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Switching to DB from electric

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by ramrod, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. ramrod


    Apr 6, 2006
    This has probably already been covered, but here goes. Ive been playing electric for many years and want to give DB a try. How hard is the switch?..Do I need to hire a teacher?..Thanks
  2. ramrod


    Apr 6, 2006
  3. RobertUI

    RobertUI Thumper Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2005
    Herndon, VA - NoVa

    He just sent you a link to the sticky entitled:

    There's some great reading there.
  4. ZonGuy


    Sep 2, 2007
    Find a good teacher and a good bow, even if you never plan to use the bow when you play commercially.
  5. Basskimo


    Mar 6, 2009
    Work without the bow to get in tune, relatively, then work with bow. Then refine intonation from there. It's a little bit more work than it sounds though.
  6. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Hillsdale, Portland
    The toughest part of the transition is intonation, IMO. With frets you can land anywhere behind the metal bar and you're good, whereas with DB or fretless for that matter, its millimeters that make different pitches. Currently I'm going crazy watching my TU-2 tuner trying to play "So What" in different positions.

    On the other hand, the range of sounds that you can make with a DB/fretless are incredibly varied and expressive. Take your time and enjoy the workouts.

  7. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    I always say that it's a little like going from Ping Pong to Tennis . . . the rules are basically the same but the playing field is a lot bigger. Enjoy it. :)
  8. 98mtd


    May 24, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    The DB is a completely different instrument from electric. Be careful, the DB is addictive to play and is a high maintenance instrument. You also get asked to play more when you double.
  9. ZonGuy


    Sep 2, 2007
    This info is not in the sticky, so I hope I am correct posting it here.

    Its intended for electric players that are already playing and gigging and want to make the transition quickly as possible

    My thoughts:

    1) Learn the foundational technique from a qualified instructor. Period. There is no DVD or website that is going to compensate for this.

    2) To ease the transition, after your fingers tire on the DB, practice the DB studies on electric bass, using correct DB fingering and thumb positioning. Playing the DB can be very tiring, overdoing it can hurt you. So using the electric can extend your practice time, plus it is familiar territory to aqdjust your mindset from thinking frets to thinking DB positions. Also, play DB transcriptions beyond your DB capabilities on electric to understand how they should sound and feel.

    3) For intonation practice, I have entered several studies and scale exercises into a sheet music program (Finale) and then looped it, so I can really practice intensely. My problem is the lazy thumb and this really helped.

    4) Once you have the basics down, look for easy jams or gigs to keep you motivated.
  10. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    Now you should post links to the Finale exercises. :D
  11. ZonGuy


    Sep 2, 2007
    I don't know how to post links since I don't have a website.

    I presume I would be violating copyright law if I share the exercises taken from recent books (Intonation Plus). I am not sure about Simandl.
  12. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    I don't know about that. There are sites that have a ton of real book tunes in Band in a Box format. Just figured it might save someone from re-inventing the wheel.
  13. Gary Lynch

    Gary Lynch

    Nov 18, 2008
    Sonoita AZ
    "Learn the foundational technique from a qualified instructor. Period."

    I agree. Do not start off with bad habits or you will find yourself tripping over your fingering and hand/thumb positions. It's a whole new experience from the EB. As far as I am concerned, it's another level. You can't fake good DB playing with pedals and gimmicks, (Like I can on EB). I play both but personally respect the DB a lot. It makes you humble fast.
  14. ZonGuy


    Sep 2, 2007
    My first DB cost $2000. $1000 for the bass, $1000 for lessons.

    My second DB cost $6500. $5000 for the bass, $500 for the bow, $1000 for lessons.

    I need more lessons.
  15. ramrod


    Apr 6, 2006
    I just picked up a Concord, Christopher...so it sounds like you guys are telling me thats is very hard to teach yourself the DB?
  16. CT DB

    CT DB

    Apr 27, 2007
    Fairfield Cty, CT
    It is hard to play the DB, period. While lessons are a good way to learn, don't feel that you cannot teach yourself if you cannot get lessons for some reason. I taught myself to play, and I don't have any injuries, and I am very happy with my rate of progress on the instrument. I think in order to teach yourself you have to be diligent in researching the reasons behind the exercises you are doing, and take advantage of any resources you can, such as watching live players, finding internet lessons (Jason Heath has some good ones on his blog), and speaking to other string players. Try everything for yourself, and keep practicing. Good Luck :)
  17. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    I gotta agree with ZonGuy here:

    "Learn the foundational technique from a qualified instructor. Period."

    Well, maybe we could leave off the "Period." ;) Sure, there is the rare, talented individual who can teach him/her self to play. Such people are very few and far between. Hey, as I understand it, PW is largely self-taught. Mort Herbert was self-taught.

    Still, even if you are one of those rare individuals, the speed, efficiency, safety, and quality of your learning will be greatly enhanced by having a teacher. For example, a good teacher will make sure that you practice and maintain good habits right from the start so that you don't have to undo bad habits later in order to progress.

    Now, CT DB is right too when he says that if you "cannot get lessons" then you can try to teach yourself. After all, the alternative would be not to play at all. Even so, I'd save up as much as you can and get to a teacher as soon as you can. There is just no substitute-- none. There's just no way around it.
  18. 400$Bass


    Jan 18, 2009
    Central Indiana
    Ramrod, I have been playing Electric Bass about 4 years gigging at church every Sunday. My wife bought me a DB. I dabbled around with it a few months, then started taking lessons. I have had three lessons and realized: THAT IS THE WAY TO GO!. I had already just dabbling developed inferior techniques. Remember...even very good bass players take lessons. I hope you can find a good teacher near you. It will be money well spent. What kind of DB did you get?
  19. ramrod


    Apr 6, 2006
    thanks everyone for your opinions.I decided to find a teacher...I bought a 3/4 Christopher DB

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