Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Jimmyjazz, Jul 20, 2002.

  1. Jimmyjazz

    Jimmyjazz Guest

    Jul 19, 2002
    Help wanted regarding techniques to work on to improve intonation.

    I know this involves a combination of ear training and accurate hand positions. However can anyone recommend techniques that are good for this. I've tried playing sustaining notes on the piano and trying to match on the bass. I have a chromatic tuner but that does not involve matching a tone. I do not have another player to practice with.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?

    Thank you.
  2. Play arco (with the bow) - lots of l-o-o-o-n-n-n-n-g-g-g-g notes; followed by lots more even l-o-o-o-o-o-o-n-n-n-n-n-g-g-g-g-e-e-e-r notes...

    Playing arco will improve your intonation!

    - Wil
  3. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    If you have the chops for it and your piano is in tune, try recording some of the exercises you are trying to play (i.e. - tune heads, Simandl, etc) on the piano an octave higher than where the bass will sound (which means as written), then play along with the recording. I've spent a fair amount of time doing this, and it really helps me identify and fix problem areas.
  4. I use a bow and my Seiko electronic metronome, which can be set to play any tone over a range of 3 octaves or so.
    I set the metronome to a tone and play scales slowly based on that tone.
    A tuner responds too slowly and vaguely to be of use for this.
  5. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I have a little Yamaha keyboard that has a record function, so I can just play a line or some chords into it in real time, then play it back with the bass. It's cool, because you can easily change the tempo and keys if you want to practice something all over the bass neck. Also, it's one of the few cheapo keyboards I've found with a decent piano sound.
  6. Don Hermann's "Accomponied Rudiments" is a great tool for intonation.
  7. I record things I am working on with a keyboard and play along with it, I also practice what I am working on with the BG. These things help me, I also apologize to my bandmates after every tune.
  8. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    I just don't worry about it. Everyone in the audience is drunk and the band doesn't listen to the bass player, except the drummer, and the drummer's tone deaf. Just kidding of course. Constant struggle.
  9. The tuner is an interesting test now and again, but avoid getting hooked on it. Youre trying to train the hand and the ear, best to keep the eye out of it.

    My drill for intonation is to do scales and other basic exercises (bowed more than pizzed, but both) against a drone from an electronic metronome. And not just the tonic - try a drone on other scale tones also. At the same time, I visualise notches in the fingerboard, which the fingers "fall into" at perfect intonation.

    Eventually the brain starts to merge the interval/pitch information coming from the ear with the visualised notch thinking for the hand, and the muscle memory gets more "in tune".

    Of course the flaw in this approach is that it begs the question of how to train the ear to hear the intervals you want accurately in the first place. I have no helpful suggestions here. In my case, I just think I know the intervals I want - usually equal temperament for most music, any maybe more like just temperament for baroque music.

    Anyway, if you think you can hear the intervals try my notches and drone method.
  10. Jimmyjazz

    Jimmyjazz Guest

    Jul 19, 2002
    Thanks everyone.

    A great help.