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no amp

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Alex Scott, May 15, 2003.


  1. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    anyone have any advice/suggestions for playing without an amp?- I'm trying to develop my acoustic sound without bleeding too much, thanks
     
  2. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Man, I miss Ed. I hope everything's ok for him.

    Alex, here's a few thoughts:

    a) I'm assuming that your reference to blood was in jest. To state the obvious, if you're hurt, stop and let the tenor-player take chorus #12 alone with drums.

    b) You'll have to set your bass up with tall enough action, etc. so that it can speak. Some basses just don't put out as much volume as others, too.

    c) Wake the bass up with the bow as you're warming up. My basses always speak better after a little scraping.

    d) SAVE IT FOR THE RIGHT SETTING. I love playing with no amp, but if I'm on a gig with loud drums, electric guitar, tenor sax, air conditioner, TV and cash register, I'm gonna plug in.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Amen about the setting point, Sam. I sometimes get a little guilty about this after reading Ed's riffing on the the topic. I like nothing better than being unencumbered by wires and crap, but look: it's not a moral failure to plug in!

    I've finally got an amplification system working for me that's simple and unobtrusive and I must say it sure is nice to hear some detail in the sound instead of thumpa-thumpa. But it's context. For me, at this point, it's a rare room & ensemble that doesn't require a little juicing up. But my first preference is acoustic and I'll always try that first. Ain't fighting it, though.
     
  4. You'll need a great left hand technique for the tone and projection. Practice lots of arco long tone scales-- whole notes and tied whole notes at quarter note equals 30. With your right hand learn how to get as much of your finger on the string as possible and make sure you pull the string sideways not down. Get with a good teacher.
     
  5. Try to play with empathetic musicians.

    Nothing makes my gig more special than the g@&&@m drummer asking, "Hey, man, could you turn up a little bit?"


    Sorry. Did I say that out loud?
     
  6. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Is anyone playing acoustically with a say 5mm-10mm string height?

    how high is high?
     
  7. moped10

    moped10

    Apr 9, 2003
    Wilmington, NC
    I play without an amp pretty much exclusively (I'll put a SM 57 on it if we're outside or in a loud club)-
    I've found the best way to get heard is to raise your action, use steel strings, pizz with your index finger pointing down (use all the way up to the mid-knuckle), and practice by playing along with CD's cut up loud (roll the bass eq down and warm the tune back up with YOUR playing). Listen to the old jazzers like Jimmy Blanton, Wellman Braud, Paul Chambers, etc. and try to cop their style- It helps me! My thumb position chops aren't too hot with that high action though, but I'm working on it- :)
     
  8. moped10

    moped10

    Apr 9, 2003
    Wilmington, NC
    oops! forgot to specify, by "high" I'm back up at around 9mm on the G, 10mm on D, and 11mm on E and A- I did try taking it down to 6, 7, 9, and 9, but lost some punch, so I took it back up
     
  9. Monte

    Monte

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    It depends. I use Eudoxa's, and am around 10mm on the D & G, and slightly higher on the E & A. I'm using another bass for the summer for legit stuff, and it is considerably lower, but I don't get near the punch.

    For me, matching the strings to the bass and finding a balance where you get a big tone but don't choke off the notes tells me when I am high enough. Steel strings at a high action tend to "choke" lower than gut do.

    Monte
     
  10. moped10

    moped10

    Apr 9, 2003
    Wilmington, NC
    oops! forgot to specify, by "high" I'm back up at around 9mm on the G, 10mm on D, and 11mm on E and A- I did try taking it down to 6, 7, 9, and 9, but lost some punch, so I took it back up
     
  11. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    thanks Monte, yeah, I feel a little choked going through the Gary peacock method of bass adjustment, seems like maybe 5-6mm on the g, ramping up to 10 mm on the e.

    Moped, what kind of strings are you using?

    thanks

    oh yeah, I'm using medium helicore orchestra strings right now, and was thinking about the hybrids. I do some bowing, so I'm not too interested in gut right now.

    Also, I have heard John Clayton is a big proponent of the no amp school, anyone know what he has to say, looks like spiros on his bass, anyone take lessons with him?
     
  12. moped10

    moped10

    Apr 9, 2003
    Wilmington, NC
    Hola Alex-- In answer to your question, I've got the Thomastik Superflexibles- They sound great, I just wish the diameter on them was larger- with high action, larger diameter strings seem to be easier on the fingers- Time to do a forum search in the string section!