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Beginner mistakes to watch out for- please help

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Bluesman88, Feb 15, 2021.


  1. Bluesman88

    Bluesman88

    Nov 15, 2016
    Philadelphia
    Hello to the loooooong scale side of talkbass.

    I'm a long time electric player who has always wanted to play double bass. I finally had the means to aquire one about 2 years ago. Unfortunately immediately after buying the bass I was moved to a project at work that required lots of travel. The project ended Jan 2020 and I was fully committed to finally getting lessons and learning the instrument.

    Needless to say that didn't happen. About 2 months ago I gave up on the idea of in person lessons and started teaching myself the instrument. I learned to read on electric with the simandl method (and Carol Kay books) so that's been my guide for upright. I should also say my wife plays cello so I have a bit of guidance about how to approach a stringed instrument.

    Here is my dilemma. I had been really struggling with getting a good "catch" with the bow on open strings. Especially the open G string. Well the other day I wiped all the rosen off the strings and wouldn't you know it made a world of difference. I had not wiped the rosen off the strings for about a month of playing every day. I guess I thought the rosin build up would help?

    So TB, what are some other stupid mistakes to look out for that you wouldn't read about in a book. The bass came setup pretty well but how do I know when it's time to take it to a pro? I read something about tuning the stings below the bridge. What's that all about?

    Thanks!
     
  2. gogogergie1

    gogogergie1

    Oct 22, 2020
    Biggest mistake- not having a teacher. Seriously
     
  3. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Teacher, yes. But having a regularly available experienced mentor can also help, especially someone who plays the double bass like you want to play it. While in this time a live teacher may not be available, you may be lucky enough to be able to find someone to mentor you. Zoom can be an excellent tool for this kind of sharing, just make sure to make it worth while to your mentor.

    A big congrats on already being comfortable with Simandl! (I'm more than a little jealous. :) )
     
  4. BarfanyShart

    BarfanyShart

    Sep 19, 2019
    DC Metro
    I think it's relatively safe to teach yourself Simandl out of the book as a beginner. Beyond that, you really do want to at least get some zoom lessons. At the very least the teacher can save you a lot of time by pointing you to the right repertoire, and make sure you're not doing anything to hurt yourself. Besides, it's good for the musician economy.
     
    16fuss and neilG like this.
  5. CaseyVancouver

    CaseyVancouver

    Nov 4, 2012
    Plus one on the ‘not having a teacher’ as the biggest beginner mistake. Obviously very hard to have a teacher these days. So the Andrew Anderson series of videos is very good for arco. If into jazz the Gary Peacock series is informative and awesome.

    Regarding tuning below the bridge, don’t worry about it. Worry about tuning on the fingerboard. Have fun with it.



     
  6. Ed S

    Ed S

    Nov 14, 2019
    I found Simandl pretty challenging when I tried to attack it on my own. Not only the font, the unnecessary inclusion of non-English material, the lack of specific direction.

    For a beginner, there are a lot of books I consider more accessible than Simandl - such as All For Strings, Suzuki (tho they start in 4th)... And there is a wealth of material available in on-line videos.

    Just my opinion.

    Your wife's cello experience can be of SOME use, but there are enough differences betw the 2, that there will be many areas she will not be able to help w/.

    But yeah - I'd suggest trying to have at least a few Zoom lessons. I got considerable benefit recently from a month of lessons (tho I stopped, due to my frustration w/ Zoom.)
     
    BarfanyShart likes this.
  7. Last summer, I needed some lessons to help me correct a bad habit. I couldn't find anyone to give me in-person lessons, but I found a touring pro in NYC who gave me a few remote lessons over FaceTime. Yes, communication via FaceTime was cumbersome, & I think it would have been better to have him there in person to better see my stance & how I was holding the instrument. But on the other hand, I was able to hook up with a much more qualified teacher than I ever could have found locally.

    A lot of words to agree with the others: get a teacher; even if it has to be remote.
     
  8. gogogergie1

    gogogergie1

    Oct 22, 2020
    I have a great teacher that I do weekly zoom lessons with. For the most part it works great (other than the fact that zoom occasionally filters out low frequencies ie Bass). We’ve worked through books 1&2 of Vance’s Progressive Repertoire.
    Shoot me a message if you want some more info- he’s looking for more students at the moment.
     
  9. You can also use copper wool to clean your strings after wiping the rosin off. Perhaps once a year or so. Copper wool is available in small packs and is much softer than steel wool, which I would never use.
     
  10. Dogfightgiggle

    Dogfightgiggle

    Mar 4, 2020
    I use a microfiber cloth to clean the rosin. Works great!
     
  11. Yes, I use a low nap microfiber daily. They do work great.
     
  12. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Feb 28, 2021

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