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Inching Over to the Deep End

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by s7on3d, Mar 21, 2003.

  1. s7on3d


    Jun 26, 2002
    Ra'anana, Israel
    Hi guys,

    I'm 16 and I've been playing BG for about 1.5 years now. I am very interested in starting DB (for both jazz and orchestral music) and I would like to know what I should know before I try it out. After a symphony concert I was at last night (which everyone went to with their gas masks, it was quite funny, LOL), I asked one of the musicians to pass my number on to one of the bass players that would like to teach both jazz and orchestral DB. Is this the right road to start down? Should I look for a teacher somewhere else? My playing is OK for a BG player, I need to put a lot of work into my theory and sight reading, and my technique, "groove", "feel", and "time keeping" are all good. Should I spend a few more months on BG getting my theory and sight reading up to scratch before I start DB?

    Now for the question that i'm sure has been asked a million times, HOW DO YOU AFFORD THESE THINGS?!?! they start at $1000... geez!!!! Should I rent one to start or is it a waste and I should just buy?

    Please give me any info/advice you can about the above or just tidbits that you think a "cross-over-ist" should know when they start.

    Thanks in advance,

    P.S.-If the mods feel this should be in another forum, please feel free to move it.
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Try starting here:


    There are several threads on bass buying/shopping tips. I'f you'll look at the top of many of the furums down here, you'll find similar threads with information your should check out before posting a question, in case the question is a common one. But to answer one of your questions, yes, you did the right thing by approaching a teacher.

    And if you really want to be a DB player, you might want to consider changing your username to s0b3R or something along those lines. The instrument is difficult enough without the artificial technicolor. Trust me on that one. :)
  3. Welcome.
    I suggest that you not limit your teacher search to people who teach both orchestral and jazz. Your primary concern ought to be learning the fundamentals of bass playing. Where you choose to apply those fundamentals is irrelevant. The best way to develop intonation, tone, proper shifting and crossing, etc., is with the bow, which means "classical" training. I've said many times that every single classical lesson I've had made me a better jazz player. Classical training is the best and fastest way to learn how to finger those notes that come into your head when you're playing jazz.

    I'll let others speak to the question of finding a first bass.

    Good luck.
  4. The fact that you are inquiring about teachers is a step in the right direction. Starting with a teacher from day one will help you to avoid developing bad technique habits, which only get harder to break later on. The local symphony is an excellent place to start your search.

    I don't know about Israel, but here in the US there are music stores that will allow you to rent to own, so that you are putting equity into the instrument for when you eventually buy it. Just be careful that you don't get a piece of junk (there are numerous threads to this effect in the "Newbie" section of this board).

    If you need to wait to obtain a double bass, I certainly don't see the harm in getting some classical method books and going through them on your E.B. I know at least one experienced player/teacher on this board (Ray Parker I think) recommends sometimes going to the E.B. because it's laid out in handy "grid," making it a good visual reference. When you do go to the upright, the exercises will be will at least be somewhere in your ear and muscle memory. Of course, you'd have to work heavily on intonation at that point, and you will find out why the bow is nicknamed the "Stick 'o Pain." And your E.B. playing will improve as a side effect.

    As far as theory: If you know it, you know it and it will transfer to any instrument.

    Good luck and stay safe!
  5. erikwhitton

    erikwhitton Guest

    Sep 20, 2002
    Portland, ME USA
    recently - barefoot larry has had a few excellent posts for first time buyers. i don't think they've been added to the 'newbie links' yet but do a search for them and good luck. i wish i started when i was 16, so go for it!

