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A few newbie questions...

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by JamieParkinson, May 2, 2010.


  1. JamieParkinson

    JamieParkinson

    Apr 23, 2010
    London, UK
    Hi,

    This is my first post on TB but I've been lurking for a while now - here goes. I'm a 16-year old student in the UK and I've been learning the DB for about a month now, but have over 9 years of experience of playing classical (and more recently jazz) piano and am currently around maybe a Grade 7 ABRSM level in that.

    My double bass teacher is a lady who teaches piano at my school but plays DB in an orchestra. Because I'm leaving school for study leave for exams in a couple of weeks she's been trying to teach me the basics pretty fast in the few lessons we've had. I've unfortunately only been able to practise at lunchtimes for about half an hour at a time with the rubbish 1/4 size school basses (they're taught to younger students because of some jazz scheme), but will shortly be getting a 3/4 one hired.

    I'm mainly interested in jazz playing but I still would like to develop a decent arco/classical ability. A local music shop which has a good reputation and the son of the owners is a bass player has recommended me a local jazz teacher who is apparently pretty much the best jazz bassist in the region, and I feel I will go to him when my exams are finished in a couple of months - hopefully he will be able to guide me in the best technique (as well as general jazziness), but until then and just in general I have a few questions, some specific and some more general...

    - How do I play harmonics? I'm forcing myself to tune by ear with a tuning fork. Please give a very simple idiot's explanation.

    - For practice in the mean time, should I get a version of Simandl and work through that to get good on my technique?

    - Are there any other books I should get, perhaps instead of Simandl?

    - I don't really understand this whole thing with accompaniment tapes - does Simandl have the music for the accompaniment? If so, I could just record myself playing it on piano and use that.

    - The woman in the music shop seemed critical of hiring a bass, saying that if I was going to play bass, I should go for it 'properly'. Is there truth in this or was she trying to make me buy her bass?

    Sorry about this rather long post... Please don't tell me to search for these thing :p :bag:
     
  2. ZH_Driver

    ZH_Driver

    Feb 22, 2007
    Sydney
    OK, say you have tuned one string, which depending on your tuning fork, will probably be a A or a D. (My teacher uses an A, and tunes it to an A harmonic on the D string, these are found at 1/3rd length, I use an electric tuner to tune the D string as I play an EUB).

    So with that for starters, tune the A string using the A harmonic on the D string (1/3rd length, i.e. the A on the D-sting) and the A 2nd harmonic on the A string (1/4 length, i.e. at the D on the A string).

    Once these are tuned, use the same method for the E string (E hamonic on the A-string at 'E', and E 2nd harmonic on the E-string at 'A'). Similar again for tuning the G string. This is for more accurate if you do it with the bow rather than piz. You will hear that it is much easier if you try both.

    Unless the bass was already almost in tune, repeat the above starting with the tuning fork, as the tension may have changed as other strings were pulled up.

    I think that the one book has more than enough you keep you challenged for a few months. Don't be afraid of repeating the same thing over and over agin, it will pay off later. Practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. So don't feel the need to rush through the book!

    However, between getting my first bass and going to lessons, I avoided playing it as I really did not want to get bad habits/technique. You really need to assess where you are at with what you already know and then decide how far you want to go before getting your new teacher.

    If you know you will continue to play it, without a doubt you need to buy one. A rented one may help you save up to get a nicer one now than you otherwise would have for a first bass. As soon as you are 100% sure you will stick with it, save up and shop around!

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. JamieParkinson

    JamieParkinson

    Apr 23, 2010
    London, UK
    Thanks for the detailed response! I'll definitely try to get started with the new teacher as soon as possible and in the mean time I'll stick to stuff my current teacher has taught me so I don't get into bad habits with anything else. I think I'll probably get Simandl and will tentatively do a page or so on that to perfection, I know what you mean about the practising - I don't know about bass but with the piano I find it can take a month or less to get pretty good at a piece, but then it can be several months more to iron out all the little problems and turn decent playing into great playing.

    About buying a bass, I think maybe a really good option would be rent-to-buy at this stage since I can keep playing until I'm sure I want to continue then I can buy a bass for a good price.

    Thanks!
     

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