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Learning Double Bass

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by danben113, Jun 7, 2012.


  1. Okay so I'm aware that there's probably a thousand different posts out there about learning upright, but just wanted suggestions based on my current situation.
    Also, forgive me if there's grammatical or spelling mistakes, I've been on my feet for 5 hours doing curtains/stage crew at a concert.

    So, with that out of the way let me start by saying that I am mainly a guitarist (electric and acoustic) as well as a vocalist (bassist :D) but about 2 years back when I moved schools my music teacher needed to find an instrument for me to play and the only thing I've had experience with is guitar, so she put me on the only non-wind instrument in the band, electric bass.

    Since then I've finished middle school and haven't played too much bass but in the High School I currently attend (it's an arts school, I'm there for vocals) the instrumental music teacher just bought a double bass and he needed someone to play for jazz and wind ensemble, so he decided to see how I'd do.

    Now, all I know about the bass is that it's a full size, I'm pretty sure it's plywood but I may be wrong, it has jazz pickups for pizzicato playing, and it cost the department about three and a half grand with the bow, which is a french with white hair.
    My teacher also just recently got some rosin for the bow.

    I've had the opportunity to "mess around" with the instrument a bit, get around the fact that it's flippin massive and awkward to hold, and I could play a chromatic scale or two pizz because I didn't have the bow back then.

    Seeing as the school year is coming to a close and we just had our final concert, there are no more rehearsals until next year, by which point I should be (half-decently) able to play the bass. I can take it home for the summer and I may be able to get a few classes to start me up but in all honesty we can't really afford classes on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.


    So yeah, just your average musician that plays an instrument or two (I've had experience with piano as well as trumpet over the years) and sings (and seeing as I'm a bass sight reading shouldn't be much of an issue, although I always tend to play more by ear).

    Any suggestions/thoughts/comments on learning the double bass or playing in a wind ensemble/jazz setting?
     
  2. it's good that you are doing this at this point in your life. A very good opportunity.

    I don't want to spend your money for you, but I think a couple of lessons from a professional teacher of DB would do you a world of good at the outset. Even if you don't continue with them - get it straight how to use your hands on the instrument. It's very different in that regard from bass guitar.

    If you do that, you can probably teach yourself a lot just by practicing. Sounds like you have a good ear, which is key.

    Lots more I could say, but I'm sure others will chime in.
     
  3. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    Get a DB teacher. It makes a difference because you need to understand the fundamentals of approaching the instrument. It's not a guitar, it's a violin and is an order of magnitude more difficult to play. A good teacher for a year can steer you in the right direction. Without a teacher, I expect that you'll spend a fair amount of time trying to get a decent sound out of the instrument and then give up.
     

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