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Jazz Pizzicato Etudes

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by kwd, Jan 28, 2004.

  1. kwd


    Jun 26, 2003
    silicon valley
    I am currently working a teacher using the Nanni method. I would like to supplement these studies with studies that concentrate on pizz facility. I've seen "Modern Walking Bass Technique" by Mike Richmond recommended in other threads. Does this book or any other book have studies focused on this subject? Or, do they just introduce the techniques and leave you on your own?
  2. Danksalot


    Apr 9, 2003
    Dallas, Texas, USA
    Endorsing Artist: SIT Strings
    The Modern Walking Bass Technique book introduces some simple techniques, like triplets and "ghost" notes, then it gives you two full pages of a walking bassline using that technique in standard notation (with the chord names above the bars). I'd say that 85-90% of this book is basslines, not technique instruction.

    These are not melodies like etudes would be, but they are VERY hip, melodic basslines.
  3. Josh McNutt

    Josh McNutt Guest

    Mar 10, 2003
    Denton, Texas (UNT)
    Well, it's not jazz, but in the Simandl 30 etudes book, there's an etude that is both pizz and arco. For straight-up jazz you could just buy a solo transcription book; you could get a bass one or any other instrument (e.g. the Omnibook).
  4. kwd


    Jun 26, 2003
    silicon valley
    Thank you both for the posts. Working on bebop heads out of the Omnibook is great idea.
  5. Interesting question this - since by piz facility I guess you mean developing RH? I've never seen much useful written about RH technique, just pictures saying you can do it this way or that and opinionated stuff from the odd great, such as Ron Carter.

    I like Rufus Reids evolving bassist exercises from a walking bass perspective and for the techique exercises but even he doesn't provide much guidance or explaining what finger movements are necesary to develop good technique.

    IMHO, watching others and paying attention to some teachers confuses the matter, since a majority of people seem to have an idosyncratic approach. For example, Marc Johnson uses two alternating straight fingers at the bottom of the fingerboard. My freind and occassional teacher bounces his arm at a perpendicular angle a third of the way up, mainly using one finger. Most seem to change form one to two fingers but not with any seeming logic to it. One Italian I say used three fingers and had amazing dexterity (I didn't like the tome much but that's not to say it was wholly the RH). Ron Carter apparently teaches always plucking in the same part of the bass to get all the notes even.

    Does it matter? Well doing some things speeds the onset of RSI for one. You could say it's all music whether with a bow or not. This is hardly helpful, since the bow can do some things easier than fingers and vice versa. I go back to Rufus, who in the beginging of the evolving basist has an exercise on open strings that I usually neglect these days but went back to look at it again. Taking the principal of paying attention to individual string open strings in a rythmn of choice and then being able to do the same cross stringing you can make your own up. Its the only way you know the consequences of the RH acting independantly of the LH.

    Where this theory can go awry is dependant on stance - do you change it as you move up the fingerboard? (Obviously you do in thumb postition.) Also, I've seen many pros such as Andy Clyndert change from a bottom of the fingerboard pull to moveing higher up and using two alternating fingers at a more perpendicular angle to get more speed for a fast run.

    Action and tension have to play a part in what is possible or desirable too (NHOP facility on a Mingus set up anyone?). But study seems to be lacking in this area. Maybe it's not the exercises that are needed but good advice, and I haven't seen much on the subject (this is where someone points me at a newbie link I've missed!). Where, how and at what anle to the string you pull it has quite an effect on tone. If piz peices were played in conservatiores there would be a whole literature and set of exercises around it to vary and control tone, articulation and dynamics. I get the impression that a lot of people find an mf sound they can live with and stay there. Where is the pedagogy of best piz practise?

    For the record after trying out all sorts of other people's methods, I settled for trying to copy Marc Johnson and to play faster (not that it troubles Marc - just me) I will occassionally play higher up the fingerboard a bit like BG, and to get a full steady tone at a moderate pace will use the side of my forefinger.
  6. kwd


    Jun 26, 2003
    silicon valley

    Thanks for the treatise. A unified approach for pizzicato is ostensibly absent from all the posts and pedagogy I've looked at. It's good to know that I'm not crazy. My teacher exposed me to three techniques. Each technique has its own merit so maybe it's just a matter of picking one, two, or all three and applying them appropriately. Maybe it's a good thing that there isn't a 'one size fits all' method.
  7. Upright-Brendan


    Mar 23, 2004
    There's a really good book called "Jazz Conception" by Jim Snidero with a bunch of jazz etudes written over standards. A cd comes with it and Peter Washington plays all of the solos. It's worth the $15 or so.
  8. McBass


    Mar 31, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    There's definitely not "one" way to pizz, but there are some tendencies among great jazz players. Videos can be very helpful for this. Check out a player who has a great beat for quarter note walking on video. Most likely he'll be walking with some variation of the "one finger" method. That is, using the side of one finger or a grouping of fingers to articulate each quarter note, but not alternating between two fingers (Ray Brown, Paul Chambers, Ron Carter, Scott Lafaro, Mingus). For soloing, most great soloists use a variation of a "two finger" method, attacking the string with either the sides of the index and middle fingers, or the tips (Scott Lafaro, Eddie Gomez, Dave Holland, Gary Peacock.) Checking out a video can really clear up any of the "how does he do that?". I think Dave Holland has a method for specific string crossing patterns in the right hand, but it's to worked out for me.

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