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Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by NDBass, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. NDBass


    Jan 22, 2012
    Brooklyn, New York
    Sorry. But I've had enough with my mediocre intonation, and I was told that some bow work could really help with that. Does anyone know any exercises that could contribute?

    P.S. My ear is great, like, I can hear that I'm out of tune, that isn't really the problem.
  2. cpaterso

    cpaterso Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2007
    hi - Well, yes, bowing scales for a start - slowly. and make sure each note is in tune. Use that good ear to make sure. Do it long enough and muscle memory should help your left hand ensure intonation when plucking.

    It is worth the work.

  3. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I agree with bowed scales and exercises. Also, I'm not a teacher, but will mention what's helped me. I believe in a close relationship between intonation and technique. When I am playing notes out of tune, I look for what I am doing wrong with my technique. Also, focusing on "correct" technique while on the bandstand has helped my intonation.
  4. davpal


    May 19, 2006
    Lambertville, NJ
    I think different strings show off bad intonation more obviously...
    Spirocores really make it loud and clear when you're off, Velvets hide it a bit more...
    I don't know about other strings or other people but this has been my experience...
  5. powerbass

    powerbass Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    You need to get a teacher who can teach both classical and jazz and work with a method system like Simandl. The Simandl approach focuses on correct intonation via precise fingering and shifting through a series of positions. Besides this you could work through scales and chord arpeggios using drones or playing along with recorded piano tracks. Personally I think the Simandl approach is essential since it is has both linear and non linear exercises that challenge/deverlop intonation
  6. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    I have been playing with my bass too low. When I raised it to a height recommended by my teacher (Linda McKnight, MSM) for better bowing, my intonation improved.
  7. Kai Sanchez

    Kai Sanchez Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2006
  8. bssist


    Jun 23, 2007
    St. Louis, MO USA
    What was the reference given to you for proper height. I was told to set it where I could comfortable put one hand on top of the scroll and the other on the nose of the bridge with my back straight and without tilting my shoulders. This puts the bass pretty high off the floor but seems pretty comfortable. It also puts my right hand naturally close to the end of the board.
  9. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Someone else holds the bass. Side by side with bass, facing the same direction, bass and you straight up and down, your shoulders equidistant from floor. Bow in hand, arm relaxed and straight; raise tip so bow is parallel to floor, 90 degrees with string, bow touches string no more than 1 inch from bridge.
    If correction is large, only go half the distance and repeat process in 2 weeks.
  10. powerbass

    powerbass Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    IMHO there are several issues involved with playing in tune. Certainly having the ability to hear pitch is essential but more importantly is to have the muscle memory combined with your ear. With practice that involves precise fingering choices muscle memory of where to find the notes is developed along with pitch. Knowing the note interval relationships gives you precise knowledge of how to access various notes based on fingering spacing/relationships. I've been playing UB for two years studying Simandl, all this stuff is just beginning to sink in - the Simandl approach works!
  11. sondrelj


    Oct 7, 2011
    Oslo, Norway
    I'll have to subscribe to those who proscribe practising Simandel. Knowing a coherent fingering system is crutial, especially since we sometimes play venues where we can't hear ourselves well. Being able to rely on muscule memory is a relief. I had some instruction on basic technique this summer that I found helpful, and although I'm far from finished learning the Simandel system, I can reallyt feel the effects on my playing already, especiallu when bowing.

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