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Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by Mark Wilson, Mar 6, 2005.

  1. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    I'm not sure if I'm supposed to post here, but...

    I recently started playing the upright bass through the school. I'm having trouble with the intonation. I was wondering if someone would be able to draw a diagram? On paint of something, on where the frets WOULD be, as if it were an electric. It would help a great deal, especially with my intonation.



  2. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    Get thee to a teacher!

    Seriously, double bass is different in so many ways.
    If you call your local musician's association or university music program you can find out who teaches double bass in your area. If you're on a budget, see if you can study with some graduate students.

    Best regards, and enjoy the big bass!
  3. Best way is have a teacher show you.

    You can find E, A, D, G all over the fingerboard by comparison to the open strings.

    If you want to work it out the method below will give you approximate positions but read the posts about the 'perils of fingerboard markings'

    Very roughly the next semitone along the neck is just over an 18th of the distance to the bridge of the previous one. Measure the distance from nut to bridge and divide it by 17.8, that's roughly where the F on the E-string will be. Measure from the F to the bridge and divide again, that's the distance from F to F#.

    Like I said a very rough approximation.

  4. Well, maybe you could use a chromatic tuner that has a little internal mic. They only cost about $20. It will tell you what note you are closest to playing, and whether you are flat or sharp.
    Once you get the open strings tuned to EADG, you can see where the notes are.

    If you know more about music, bass, listening, there are other things to do, but this will get you started.
  5. There are several position markers that are easily located auditorially, not visually. Forget looking for intonation and think listening for it. This is not a guitar. Approach it in its own territory. If you have trouble, turn out the lights so you can hear and feel. I am serious. Welcome to the "dark side".

    OK, where are they? There are harmonic points along the string that are "certain" note position indicators auditorially. You can bow the string and get a clear pitch without holding the string down, just barely touch it and slowly slide your finger up the string, not pushing it to the finger board, while bowing, and you will find them. Go slowly. The most obvious is the octave. It is dead in the middle of the length of the string from nut to bridge and equivalent to the 12th fret. The fifth of the open string is located at one third the string length (7th fret) and also at 2/3 the length (19th fret). The double octave is at 1/4 the distance and 3/4 the distance (the 5th and 24th frets). There is another one that is a little more difficult to hit that corresponds to the 4th fret. You use these to find your hand positions and then listen to get to "unmarked" nearby notes. It takes a while but your muscle memory and ear will soon be finding the right notes with no markers. The best book to me (just my teacher's opinion) for neophytes (like me) is George Vance's Progressive Repertoire.

    Get the book, but most importantly, GET A TEACHER!!! ;)
  6. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    If at all possible, get a teacher. It helps SO much.

    That said, using a chromatic tuner worked pretty well for me. Just practice with it, playing slowly, playing in tune, etc. Also, as your ears get better, you can check your intonation vs. open strings not only with just playing a closed A and an open A, but by fifths and ocatves -- eg, a G in half position and the open G string, or an E in first position vs. the open A string. Also, when you play the C on the G string, you'll notice the E string will ring out as well. Mind, this is apparently only noticeable on carved uprights. I learned this last night at my lesson (we use a big carved prewar German :D) so I'm gonna try this myself today on the school's laminate. Might still work on a hybrid. There are other positions like this, but at the moment, I can't remember them to be honest! Good luck.