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fingernails on chalkboad sound

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Darth_Linux, Jan 27, 2003.


  1. Darth_Linux

    Darth_Linux

    Oct 12, 2002
    Spokane, WA
    I'm a pretty new player. While playing arco I often get what sounds to me like overtones/harmonics. Similar to the sound of fingernails on the chalkboard. I've changed the strings (Daddario hybrids) and had the bow rehaired and I still get that sound so I figure it must be me.

    Is it too much/too little rosin? Too much/too little bow hair tension? Wrong angle of strings on bow? too slow? too fast? too much/not enough pressure of bow on strings? My DB (52 Kay)?

    I'm at a loss. My teacher isn't much help (see rant in the MISC section for details).

    thanks in advance
    Dave
     
  2. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Gosh as a relatively new arco player myself I should be able to help you, but your teacher really should be the one who could tell you for sure. Things that helped me:

    1) Changed rosin from some dark gooey stuff to Nyman's
    2) Changed bow to German
    3) Adjusted bow grip to get more angle on it/loosened the tension a bit
    5) Learned to play midway between the bridge and the end of the fingerboard consistently (once this is mastered, feel free to move around)
    6) consistent perpindicular angle of bow to bass, watch yourself in a mirror
    7) Power from the shoulder, not the hand
    8) PRACTICE my ass off
    9) Have a good teacher who told me to do half this stuff in the first place

    Also, practice long slow tones with a metronome - on open strings. Go 8 beats each direction till its smooth, then 7, then 6, till you are down to 1. Practice your intonation. Practice your ears.

    Its a complex web, and this is only the half of it. If your teacher aint helping, find a new one...its too hard by yourself unless you know the basics. I'm still learning them.
     
  3. Darth_Linux

    Darth_Linux

    Oct 12, 2002
    Spokane, WA

    I'm using Pop's bass rosin

    tried that - it just introduced a whole new set of problems.

    no ones ever told me how tight the bow hair is supposed to be. just guidelines. I'm still never sure if it's too tight or too loose.

    I'm working on all this stuff actaully. the mirror helps a great deal.

    I'm doing all this as well, but I still get the high harmonics coming out more than the fundamental of the note :(

    thanks for the tips!

    Dave
     
  4. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Sounds like, not that I can hear you, that you're not getting the attack you need to vibrate the string. When you engage the bow to the string, it has to "catch" to begin to vibrate the string, which you can actually see if you look at the string. What also may make you life easier are the strings, I had the Daddario Hybrids and they didn't work all that good with the bow. I switched to Thomastic Spirocore Weich and it made my job a little easier.
     
  5. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
  6. Darth_Linux

    Darth_Linux

    Oct 12, 2002
    Spokane, WA
    thanks for the tips, I'll bring this up in my next lesson.
     
  7. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Phil's got a good point. I have this issue especially on my E string - the note sounds ok and properly pitched, but no low end to it. When there is enough initial movement/grabbiness of the bow, the string will be vibrating enough where the note will sound correct. Phil explained it better. I run into this frequently and each time I isolate the passage and work on it. Each time I do this I get a little better.
     
  8. Joe Taylor

    Joe Taylor

    Dec 20, 2001
    Tracy CA
    Make sure you clean the rosin off the string from time to time-- like the end of each playing section.

    I use a copper Choreboy to clean my steel strings - wont hurt a thing since copper is softer than steel. Then wipe the rosin dust off the bass. You need to run the bow over the string to put some rosin on the string when you start to play the next time you do this by just running the bow over the strings once or twice in each direction.

    get rid of the Pop's rosin use Nymans or Kolstine (sp?) rosin.

    Get Doc Mortons book "Torcherous Exorcises" and work throug it.

    Play until your fingers hurt and play some more

    get a teacher.
     
  9. Darth_Linux

    Darth_Linux

    Oct 12, 2002
    Spokane, WA
    really? everyone I've talked to swears by Pops. Maybe it's just "the thing to do" like using Simandl . . .

    I'll check out the others - thanks
     
  10. Joe Taylor

    Joe Taylor

    Dec 20, 2001
    Tracy CA
    Pops is too stickey and goos up the bow hair. The cake of pops I have wont come out of the case because it melted in place in NOVEMBER!

    The point is there are much better rosins than Pops. It's just that Pops is everywhere and cheap.

    I am a little strange about rosin, well make that real strange, I use cello medimum grade to put a real good coat of rosin on then follow up with 1 or two swipes of Nymans. If I need more stickie I use more Nymans, in the winter, if I need less stickie I use less Nymans, in the summer. Yes, My section mates think I am nutz, I wont argue.

    Joe
     
  11. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I used to use Carlsons, now I use Pops. I get a much better sound with Pops.

    I know there are several major symphonies whose bass sections use it too.
     
  12. Darth_Linux

    Darth_Linux

    Oct 12, 2002
    Spokane, WA
    I heard these strings aren't that hot for strictly arco playing. Since I only play DB in an orchestra I need something that isn't gritty.

    Would you still suggest Thomastic's for this application?

    TIA
     
  13. MacDaddy

    MacDaddy

    Jan 26, 2002
    Provo, UT, USA
    Hey Darth
    String wise I live and die by D'Addario Helicore's, Orchestra Medium Gauge. Pretty much everyone I've seen playing uses these. However, I've played helicores on a couple of basses and it sounded absolutely horrible. So I guess you'll just have to hope and pray, or keep switching around. But I would bet on the Helicore's. Remember to get them from somewhere like Lemur (www.lemurmusic.com) cuz places in spokane will easily charge you $200 for em (Lemur is 115)
    I've also used Pirastro Original Flexocor's. They weren't bad, but my teacher recommended I switch to D'Addario when a string change came up. Plus, Pirastro's are generally about 30-50 bucks more expensive. Not really worth the price in my opinion.
    I didn't learn Arco through Eugene (I did through Bruce Pennell, a great beginner's teacher) so I don't really know how good a teacher he is at it. He really just focused on my left hand. Plus, keep in mind Eugene's a big jazz guy. Although he does play in the local Symphony.
     
  14. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Compared to the Helicore Hybrids that I had, to me, the Thomastiks are a lot better for arco or maybe they're just a better "hybrid" string. I struggled for months trying to get a consistant sound out of the Helicore Hybrids and happen to get a hold of an electric upright strung with Thomastiks. I noticed right away that I got a much better attack and consistent sound with the Thomastiks, that's the reason I switched. Why work harder when you don't have to. I haven't tried the orchestrals, that someone else has suggested which may be good.
     
  15. MacDaddy

    MacDaddy

    Jan 26, 2002
    Provo, UT, USA
    ya my teach told me specifically to stay away from the hybrids, mediocre pizz, mediocre arco. The Orchestrals are great arco strings, but pizz wise they lack in definition (my opinion). So if you're just looking for a good arco string, check em' out.