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Please Help: Need Help on Learning Folk Style

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by bdengler, Apr 4, 2006.

  1. bdengler


    Jan 23, 2000
    New Albany, Ohio
    Arthritis is forcing me to give up classical double bass playing (I played in some community orchestras). I still have an opportunity to play in church, "pizz" style. Could any of you recommend any basic, easy method books I could use to develop some pizacato chops on the upright? We play primarily contemporary folk and contemporary christian music. I do not plan on taking lessons; I had 6 years of classical lessons. I had tried switching to bass guitar, but frankly, I was getting lost on the instrument and the bass guitar is more painful to play than the upright (the arthritis is where the thumb meets the wrist...it's bone on bone in that joint and bending the wrist to play bass guitar is painful). I won't need to develop elaborate jazz walking lines; I need to have a style that works more with folk music and some upright uses that I've heard with Neil Diamond, Beth Orton, Elton John, etc. Thanks for your help!

    Regards, Brian
  2. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    The Rufus Reid Evolving Bassist books are a nice start. A few lessons with a pro jazzer/pizz player would probably get you on the right path, though.
  3. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Hope this doesn't sound stupid, but you might check out playing some bluegrass. The arrangements and song structures are fairly simple, and in keys that facilitate using lots of open strings...which would be easy on your hands and wrists. Although there is a perception by some that bluegrass is "beginner" and "hillbilly", it's a lot more sophisticated than most players realize, once you delve into it...especially some of the instrumentals. It might be a good springboard for you to get into pizz, go easy on your hands, and get a feel for "folky" kinda stuff.

    I agree that the Rufus Reid tutorial is great.
  4. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Listen to some of that music and cop what the bass player's doing. If you play guitar or piano, figure out the chords and learn the tunes. Sing the tunes.

    In "folk" music, the technical magnificence of the bass player matters almost diddly-squat. Rufus will help you understand how walking lines work and all but you don't need that stuff to play along with "Hickory Wind". What really matters is knowledge of the music and love of the music. Know the songs really well and play that root-five like you freaking believe it. It's a cliche but it's true: if you don't believe it nobody else will.

    Good luck with your physical challenges. They aren't going to go away with this here "folk" music. It may be relatively simple from a technical music point of view, but you still have to play the damn beast.
  5. bdengler


    Jan 23, 2000
    New Albany, Ohio
    The bluegrass idea is a good one! I also like Damon's idea of listening to folk pieces. I tried the bass guitar but (1) I didn't like it, (2) I was lost on it, (3) I'm familiar with fingering and location of the notes on the upright and (4) the upright is my "sound". We have a glut of bass guitarists at our church. Nothing negative about bass guitars, but it seems the double bass is the way I can keep playing. I have Reid's book. Seems a bit overwhelming but I'll try it!

    Thanks, Brian
  6. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Make sure to watch "A Mighty Wind".

    It seems to me that a big ol' two-finger pizz would get the job done for you. You can get a pretty gigantic sound that way, and it's really easy on the hands.

    I won't go down the string recommendation road again, since I've already beaten that one to death in these forums!:rolleyes: But "those strings" that I use make a much bigger sound on my bass than some others I've used. I think they would work really well for a folk application.

    Sorry about the arthritis. I live in fear of stuff like that.

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