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Controlling the E string

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by elrick5, Sep 21, 2002.


  1. elrick5

    elrick5

    Aug 8, 2002
    Wisconsin
    Anyone have any good tips on controlling the E string? Obviously it has the most mass, and once it starts vibrating it's hard to grab for another note (pizz). I try to keep my thumb planted against the side of the fingerboard, but I'm not always very successful at doing that when playing on the E string. TIA!
     
  2. jaybo

    jaybo Guest

    Sep 5, 2001
    Richmond, KY
    How long have you been playing? I had the same problem when I first started presumably because, for me, the E string requires more strength to hold down and make sound good. Try practicing long notes on the E string and go up and down chromatically (with a tuner to keep an eye on intonation :) ) and you'll get it. If you're playing arco make sure to practice long notes with it as well, sometimes it's tough to get that E string vibrating as soon as you put the bow down instead of their being an audible 'scrape' of getting the string moving. You'll get it, don't worry.
     
  3. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Is the problem in the right hand (pizz)? I get my best sound on the E with kind of hook shaped attack, one finger, near or just past the end of the fingerboard, and I actually nail it pretty hard, so there's a percussive attack. The back end of each note can be controlled somewhat with the release in the left hand. Dunno if this is "correct" tech, but it sounds good in my case.
     
  4. elrick5

    elrick5

    Aug 8, 2002
    Wisconsin
    The problem is with the right hand. The string moves better than 3/8" from side to side, and with something more up-tempo, it's hard to play subsequent notes on the E-string once it's in motion. No problem on the A string, but there I always feel more anchored with my thumb on the side of the fingerboard, plus the smaller string diameter.
     
  5. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    There is quite a bit of side-to-side movement in a string that long and thick, especially when you're playing it open or in the lower positions. It does seem to help a bit if my attack is somewhat towards the front of the bass, rather than across the string. If the tempo is really quick, I'll probably use a more conventional alternating two-finger pizz, and the damping of the notes then comes pretty naturally. It's hard to describe the process; in general, though, I try to keep my right hand close to the strings and minimize unnecessary movement.