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Double Bass beginner

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by dodgy_ian, Jun 27, 2004.

  1. dodgy_ian


    Apr 9, 2001
    Newcastle, UK
    Hey all,

    I've just started playing double bass these past few months. I've been playing electric for seven years, been playing jazz on it for the past year or so so am pretty much down on my theory and playing, just needing to get the double bass technique down really. Basically, any ideas on what I should practise over the summer before I start my jazz degree in September, to really sort out my playing?

  2. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    I get to say it first! :hyper:

    Lessons with a great teacher are your best investment at this point. Electric is a lot different than double bass, and there are many technical pitfalls awaiting you. Save your self a lot of re-training later by getting a good teacher now, you won't regret it!

    To find a good teacher, phone the nearest musician's association (AF of M) and see who they reccommend. Call the local university or College and get the teacher's phone number. It is really best to get a classical teacher for technique, so the local symphony in your area is a good place to look. Go to a few concerts, and see if you can speak to a few of the bassists in the section afterwards. They might seem a little bit unapproachable, but let them know that you are serious, and planning to enter jazz school soon. They might be able to steer you to a grad student who will teach you for a lower rate (or a months' supply of Ramen noodles :smug: )

    Don't forget to listen to a lot of good music! Edgar Meyer and Gary Karr are great "classical" double bassists, as well as people like Chris McBride, Ron Carter, Scott Lafaro with Bill Evans, Charles Mingus, Paul Chambers, etc etc

    Best of luck to you!
  3. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    LM Bass said it all...good Teacher. Get crankin with the bow.

  4. Savino


    Jun 2, 2004
    these guys are right. i made the switch seven years ago from electric to acoustic and you have a long but exciting road ahead of you. taking on the acoustic can be a daunting task with so many avenues to explore. i remember trying to practice everything, everyday. scales, arpegg, walking, solos, arco, songs. sometimes it took up to 10 hours. now years, and several injuries later i find that playing scales, using one consistent fingering per scale per day is leading me towards mastery. try to play for a long as you can. the important key is to not stop unless you feel pain. when you tire, play whole notes. treat it as a meditation.work your way from ten minutes straight, twenty, 30, and so on. you will be eventually be able to attain relaxation while playing a physically demanding instrument. my second tip is to sing. sing along with that bass every step of the way. always let you ear guide your technique, never the contrary. on a fretless instrument, you must earn your notes.
    i wish i would have known about francois rabbath when i started. check him and his books out.
  5. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Maybe don't crank the bow- just drag it gently across those cables that run up the neck.
  6. dodgy_ian


    Apr 9, 2001
    Newcastle, UK
    Cheers. I'll try and get a hold of a teacher asap. Was going to do that when I moved in September to the big city as its a bit tougher to get a teacher in my small town!!

    I've just been practising scales, thinking about finger positions and intonation mainly. I had a few lessons from a friend about three finger technqiue so I've been working on that in my left hand.

    Don't want to make some serious errors now that will require serious re-learning later.