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Need Wisdom and Guidance

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by dbjdpb, Dec 6, 2018.


  1. dbjdpb

    dbjdpb

    Dec 5, 2018
    Howdy. I am a crusty old garage band electric bass player. Don't play much anymore but had an epiphany. In my retirement, I decided to learn upright with no specific type of music in mind. I purchased an NS Design NXTa4 and really love it I have an
    Ashdown Rootmaster CR500. I like rock, celtic, jazz, blues all of it. Any guidance, tips, suggestions and advice for learning and becoming proficient would be greatly appreciated.
     
    MrLenny1 and ctmullins like this.
  2. Get a teacher?
    And good luck with the new instrument, by the way!
     
  3. Saxophone Phil

    Saxophone Phil

    Jul 4, 2018
    Dunedin, New Zealand
    owner of 1959 Guitar Co.
    I think you'll find that the advice you'll get here will be "get a teacher".
    But, for what it's worth, I took up double bass recently, having been a sax player - I got an old non-playable double bass and repaired it (despite forum posts suggesting it was impossible), and then self-taught myself to play. When people on TB suggested I get a teacher I spoke to the best upright bass player in town - turns out he's self-taught.
    If there is anything I could offer it would be the following -
    - note the position of your left thumb. You can play with a bass guitar grip, but to get a nice vibrato you'll need to have your thumb on the back of the neck. I tend to change between the more comfortable bass guitar grip (with the back of the neck in my palm) and the proper double bass hand position.
    - on your left hand use your little finger, not your ring finger. The longer scale means you need to stretch your fingers further to get to the correct position of the notes, and using the little finger really helps with intonation.
    So I think, if you're already a bass player, switching to an upright should not be too hard.
     
  4. wathaet

    wathaet

    May 27, 2007
    1. Get a teacher
    2. Do not seek answers to technical issues on an internet forum.
     
  5. John Chambliss

    John Chambliss Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2005
    Memphis, TN
    I disagree. I played electric bass for over 40 years and the switch to double bass was quite difficult for me especially since I was trying to transfer electric bass technique to the DB. A teacher can help you work on the proper technique and help you prevent injuries among other things. A bow is another valuable tool even if you don't anticipate bowing much when performing. It helps so much with intonation and has helped me develop my ear far better than any other tool. A smart phone or whatever to record yourself and play back is valuable as well. Regardless, take lessons, play along with your fav music, pick out melodies to play on the DB, go hear Double Bassist perform in your area, listen to the clips that TalkBass players post, develop a regular practice routine and take it slow. It's hard, but it's fun!
     
    Tom Lane, Winoman, Lee Moses and 2 others like this.
  6. Saxophone Phil

    Saxophone Phil

    Jul 4, 2018
    Dunedin, New Zealand
    owner of 1959 Guitar Co.
    Well - easier to switch to double bass (or EUB) from bass guitar than sax. I've had to learn a whole new approach to rhythm and harmony (which has been very valuable to my sax playing). At least as a bass guitar player you'd already be familiar with the role of bass instruments in general. The way a bass player needs to synch with a drummer for example.

    I'm not saying that working with a teacher is not a good idea, but posts that just say "get a teacher" are not that helpful (John's post above is a good example of a helpful post).
     
  7. wathaet

    wathaet

    May 27, 2007
    You may not think it is helpful, but it is the advice of players that are somewhat more advanced than ”took up the bass recently”.
     
  8. As another "took up the bass recently" player, I'd say listen to the more experienced voices, but also, consider what you want to accomplish. If like me, you're just retired and are trying to plan something exciting and challenging to do for the remaining ~20 years of your life, consider what is extremely important to you first...

    If you really want to play with the New York Symphony before you hang everything up, competing with all the young rising stars, definitely get a teacher and start aligning your own stars for that goal.

    On the other hand, if you just want to jam with your former garage band friends, or perhaps play for your church's worship service, and if you just want to learn on your own, still getting a teacher for a handful of lessons is a great idea to start you out right.

    But whether you can get a teacher or not, definitely learn what is needed to form a safe foundation that you can build upon without hurting yourself. Yes, the double bass is a different instrument than an electric guitar bass, and you can hurt yourself with it if you do things the wrong way for your hands, your arms and your shoulders; the wrong postures and tensions can and will hurt you over time.

    That is why most people here recommend getting a teacher so regularly. It's really a liability issue. Whether you plan to learn classical methods, or just plan to play with a jug band, you body needs you to learn to play safely. As someone who is retired and wanting to remain healthy as long as possible, I would think that would be one of those things that are extremely important.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
    Dabndug likes this.
  9. leonard

    leonard

    Jul 31, 2001
    Yurop
    I've been honing the basics lately. These videos have been great:

     
  10. damonsmith

    damonsmith

    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    When you get tendon issues from "squeezing like bass guitar" you will understand it is actually the most helpful.
     
    wathaet likes this.
  11. Saxophone Phil

    Saxophone Phil

    Jul 4, 2018
    Dunedin, New Zealand
    owner of 1959 Guitar Co.
    I don't think tendon issues come from a bass guitar grip (back of the neck in your palm). The bass guitar grip on a double bass doesn't work very well - no vibrato, hard to move around - but it's very strong and comfortable, no tendon strain at all. What will give you tendon strain is a poor approximation of the usual double bass left hand position. And if you have previous musical experience you should not be squeezing like beginners do (on every instrument). You should not squeeze a bass guitar neck. You can't play any instrument well with excessive tension.

    Perhaps it is possible to do lasting damage to your arms by learning without a teacher, but it's definitely not certain. I know of two players (me and the best bass player in town) who just picked up the instrument without a teacher and had no issues. So it's a very small sample, but the rate of tendon problems is 0%. Note that both of us had previous musical experience, so we were not starting from scratch (the OP has previous experience).

    Perhaps someone reading this has actual experience of tendon problems when a) they started playing without a teacher and b) they had years of experience on another instrument? Or is this a popular myth? Seriously - I'd like to hear if there is any actual evidence on this. I'm happy to be proved wrong if there is anything other than anecdotal evidence.
     
  12. John Chambliss

    John Chambliss Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2005
    Memphis, TN
     
  13. John Chambliss

    John Chambliss Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2005
    Memphis, TN
    Search the DB forums for left hand pain and similar topics. There may be some examples there that support the case for a teacher to learn the proper technique to avoid injuries.
     
  14. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1

    Jan 17, 2009
    N.H.
    Yes to Get a teacher to start.
     
    wathaet likes this.
  15. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    Agree with this - even if its just a lesson or three - how to stand and hold he bass properly, left hand and right hand technique (to keep from injuring yourself as you progress), etc. The musical stuff is up to you - wade into it on your own or get lessons. I'm mostly self-taught but took a year's worth of lessons when I was young (21) and at 63 now, I still lean back on much of what I learned from lessons. It also better equipped me to learn on my own. Its a much more physically demanding instrument than electric bass. It's loads of fun to explore so good luck on your journey!
     
    Mister Boh likes this.
  16. damonsmith

    damonsmith

    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    Lessons with a double bassist who will let you use their double bass at lessons will help you get the most out out of an EUB. EUBs are great, but, are far better when played with double bass technique. The way of using the body to get more force out of it to produce an acoustic sound makes an EUB sound better.
     
    wathaet likes this.

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