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Double Bass in High School

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Digitechwire, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. I'm a Junior in high school right now and I've been playing classical double bass for six years now but I'm not as good as I'd like to be. I got my own used bass a couple months ago but my parents refuse to let me have a luthier set it up properly because they keep thinking that I'm going to sell it back right before I go to college. The action is too high and when I put some weight into my bowing, I end up bowing two strings instead of one. Therefore the only practicing I can do at home is pizz, and maybe it's just me but playing everything pizz doesn't help me very much.

    My parents also won't let me get private lessons because again, they think it'll be a waste of money if I'm just going to sell the bass back. I've tried several times to tell them I want to major in double bass performance in college but they refuse to believe me since it's not traditional in the family. I want to play better so I can be at good level for college but I don't know how to improve without buying technique books or getting a teacher.

    Side question: I also want to do a senior solo for orchestra but I've never really done too much solo stuff before. Where would I start with something like that?
  2. It's not a waste of money, even if it's your hobby. There's two ways of thinking here; my stepfather thought it was a waste unless I wanted to become a professional musican. My father, who is an amateur musician is almost cart blanche when it comes to music (within reasonable limits), even if it's just for amateur level. My stepfather is right if we're talking about a LOT of money, my father is right if we're talking about relatively small or moderate sums.

    Personally, I solved it by working up my own money.
  3. They're doing it right if they want to prevent that from being an option. You'll have to do a whole lot of work if you want to pay for all of that yourself... possible, would at least prove the point however.

    I'd say, cut a deal... tell them you simply will not sell the bass straight away, but that spending some money on it is necessary for you to get out of it what you can. Deal is, they fix the bass up, you demonstrate that you can stick with it for the level of work it is going to take.

    Also point out, it will be worth more after the setup than it was before anyway.
  4. What kind of shop buys back their own sales without a huge price cut? That's no way to run a business.

    A bass that can be played easily is much easier to resell on the open market for a higher price, and the kind of work you're talking about might not be that expensive. If it's just the bridge that needs to be cut down, that can be as little as $30. A fingerboard planing also has a wide price range depending on how much work needs to be done. Even if you wanted to sell it tomorrow, the work would pay for itself.
  5. Just show them you have goals that you really want to achieve (all state, music festival, etc...) and then show that you need additional help. Do all of this without being too upfront about it though. They will eventually come to the conclusion themselves and they will think getting you lessons was their idea.

    I'm not a fan of parent manipulation, but you gotta do what ya gotta do.
  6. ILIA


    Jan 27, 2006
    If you can't get your parents to do a very inexpensive bridge adjustment, get a rat tail file and file down all the strings evenly then file down the G and E strings further to create bowing angle clearance you need for arco playing, always making sure that you do not file down the notches too low (assuming the bridge is not warped and the neck is not bowed).

    There is no substitute for a real qualified teacher, but at least you have youtube.

    Finally, when it comes to seemingly UN-supportive parents, I don't not think this is the case with your parents. I mean, they did buy you the bass, so they can't be all that bad. In order to get to the next stage of support (lessons and proper setup), you have to demonstrate to them that you won't flake out and stop playing the bass after they make an investment in lessons and a real setup. The best way to do this is practice every day and not suck when you practice (and the not sucking part may even be optional). Once you demonstrate commitment, they will be comfortable in further investment. So get off TB, file down your bridge, stop talking bass, and start playing bass.