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A disaster on intonational proportions (Ha!)

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by x15, Jul 22, 2012.


  1. x15

    x15

    Feb 4, 2003
    New Delhi, India
    Hey guys,

    So, looking for a little advice and a little sympathy here. I live in New Delhi, India - and through the summers, the weather is pretty extreme. At this point humidity is peaking around 75 - 80% and the temperature moves between 80 and all the way upto a 95/100. A lot of times more.

    I play a regular Chinese double bass - and I play with a bunch of jazz set ups here. So the other day, after a whole week of great rehearsals - and generally feeling pretty good about life - I play at this club where the sound is pretty big and the air conditioner is pretty cranked.. The sound engineer was a dumbass and he really coudln't figure out that we werent' a metal band. I ended up with this really Mid heavy - chunky tone - that I could hear more on the PA than from my amp.

    And sure enough, every single note I played that evening sounded totally off. I don't know if it was the weather, the bass, the sound - the guitar player (he insisted he was in tune); but that gig was basically a two hour chore and I ended up having an awful time.

    Sure enough, i'm looking at my bass like it's a total stranger right now because none of the notes are where I feel like I've left them. I don't have any dots on the bass - I always had a pretty good idea of what was going on.

    Any words at all would be good.
     
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Humidity changes can affect your string height, which can disorient you, and changes in tone can make your bass feel different, which makes you play differently. I recently played an outdoor festival where the soundmen obviously had reggae/cookie monster metal as their sonic ideal of the function of the bass. You can fight it to an extent, but sometimes you just have to muddle through. You can't fight city hall or completely clueless people. (this statement is brought to you by the department of redundancy department)
     
  3. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
    DURLL. I'm sending you the bill to get the coffee cleaned out of my computer. Brilliant.

    I just did an outdoor gig where the soundman asked "is that a bass or a cello?". The sax player and I looked at eachother and had a collective 'oh $hit' moment.

    Since I've been playing guts I have to rely a lot less on physical landmarks and more on my ears since the bass and the strings are always changing... sometime mid-song!!! 'Of course' you say but this can be a real challenge when you a playing big outdoor festivals with CRASH as the soundman (I kid you not, that was a guy I had once) and you can't hear the nuance of pitch.
     
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Describe CRASH to me. I'm sure I've met him, but may not have known his name.
     
  5. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
    Introduced himself to me as CRASH with his head cocked sideways like Keanu Reeves in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, long hair he kept flipping out of his face, lotsa ink, lotsa leather, said 'dude' and 'rock' in every sentence, refused to mic the bass and only wanted a line out of the amp, and made the birds fall from the sky when I hit my first note at soundcheck. You know, a dumbass.
     
  6. Chris & Marc, I love these stories and they make me feel a bit better when I run into these same situations. What are you gonna do? Trying to educate certain "soundmen" (morons) about why we really don't need all the subwoofers and why our instrument actually has sonic information above 120 cycles is sort of like tilting at windmills. I played one gig last month, (thankfully only one) where almost every note I played open or stopped had a certain amount of feedback! What a fun night that was (NOT)
     
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Amen. I know that guy, those guys, all of it. "You know, a dumbass" perfectly describes it. :D

    It's like somebody brainwashed these guys en masse to believe that everything the bass plays on the E or A string should sound like a low note played in a lowered BOOM CAR from the 90's where every quarter panel, window, door, and trunk rattles like armageddon whenever the bass plays anything. I'm surprised they don't put chrome wheels and hydraulic lifters on the stages at these events.
     
  8. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    CRASH's brother works at a certain casino in Connecticut. Oh my! Similar tale of woe... :)
     
  9. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    As soon as the guy introduces himself as 'Crash', you know the gig is already in the toilet.
     
  10. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
    Indeed.
     
  11. x15

    x15

    Feb 4, 2003
    New Delhi, India
    Thank you guys, stories, advice and all.
     

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