Increasing RH endurance

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Rob Downie, Jun 20, 2004.

  1. Rob Downie

    Rob Downie

    Jun 20, 2004
    Tualatin, OR
    Looking for tips on increasing pizzicato playing endurance on DB. At the string band festivals, they play all day and most of the night for three or four days. No amplification-- you have to play LOUD. My RH fingers give out after a day and a half. I use Eurosonic strings, the so-called "medium" tension, but the highest tension of the three that they make. I use Super Glue on my plucking fingers (index and middle) and, while this helps enormously, it wears off after a couple hours and successive applications don't seem as effective as the first one. I'm sure if I could retire and play 15 hours every day I would build up "fingers of steel" and this would not be a problem. In the meantime, any suggestions?

  2. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Is the problem that your muscles are tiring out or that your fingers can't stand the pain? Or something else?

    When I have to play really fast stuff for an extended period of time, the forearm muscles in my right hand start to fatigue.
  3. dvmweb


    Apr 20, 2002
    Atlanta MI 49709
    Holey Schamoley!!! A day and a half you say you play. You are to be commended and admired. I don't really know what one can expect of their hands after 36 hours of plucking. I've tried glue and tape. Could you fashion something out of leather? Sort of like the thing that archers used to pull back the bow string?
    Walt MI/US :crying:
  4. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Do you play every day? You don't have to play 15 hrs daily, but daily play adds up over time.
  5. Back in the 50's I saw a bass player on the Perry Como show using a pick! It looked like it might have been stiff felt and he held it between his index and middle finger....he sounded pretty damn good.....
  6. jimclark68


    Dec 16, 2000
    Morganton, NC
    Hi Ric,

    Those old time/string band/bluegrass festivals can be killers on the bass players. If you like your Eurosonics and the way your bass sounds with them, you really shouldn't change. But... if you really want to compete with the din of ol' timey music jams, consider getting a stiffer string (read: Spirocore Mediums). No, it's not going to be gut-like, but a stiffer string means that you have to work less to pull more sound out of your bass. I am making an assumption that you are taking a ply bass to these festivals. In addition, the higher tension allows you to have a relatively lower string height, which can feel a little quicker.

    The only string I've been able to use to cut through the noise of a dozen somewhat-in-tune fiddles is Spiro mediums. I find there to be a significant difference even compared to the Spiro weichs. My right hand tires much worse playing a lower-tension string because it takes so much extra work. Keep in mind, though, that I'm talking strictly about volume; the trade-off may be tone that is not pleasing to you. Good luck.
  7. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Also try playing with your right hand nearer the bridge and playing a little lighter. You'll get a more percussive and aggressive tone, but you should cut through better. This depends on where and how you're pulling the strings now, which of course I don't know.
  8. BassGuyNL


    Jul 20, 2000
    The Netherlands
    I just left my streetband (drums, me on DB, guitar + small "busker"amp and 3 horns +vocals). We used to play on the seaside during our vacation in France, 3 hour shows for 8 days straight. I am by no means a professional player, and usually do not have much practice time so I really had to get a certain "mileage" done on DB before the start of the tour just to survive. It's all about getting good calluses and training your tendons and muscles to adjust to the work of pulling the strings.

    The other guys in the band said I was their first bassist who could pull it off with no tape on my fingers.

    So I'm afraid there's really no short cut: just practice!

    When I got home from vacation, I always felt very strong in both hands, and always promised myself to keep up my form for the rest of the year. For some reason, this never happened...
  9. Not to take anything away from anyone, but when it comes to stamina, you gotta hand it to us jazzers. Back in my day, HA? I'd play a 9-2 am jazz gig (no amp) /then an all night 3-8 am or so with 4-5 horn players and a four piece rhythm sec.No amp.
    If you look at the pics of my Bohmann, you'll see a fingerboard ( the Talkbasses under basses) extension down at the bridge end. You can see an inlay of purple heart where the original board ended. Edgar Myer and others have had this done to get up to them high notes. I had Bob Ross do it so I could get up closer to the bridge for effects similar to what Ray mentioned.
    The only catch with that is I refuse to bow on it because the rosin gets on myt plucker.