Question on pizz issue

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Jay Corwin, Aug 1, 2009.

  1. Jay Corwin

    Jay Corwin Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    Not really a jazz thing but...(go easy I'm pretty new)

    When I'm playing pizz my plucking fingers are hitting the board and the string below after each note. I'm getting that short click from my finger tapping off the board. Is this an indication that my string height needs be higher?
  2. I'm not qualified to answer your question, but could you please clarify your question in one particular:

    Is the "click" you are talking about caused by: (1) contact between your finger and the fingerboard? or (2) your finger slamming the string below into the fingerboard? I.e., does it happen when you play the E string, too--or not?

    Reason I ask is that on my instrument it turned out to be (2), above, but I didn't realize it for a while. I can't adjust the string height on my strange instrument, so I'm switching to higher tension strings to hopefully alleviate this.
  3. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    IMO, with any unusual sounds when plucking, I immediately ask myself: Am I trying to play too hard? Is my technique inefficient?

    I try to play with the least amount of force possible to a certain extent, but even if you pull hard on your strings, it doesn't mean your technique can't be clean.
  4. Rufus Reid in his jazz method, The Evolving Bassist, suggests string heights of G string 1/4 inch above the finger board, D string 3/8, A string 3/8, E string 7/16. The standard measure at the nut is the width of a business card. So, those are some reference points. He also discusses how to play proper pizzicato.
    As you probably know, this is one of the standard bass methods, well worth becoming familiar with if you're not already.
    Good luck!
  5. JtheJazzMan


    Apr 10, 2006
    Changing the string height isnt the answer if you want your strings low. Are you digging in too much? Maybe you are trying to play it like a high action bass.

    Its a bit confusing what you mean though.
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I think this is exactly the kind of issue that needs to be discussed, face-to- face with a teacher, who is looking at what you are doing exactly!

    On the net we can only guess, as we cannot see what you are doing...:meh:
  7. Jay Corwin

    Jay Corwin Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY

    Lets say I'm plucking the D string. The tip or pad of my finger is coming to rest partially on the A string, and partially on the board after the note. It causes a slight tap sound when my finger is contacting the board. I wasn't sure if this was bad technique like pulling to hard, or just normal.

    I'm still very new to double bass, and am just looking for as many opinions from experienced players as I can get. My teacher has told me I should try to lighten my touch a bit, but has really said much about my finger tapping the board. Bu then again I didn't really do it all the often at lessons because I was playing the classical exercises in Simandl, and not the band stuff I'm doing on my own.

    I guess I was looking for responses like, that isn't a big deal...or that is bad technique and you should improve it.
  8. JtheJazzMan


    Apr 10, 2006
    Well, it does sound like a technique issue, no need to touch the setup until youve consulted with a teacher who will notice if your setup is really unsuitable.

    Its normal for the finger to hit the string below, but I do find it a little strange that you finger is colliding with the finger hard enough to make a lot of noise.

    What kind of strings do you use?
  9. Jay Corwin

    Jay Corwin Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY

    I believe they are Thomastik Spirocore.

    The setup is fine. It's looked over and adjusted by my local luthier. My teacher has played it as well.

    I don't know that it is making a lot of noise, just that I notice it. From the responses here it sounds like something I need to improve.
  10. yes, and this is called a "rest stroke" as opposed to a "free stroke" where the plucking fingers' follow thru is in the air. These terms are from classical guitar technique.