E flat neck

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by basscleff94010, Jul 26, 2021.

  1. I just arrived for a rehearsal where the rental bass has an Eb neck and I have always played a D neck. To make matters worse a couple of the pieces are in Db Major and E Major, both of which I often use fingerings around the neck. Any advice on how to handle this?
    I know if I was a better player, it shouldn't matter because I should be able to just hear the difference. However, I depend on the neck as a guide for accurate intonation.
  2. CaseyVancouver


    Nov 4, 2012
    It is only a mental block. Think about the notes at the heel and burn it into your brain.

    Playing two very different instruments is not difficult to do. Relax, enjoy and work with the differences.
    Neil Pye and Eli Brockway like this.
  3. It isn't just hearing it. You use the same fingerings. Just play how you'd normally play and stop thinking about it.
    Garagiste and Eli Brockway like this.
  4. Are you playing arco? To locate Dflat with your pinkie play the G harmonic (over C) with your 2nd finger quietly as you reach for it. You can feel the centre of the harmonic. Or march up and down the last four notes of the scale on the Gstring, 1 - 4 - 2 - 4. Or sound the Dflat as an augmented fourth above G, drop your LH by your side, reach for the Dflat, drop, reach and test, drop, reach and test......... (kinesthetics) with your eyes shut.

    Go for the E by touching the D harmonic with 1st finger. Or by going to the base of the neck with your thumb and setting your hand on F then measure slipping your entire hand back a 1/2 tone. Repeat accurately often, feeling the difference between settings.

    Do not play softer when you lose confidence because it will further rob you. Also keep pressing the notes firmly enough to the fingerboard, which is often sufficient to hear the notes clearly when playing softly

    If you cannot hear yourself maybe no-one else can, your colleagues or the audience? Longer term try hearing the note you want as you reach for it, not worrying about technique. This seems to work well when reaching for notes in Thumb Position.

    Cheers, DP
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2021
    Garagiste, BobDeRosa and Eli Brockway like this.
  5. Thank you all for your thoughtful suggestion. I was able to successfully complete the rehearsals and concert by doing as you said. Of course, keeping the same fingerings works fine. I was mostly struggling with a lack of confidence without the usual anchors for intonation in that area of the neck. And, again obviously, the only way to handle that was to listen very carefully. In the end, I played it pretty well, except for a couple missed E's on G.
    Cecilia likes this.
  6. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    At my lessons, my teacher will sometimes surprise me with a different bass from her collection just to keep me on my toes. Her big orchestra bass has an Eb neck and big shoulders, her French bass has a D neck and is not too different in size and shape from mine, a small-bodied Italian solo/chamber bass with a D neck and regular string length, and a huge cello-shaped English bass with the deepest ribs I've ever seen, and a sound to match its girth. Always challenging and fun.