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Arco On Gut >= 6th Position

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by kwd, Dec 20, 2005.

  1. kwd


    Jun 26, 2003
    silicon valley
    I switched from metal to gut strings three months ago. I endured -and eventually conquered- the attendant squeaks, scratches and whistles that are part of the gut/arco experience. However, I have not been able to tame the notes played above the octave G. My teacher has told me not to worry, saying it's just one of trade-offs of playing with gut. Does anyone have any hints or practice regimens to ameliorate this?
  2. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    As always, Jason gives excellent advice. While admittedly I have never once played at gut string with a bow, what helped me get over sounding like catbutt in TP with steels was bowing closer to the bridge. I e-mailed DaXun Zhang (there was a thread about him in Bassists [DB] a while ago) about bowing in TP and that was part of his advice...definitely the part I found most helpful.
  3. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    struggling with the same here! Long bows, def. andLOTS of practice on it over time!

    I also find that it helps immensely if you have high quality gut. I'm using Dlugoleckis, what do you have?
  4. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    The position of the bow has to move somewhat in relation to the position of the left hand. If you move your left hand further up the fingerboard (higher in pitch) then the bow hand must move up so that the length of vibrating string is maintained (more or less). So certainly if you're playing up in thumb position, you have to have your bow much closer to the bridge. The thing about bowing on gut is you cannot force the sound or you will choke it. In this respect, gut strings are far less forgiving than other types of strings. Use bow more speed and less bow pressure.
  5. kwd


    Jun 26, 2003
    silicon valley
    Thanks to all for the advice. Relaxing and letting go of the tension in my right hand has helped. I also practiced a lot of lone tones on the harmonics to get my bearings, then introduced the non-harmonic notes. Practicing closer to the bridge has helped. Playing in close proximity to the bridge with gut it really sounds like a chain saw, so I had to put on the practice mute to endure it -it paid off.

    PS: Alexi. I'm using Efrano Varnished Gut A,D, G. Innovation 140B E.
  6. kwd


    Jun 26, 2003
    silicon valley
    Concur. That's exactly what my teacher told me. When I tense up, I tend to put more weight on the bow. A prime example of how tension works against you.