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right hand tec./ string height

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by 33degrees, Oct 13, 2005.


  1. 33degrees

    33degrees

    Jun 4, 2005
    Spain
    i started off playing with a very low action and did something similiar to Ron Carter (the crap version of it) with my pizz tec. Now i have raised the action becuase i'm lookng for a more paul chambers sound but i still want to use 2 fingers. i have a problem with my second finger, when i watch other bassists they have both fingers bent but my second fingers seems to always look straight (from where im standing). could this effect the speed becuase i find it hard to do fast passages or is this becuase i have a higher action and thats the deal: sacrifice speed for tone?
     
  2. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Paul Chambers used guts too, if I read correctly. I've never tried guts myself, but I understand that they offer the player a lot more volume than metal strings do.
     
  3. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Interesting. Well that opinion adds to my lack of interest in using guts. It's hard enough for me to play in tune as it is!
     
  4. 33degrees

    33degrees

    Jun 4, 2005
    Spain
    yes i figured it out now, basically when im doing a gig with an amp and i want to do fast passages i can move my hand round to the edge of the board at a right angle (ron carter, marc johnson) and then to dig in i just play old school pix like paul chambers or rufus reid with the second fingure helping out when needed.
    it only works though with an amp becuase when i solo faster there's just no volume! maybe i need a few more 10 years or so
     
  5. 33degrees

    33degrees

    Jun 4, 2005
    Spain
    yea im not actually that new to upright , ive been playing now for nearly 5 years but that is kind of intermediate although Lafaro was probably playing with the top cats by then
     
  6. 33degrees

    33degrees

    Jun 4, 2005
    Spain
    yea i just got back from a jam tonight, wow!! the guys bass had such low strings that i got a new blister! there was no amp so it was really strange, although this guy was great with the bow. Im really proud of my high action now, i feel like Mr T :p
     
  7. 33degrees

    33degrees

    Jun 4, 2005
    Spain
    yes!
    i really can't understand how people can get off playing with that low string height, it just doesn't feel like you pushing any air. I heard that someone once tried Eddie Gomez's bass expecting it to have really low strings and they were shocked to find out its really bloody high.
     
  8. 33degrees

    33degrees

    Jun 4, 2005
    Spain
    you think paul chambers had low strings height? thats really interesting i always assumed it was really high as he always played with one finger, although now you mention it he does have a soft sound. On his solo albums he tends to dig in more, more staccato and sounds like he's playing near the edge of the board to get that bouncing sound. thats another reason to have higher action, you just can't get the bounce off the strings , there's no where for the string to go if its really low.
     
  9. Justin K-ski

    Justin K-ski

    May 13, 2005
    Hmmm, that's intresting. Cameron Brown has a Paul Claudot, as does Gomez. He told me the Eddie's action was so low that he could hardly get a sound out of the things. I've gotta say my old vinyl BET recordings say his action is pretty low...
     
  10. 33degrees

    33degrees

    Jun 4, 2005
    Spain
    yea maybe i read it from a bad source , ill try and remember where i read it. :bag:
     
  11. 33degrees

    33degrees

    Jun 4, 2005
    Spain
    man, i really dig gary peacocks tone and touch, it's great and he has really low action i've heard on this forum. But at the same time i like the Rufus style of just bouncing out those notes with one finger, letting the string do the work, its a great feeling,you just can't get that with low action, i'm up for making the extra effort to run off a fast solo with a medium string height, i'm pumping iron now, it really helps with the strength factor, i got this advice off a teacher at college when i was studying classical, He was a really posh guy but he did a workout down the gym to help him play with more strength and endurance (and of course its easier to carry the bloody thing up 4 levels of stairs).
     
