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Same Old Beginner Questions Everyone Hates...

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by timidbassist, Jan 30, 2006.

  1. Hey fellow TBers....the story is pretty much the same as most. I am a 6 year bass guitar player and a senior in high school. Next year I am probably going to school for music education and am interested in playing in the Jazz Ensemble and College Orchestra. I need to play a traditional instrument for the Orchestra obviously though, so I have been thinking that the transition from bass guitar to double bass. I want to know how to start learning double bass? Is it mostly playing with a bow in orchestras or finger playing? Any advice would be great! I know people get extremely sick of hearing these same old questions, but I really don't even know where to start.

    Thanks a bunch!
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I would say that Jazz Ensemble would be mostly finger plucking - pizzicato. While the Orchestra would be mostly bowing.

    Best way to learn is one-to-one lessons with a teacher. :)
  3. JayR


    Nov 9, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    I was in the exact same situation as you a few years ago. If you already have jazz chops on the mighty electric thunder machine, I'd go grab yourself a bass, a bow, a copy of Simandl book 1, and a teacher. Learning classical bass technique will give you the necessary left hand chops for the jazz band while you're at it, and just sit down with a good jazzer once or twice and have them teach you proper jazz pizz technique. You should be good. Just be careful, in switching from electric to upright, that you don't hurt yourself when you're starting out, because if you start to practice a lot and you still slip back into bass guitar flat finger technique when you're learning, you most likely will get some godawful tendonitis. When you start out be really aware of your left hand shape and make sure you always keep the fingers arched and fingertips on the string. And if you can, learn on a set of light strings, like Corellis, it'll help keep you from hurting yourself while you build up the strength in the LH.
  4. Read and practice Ray Browns Bass method
  5. I was in your position 18 years ago. It worked out for me. I Had a Kay from the school with High stings. I started with lessons (Robert Black) and the Billet Book. It was difficult asnd slow going at first. I took it as a Challenge. I also got a fretless to play with the band.
    Real good advice above for how to start. Getting the bow will be difficult but it can open up a new dimention of playing. The Right hand I thought of training like an athelete to get the strenght, coordination and conditioning.
    I Graduated and work as a Middle School string teacher in the inner city. I can play all of the band and string instruments but there is nothing as demanding or rewarding as my Big Bass.