Learning double bass after learning other instruments

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Mikewl, Oct 4, 2003.

  1. Hi there - I have a couple of questions I'd like to ask, as I'm taking up the double bass, but am a bit worried about it. Here is the question/problem.
    I'm now 17, and I've played violin since I was 5 years old, so I'm quite good now, musical theory is fine and my technique is good too. I've only ever been classically-trained in the technique and type of music I've played. Now, though, I want to play double bass, as my friends have a small jazz band and they want one. So I'm planning on taking lessons on the double bass, and I'm extremely motivated to learn, so I will practise 3 or 4 hours a day. The question is whether or not having learnt classical violin for 12 years will make it harder to learn jazz on the double bass? Is learning double bass after violin a problem in itself? And also, how long, with lessons and motivated practice, should it take to really start to get good? When I learnt guitar, It took me a while to get anywhere at the beginning, but then I started to improve rapidly; is the double bass similar?
    Thanks a lot in advance, and sorry for the long-winded question.
  2. dvmweb


    Apr 20, 2002
    Atlanta MI 49709
    Why not play your violin in the jazz band? Check out Jean luc Ponty. Check out "the Hot Club of San Fransisco". They're cool.
    If you can borrow an upright give it a whirl. If you're able to put in that kind of time you'll do well. You'll not be up front like you are with the fiddle though.
    Walt MI/US
  3. Gabe


    Jan 21, 2003
    I'm no expert on the subject, but I imagine that playing ANY musical instrument before, especially one of the bowed string variety would be a great help. You already have decent hand strength, good time, theory background, etc.

    Bass and violin are somewhat similier, but only somewhat. Your going to need to use different technique, read bass clef, and just bassically get used to a different instrument.

    In my opinion you'll find it fairly easy to get the basics down, providing you have a good teacher. I actually think I remember reading an article in Double Bassist Magazine in which a pro bassist (can't recall the name) actually recommended starting on a different instrument first....I think he was reffering mostly to young players though if I recall correctly.
  4. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Even if you decide to take up DB, which is a pretty different beast, you might want to explore jazz violin as well. Since your chops are up, you can absorb and apply the jazz vocabulary on a familiar instrument.

    Good jazz violinists are a rare commodity. My current favorite is Florin Niculescu, who currently performs with Bireli Lagrene's Gipsy Project. Check him out!
  5. Chandra


    Jul 1, 2003
    Athens, GA
    I recently took up DB after playing flute for 20 years. While flute is (obviously) quite different, I can say that learning DB with that experience has been far easier - I can read music, I know theory, I can hear many intervals, I have good practice skills, etc.

    My biggest problem - which may relate to your situation - is being exclusively classically trained sometimes gets in the way of other musical styles. I am struggling to learn to follow guitar playing and to shift beats away from the beat after 20 years of playing on the beat. I must say, though, it's been a fun problem to tackle!
  6. Josh McNutt

    Josh McNutt Guest

    Mar 10, 2003
    Denton, Texas (UNT)
    I had been playing saxophone for four years before I took up bass (jazz for about two), so I at least have been able to skip having to learn theory again. I have also been able to come to the instrument with more clear-cut tone and style goals than most, which I'm sure saves some time. As was said before, I already knew how to practice.