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Having trouble with positions

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by The Alexander, Feb 19, 2005.

  1. Well, i have been playing electric for a couple months now, and i am trying to learn how to play a double bass. In my high school, the only bassist is a senior, so im thinking i need to learn pretty quick. The only thing i am having trouble with is where the notes are on the fingerboard. I have no idea if they are in roughly the same place as an electric or in different places. Pics would be very helpful. Please help me :help:
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    The layout is exactly the same, but everything is much farther apart on the bass. The double bass strings are probably about 6" longer than the slab.

    Get yourself a good teacher, and welcome to the Dark Side.
  3. Other than that, take into account that each fret on a BG represents the actual place you put your finger on a fingerboard because your finger is the fret to stop a note. There is a lot more to it with hand position but trying to explain it to you is far outweighed by getting a teacher who can show it to you.
  4. G3,
    find a teacher!

    But in the meantime you can find some of the notes (E,A,D,G) on the fingerboard by using the open strings.

    With the open E, you can find the octave above on the E string (what would be 12th fret on your guitar), the E octave on the A string (what would be the 7th fret). The E octave on the D string (2nd fret). You get the idea(?)

    Nothing better than a teacher though!

  5. Check all the Newbie Links at the top of each area. Also spend some time just digging through the threads via the SEARCH function.
  6. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    There's really not much I can contribute here that the real DB players around here couldn't explain much more articulately. I would mention that a teacher is so extremely important here. This really is a different instrument, and the complexities of it may become so frustrating, that unless you find someone to teach you, you may quit. But, as difficult as it is to begin on this instrument, you will hit a point where things open up, where it begins to make sense, where you're able to play a little more like you're used to, as opposed to feeling like, if you're anything like me, that you'll never be able to make music on this thing.

    Keep at it, it's so rewarding.
  7. kellerjul


    Feb 18, 2005
    Houston, TX
    there are pictures about the positions on the bass in almost every method book. the problem is, that in different methods the name of the positions are sometimes different. so just concentrate on the notes and not the names of the positions.
    the distances you have to figure out.
  8. hunta


    Dec 2, 2004
    Washington, DC
    You will want to find a private teacher for yourself, definitely. Until you can do that, it would be best to pick up a copy of Simandl's New Method for Double Bass vol.1 and start working through the half and 1st position excercises (most teachers will want you to get this book anyway, it's about $20). If you are unsure of how things should sound, play the excercises on a piano (they are pretty much all quarter and half notes early on so don't worry if you're not a piano nut). It can help to hum/sing along with the piano to get the sound in your head, then get on the bass and you should be able to tell when the notes are right. If nobody has told you already, you use the 1st 2nd and 4th finger until you get past the heel of the neck on DB.

    You will probably be bored out of your mind playing through the excercises, but your hand muscles will get used to the positions fairly quickly and you can move on to more interesting stuff. Concentrate on getting a good tone while you play, if notes are scratchy or uneven, take it slow and make sure you're playing it right. You will mostly want to keep the bow close to the end of the fingerboard until you get to higher positions.

    A good teacher will help make sure you're holding the bass/bow right and getting the right sound and dynamics out of what you're playing. Can't emphasize finding a good one enough :)

    Good luck
  9. Under your profile, you mention your favorites as Les Claypool and Jaco....get some used CD's of some good jazz and classical double bassists so you can hear the possibilities and do some serious copying. You need to hear what's going on with the instrument.
    And, not to sound like a broken record but please get a teacher SOON!
    Also, keep tuned to TBDB and read as many old threads as you can stomach!
    Best of luck!!
  10. wow, thanks for the help. My dad has that book, but the pictures in it are pretty faded, so that doesnt help much. Also, the bass that is avaliable for practice is a fiberglass POS, with unGodly high action, even for a DB (the band director is hesitant on letting me use the nice one :meh: ). Oh well, i guess ill figure something out.