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Technique: Short Orchestral Bassists

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Snakewood, Nov 6, 2006.

  1. Snakewood

    Snakewood Guest

    Dec 19, 2005
    I'm trying to compile some information for a pedagogy essay on various playing methods of the double bass. Myself being a small bass player (5'6") is curious about how other people of my size get around the instrument. If anyone could perhaps add personal experience or better yet inform me about key/well known bassists who were/are small in stature it would help greatly. I'm targeting 5'8" and under. Thanks a ton.
  2. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    Gary Karr
    Chris Hanulik
  3. jsbarber


    Jun 7, 2005
    San Diego
    It seems to me that back in the 16th and 17th centuries 5'6" would probably be average height, maybe even taller than average. That might be an interesting point, or side discussion, for your paper.
  4. Snakewood

    Snakewood Guest

    Dec 19, 2005
    Dennis Trembly also looks quite low. He uses a five string? German or French?
  5. neilG


    Jun 15, 2003
    Ventura, CA
    I'd guess that pretty much 99% of all women bassists are going to be in the mid 5 ft. range.
  6. Snakewood

    Snakewood Guest

    Dec 19, 2005
    hmmm...I dunno about that. The majority of female bassists I've seen are usually 5'10" and up.
  7. sibass89


    Jan 29, 2006
    Cincinnati, OH
    Levinson is a small guy.
    Laszlo is pretty small but he has really long arms, that helps.
  8. I think Hal Robinson is a small guy. So is Dennis Trembly.
  9. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    Barry Lieberman
    Thomas Martin
  10. Justin K-ski

    Justin K-ski

    May 13, 2005
    I've been told that Franco Pertracchi is not a tall gut, but I've never met him in person.
  11. Snakewood

    Snakewood Guest

    Dec 19, 2005
    No Petracchi is a very tall man, my teacher was his student.
  12. I have a friend who is short. I don't know how short, but I'm going to say... 5'2"? She plays a 3/4 german factory bass, German bow. She sits on a relatively tall stool, left foot up, with a very "sideways" stance to the bass. She also uses a very "mobile" technique over the fingerboard combined with a lowered nut on the bass, providing a shorter than normal string length.
  13. NotACello


    Oct 11, 2006
    new york city!
    5'6 isn't small, and weren't you 5'7 the last time you mentioned your height?
    I know a few female bass players that are in the 5'2 range and get around the bass just fine.
    Dennis Trembly isn't the tallest and he plays a gigantic 5 stringer and is a German bow player. There's always a way to get around your bass regardless of your size.
  14. Snakewood

    Snakewood Guest

    Dec 19, 2005
    5'6"/5'7", regardless they're both generally "down there" for a bassist. lol

  15. mcnaire2004


    Jan 17, 2006
    I don't see height being a big problem in orchastral music. Gary Carr is short but his endpin is a foot and a half off the ground so it's not that bad. Right now I'm 6'2'' and I play a 7/8s bass. When I was in 6th grade I was 5' tall. I played a 3/4 fine. When I was a freshman (9th grade for the stupid) I was 5'6'' and I played a 3/4 fine with no problems. I diidn't have the endpin out that far back then but it isn't to big of a problem.
  16. Snakewood

    Snakewood Guest

    Dec 19, 2005
    It can be a problem...in my circumstances, it's hard to sit on a 25 inch stool because every single person in the UTSO bass section stands, so the stand height is ridiculously high.
  17. Anon2962


    Aug 4, 2004
    Maybe you should experiment with sitting lower, with a shorter spike length, with both feet on the ground or (if that's too low to have the stand for your desk partner) with your feet on paddles, or on guitar footrests? Having the paddles or footrests there means you sit as you would when your feet are on the ground, but everything is raised higher. This works for everyone, no matter what your height.

    A drawback, at least for me, is that the angle of the bass is difficult to maintain on a higher stool. I like the angle of the bass to be alot more horizontal an angle than normal, and this means, on a high stool, the spike is out as far as it can go. Luckily I have a very long spike:smug: Still feels the same as sitting with both feet on the floor, which is my preferance, but it looks a bit odd when you stand at the end of a concert and the foot of the neck is over your head!:D
  18. Justin K-ski

    Justin K-ski

    May 13, 2005
    Hmm, maybe he just looked short to the guy who misinformed me. My first teacher, Fred Weiss was around 6'4". He almost had to kneel to play my bass.
  19. JayR


    Nov 9, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    I study with Chris at UCLA and I'm 6'4" and it's kinda funny cuz during our lessons he'll grab my bass and have to lean it at some ridiculous angle cuz I'm a tall freak and he still manages to play perfectly even with the thing like, parallel to the ground.
  20. Snakewood

    Snakewood Guest

    Dec 19, 2005
    Lower than 25 inches? That's entering cello territory where you don't require a stool you just need a normal chair.

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