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muscle memory and DANGER

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by K Dubbs, Jan 2, 2003.

  1. K Dubbs

    K Dubbs Just graduated from OSU, Go Bucks!

    Mar 16, 2002
    Toledo, Ohio
    I'v got another question that shouldn't be too thought provoking. Those of you that have multiple basses, especially fretless basses, do you have trouble switching from a...say 32 inch scale bass to a 35 or so? I would think that muscle memory wouldn't allow comfort and mastry of two instruments of different scale, especially with different numbers of strings.
  2. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    some people play both g****r and bass without a problem and that is a big difference in scale. same for those who play regular electric and double. no biggie it would seem, maybe at first but...
  3. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
  4. With enough time on each instrument, developing muscle memory for two different scales shouldn't be a problem, but when I finally got fretted and fretless basses withthe same scale (34.5") and neck, it really helped my fretless intonation compared to switching between 34" and 35" scales previously. Why make it harder than it has to be if you can avoid it? Also, I still play 34" scale instruments, and when I do, it takes a bit to adjust to proper finger placement on the fretboard.
  5. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I play 34" and 35" fretted and fretless, 4, 5, 6, and 12 stringers. I suck equally on all of them.
  6. DarkMazda


    Jun 3, 2000
    HEY thats supposed to be me!

  7. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    i go between 6 str fretless and upright every day - talk about a difference in scale !

    I think that you just have to know the instrument that you are playing. The distance between "f" and "g" on the e string of a double bass is vastly greater than the distance on a bg but somehow I manage to play it in tune.;)
  8. Jon Burnet

    Jon Burnet

    Jan 21, 2001
    Memphis, TN
    if it bothers you more than a little you might be relying too much on muscle memory!

    and yes i too suck equally on all of my basses!
  9. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    I've heard Gary Willis mention muscle memory, and Jeff Berlin dismiss it.

    Anybody got any info on it? Just looking for more edumacation.
  10. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I hear much more about muscle memory when discussing my golf swing than bass playing.

    I have 34, 35 and 42" (DB) scale basses. As mentioned, I seem to be able to adapt.

    Since you don't finger a fretted bass and a fretless bass in the same place anyway, there can't be that much to it.

    I have played plenty of work where I switched back and forth from a 35" bass to an acoustic guitar and it didn't bother me that much.

    If you play all of them enough, I think your brain seems to kick in the correct response based on the feel of the instrument in your hand.

  11. Jeff Berlin dismisses metronomes. He is very opinionated and many of his opinions go against common knowledge and common sense. I wouldn't take him too seriously about anything that isn't corroborated by other teachers.

    Regarding playing different scale lengths, every bassist who isn't locked into a single position changes scale lengths all the time. When you play higher in the neck, you are effectively changing your scale length. Therefore, adjusting to a different scale length bass shouldn't be that much of a challenge.

    As for muscle "memory", I think that when one practices an instrument or anything else that requires coordinated muscle movement, you are conditioning your muscles to be able to do certain things well and you are making neural connections in your brain to coordinate your muscles. All of the things together might give the impression that your muscles have "memory".

    Granted, when you play higher up the neck your arm is in a different position and therefore, your muscles will work a little differently. Simply shortening the scale on your instrument shouldn't affect this much though since the nut is going to be closer so it's really as if you were just playing up a fret which shouldn't be very difficult to handle. I'd have more problems adjusting to different instruments than scale lengths.

    - Dave
  12. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    I dismiss Jeff Berlin. IN fact, I'd take him on anytime...;) Golf, eh ? I wonder how many of us are golfers ? I think I'll start a thread.
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    No. I go from a 41" scale DB to a 42 1/2" scale DB to a 34" scale 6 string Slab, and as long as I realize which one I have in my hands, it's not usually a problem.
  14. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i find that muscle memory becomes more of an issue with different songs, meaning that i pick a particular bass to play on a particular song, and if i play a different one on that song, it feels wierd.
  15. Do you mean that you've confused the two before?


    - Dave
  16. K Dubbs

    K Dubbs Just graduated from OSU, Go Bucks!

    Mar 16, 2002
    Toledo, Ohio
    haha, this was all quite humorous as well as informative. thanks everybody. btw, JT, now that I think about it, I get the same thing with different basses and different songs/playing styles, even of the same scale.
  17. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    I've confused the two Realbasses with each other before, but never with the Slab. :)
  18. this is a very good point. also a good point by FNA4 about doublers on guitar. i'm one of them, and have no trouble switching back and forth.
  19. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    i have no problem going between guitar, 34" scale slab, and my 42" scale realbass, but for some reason 35" scale electrics trip me up. i played a 36" scale 6er and thought i had had a stroke or something because i couldn't play, at all.
  20. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I find I initially place my pinkie just past the fourth fret on my 34" Fender if I have played 35" fretless before I pick up the Fender. I like to think different (close) scale lengths do matter, especially for fretless. Switching to EUB (42") or guitar is a different matter as there is a whole different way of playing on those.

    But perhaps if you play more than I do your mind will store a "finger positions setting" for each instrument/scale.

    I'm standardizing on 35" just to get this parameter out of the equation though. Just need to find some money so I can replace the last 34" bass.