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D-Flat Blues

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by JacoJr, Dec 16, 2002.

  1. JacoJr

    JacoJr Guest

    Mar 26, 2002
    Decatur GA.
    I have been reading some old Count Basie charts recently, and am having trouble with the difficult keyes that many are written in. Any advice on what could maybe make it easier?
  2. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    I think the only thing that makes one key harder than another is that you haven't played it as much. Just practice the heck out of your Db scale- get the Mark Morton scale books, or work with your teacher, or whatever- and it'll be no harder than any other key.

    It's kind of easy to become very facile in Bb and Eb and pretend no other keys exist, and then one day someone calls a tune in E...
  3. JacoJr

    JacoJr Guest

    Mar 26, 2002
    Decatur GA.
    i thought thats what needed to be done, thanks alot
  4. When I was in high school and college playing the very same charts, my pitfall would be always hanging around 1/2 and 1st position and just moving up the G string if I needed to play higher than a C-flat. Once I learned to play in higher positions and across rather than up-and-down, those keys got easier.
  5. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Read the chart as intervals. If you're sight reading note-by-note, instead of looking at a bar as particular notes, say: Db - F - Eb - F,

    Look at it as its interval in the scale: 1 - 3 - 2 - 3.

    This, of course, assumes that you know the scale. Likewise, you can do this with chord charts.

    If the sequence is:

    Dbmaj7 / Fmin7 / Ebmin7 / Fmin7

    Then you know that the function is:

    Imaj7 / iiimin7 / iimin7 / iiimin7
  6. For me, when working through Simandl 1st position, it is easy to become so fixated on being able to transition up to hit the D on the G string that your muscles and ears don't want to acknowledge the Db when you move up to III position (which, at least in Simandl, is almost learned in conjunction with II position) - in other words the high Db will sound funny even if you have it intonated correctly until you naturalize yourself to it. Therefore, I suggest practicing Db scales arco with a Db droning half the time, half the time without it. The other trick is that a Db major scale (at least as fingered in Simandl) transitions between three different positions (I, 1/2, and III) and this takes some getting used to as well.

    Also try the blues in Ab.
  7. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    LG, the process you've described is the exact reason that my teachers avoided Simandl like smallpox. They said:

    a) Everyone has things that are easier and harder. Move all around the bass from day one. Find out what is easiest for you and work on the stuff that needs work.

    b) Restated: Don't think that "sixth position" is harder than "third position" just because six is higher than three. Many people find it more physically demanding to play in "first position" than in "fourth position." Use what works and work on the parts that don't.

    I don't practice lots. (That's one reason I suck.) Chris FitzGerald once noted constructively that my Db lines are weaker than, say my F lines. Since then, I've made Db blues a part of my brief drill: It's harder for me and it needs work. Thanks, Durrll.
  8. Although I agree in general that the sequence of Simandl can throw you off (of course, since that was my last post), I don't think its a reason (at least for me) to avoid Simandl. It just means I need to spend longer on III position than on 1/2 position, regardless of when I get to it.

    I also think V, VI, I, 1/2 position are naturally easier for most people than something like III position because of the ability to work open strings into it. I don't think it has anything to do with the height of the position, as you said, cuz playing in VI position is immensely easier for me than III position. I think it's good to work through somehting like Simandl but always be playing other stuff that uses positions all over the neck, and to work on what needs help, like you say. I am primarily working through Simandl to learn arco, but once I make it through, I am sure I will just return non-sequentially to the trouble positions (for me).

    Right now its III. I actually have it almost in tune!

    Oh and yeah - the Db blues - its good to play a standard progression that your ear recognizes. I think once the entire progressions sounds normal to me every time I will have mastered this position, or at least developed a level of proficiency equal to the rest of the neck (in other word, I will suck the same no matter where on the neck I am playing).
  9. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    And thank you for the excellent advice regarding the rhythmic activity (or lack thereof) in my walking lines. I love free advice when it hits close to home!

    I'm in total agreement about Simandl - if you take the "don't ever play your bass in any position until you've mastered that section in Simandl" approach - especially if you're into improvisation - you might as well wear a ball and chain around your leg and then try to go for a stroll.
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    This is a really weird and interesting thread for me, as I have never looked at Simandl and never really thought about the practical implications.

    On BG, one key is no different for me than any other and I am bemused when people talk about a key being "harder" at Jazz jams or workshops.

    I have been dabbling with EUB since last March, but basically don't do enough practice on either BG or EUB and things like Chris said, make me wonder whether I am lucky not to have ever come across Simandl? :confused:

    I have noticed a big divide between teachers of Jazz Bass as to this thing - so some are very strict about fingering and positions and others are like Samuel and Chris and say to play wherever you want - this really made me think about what I want to do and if possible has made me more undecided about how to go forward!! ;)
  11. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    I use a fair amount of rhthmic activity in my mid-tempo and fast walking lines -- walking-pops (as opposed to BG thumb-pops), rakes and the like. Open strings are almost essential for many of those tricks -- for instance, left-hand pull-off things. (I've worked on getting my left-hand pull-offs to sound even no matter what finger I'm using.)

    Open strings are not the prime notes used in walking a Db blues (except when they are). That's why it's harder, and that's why I practice it.
  12. tsolo


    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    ooh, ooh, ooh, samuel this is a bit off topic. I'm just beginning to work on pull-offs and was wondering if anyone does hammer-ons? I can't see it but it could happen...
  13. You can do some hammer on stuff on the G string and it gets progressively more impossible to do on the fatter strings.
  14. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Sure. When I practice my scales in 12 keys thing, I finger them on two-note groups like so:

    (scale degrees) 1 - 2 (shift) 3 - 4 (shift) 5 - 6 (shift) 7 - 8 (shift) 2 - 3 (shift)

    I practice them both ways: One way is plucking each note of the scale, the other is plucking only the first of the two notes and hammering the second. It's not that bad once you get the hang of it, but you have to have your LH technique pretty much down pat to get a decent sound. And I find pull-offs to me MUCH harder than hammers.
  15. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    May I recommend a deep listen to Stafford James on Dexter Gordon's Homecoming? Textbook 1976 "modern" driving four-time with Louis Hayes providing additional guidance from the drum throne. You can lift enough walking tricks from Gingerbread Man or Backstairs to power a couple of quintets at once.

    As a gross generalization -- have at it, ladies and gentlemen -- hammer-ons are not idiomatic walking four. Players use them in solos -- Dave Holland comes to mind, although I'm sure that you can find many examples if you try. If you really want to hear a DB get hammered, check out Brian Bromberg's Wood.