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Numerous Questions involving bass major, jazz bass, & more!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bikeage, Mar 22, 2005.

  1. Bikeage


    Mar 22, 2005
    Well I thought since this is my first post on these forums, why not ask a few questions that's been on my mind the most! Also if this doesn't belong in this topic area I'm sorry.

    My first question is that I was thinking of getting a BFA in Bass (jazz) performance at my college (currently attending a cal. state school). I've been playing bass for about 3-4 years & I'm definately confident in my skills as a rock bassist, but my knowledge of jazz bass is really limited (other than the fact that I listen to jazz a lot). I don't know how to read bass music (but I can read guitar pretty proficiently), and I would start learning learning how to read if it wasn't for this. If i want to pursue bass bfa in jazz, I'd have to pick up double (standup) bass. Now, I really am not familiar with it at all, and if the notation is different than bass guitar, it really wouldn't help me with upright bass if i learned how to read bass guitar sheet music. I haven't even gotten through a year of college yet, so I do have time to work on double bass. My question is, are the notations different, &should I just start learning how to read bass guitar right now? Also, I'd probably have to buy a double bass, so what are some good/cheap ones? (bass guitar i know all about, this i'm reaching in the blind here lol)? Is it worth it to go to jazz bass seminars even thoguh I don't own an upright one?

    Sorry my questions are so boggled & the paragraph was muddy, I'm burnt out on 2 hours of shut eye. Many thanks to people that respond & offer help or any other suggestions!
  2. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    Double bass and bass guitar are tuned the same, and both in the bass clef. They're not notated differently. If you already read for guitar in treble clef, picking up bass clef shouldn't be hard at all.

    You say you don't know much about jazz bass playing. I'd get a private instructor and get him to teach you all about it on electric first, if you don't have an upright. Jazz is very, very different from rock. You practically have to learn the instrument all over again. I assume you know these, but I'll mention them anyway: know your major scale modes cold, get familiar with melodic minor modes, and definitely know something about harmonic minor modes.
  3. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    Well here's what i do

    Assuming you mean Treble Clef by "guitar music" Here's what i do...

    The spaces in the Treble Clef go F-A-C-E,
    My trick for the bass clef, move everything down one space.
    So the first space would be A, then C, and so on...

    That's my trick.
    I recently picked up an upright bass too. I'm not meanign to sound cocky, but I caught on pretty quick. My intonation is a bit off, because it's the very first fretless I played. It's alot easier than everyone thinks. All you have to do is focus. Definately no dicking around on that instrument. I don't play much though, I play through my school. I'm only in grade 12, I just got a job so I have no money. I do find this helps though

    Toss your electric bass upright. Sit on the edge of a chair, and clam the body curves of the bass with your inner thighs. BAM! Upright bass pratice. It's alot harder than i expect it. I get fretbuss constantly.

    I have some weird trick and tips, just ask me about anything that might be able to help.
  4. Bardolph


    Jul 28, 2002
    Grand Rapids, MI
    As far as learning upright, definitely get a teacher as soon as you start, as it is very easy to develop bad habits if you don't know proper technique on upright. Listening to lots of jazz helps. What I've been doing lately that really helps is I'll just put in a jazz CD, grab some staff paper and a pencil, and start transcribing walking lines and solos. Once you get a good idea of the notes in the cleff and relations of notes to each other (3rds, 5ths etc.) it will be easier and easier.
  5. Bardolph


    Jul 28, 2002
    Grand Rapids, MI
  6. You should firstly be excited about the challenge - passion outweighs all. Good luck.

    I would be careful about the idea that you can naturally read bass notation because you can read treble clef. This has always been my problem - i was trained extensively in treble clef and I still, after 20 years, read bass clef as "one step down". It is a bad habit and should not be encouraged, IMHO

    You should get yourself a teacher, and maybe a fretless to start with. You should look longterm at a decent upright, but be aware that they are not cheap (like anything we really want).

