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a few questions

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by asglkjreio bill, Sep 29, 2002.

  1. i decided to make a new thread because i had 2 different questions (while both related to DB, 2 differen area's) anyways...

    Right now, the strings on my current bass (the one the college is graciously letting me barrow) are currently jazz strings, wich is fine, but im currently studying orchestral technique... wich brings me to the question of; are strings labeled "jazz strings" going to make a big difference from strings that are "orchestral" strings(not that it makes a difference, as i dont have the money to replace them right now) Im currently using a German bow, and a rosin i picked up for a cheap price at a local music store.

    Also, before studying wich a teacher i took up simandl on my owne, and learned that the middle and the 3rd finger were to remain together, while my teacher is making me hold my 3rd and little finger together. Does anyone else play like this? Or might this be some sort of excersize to strengthen a finger (or strenghten the "getting used to" part of my brain, because being used to middle and 3rd together, it was pretty tough to jump to the 3rd and 4th together)

    anyway, those are my only questions. thanks for reading (and answering if you do)

  2. The differences between jazz and orchestral strings will be mainly in how the sound, but there might be a difference in tension also. Orchestral strings will generally sound better bowed, and have lower tension. When you get the cash, the strings should be the next thing you look at replacing for that bass (assuming everything else is in decent condition). Try out a variety of "orchestral" strings and see which sound and feel best with your bass.

    As for your second question, I'm not sure I entirely understand what you're asking, but I'll give it a shot. By "holding the 3rd and 4th finger together", do you mean that when you press a note that requires the use of the 4th finger, you also keep the 3rd finger down? As opposed to keeping the third finger down when you're playing a note that requires the use of the second finger?

    If so, then your teacher is absolutely right. There are alot of old books that use the 3rd finger instead of the second, but this is no longer done. Although the third finger is used quite often in thumb position.

    Did any of this help?
  3. Aroneng

    Aroneng Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2001
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    Most teachers will probably have you keep your second and third fingers together vs. your third and fourth fingers as your current teacher. Your Simandl book might have pictures of this. As was mentioned, when you are playing with your fourth finger you will be pressing down on the string with your other fingers as well.

    Getting a set of orchestral strings will generally improve the sound of the bass when playing arco and will get the stings moving easier as well. Most orchestral strings are higher in tension than jazz strings. Generally most jazz strings have a better pizz. sound & sustain as compared to orch. strings.
  4. by 3rd and 4th finger together, i mean they are kind of used as one, much like the picture in the simandl book, but instead of the 2nd and 3rd finger "acting as one," well, the 3rd and 4th are "one." and whenever i use a finger (or the 3/4) i try to hold the fingers not being used down as well (if appropriate, obviously if i needed to play a Bb on the A string in, i wouldn't hold down my middle and 3/4)

    Im sorry for the confusion of my question. So now that we have this little key (3&4= 3rd and 4th together, acting as one "large finger", 2&3= 2nd and 3rd together, acting as one "large finger") i can restate my question with less confusion, does anyone else do the 3&4 method? All the professional, and amateur bassists alike seem to use the 2&3 method. the way my teacher explained it to me, it seemed like 3&4 made more sence, as the 4th finger is weak by itself, plus the same tendon connects fingers 3 and 4. But like i said, maybe he's just trying to strengthen something, and prepare me for the 2&3 approach.

    Regardless, i appreciate the reply's, and i will most definatly invest in the orchestral strings ASAP. Thanks alot everyone!
  5. Aroneng

    Aroneng Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2001
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    If you are not playing in the thumb position, you will play with primarily three fingers; 1,2,&4. When you are playing a note with finger 4, finger 3 will be next to finger 2 pressing down on the string.
  6. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    Jazzers may prefer lower tension strings these days, but the main difference between jazz and classical strings is in the construction. Most strings preferred for arco use have a layer of damping in between the windings. This damping supresses some of the higher-order harmonics which make it easier to draw a fundemental tone without "scratchiness", i.e., a lot of high harmonics. Heavily damped strings are often described as "dark" sounding becasue they have relatively low harmonic content.

    The tension and construction of the windings can also influence the degree of damping of the stings. Round layers allow the string to vibrate more fully. Flat layers inhibit vibration and damp out harmonics.

    The different Helicore models, for example have different amounts of damping material. The Pizz models have none, the Hybrids have a thin fabric layer between metal layers, and the Orchestras, a thicker layer.

