Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Angus, Nov 7, 2000.

  1. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Ok, so im just starting double bass in Jazz band, (well, was, before i injured my hand), and since the school refuses to pay for lessons in class (which the teacher wanted), and i dont have time for MORE private lessons, ive kinda had to figure everything out for myself.

    My ear isnt bad, so my intonation isnt suffering, but my technique surely is.

    Ive got a pretty good grip of pizzicato (i believe), but just so im doing everything correctly, could someone please explain how to do both? I dont really have any idea what arco is, i dont think. Anything you could tell would be great!

    Double bass is definitely very new to me, and pretty fun to play, but i want to make sure im at least starting off on the right foot. Thanks!
  2. Not to be a jerk but, chances are you are you're much more out of tune than you realize.

    Pizzicato=with the fingers
    Arco=with the bow
  3. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Nifty, thanks.

    Is there different types of pizzicato playing?

    And no, actually, my intonation is pretty good. Im not a beginner to regular bass either, so my ear isnt too shabby. But i understand my intonation is far from perfect too. When im practicing, i just plug into a tuner to make sure im in tune, HOPING the bass is set up correctly.
  4. If you're seriously considering learning the double-bass, you really need to take lessons with a good teacher.

    The double-bass and the electric bass are totally different instruments. You might struggle for months on a particular problem which a good teacher could help you overcome in a matter of minutes, as well as stopping any bad habits before they start.

    Tell your parents to forget the Range-Rover - go with a VW Bug, and spent the difference on some lessons with a good double-bass teacher :>

    - Wil

    [Edited by Wil Davis on 11-07-2000 at 04:15 PM]
  5. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Hey, thanks Ed!

    Arco actually doesnt matter to much to me, as im not doing any bowing in jazz band. Most of the stuff i play i do on the Tune anyway, but sometimes the song requires the double bass tone.

    As for my ears, they probably arent up to your standards for "good" on db, but its all relative. I meant good as opposed to someone who has NO clue what things should sound like, or whether they are close to in tune. Thats good to me...for now.

    And yeah, ive got a pretty good idea of where i should be playing positionally. Again, good as opposed to someone with no clue. Its far from perfect, but ive got a pretty good idea. Good enough for now, anyway.

    Well, see, my school normally would pay for a guy to come in during Jazz Band, but they refuse to pay the $5 (!) because theyd rather replace one of the chairs in the teachers lounge [:rolleyes:], and they wont let my dad pay for some reason. I dont have time after school, as im taking 7 classes, most of which are IB/Honors (higher placement) classes. Its 9th grade, so yes, technically high school, but im still in a junior high, except for a couple classes at the local high school. But the jazz band is at the junior high. I take 2 sets of lessons as it is, so im not sure when ill have time to double up the lessons with a teacher, but i suppose i can try.

    And i dont own a double bass, so the lessons would almost be futile, because i cant practice outside of them.

    Hhhhmmm...i feel dirty asking, but do you know of any good videos? Might as well try something.

    Thanks, KingFu.
  6. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    See, the problem is time! Id love to take more lessons, as that would improve me more than anything, but im pretty pressed as it is, especially now.
  7. Arco=end of the tune
    Pizz=what you do until the arco ;)

    When you can hear a note, say an E, and you can hear what E that is, then you know you're playing in tune. By what E I mean E in what key. An E in A major sounds different than an E in C major.

    [Edited by David Kaczorowski on 11-07-2000 at 05:13 PM]
  8. What other lessons are you taking? If you're taking bass guitar lessons, they won't help you with the real, um I mean string bass. String bass lessons *will* help you with bass guitar. I saw in your profile you're in Seattle. Call Hammond-Ashley ( and ask if they have a rental program. That will solve your lack of a bass.
    Videos, there's a Jeff Bradetich video and a Francois Rabbath CD-rom. The problem with this stuff is they can't offer you feedback like a good teacher does. They can't hear you play out of tune and suggest what to do differently with your hand position to correct it, etc.
  9. Rockinjc


    Dec 17, 1999

    Here's the Deal. If you spend an hour a week with a good teacher at this point in your life, it is like spending twenty on your own trying to figure it out, and you wont discover anything new on your own because it has all been done before - as far as the upright is concerned. You may find some bad habits that will be difficult to shake in when it comes time.

    By the time you are the age of us the old coots here, the pressures of time will be accelerated logarithmically. Your young pliant mind takes things up so much more readily than twenty years from now. Your not hung up on being "self taught" are you?...that's a trap. Use some will and the right teacher will come along and help.

    If necessary, take the time away from posting so much.

  10. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Hey, thanks for the info guys!

    The only reason ive been able to post so much recently is because ive been home sick the last three school days, as i just got my wisdoms out.

    Im not stuck on self teaching. I actually am very opposed to self-teaching, but i dont know if ill have time for a while, so getting outside help temporarily from things like TB and videos would be a good thing to help, temporarily.

    Thanks for all the help, guys.
  11. Let's give Meg a few points for being interested and motivated, and having proper perspective on self-teaching.

    Dave K: Am I alone in thinking self-teaching from a Rabbath tape is risky? I'd propose a more conventional approach.
  12. I'm glad you brought that up, Don. I share your position.
    I thought about raising the issue in my other post, but refrained. I think self-teaching from a video is risky in
    and of itself, but thought I'd just answer the guys question and no more. I didn't want to comment on the Rabbath CD-rom
    because I've never seen it.

    I have the first volume of the Rabbath method. It has a chart illustrating the way he views the positions. There
    are something like half the number of positions than in traditional methods and the basis of the approach is pivoting the thumb without really shifting. IMO, until a player is a stone cold master of traditional technique, he has no business even thinking about such things. And even then it should be used sparingly, only in those situations that lend itself to it where traditional means would detract from the music.
  13. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA

    So no video? Hhhmmm. And yeah, i certainly wont have time for a little while.

    Any other suggestions? Im up for anything! I bow to your wisdom! :D