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arco thumb position

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by taylor 01, Jul 22, 2004.


  1. taylor 01

    taylor 01

    Jun 24, 2004
    I am having trouble bowing in thumb position when I first started playing up there it was pretty squeaky then I found that moving the bow closer to the bridge helped I was woundering if there was any other tecniques tohelp bowing in thumb position nicer sounding :crying:
     
  2. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Practice, practice, practice: :bassist: :hyper:
     
  3. olivier

    olivier

    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    It'll probably be more like "Practice, ouch, rest, practice, ouch, rest, practice, ouch, rest..." given the unbelievable pain you feel the first time you try to stop a string with the side of your thumb. Like Ray puts it: you got to build some leather.
     
  4. Make sure you're holding the bass in such a way that allows you to use GRAVITY -- ie the weight of your arm or the weight of the bass -- to assist you in pressing the strings down.

    I've seen guys who play t-position by resting their forearm on the shoulder of the bass, wrist bent at a 90-degree angle. That method might work for them, but it seems ergonomically challenging. I try to keep my elbow up and my wrist as straight as anatomy allows, th goal being not to allow my the underside of my wrist or forearm to make contact with the bass.

    I've been working on leaning the bass forward into my fingers, thus taking advantage of the bass's weight.
     
  5. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    The sweet spot on the strings for the bow moves around on you up in TP. The real trick to lighten up on your right hand and watch your bow speed. The shorter string length seems to amplify everything that you're doing wrong with the stick....
     
  6. Yes. For every note it is different. In general though you get closer to the bridge as you go higher. But don't get to close though or you will sound like Gary Karr ;) (Just kidding - that's his sound. I prefer a mellower approach). The tendency will be to dig in when the note doesn't sound right. Don't do this. Instead increase bow speed and make sure you are fingering the note solidly. It should ring out if you pluck the string. You just have to experiment. Play every note separately and slowly, listening for consistant tone from one note to the next. Also experiment with differnt amount of hair on the string (stick angle). Play the harmonics at G's and D's. This is your ideal sound. Don't be afraid to break up slurred notes if you have to and it makes musical sense. It's easy to run out of bow on long notes and it's better to have two good sounding separate bows than one bad sounding slur.
    -Jon
     
    gnypp45 likes this.
  7. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Yes, I'm forgetting to recall my first experiences.

    The Vance books have been my foundation for learning thumb position. I highly recommend them.
     
  8. matt macgown

    matt macgown Guest

    Dec 1, 2003
    Chattanooga, TN
    By my calculations, according the inquirers birth date, it's not an emergency, and he has plenty of time ahead of him to learn thumb position.. He will answer his own questions?
     
    gnypp45 likes this.
  9. Josh McNutt

    Josh McNutt Guest

    Mar 10, 2003
    Denton, Texas (UNT)
    Maybe. Or he could ask them now and probably get some good answers rather than trying to figure it out on his own and possibly messing it up. I'm not speaking from experience. Really.
     
  10. matt macgown

    matt macgown Guest

    Dec 1, 2003
    Chattanooga, TN
    True dat. Better to ask.
     
  11. I agree with the concept of using gravity to assist the whole thing, if you've allready been studying that method. The 'lay back on the shoulder' method is also effective when done properly, and I'm sure one may work better than the other for different people. One thing I can say for sure though is thumb position playing is NOT something that should be attempted without a *qualified* teacher, and don't jump in thumbs first and try to play some concerto. Spend some months playing scales, simple etudes, arpegios, stuff like that until you get the hang of it. Otherwise you'll get frustrated, sore, and just plain no fun to be around. :-D
     
  12. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Hello Toman. Could you explain your "lay back on the shoulder" response in greater detail? Is it a Gary Karr insight?

    I've been using my bent endpin for several months now, and so using gravity for thumb position isn't as big of an issue. No wonder Rabbath doesn't worry about teaching 4 finger methods below the G-harmonic. But I do still miss the "vertical bass" orientation on occasion.
     
  13. actually, it's pretty much the opposite of the Gary karr method. In that technique you're leaning th bass almost foward into your fingers. In the 'layed back' technique the bass leans backwards while you sort of take a step back or something. Hard to explain... But the neck can actually rest on you should when you're playing in the higher thumb positions. It works out well if you have a bass with big shoulders or if you play with your endpin out pretty far; I think it's probably also more popular with french bow players, since it's going to increase the distance you have to reach with your bow arm.
     
  14. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    O.K., I get what you mean now. I understood it to be called "open" position. It's a popular way of playing in thumb position regardless of the bow one uses.