    These aren't universals; may arco players like the brightness of a relatively undamped string and have the technique to control the tone, and many jazzers like the dark sound of a heavily damped string.
  7. hey man, your from michigan? i am to. Im currently under the instruction of Alex Antunis (i forget the spelling of the last name) at the Flint institute of Music. Were abouts do your perform/teach/ or do what you do?
  8. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    Used to run a music store and play some, but I haven't gigged in a few years. Right now I'm busy woodshedding and transitioning to UB.
  9. Alex is a teacher of yours? He's a colleague of mine at State. He's a phenomenal musician and a true talent on the bass, so glean everything you possibly can from him. As for the L.H. question, it is true that although the third and fourth finger act as one in the lower positions, the third finger is customarily situated closer to the second finger when playing; if you comfortably position your hand on the fingerboard you should notice that this is, in fact a very natural position for the hand/fingers to be in. Do you feel as if you are contorting you fingers in any sort of awkward fashion when you play?
  10. oh really? i happen to be going to see him tommarow. Small world eh. anyways, the 3&4 now feels natural, although not as natural as the 2&3 did. But prior to the 3&4, i had been using the 2&3 for along time, so i had a lot of time ot get used to it. Actually while typing this, i tryed doing the 2&3, and it doesn;t really feel to ackward(less ackward than i though it would feel, iv been restraining from doing the 2&3 lately, for fear of messing up my "memory in my hands" so to speak.) But like you said, Alex knows what he's doing (without taking anything away form you of course, iv never been instructed under you) so i il adhere to his teachings. Maybe il bring it up tommarow, however the last thing i want to do is question a teacher who (maybe like yourself) is going for a doctorate in bass. Again, thanks again for all the responces. Il tell Alex "GKristianson" says hello!
  11. EFischer1

    EFischer1 Guest

    Mar 17, 2002
    New York, New York
    When you get some cash i would recommend pirastro flexocore of flexocore origionals. They're by far the best orchestral strings in my opinion.
  12. If you are serious about playing and studying with the bow, save yourself a lot of headache and buy Pirastro strings. I would recomend medium Flexocor's. A great string with less tension than the Original Flexocor's or Original Flat Chromesteel. Jazz or hybrid strings will not give you the proper sound and bow response. Plus if you play in an orchestra you'll stick out, not blend and annoy your section mates.
    I'm a full time professional in a major symphony orchestra and a Jazz player.
    Hope this helps. Good luck.
  13. Does anyone on here who plays orchestral music NOT play jazz? When the school year started a few weeks ago, i took up jazz ensamble and combo along with symphonic band, and im starting to regret the combo. As much as iv always wanted to be able to improvise and what not, i just really suck at it. Especially compared to 4 people who have been playing jazz for along time. One day in combo, it got to the point were the trumpet player (who seems like kind of a mean fellow in the first place) was rolling his eyes and getting pissed at me (after telling the guy i had never been in a situation like this!). I kinda dont want to be in a situation like that agaiin, but right now, under the direction of my teacher, im focusing on jazz, when id rather be putting fourth all my time to site reading skills, proper technique, and learning orchestral literature.. Im just wondering if all succesfull orchestral players are involved in jazz to. I hafta say, much respect goes out to all of you who play jazz on the double bass, not only because of the difficulty involved, but the jerks you may hafta put up with (im not saying all jazz musicians are jerk either)

    anyway, if the previous paragraph of run on sentances, scattered points, and grammatical inconsistincies makes any sence, respond. i really appreciate all the responces iv gotten thus far.
  14. EFischer1

    EFischer1 Guest

    Mar 17, 2002
    New York, New York
    I have met a lot of successful major orchestra players from places like Boston, New York, Chicago, and Houston who have never had to play jazz. However, if you aren't the next edgar meyer, i would recommend learning. Something's gotta pay the bills!
  15. I don't play Jazz (unless it's written out on a Pops show). In fact, most of my colleagues don't really play jazz either.

    There are a few guys I work with who dabble with jazz but most seem not to. If you like focusing on orchestral/classical technique, then by all means do so. There's plenty to do without adding jazz to the mix (although if you want to, it couldn't hurt).

    I'm not sure I quite understand the previous poster's comment that Jazz will pay the bills. In my experience, orchestral gigs tend to pay way more than the average Jazz gig, not to mention that they often come as multiple service gigs - i.e., if you're hired for a concert there are often several paid rehearsals too.
  16. Joe Taylor

    Joe Taylor

    Dec 20, 2001
    Tracy CA
    There are several schools of fingering open hand and closed hand are the two most used (incombination). Closed hand is what is called simandl style and the other is just refered to as open hand. Now, this is where it gets tricky. I need to explain a few things at this point, insted of calling out positions I want to refer to the position on the neck by the note played by the first finger because I have seen at least three diffrent scheams for 1st 2nd etc position. As an example what is normaly called 1st position I would refer to as A position. Unless you have huge hands closed hand is what is used until D position, on most basses. You will play a half step between fingers 1 and 2 and between 2 and 4, A Bflat and B in a position. Here is where I get on the new simandl plus wagon. Moving down to D position the space between half steps has diminished and you can play a half step between each finger. this works in the region between D and G (thumb position). This is kind of out of the box thinking to some people. It is hard to make your third finger actualy do things at first. but you can play the whole F major scale in D position with out shifting and play it real fast. I did not think this up Dr Mark Morton teaches this in his books and in his summer camp, the American School of Double Bass. (http://www.asodb.com) you can get his books and read up on this for yourself. It is worth the time spent checking it out.


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