Note spacing?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Maaak, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. Maaak


    Dec 13, 2004
    Nashville, TN
    Dunlop Picks
    Wasn't sure where to post this question...but I'm a beginner on double bass (coming from bass guitar) and I have trouble sometimes finding the exact pitches of notes since of course double basses for the most part are fretless and the spacing is different. I know bridge height/placement and a host of other things affect this, but:

    If I were to get one "fret", say F on the E string, is there a universal, measurable distance to F from F#? Then from F# to G, etc. so that I can make very precise guidance markers on my bass? It would make it alot easier than standing at my piano and trying to get the correct pitch while plucking and holding the string on the bass.

    Thank you!
  2. philly


    Nov 20, 2004
  3. philly


    Nov 20, 2004
    sorry, I see you have a teacher. This question seems like something he could best deal with. I'll leave the marker thing to others more experienced than myself.
  4. Be careful using the the F-word down here. It is an excellent way to get your eyes pecked out. :eek:

    Is your teacher for double bass or bass guitar?

    I don't believe there is anything "universal" about a double bass. The only way to do what you are talking about is to take a electronic tuner or something similar and mark each position. The problem then is that if the bass gets slightly out of tune and you rely on markers--then you are out of tune. Also, raising or lowering your endpin will change your eyes' perspective on the markings and thus lead you astray.

    I don't know how long you have been playing a real bass but eventually--with lots of practice--you will be able to hear the correct notes. Certainly, there are occasions and situations where having visual references can help you play in tune, but you should develop your ears.

    There are numerous threads about the pros and cons of marking the postions on the fingerboard. I suggest you spend some time reading those.
  5. Scot


    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    Use your open strings as a reference when you practice. For example, when you play that low F note try to play the open A string and then train your ears to hear that major 3rd interval in tune. I strive to be able to do this with any note on the bass and using any of the open strings as reference (caution: flat nines are harder to hear than octaves). If I'm practicing without a reference (piano, playalongs, whatever), not playing any open strings and making a lot of position shifts, I will drift sharp or flat (usually sharp, for some reason) but then playing an open string reality checks me. :)

    +1000 on what everyone says about using markers. Everytime I pick up one of those EUB things at the music store for fun those stupid markers always cause an argument between my ears and eyes.

    Pick up Simandl book 1!
  6. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    +50 * 10^9

    Forget about note positions, physical distances, etc. etc. Even if you had the most accurate pitch markers, they only get you in the ballpark. Placing a finger 1/8"-1/4" off can be a big difference pitchwise. The only way you can nail the intonation is through a TON of practicing with the right approach and technique. And you get the right approach and technique from a teacher. When the teacher is in front of you they can offer tips and hints that applies only to you in that very instant. Teachers in the flesh can hear if your intonation's off and tell you what you need to do to improve your intonation.

    Once you have the proper approach/technique, then practicing a ton will build your hearing and your muscle memory to land in the right places without even thinking about it.

    However, getting something to generate a drone to play against is good. Helped me get going pretty quick but it still was a lot of work. If you choose to use a tone generator of some sort, just don't get dependent on it.
  7. Maaak


    Dec 13, 2004
    Nashville, TN
    Dunlop Picks
    ooo...eye's getting pecked out wasn't on my to do list today--I'll try to be careful of my language :bag:

    I actually don't have a teacher anymore; I didnt realize how old my profile is. He wasn't a double bassist anyway--this is my own endeavor. I guess I should get one just to get me started off correctly.

    Yes, I can see myself getting more used to just "knowing" where notes are, I wish I had started DB sooner. I have to be relatively competent on it in less than a month for an opera I will check some of the newbie stuff out and I suppose sit with a tuner and try to get em as best as I can. Thank you for the help and advice!

    p.s. - "real bass"...haha don't hate on bass guitar now!