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Standing while Playing with the Bow

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Johnny L, Mar 3, 2003.

  1. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    I stand when I practice, and during lessons both I and my teacher stand while we play (and discuss) the latest assignment. Lately I've reached some sensitivity over the relationship between my bass and my stance...

    I've tried playing while standing in several ways - closed position, open position, the bass leaning towards me at an angle (not yet with an angled endpin), the bass standing straight up, etc. I've recently come to prefer the bass standing as straight up as possible in a closed position. I seem to find it easier to keep the bow from wandering around the strings, I can take advantage of some kind of unexplained intuition over my bow's angle, and my spiccato is somewhat easier to articulate. My teacher says I'm giving Gary Karr (who I've only experienced hearing on his website) some credit when I play standing with my bass straight up. However, I can't help but be a little jealous over my teacher's angled endpin and Rabbath stories (got the same experience here too)...

    For those of you who stand and use the bow when playing, what are your preferences and why? Do you also use an angled endpin?

  2. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    The Karr/Tolo method has enabled me to play, part-time, for 25 years without injury. Thank you again, gentlemen.

    It's all about efficiently using gravity and muscles to focus your energy on making sound and music. Having your bass balance itself means you are not expending energy balancing your bass. Bowing from your back means using all that your body can give you.

    Your teacher sounds like a free thinker -- you're a lucky fella!
  3. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    On The Spot:
    I've never met anybody with bad playing position that didn't have some kind of justification for it. I understand your intellectual curiosity, but after reading all the benefits you find in playing as you do, in the position that most of the teachers I know consider ideal, I don't know why you care to know these rationalizations.
    Linda McKnight, one of the better NYC teachers, would love you. She taught John Feeney, who beat Edgar Meyer in a competition, and David Grossman, youngest bassist in the NY Philharmonic (and now a student of Levinson).
  4. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    I keep erasing what appear to be intellectually crafted, rationally composed responses and laughing at myself.

    So does this mean you guys don't care for angled endpins as a standing solution?
  5. Shlomobaruch


    Dec 31, 2002
    Boise, ID
    Something like that, yeah.
  6. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    hey , I have spent over $1000 over my life on different endpins. I live in Austin, sounds like you study with Neubert, If you want, come check it out sometime. I see a lot of value to bent end pins.

    I had the egg pin, which I used to use with the adapter, then without. I had it at all sorts of angles, and gave it away, although I really liked it, I had it modified all sorts of crazy ways, bored out the whole to accomodate a goetz spike with the screw on tip. kind of expensive, especially with the modifications.

    I picked up a new christian laborie end pin recently, and had the appropriate hole drilled in the bottom of my bass. this works great, except I blew up the tip, and can't find the right size.
    so now I just practice at home with it until I can find the tips. cheaper, but you get about one shot with the hole, I had my egg pin on and took it to houston to amati violin shop, he has done a couple, and knew what he was doing. THe most noticable improvement is the weight, it's carbon graphite, so it is super light, and the position is farther back, so it feels more stable.

    I use a straight one on jazz gigs, but keep it pretty low, because I am sort of tall, and if the bass is up that high, I get pretty tired of holding it up.

    A student of mine got a goetz spike and just bent it, and that seems to be a pretty low cost solution, you have to heat it up with a torch or something, you may need a metal worker type to help you. once you get the angle right, you can file a notch.

    If I am reborn as a bass player, I might even put a goetz endpin in at an angle, any luthiers cringing out there? I guess I would have to have a button to hold the tailpiece wire. I have a real complex plan involving having a regular goetz spike installed, using the egg pin as a guide, removing the goetz, installing the button, reaming a hle for the goetz, and making sure the spike isn't long enough to pop the top off my bass.

    you might feel the same effortless holding that you feel when you hold your bass straight up and down, but it will be at an angle, you might be able to figure out how to play more efficiently, etc.

    of course, if you like the straight pin, you are not too tall, etc. you may not have anything broke, and not need to fix anything (heard that before?)

    of course, they didn't have anything broke when the earth was flat and bloodletting was the panacea.
  7. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Greetings Alex! Yep, Coach Neubert has been slowly transforming me into a bass player for the last 9 months and turning me into a lean, mean, string-stopping, spiccato bowing machine. I regret that I am currently unable to enroll in the University of Texas music program to study with him more intensely.

    Sorry to hear about the Laborie endpin malfunction. I plan to pick up one of those myself in the future, and I'll take it to Peter Shaw in H-town when I do. Thanks for the recommendation.

    I'm still hanging with the straight endpin for now, but it's awkward to sit in a stool and have my bass lean back against me. So I keep standing when I play and practice. I'm looking forward to the changes the angled endpin brings, especially since I'm working on music that reaches the treble cleff range now.

    Don't tell me the world isn't round anymore. When are things ever going to settle down?
  8. Billdog


    Feb 27, 2003
    Austin, Texas
    No kidding! I'll be taking DB 201 with Neubert in the fall! I swear this website is the coolest thing since sliced bread! I'm currently just a lowly BG player but I'll be doubling over the summer, and hopefully from then till the depressing day when I can't play anymore, or the much nicer alternative, my sudden (but hopefully late-in-coming) departure to the big auditorium in the sky. Anyway... are you currently UT students, Austin locals, or what? Got any tips for a newbie? If this gets too off topic, feel free to move me. Thanks.
  9. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I guess I am a Neubert-student bachelor receiving, houston transplant who stayed in Austin.

    you can ask me questions about austin, ut etc
  10. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    I'm an out-of-towner with a separate career, but one of my personal goals is to become a performing member of my hometown symphony and make the stage shake as violently as possible during the Beethoven 5's third movement...and, of course, intensify the spotlight on the other orchestra members and guest soloists.

    I've found Dr. Neubert to be a great teacher and he has inspired me to work my ass off to become the best double bassist I can be. As with all great teachers, give your best and you will recieve their best in return.

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