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Just got my first DB, need some help

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by bardlute, Jul 29, 2007.

  1. bardlute


    Jul 27, 2007
    Shanghai, China
    Hi, I got my first double bass today and have a question, hoping you guys can help me out.
    I have played the bass guitar for about two years, recently using a Fender Jaco fretless bass.
    I find it's really difficult for a newbie like me to get the right left hand position on a double bass. So, should I add some fret marks to the fingerboard to help myself get used to? Or is it a bad habit to add these auxiliary marks?
  2. Hi, and congrats for the new bass. Welcome to the fold!

    First, you ought to read everything in the "Newbie Links" just above this thread. That should keep you busy for a while ;)

    Then you should locate a teacher and take a few lessons. Playing the double bass is physically demanding, and there are lots of pitfalls, much beyond the left hand issues you are mentioning. It is actually possible to injure oneself with a DB, so do the smart thing and get a teacher.
  3. bartlude - just an attempt to offer an answer to your specific question:

    Position markers can be a great visual aid to a beginner or someone crossing over to the double bass from bass guitar.

    In fact, most luthiers will even provide inlaid dots at a relatively nominal charge . . . and . . . btw, I know bassists who play professionally and are not too proud to use them (& do) - kinda, sorta like insurance - you may seldom, if ever, really need 'em . . . until you do . . . then you're glad to have 'em.

    Just an observation / opinion . . . for whatever it may or may not be worth . . . ;)
  4. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    A number of threads have discussed the pros and cons of position markers. Just do a search. Strong opinions seem to abound on both sides of the issue
  5. +1 to Timo's post. I think the markers might help a bit at first, but in fact it is hard to look at markers when you are also reading sheet music, which may or may not be a goal. They are like training wheels on a bicycle;- they quickly cause you to make mistakes. Locate your positions with harmonics. Practice with a bow. Train your ear to hear the intervals between the positions.

    A really good exercise is the "Kashmir" progression up the G string while you drone the D string. That also gives you the harmonic relations of the positions to a fundamental, which is a good way to hear them. After all, you cannot see harmony or a musical interval. Putting fingers on a marker will not give you the correct pitch like hearing where it is. Focus on ear training, and definitely get a teacher. Even just a few lessons can get you started in the right direction and spare you painful RSI conditions.
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I made the transtion a few years ago and never felt the need of them - which surprised me, but then a lot of DB is counter-intuitive if you come from the BG world...there's a lot to learn!! :p
  7. heheh, "Oh let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dream"
  8. millertx


    Dec 18, 2006
    Flower Mound, TX
    I am also making the transition from BG to DB. I have been taking DB lessons for just the last couple of months. The bass I am currently renting had some thin strips of black tape across the fingerboard as position markers, put there evidently by a previous student or teacher. They were fine for a couple of weeks, because I did not have to look at them, I could feel them. But I noticed that I would tend to adjust to them rather than relying on my ear, simply because I am so used to a fretted BG where you have to adjust to the frets. Also, sometimes the note would actually be slightly off because I would instinctively adjust to the tape as if it were a fret. So at that point I ripped the tape off. Maybe position markers on the side of the neck would have worked better, a visual cue rather than a tactile cue, I haven't tried that.

  9. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    "Oh let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dream"

    Perfect! :)

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