player. This is one of the reasons there are so many sizes and shapes to all basses. First, you MUST pick the right size and shape for what you intend to do with the bass. If you are going to play all bass music, you will find that some basses are better shaped than others, and are the "right" size for you when you narrow your view of the many genres that bassists play. In other words: determine what music you want to focus on and find a bass that has the potential to sound like you want it to for that music, and is the "correct" size and shape for your physique. THEN you can assess whether that particular bass is too challenging or not challenging enough to master. Also, mastering a style of music seems more sensible to me than mastering a particular instrument. So, you may end up with five different basses, mastering Classical, Jazz, Rock, Country, Pop. See where I'm goin'? The bass is not difficult to play... no bass is. And it is no more difficult than any other instrument. If you are open to the possibilities, there are myriad ways to play myriad basses. You will find your way and you will find it is not difficult. Challenging, I hope, yes, always!
  5. Hmmm... I really like jazz but there is something about that arco sound that give me goosebumps. That's why I was thinking of going with a Hybrid--within my budget and good tone for arco playing. I'm 6' 175lbs; I figured since most jazzers use 3/4, I should go with that size...
  6. Patrick, I played your Serenade For Solo Bass in a student recital recently. (I'm a middle school orch/band/general music teacher; I run a city-wide orchestra for 4th-8th grade, and we hold recitals every other month and I always play at the end) What a great piece! Please keep 'em coming.
  7. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Since the OP comes from an electric bass background, like I did, all I can add to the above is to say in another way that it is different, not necessarily more or less difficult. You've heard the phrase talking about the English language: the USA and the UK are two great countries separated by a "common" language; well, electric bass and double bass are two great instruments separated by a common tuning.
  8. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    ...by a common tuning.
    Ha, ha....great analogy.
  9. PNeher


    Mar 31, 2005
    Bellingham, WA
    I would say, BARELY Separated! There are more similarities to approaches and music demands than differences, IMHO!

    The bow is the biggest difference, but I have seen guys like Vic Wooten use a bow on the electric!!

    Keep open our minds, and music will flow!

  10. Good positive answers to this question. I have an old fiddle I've been praticing with off and on; I've gotten pretty good with a few minor scales in first position. I do pay close attention to pitch. Maybe that is one of the reasons I want to switch. I can play with more feeling and intuition instead of looking for frets...

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