  6. s7on3d


    Jun 26, 2002
    Ra'anana, Israel
    Thanks for all the replies and the link to the newbie links. There's some terminology there that I don't totally understand, is there a DB dictionary anywhere? Got any more advice before I start?
  7. s7on3d


    Jun 26, 2002
    Ra'anana, Israel
    I was wondering about a C or B extention for a DB. if i'm going to play classical orchestral work, I'll need one, right? Either way, how much does one cost? I saw one the last time I was at the symphony with little buttons to access the lower notes near the top of the fingerboard. I'm guseeing you get them installed at your local luthier, so how long should it take?
  8. No. No. NO.
    You are way ahead of yourself. You do not need an extension to play classical, and you do not put extensions on starter basses. You have enough to do learning to play the basic instrument. It's nice to see your ambition, but NO, you don't need an extension. Think about it when you buy your first $20,000 bass.
  9. s7on3d


    Jun 26, 2002
    Ra'anana, Israel
    OK, but since all the DBs I see at the orchestra are 5 stringers or have extentions, I'm guessing that they need to play those notes, so if I want to play orchestral pieces do I just play the notes an octave up? I'm just thinking that if I'll need it I better calculate that into the amount of $$$ I'll have to grab next time I rob a bank....
  10. Yes.
    The notes aren't as frequent as you suspect, and many times they're doubled by trombones, tuba, or bassoon and they go by so fast an audience doesn't have time to notice.
    Relax. First things first.
  11. Ive been playing for seven years now, and only recently encountered notes below the E string. When they occur, it isnt hard at all to grab the peg and tune the string down.

    Instead of looking for a bass with an extension, detune the basses you are trying out, and see how they sound with the lower frequencies. Also, consider what kind of orchestra your playing with, and how advanced the music will be. If you are going to be concentrating on solo pieces, then dont worry about the extension, because the notes below the low E are barely audible, and are very rare in most solo pieces.
  12. Not.

    This is no kind of advice to be giving a 16 year old newbie.
  13. s7on3d


    Jun 26, 2002
    Ra'anana, Israel
    Don't worry, I'm not gonna do anything stupid like go buy an extention for no good reason. I get that before I start to look at anything I should ask the guy who will soon be my teacher. I checked out rental prices in my area and sale prices, I'll approach my teacher with these and ask what I should do (buy or rent and what?). Thanks for all the wonderful info and feedback. I think I'm gonna just chill til' I get a teacher and hear what he has to say. I may have posted this thread a bit early, but I was just so happy that my parents gave me the "thumbs up" to go deeper. I'll be back with more questions soon, but for now THANKS A TON!!!

  14. As to my original post; in other words, dont get an extension, there are other options. ie, the one given.

    I thought it was very good advice. When I was a newbie, I didnt even know that notes below the low E existed. This kids way ahead of the game. Sure, theres a lot of ear training involved to do this, and basic theory too, but Id much rather have a newbie detuning his bass than putting an extension (on a rented plywood.)
  15. This would get you thrown out, if not laughed out, of any orchestra I've seen.
  16. Youve never tuned your bass differently to play a song? My teacher encourages me to play with different tunings, and says he knows pleanty of bassists that are always detuning/tuning their basses for different pieces.

    Maybe you confused what i said with me advising him to reach up, while playing the song/note and twist the peg? In that case, no, definitely not, unless playing a very liberal, modern piece where it is written in the music.

    I re-read it and it does appear that way, so i guess I should add to detune the bass BEFORE the piece, and not in the middle, although ive done it a few times in between movements of a piece, or during a few bars of rest. Is this wrong? if so, why?
  17. Klimbim


    Mar 3, 2001
    Isn't that just scordatura? Not that common, but certainly won't get you laughed out of any orchestra.
  18. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    ...And here I thought that Scordatura was a skin condition all this time.

    I think they've figured it out by now, but when I first read UNCLE REMUS' post, I also thought he meant grabbing the tuner on the fly on a half-rest's notice and doing some tweakage. Now I see that this was not what he meant.
  19. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I scored some tuna this morning, from some local guys with a big cooler down by the boat launch. It's going on the grill tonight.
  20. Klimbim


    Mar 3, 2001
    Heh heh