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String crossing uptempo

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by matthewbrown, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. matthewbrown

    matthewbrown Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Harwich, MA, USA
    I've been playing EUB (Azola acoustic baby bass) for about 3 years now, and find I'm still having problems at faster tempos when crossing strings; the radius of the strings continues to mess up my right hand (left hand too, but not as much). I've started developing some exercises based on what I used to do with BG, and they seem to help, but I'd love to know what some more experienced players have done to deal with this issue.
  2. basbende


    Feb 23, 2008
    I think there are two things that could help:
    doing right hand exercising VERY regular. for instance jumping strings:
    gg/dd/gg/aa/gg/ee - gg/ee/gg/aa/gg/dd
    dd/gg/dd/aa/dd/ee etc...
    !!always alternate between your fingers, except if you go down to the next string, because then the finger you're playing can just continue to that string.

    By doing this, and following the rule with the switching between 1st and 2nd finger, you'll develop a high level of independence and with that you'll gain speed.

    Second thing is against the rules I use for the exercise above, but very helpful when you play: if u go up one or more strings play the lower string with your middle finger and the upper with your index-finger. It makes the movement smaller!

    exercise in a tempo in which your notes are regular, push up the tempo from there.
    In this case: daily 5 mins works a lot lot lot better then 3 hours once a week...

  3. Mike Arnopol

    Mike Arnopol Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 4, 2005
    Owner of MAS Soundworks
    I agree with the string jumping. I call it disco bass for my students. Scales, arpeggios, all alternating octaves. Also, make sure that your bass is not rotated too far away (counter clockwise) This can cause you to have to lift your elbow when crossing to the g string.
  4. pdbass


    Jan 2, 2007
    I think it would be to your advantage to check out Building Jazz Basslines by Ron Carter. He addresses string crossing with some excellent exercises that work on playing across all strings, and gaining independence between your (RH) middle and index fingers.
  5. basbende


    Feb 23, 2008
    Thanks for Ron Carter Tip!! I'll check it.
  6. oliebrice


    Apr 7, 2003
    Hastings, UK
    I've got a slightly more complicated version of basbende's open string excersise, that helped me - always alternating fingers, always with a metronome, play the following open strings:
    e a e e
    a e a a
    a d a a
    d a d d
    d g d d
    g d g g

    then back down.

    there are obvious alterations you can do for bigger string crossings, ie e d e e, g g a g etc etc
  7. But upright and BG are different requiring different techniques. Bass guitar pizz ain't gonna work. Play with your index finger parallel to the string and pull from your shoulder.

    IMO, this is bad advice. Always alternating when playing bass guitar might be fine, but on the bass fiddle, you're going to pull a much bigger sound with your index finger. Practice playing with only your index finger. Then only use your middle finger when playing really fast stuff or when a tricky rhythm neccessatates it.
  8. Mike Arnopol

    Mike Arnopol Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 4, 2005
    Owner of MAS Soundworks
    I agree that you need to be able to execute with just your right hand index finger. To get a consistant walking sound this is necessary. Practice like this at stupid fast tempos too. But, sometimes at stupid fast tempos it can be effective alternating right hand fingers. And for blowing you definately want to alternate.
  9. basbende


    Feb 23, 2008
    I kind of agree with the walking with index finger (it sounds good and I do it a lot) But for me a modern upright bassist should be able to do a lot more then playing walking. Almost every great bassplayer is using both indexfinger and middle finger (Dave Holland, Mark Johnsen, Eddy Gomez... NOHP used his ringfinger too!!)

    I also agree that using bassguitar technique gives a thin sound (although I love Eddy Gomez, who does play that way a lot...) which makes the string crossing even harde, because you're keeping the fingers a bit more vertical.

    So do practice the crossing (totally agree with the tip of oliebrice by the way, you can make up any variation, metronome is perfect!!!)

  10. basbende


    Feb 23, 2008

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