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HELP....I just rented a double bass!

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by kopio, Apr 4, 2014.

  1. kopio


    May 8, 2012
    Boise, ID
    Ok...so it's not as urgent as the title implies...but I'd love some feedback.

    I'm primarily an electric player. I play both fretted and fretless, and I play them both pretty well. I played in jazz band through high school (on the sax) and sang in jazz choir in college. So...I have a very solid theory background. I started playing bass about 10 years ago, and I'm a competent player that can play what is put in front of him.

    For our Easter program our worship director asked if I could play upright. I said, I'd love to. I've played around on upright a bit, but never too seriously. So I went down to a local violin shop (they build their own there, so I think they are pretty reputable) and rented an double bass. Got it home and started playing it, and I have been able to play it fairly well (emphasis on fairly). I play a lot of fretless and I have a very strong ear (not perfect but extremely strong relative pitch), so I've been able to stay in tune.

    My question is....how should I practice? I'm obviously going to shed the tunes we are going to play for the event, but are there things I need to be cautious about? I'm going to be playing solely pizzacato, so I'm not even going to worry about the bow for now, but if any of you have any pointers or great websites loaded with lots of beginner information that would be great.

    I hang out a lot on the electric part of this forum, and I truly love playing....I'm totally loving having an upright after all these years. I've been playing jazz for about 30 years now, and this is a dream come true!

    Thanks in advance for any help.


    -Matt (aka Kopio)
  2. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    Get a teacher who plays double bass. Now. There are issues, especially with the left hand, that can hurt you down the road if you don't get started playing the right way.
  3. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2011
    Torrance, CA
    Getting a teacher is good advice IMO because the upright is physically challenging and I think every instrument has nuances that a good teacher can explain. Try a forum search because this topic has been addressed many times before, but look up Chris Fitzgerald and the *how to drive a double bass* vids on UTube.
  4. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    No matter how big you claim you hand is... DO NOT play 1-2-3-4.

    It's 1, 2, 3&4.

    Until you are in higher positions, your 3rd & 4th fingers work together. Thumb position is something entirely different.

    Get with a REAL DB player or teacher.

    My two tips.
  5. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    ****Disclaimer - I am not a teacher but a new player, below is just my experience thus far and not meant to be "professional" advice.*****

    Here is what i am currently working on and seem to be progressing, playing since October. I planned on getting a teacher, still do, but money and time are making it tough. Of course getting a teacher is the most efficient way of progressing:

    -Technique as taught through various youtube videos and articles, and here at talkbass! For me, playing sitting on a high stool made it alot easier to get a comfortable technique going.

    -Stretch major upper body muscles and core before playing. Relaxing hand exercises are great for the left hand.

    -Warmup with scales in the areas of the neck you currently know. Both pizz and bow.

    -Open Simandl book. Work progressively from the beginning, going through the various positions and exercises. Play each on bow and pizz. Take it slow, if you have trouble playing the exercise you are not ready to move on.

    -After i've had enough Simandl i move on to working on jazz tunes usually. I play each tune is as many ways possible usually. Melody on pizz and bow. Walk and solo on the changes. Swing/bossa/balad feel.

    Other than those core activities i occasionally mess around on the piano, watch and read educational materials, or play with my trio! And listening to music every free chance of course.
  6. kopio


    May 8, 2012
    Boise, ID
    Thanks for the advice guys!

    I've already started checking out the youtube stuff and it's helped a bunch already!

    I'm only renting it for a couple of months (right now), but if I'm gonna be keeping it around I will definitely look into getting lessons.