Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by LazyGecko, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. LazyGecko


    Nov 19, 2013
    Hello TB I am new to the double bass and I have been learning on my own. I have been playing electric bass for a few years and have achieved an advanced level of playing on it. I do have one issue with switching to upright bass. How do I practice getting good intonation in the most efficient way possible? I have a tuner that I use during practice when I think I am playing incorrectly but is there a better way to practice? Thanks
  2. powerbass


    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    You ask a very common question that has been addressed numerous times on TB. You can go it alone and try to develop intonation skills which will probably be frustrating or you could get a teacher who will start you off w/Simandl exercises using a bow. Using the bow and the Simandl approach you will develop intonation in a progressive, systematic way. The bow (arco) is preferable because it facilitates precise sound production and intonation (you can hear the note better) whereas pizz (plucking strings w/fingers) doesn't produce a precise enough, clear note. There aren't any short cuts if you want to play the UB w/good facility
  3. SeaMist_au


    Aug 28, 2012
    +10 for a) the teacher and b) the bow. Always use a bow when working on intonation. :)
  4. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    I think one of the things you do get out of practicing with a bow is the act of being accustomed with how the bass physically resonates at such a low pitch. You feel it and if you have a good connection at the hip, it'll rattle through the rest of your body. You're in the process of not only learning to hear the bass but to also feel it. If the tone is slightly off, the bow lets you know right away. If it's on, the whole thing really comes alive in your hands. The positive feedback is incredible because the bass just sings.

    In other words, it's one of the fastest paths to learning to intonate efficiently.

    I dont personally practice with the bow much anymore but in starting out I think it was highly valuable. And the only way to learn how to use the bow is to get a teacher.

    Eventually you want to get to the point of developing the right intonation in your head so that you KNOW what the right pitch is. You don't need to rely on the bass to tell you whether your note was in tune or not. That only comes with time and practice.
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    As discussed in This old thread, practicing with drones can be a helpful aid to intonation. I still do this regularly.
  6. tappingtrance

    tappingtrance Cooke Harvey Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2005
    +1 on drones and practice with a droneof different scale tones e.g. if you are practicing a C major scale, use a drone on C, then, G, then E, then A, then D, try Bb, Eb etc. practicing in tune is as much as being tonally correct as it is being intervallically correct , i.e an F# in a D chord is not necessarily the same F# in a Bm chord.