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Some Questions about Electric bass player change to play Double Bass.....

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Coleman, Oct 25, 2004.

  1. Coleman


    Oct 13, 2001
    Hong Kong
    I am a electric bass player but I want try to play Double bass. I have some question hope ur can help me!

    I hope learn the double bass in jazz style (I play jazz style in electric bass too), I think I don't use the bows now,I just learn finger style (walking bass) first, and I don't think I take lesson with any double bass teacher, I study myself, what the difficult?
    (I know I know, I should find a teacher…. But no more $ …..)

    How to find out the "right note" in fingerboard because it is no mark?have any fingerboard info in website or Great Book!
    Or good book for beginner(jazz style tks)?
  2. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Double bass is a very different fish. I've been playing electric bass for 18+ years and consider myself reasonably competent (far from stellar and with a lot of room for improvement but I can definitely hold down the bass chair in a band). Recently I've been thinking seriously about taking up double bass and, as fate would have it, I had my first lesson last night.

    Whoa! It showed up a lack of discipline in my approach in two main areas - physical positioning and intonation. For example, I'm not used to thinking too closely about position shifting when playing a scale. Suddenly there's a lot more to pay attention to - which position, which finger and watching out that I keep my fingers curved rather than 'collapsing' the knuckle. And then I look down and see that my right hand has moved quite a distance from where it started at the end of the fingerboard.

    My intonation was also pretty bad - too much relying on the frets, I think. Rather than rushing ahead, I think I'm going to take a little while working on my fretless playing in a more disciplined manner - it won't give me all the physical skills I'd need for double bass but if I get better at things like hearing the note I want to play and then hitting it dead on, that should help me forward.

    Perhaps, like I did, you can find someone who can give you a lesson o their double bass before you invest in an instrument. It might give you a better idea of whether you want to proceed.


    ps. the guy who was teaching me was a proponent of the Simandl method. Is there anywhere online where I can find the canonical Simandl fingurings for 1 octave major scales? I'd like to see how ones other than the F and C we looked at last night (presumably also used for Bb and G) are approached.
  3. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Even if you can't afford regular study you need to go to a DB teacher in the begininning to correct whatever is wrong(stance, endpin height, left hand position, right hand position, elbow, how to transition into thumb position, BOW, and everything else) or to get it right from the get go.

    Even though you want to do Pizz (walkin bass) you will be behind if you don't work with arco(bow). This helpls fine tune the intonation and get a good sound out of the beast.

    When I transitioned from electric to DB I studied with a classical bassists that really fined tuned my technique on the DB from the start. This is not to say you won't develop habits, but it is better to start with a firm solid foundation, than having to go back and correct it later.

    You will need to study a method with someone to get you going.

    Transitioning is pretty much ok as long as you treat the DB as another instrument (electric technique won't work here).

    Good luck.
  4. Funkateer


    Jul 5, 2002
    Los Gatos, CA
    IMHO. I am less than a month into the same conversion. My first lesson was a revelation. Left hand especially. For example: On BG, left hand finger independence is a good thing. On upright, 1/2 and 3/4 get used together (until you hit higher positions). I was also taught that when you play a note with 4, and there is no compelling reason to do otherwise, 1,2, and 3 are positioned such that 1 is a whole step below 4 and 2 is a 1/2 step below 4. Not something that I would have figured out on my own.
  5. yea, you definitely need some kind of teacher. im a EB convert too, and i tried to teach myself upright. bad mistake. i finally got a teacher, and discovered i was doing it horribly, horribly wrong. i didnt even have the endpin adjusted, so the scroll was at shoulder hight *chuckles* ahhhh, good times.

    anyway, at least get a teacher to show u the basics, and learn some arco. btw, ur hands will probably ache for a while when u start, due to the tremendous increase in finger strength required.
  6. For me, the opposite was true. I started on the DB and now I do both.

    I hear about a lot of EB players wanting to forgo the classical parts and just do the jazz aspect. I don't mean to discourage anyone from the DB but I'll be blunt: There are almost no great jazz DB players who do not possess excellent classical technique and there are 0, no, nada, phenominal DB players who do not possess excellent classical technique.

    Go ahead and take jazz bass lessons, but if someone is taking the lessons from any good jazz bass teacher, I garauntee that he will try to help out the student's technique before ever venturing into jazz and jazz DB theory.

    Don't look at the DB and get frusterated though. The DB may require a more preciseness of technique than the EB does, but I think once hand position and shifting is learned, and muscle memory developed (hint, the better the former is, the less the latter is needed (NOT vice versa), even though the latter will constantly improve), one will find that it is a greater tool for jazz because it is not fretted. My 2Cs.
  7. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Methinks you need to check the TBDB sampler and listen to guys like Brother DURRL, PAUL WARBOTTOCKS, and ED PUKESPRAY if you think that you can't play great jazz without classical chops. Guys, you can put me in my place if you actually do have killer classical chops. :bag: Anyhoo, Summa dese guys have learned from/played with/taught with the best.

    I'll disagree. Classical doesn't teach you improvising. Technique with a bow, yes, but not neccessarily nice driving legato basslines. My teach isn't giving me any classical homework except for Simandl for technique. He was a student of Homer Mensch and has a strong jazz background. So I don't think he's having any problems with me not learning classical at all. He's only teaching me bow because I asked him to, not because he said I can't play jazz without learning arco.
  8. Don't get me wrong in this reply, I don't object to your disagreements, but by classical technique, I don't mean to say technique that you aquire only because of the playing of classical music, but rather, such techniques outlined in Simandl. I think there was a difference in what I thought classical technique meant and what you thought classical technique meant.

    I have only heard a few TBDB samplers, which I thought sounded great. However, in relation to the definition of "classical chops," I would think that all with the degree of talent that the people in those recordings have do not have the technique of a beginner who has never taken lessons or studied natural, established technique. And as far as the "cats" who have not used an established technique, their technique has become established in some form. *edit* Let me reiterate. All of the "cats'" techniques were established by the authors in their own sense before formal establishment because the authors focused on their technique and shaped it, rather than letting stuff happen. *edit*

    I never said classical did. Classical technique is just the foundation. You are correct in your statements. I just think you have a different view of what classical technique is than I do and that my personal biases pull me more toward orchestral devices and yours toward the other side of the fuzzy DB spectrum. *edit* Classical technique to me is simply an established technique with a natural focus and a tendancy to break or prevent bad habits in technique. *edit*