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Right hand technique

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by BelfastBass, Jan 8, 2005.

  1. Hi - I've had a search but can't find anything about right hand pizz jazz technique. Has anyone any suggestions re. this. I've pretty much sorted out the Simandl left hand fingering after quite a few years but I've never really concentrated on right hand pizz until now. The problem isn't with the sound generated whilst using my forefinger - I'm pretty happy with that but I need to develop some technique incorporating my middle finger to help with triplets, drops, etc..

    I double a lot on slab - slab is my first instrument but more and more I'm being asked to play DB which I'm more than happy about and the normal alternate fingering used on the slab just isn't applicable most of the time - any help would be most appreciated guys/gals.

    BTW - the nearest teacher who might be able to help lives 2 hours away and a) I'm too busy trying to make a living to travel there, and b) I think with a little help from my friends, I can probably sort this out myself, so please.........!

  2. tzadik


    Jan 6, 2005
    This is a great question. This is something I worked on when I was studying with Scott Lee, and I continue to work on now.

    I think it's just as important to alternate between first and second fingers of the right hand on DB, just as you do on EB. If it feels awkward, just keep at it - it will feel natural before you know it. As you know, you are so much more nimble if you have more than one finger happening. It sounds like you just need to do it more. ;)

    Also, be sure that you aren't using ALL of your electric technique on the upright. A common struggle, for those of us who play both, is perfecting the difference between the angle of the right hand for DB vs EB. With DB, as you probably know, you do NOT want the finger of your right hand to be perpendicular to the string (as with EB).

    Your right arm should be relaxed, yes that DOES include the shoulder, and you should think of it alwasy as a graceful arc. You don't want exactly the same shape as when holding a bow, but same idea. For faster passages, you may find that you need to bring your fingertips up toward the strings a little more and temporarily have that EB-like RH technique, but you'll probably want to drop them back down for most of your playing. Whatever gives you the best tone, do it.

    Just keep at it - it will begin to feel more natural, the more you do it. Good luck.
  3. It isn't my intention to give you mixed messages, but right hand pizz technique is both and art and a science. I went to a workshop with a top Seattle jazz bassist (Doug Miller) and he pointed out that different techniques are useful to learn for different situations. For instance, he said that you keep your thumb on the side of the fingerboard most of the time, but if you have a hot amp or soundsystem that reverbs, then you may have the side of your thumb ontop of the strings behind where you are pizzing to eliminate reverb. (Not a normal circumstance) He told us that even as of late he has still learned new technique variations for different situations and that we should learn all we can in order to increase our technique vocabulary for all sounds and situations.

    One thing you could try that he does is to use a metronome to help with speed. Tune it to around 40 and practice playing both even and odd numbers of beats to that one click of 40bps using alternating fingers. 1:1, 2:1, 3:1, 4:1, 5:1, 6:1, 7:1...he eventually got to 11:1.
  4. Again, this issue is addressed Ad Nauseum in the Newbielinks and the Archives!
  5. Paul - thanks for that I obviously didn't search properly the first time around - have found loads of relevant stuff now! Thanks for your input Daniel and Tzadik - much appreciated.....