  12. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I don't think the gym workout affects strength and endurance on the bass nearly as much as you might think. When I first started playing the bass, I was lifting weights religiously 4 days a week at the gym, and had been doing that for about 5 years. By the time my son was born, I was up to about 200 lbs at 6'2" (not bulky, but pretty solid). Over the past 3 years since Ian arrived, I've had to quit lifting because of time considerations, so I substituted a 1/2 hour run in the morning before work. Now I only weigh about 175-180 lbs, but I'm pulling a much bigger sound out of the bass because I'm letting my body do the work rather than trying to "muscle" the string - my endurance has also increased dramatically, I'm much more relaxed when I play, and I don't fatigue physically from playing the way I used to. If you can manage to find that magic connection between the power of the torso and the right hand, I think you'll be much better off in the long run in terms of getting a big sound, and I'm guessing that your chances for musical longevity will increase along the way as well. As always, YMMV.
     
  13. 33degrees

    33degrees

    Jun 4, 2005
    Spain
    yea i guess your right, it does come from your whole upper torso, its a circular movement. but you know thats the thing i always forget all this when im playing and my right hand always feels like its going to fall off after about the first set, especially on songs that have fast tempos, do you play lighter when you play faster & keep the same volume level?
     
  14. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Absolutely - I think of playing the bass as sort of like clapping: at a slower tempos, you can get a lot of space between your hands and let your arm weight and momentum produce the bulk of the force. Try to clap at 300, and you have to reduce the size of the motion, which necessarily reduces the volume. But at faster tempos, you can play games with your accent patterns to give more bounce and the illusion of a bigger sound overall.
     
  15. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    And let's not forget the unsung hero of powerful pizz volume--the left hand! No matter how well you transfer your weight through your right arm, it isn't going to happen without a solid stopper on the fingerboard. (Now don't go squeezing your fingerboard until you strain yourself, just keep it in mind...)

    Also: the arco adage that you "can either play fast, or you can play loud" holds true, for me, for pizz as well. Don't knock yourself out to produce the same volume on Ron Carter-tempo "So What" as you would on Paul Chambers-tempo "So What." Besides, the fast groove suffers if it's too heavy.
     
  16. Anon2962

    Anon2962

    Aug 4, 2004
    Hmm. I found exactly the opposite to be the case when i put low-tension strings on my bass. althought they are not gut, i use velvet strings.

    I found the resonance of the table dramatically increased the volume, resonance and tone of the bass.

    Although i'm using the orchestal strings (compas 180) , i've heard great things about the 'garbo' and 'anima' strings too. search the forums, they've been talked about alot, and you might get a more helpful description of the benifits of low tension strings for jazz playing.
     
  17. dex68

    dex68 Guest

    May 5, 2005
    You might, for one, try a string with lower tension. I happen to use Velvet Animas, and they are easier to get around on than metals, but are just as loud, and have a lovely soft gut-like quality to them, but also have nice sustain. (If I wasn't already married, I'd marry this string.) The Garbos are nice, too, but are a bit deader to me. But many swear by them, as did I till I tried the Animas.
    Also, I have to say that if you're going for the big, old-school sound (hurray for you!), then you may have to adjust what you play accordingly. You can't do Scott LaFaro with high strings, (unless you have very powerful hands and fingers). It's a different kind of articulation. Anyway, I play with fairly high strings myself. I also use a two finger style. I try to get as much finger on the string as possible, which means angling the fingers downward, unlike on EB, where the fingers are pretty much perpendicular to the string. Then you just have to kick your ass and work up the speed, bearing in mind what was said so well previously about the left hand - the vice grip. That's really where the sound is. Nine times out of ten, if you think the problem is in the right hand, it's really the left.
    Never sacrifice sound for the sake of a fast lick, and never depend on the amp, that's what I say . Good luck. :)
     
  18. 33degrees

    33degrees

    Jun 4, 2005
    Spain
    that's great advice, thanks!
    at the moment i'm using thomastik lights, are they any good?
    actually i was getting some pains in my right hand on a gig at the weekend , it s that fast tunes when im walking that trigger this.so i started to alternate between using the first and second finger for periods and that seemed to relive the tension on my first finger.