Maybe I need a bow...

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by lump, Oct 13, 2001.

  1. lump

    lump Guest

    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    Now that I'm subbing in the HS jazz band :rolleyes:, I'm reading stuff written for upright, and I'm running across lots of fortepianos and whole note (or tied whole note) crescendos/diminuendos. How do you handle these on electric bass? I'm kinda faking it right now, using the lightest attack I can to keep the string vibrating, but I'm kinda wondering what SOP is for controlling dynamics over several beats/measures without multiple attacks. Volume knob? Foot pedal? Timpani mallet? You out there Pacman? Throw me a bone here...
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    In these situations I'd try to follow the INTENT of the law rather than the letter of it...I can't imagine any band director/conductor wanting an electric bassist to artificially produce a sound that is intrinsically incompatible with the nature of the instrument.

    I think you are doing the right thing by re-articulating the note. What I would try to do in your case is to figure out what the overall effect desired by the arranger was, and play something more idiomatic to BG that fits and basically gets the point across. If what you play is speaking and making sense as a part of the music, then you should be fine.
  3. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Just play a damm Upright. It took me about a week to get used to it (and lotsa pratice time)
  4. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Wow, you must be one hell of a virtuosic player to learn to play an upright in a week.:rolleyes:

    While I'm sure you don't care for my input, my suggestion would be to use the volume knob where applicable (hell of a lot cheaper than a volume pedal). For the parts where the dynamics change more rapidly, move your plucking hand to over the 16th fret (or so), where it requires much less force to make the string vibrate. This way you have more control over the string, so you can pluck it hard enough to sustain through the hold but still maintain the correct dynamic.
  5. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I never said i learned it in a week. I just got used to it. I got used to the scale for the first few positions (i still don't know if there is names for positions on an UR neck, i've only used finger replacements). After that week, i've always been comfortable playing double bass. I got used to the wide neck, 42" scale, learned some techinque (bow hold, pizz technique, left hand technique, etc. I just learned the basics, not anything like thumb position, false harmonics, etc.
  6. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    Good suggestions so far from the previous posters -

    1) Slowly turn up the volume knob (or manipulate to provide a false "vibrato" effect) as the note dies down to keep the sustain going

    2) Keep plucking the string at the medium point between where you are fretting the note and the bridge to allow for maximum vibration and sustain

    3) If it's an exclusively bowing part, try using an Ebow, something which I am just starting to learn to do
  7. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Having rather extensive experience in Big Band, I'd say DURRL GONE WILD is right on. The dynamics are written to give you an idea of what the ensemble is doing, and you have to make the decision on how to handle it.

    And POT, you'd have exactly the same problem on upright. Most jazz charts are written for Pizz upright, and you can't do that on an upright any easier than you can on electric.
  8. lump

    lump Guest

    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    Why didn't I think of that? Here, let me $h!t one out ( comes the lower bout!). And I think it would take me at least two full weeks before I was performance ready. :rolleyes:

    Thanks a bunch to the rest of you (even you Agnes) ;). Done a wee bit of ensemble playing myself, and it sounds like I was already approaching it the right way. I just wanted to know if I was missing something I shudda learnt in Bass 101.

    And here I was all ready to use this as an excuse to buy that Eden rig (Honey, the guys said I need it to play a sforzando!). ;)
  9. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...or at least an Ashbory bass. ;)
    (Upright OWNER since '76 & still not gettin' it).

    I'm confoozed: What not employ 'multiple attacks' for controlling the dynamics over several beats/bars? IMO, that's 'better' than relying on any damn pedal! ;)

    All good advice; my .02-
    Think like an upright bassist! ;)
  10. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Oh, yeah-
    The Church didn't give ya 'das boot', did they? :D
  11. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    PORTRAITofFiElDy ,

    You should be really glad that Ed isn't around much these days...if he were, the above statement would be tantamount to a bullseye on your chest. This is one of the worst pieces of advice I've ever heard on TB.
  12. gruffpuppy

    gruffpuppy Guest

    Aug 15, 2000
    In your basement.
    Hey not to be a ballbuster but there is no way you could crap out a DB and type at the same time.;)
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I get some of these things in charts written for the Latin band I play in - we have a big horn section.

    So - what I'm thinking of are like endings where you hold on the note and swell to a climax in unison with the horns and then come off the note at the maximun volume?

    What I do is play the note in question and then start plucking the same note lightly with alternating 1st and 2nd fingers as fast as I can, getting gradually louder.

    The other thing is where you get unison lines with the horns but it's just a long held note. I just try and pluck it quite hard and then maybe add some vibrato to keep it going, but usually my bass has enough sustain to manage this easily unless I make a slight mistake in terms of r or l hand technique. ;)

    So I also agree that you are doing the right thing.
  14. lump

    lump Guest

    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    I'm trying to think like a UBer, but I still want chicks to dig me...;)

    And church is all cool again. So far.

    And the "multiple attack" thing is what I've been doing. It's just that playing rolling sixteenths over a goose egg made me feel so...dirty, somehow. :)

    Puffguppy, I just saw your post. You're right. False alarm - just a cello. :D
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    It depend on how you do it - if it's staccato a la Jaco on Havona, then you might stand out a bit! ;)

    But I think it's fine as long as you try to make it as smooth as possible and with a rounded tone - not plucking right by the bridge!

    It's great fun doing this as the "root" of a large horn section all blowing loudly! :D
  16. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    So far, eh?
    You did use cement shoes, right?