Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Camel_spit, Nov 14, 2001.

  1. I play electric bass but I am going to move up to double bass soon. I have no idea about how to play them - how do you know where the notes are? and where do you start?
  2. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur In Memoriam

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    With a teacher. Approaching the double bass with electric bass techniques is not a good idea. Even if you get just a few lessons, at least get started off on the right foot.
  3. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I agree with Bob about the teacher thing, but let me answer your question about where the notes are. The more you look for them, the less you will be able to find them. I know that sounds like some Zen koan or something, but, well playing these things is kind of Zen. The trick is improving your ear to the point where you can play the notes - not looking at the fretboard and saying "ahah - the F on the G string is right where the fingerboard meets the body!" (though you'll do plenty of that as you get used to the fingerboard, but it won't help you actually hit the note in tune). As you are doing this, going to lessons, and PRACTICING, eventually your ear will train your hands to know where the notes are. But the thing is, always rely on your ear. If you change your stance slightly without knowing, if your endpin is pulled out a little longer, if your wearing different shoes, or if the planets are simply out of alignment, you'll all of the sudden be playng slightly out of tune at the beginning of a rehearsal or gig, and its up to your ear to correct your body. In other words, don't rely too much on rote repetition, always be listening to yourself, always play along with other instruments (or albums) whenever you get the chance, and have a teacher that will give you good constructive criticism all the way. You'd think to learn such a physical instrument, it would be ALL repetition, but its really kind of a super-strong finesse thing when you get right down to it...
  4. I know this is very old, but I really wish someone had said this so bluntly when I first started playing.
  5. TaurusV


    Feb 11, 2006
    Although they are tuned the same way, the electric bass and upright are completely different instruments and a completely different approach should be taken for both of them. However, moving to upright was no where near as difficult as first learning electric bass for me. I made the switch last July and I have found that although the fingerings are different the note are all still relatively in the same place (a.k.a. an octave is still a whole step and two strings over). As far as where the notes are: I started work only in first position and I would periodically check the note I was playing to an open string. Then I got a feel for how far a whole step is. But after three months I just got a feel for it and it came as naturally as electric bass. Playing in tune also has a lot to do with hearing the pitch in your mind and being able to correct yourself when you are wrong. I am so happy that I picked up upright and if you approach it correctly it will be very rewarding and fun!! Good Luck!
  6. I think one thing that makes the transition from electric to upright is the fact that your ear has "learned" the pitches of the lower register. In other words trust your electric experience in matters of the ear only, then get a teacher to help you learn upright bass technique.
  7. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Not that it's bad but I think it's funny you guys are responding to a question posed about 5 & 1/2 years ago. I wonder how the OP is doing today. :)
  8. I didn't even notice that. Ha!