Discussion in 'Ask Lynn Seaton' started by Sippy, Dec 25, 2006.

  1. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    That's what it's all about. My own personal rule is, "If I can't sing it, I shouldn't try to play it until I can." When something is heard before it hits the hands, it tends to come out sounding like music. When it's only heard after it's played on the instrument, it tends to sound like typing to me. Pianists are especially guilty of this, but I see plenty of bassists fall prey to this mode of playing as well, and it's much worse when a bassist does it because it tends to wreak havoc with intonation.
  2. - This is an old one, it certainly works but there are limits. I limit this approach to to lines that sing, if I have a student working on a Vivaldi sonata or anything that seems to be for a vocal tradition, I have them sing along.
    For sure if a person wants play melodic lines like Chris it you need to work on singing them.
    The other side of this coin is that if I could sing everything I want to play I wouldn't lug the bass around!
    Part of playing an instrument is to get beyond what you can do without one.
    Also, part of improvising with others is getting beyond the self and the limits of your own imagination.

    Unfortunately there is no one catch all phrase, adadge or approach to get this beast of an instrument together!
    We need the ear, the abilty to sing some of what we play, knowledge of the fingerboard, muscle memory, solid positions, etc.
    We need to have a variety of resources available so that if any one approach is not working for a particular situation you have others that will.
  3. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Augusta GA
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    You guys keep it up, I'm gonna get the BigEgoHead!

    Siriusly, I'm struggling with this stuff the way everybody else is and I'm glad that I can pass along anything I've managed to kludge together over the last 30 years or so.

    Vis a vis the whole "expectation of pitch" thang, there's a nice article in an old DOUBLE BASSIST that talks about that very thing, albeit with an approach for teaching very young players....
  4. JimFerguson


    Feb 5, 2007
    Hi Lynn and company,

    Just a note to say I'm "lurking". Interesting, timeless topics you're investigating. I like the "sing it first" idea. I also use that in my instruction. I think that singing in general generates a more vocal approach to playing. I'm always glad to see my students singing in choral groups or solo or whatever.

  5. Lynn Seaton

    Lynn Seaton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2006
    Denton, TX
    This lively discussion is wonderful. Let's all remember there are a lot of ways to play the bass. It is indeed important to have a large pallette of musical ideas and techniques from which to draw so we can make choices. Ideally, our choices are not dictated by our musical knowledge or technical ability. Great music can be made by some people with out much knowledge or ability. The same is true for some with a lot of both. Conversely, bad music can be made by both types of parties and everything in between. What works for some does not work for all. If we were all the same, how boring that would be!! This forum is a place to share ideas. Thank you all for sharing.
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