    You should be very literate in modes and transpositions, jazz variations and progressions and you can get this from study and practise.

    IMHO - there is no easy way to be good in any form of music - its about practise, heart and more practise.

    Welcome to TB, mate, you will find a world of excellent advice and support on this board.

  7. Hurley


    Feb 12, 2004
    Cape Cod, MA
    Welcome to TB. :)

    I like your name. Descendents, maybe?
  8. cat_saltnpepper


    Aug 15, 2004
    If you are pursuing the degree in performance, focus of school is making you a musician not a bassist. Even if you want to focus on one genre, you'll have to learn bit of most like classical, latin, etc. Eventually, those stuffs from school helps you be a better musician which means better life:)
    Playing a fretless doesn't help playing a upright. Each instruments have different fret space and fret markers are usually for beginning period. However, you can develope your ears through playing a fretless. Once you get used to, try to play without glancing the fretlines or dots.
    about reading the music, there's no shortcut. As somebody mentioned above, there're some easier way to read but goal of system is reading whatever you have in front of you include bass, tenor, alto, treble clef.
    Being a jazz musician doesn't mean you need to focus on just upright. There are several great electric bass players who have great reputation on jazz.
    In the beginning couple of years in school, you'll have to deal with all the basic things like all different kinds of scale, pattern, arppegio, classic tunes, basic technique, ear training, and sightsinging, etc.
    I encourage you to focus on those basic stuffs more than some flash chops or phrases, and get a good private instructor.-Bring as much questions as you can, stick with one good teacher.(you'll have to do some research.)
    and also, increase your practice hour.-you're from rock field, I believe you probably know some people who practice around 7-10 hours a day.
    If you are in cal. state, I'm sorry to tell you this but music program in cal.state is not that great. not bad, but not great either. Set your goal higher than other, don't get feel comfortable because you're better then other bass players in your school.
    oh, and finally, listen tons of records:) Good luck..:)
  9. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    If you are serious about learning to play an upright bass(not to say Geddy isn't) please don't do this. At best you will have alot of bad habits to break later. Good intonation is a product of good technique, good technique is not easily obtained and I would think requires an experience teacher. I don't know of many people who learned to properly play this instrument by teaching themselves. There will be exceptions and certain types of music are far less demanding, but to play jazz you will need learn correctly, IMO.
    ps: no need to stop playing EB during this process, you will quickly realize that you don't have time to anyway ;)
  10. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    If you expect to be getting upright practice by holding your electric fretless vertically, you are wrong. The upright does not have a flat fingerboard, has higher tension, and usually has wider string spacing. The two instruments are very, very different.
  11. Bikeage


    Mar 22, 2005
    Wow guys, I can't tell you how much your advice has helped me! As for an upright bass, I'm hoping to be able to safe enough money to buy one sometime during the summer (by cheap I meant anything under/around $1.5k, since I know they're much more expensive than EBs), but I'm seriously considering taking a workshop or two for EB. I know that as music major, I'll have to encompass everything (even piano), but I'm more worried about being fluent in upright bass in the year or 2 i have before i start taking major classes. As for my school's music department, I was considering transfering to a school with a better music department, but I want to double major in business as well so I'd have to look for schools that are good in both (CSULB has a good business dept, and one of the best cal. state music depts i believe), but if you could recommend me a good west coast music school that I could check out that'd be great. (Oh yeah, anyone here have any opinions of www.mi.edu ?)

    You guys have been really helpful, I appreciate it. Thanks for the welcome, and yeah my name is from the descendents (I made it my nick for everything online 4 years ago & never bothered to get a new one :))
  12. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Oh, and if you dont know already, there is a double bass forum on talkbass as well, with lots of info about what basses are good for the money ect. From my own searches, the Engelhardt Maestro basses seem to be a good choice for a reasonable price. I urge you to read through those newbie posts though. There are several more in depth explanation and reviews, as well as general advice on what you will need to do once you get your DB.