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The Annoying SCREECH

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by refinery, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. refinery


    Feb 14, 2005
    When I was playing my bass duet in my house alone, I get these unbearable screeches when I play my eighth notes :crying: ... My left hand fingers are firm on the fingerboard, yet I don't know why. Sorry if I really ask stupid questions. I'm kind of new and I don't have a lot of knowledge about the double bass just yet.

    - Josh O.
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Make sure that you're applying weight to the bow and not clamping down with your 'grip'. Spend some time with slow, separated quarter notes and make sure that you have the feel of getting a good grip of the string with the hair beofre you start the note. Spend time with long tones and make sure that your bow speed is 'intentional' (rather than haphazard (sp?)).
  3. refinery


    Feb 14, 2005
    Thanks a lot for the advice. I'll try to do what you typed and reply if it worked or not.

    - Josh O.
  4. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA

    I saw Chet Atkins do that on guitar once. It was pretty cool.

    The screech is coming from the bow sliding on the string rather than hooking up.

    Ray is spot on. You have feel the bow bite before you go. With faster passages, this is a little tougher of course.

    Also, Rabbath says to think of bowing in circles rather than a linear, back-and-forth motion. Once you can figure out what he is really talking about, it actually helps you get a better tone.
  5. Savino


    Jun 2, 2004
    The bowing in circles, refers to the wrist and not the actual bow, just to make things clearer. On a down bow wrist is up, up bow, wrist is down. Short bow strokes create a circular motion with the wrist. Keeping a good pinch on the bow between your thumb and index finger is key while letting the weight of the bow do the work. Play really soft at first to get the feel gradually increasing the pinch to attain forte. Lead the bow with your forearm and not your hand. It is essential to master stopping and starting a note. practise playing open strings pausing between up and down bows to adjust your wrist and ready your forearm to move the opposite direction. Good Luck, It's a painful but rewarding journey.
  6. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    SAPIENTO your description is magnificent but, to be clear with respect to this "pinch" business, you speak of the French bow, n'est ce-pas?
  7. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    did anyone mention bow speed ?
  8. Savino


    Jun 2, 2004
    oui oui Damon, is there another kind? ;)
  9. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Yeah -- the BASS bow :)
  10. Savino


    Jun 2, 2004
    Oh right. The Hacksaw :)
  11. 1. Make sure your bow is perpendicular to the string. Tip high or tip low will cause 'scratch'.

    2. On fast passages, make sure you're at the balance point of your bow. Usually around 2/3rds of the way to the tip. To find the balance point play repeated short notes moving the bow around until up bows sound just like down bows.

    3. 'Got Rosin?' - I like the sticky stuff, Kolstiens soft.

    Like above, short stroke, lot's of weight.
  12. Josh,

    There's no doubt that technique is the critical issue here. But further to this, you may want to question your string choice - some strings are more "arco friendly" than others. (I.e., some are more responsive to the bow.)

    I've put a lot of work into my arco playing in the last year and it's really paid off - the screeching is now a rarity. I think this is due to (a) new arco strings (b) changing my bow grip (c) slowing my bow speed and (d) practicing arco daily.

    I'm sure the last point was the most critical!
  13. A lot of time squeeks etc. come from a lack of coordination between the two hands. Maybe your left hand is a tiny bit early releasing the string (moving to the next note) or brushes against the open string you are trying to play etc.

    The best way to work on this is to slow the passages way down. Make sure at a very slow speed that the bow stops, then the left hand goes down BEFORE the bow starts again. If you restart the bow too soon...voila, screech!

    With this in mind, you can possibly make your life a bit easier by shortening up your bow strokes (play slightly more stacatto). This will buy you another split second in order to make the left hand change. But remember...

    bow stops > left hand moves > bow restarts
  14. AllegroConBasso


    Apr 3, 2005
    I think that any "Screech" is simply caused by drawing the bow across the string at any angle other than a perfect right angle. If the bow is in any way crooked, the bass will spit out a load of high overtones that are unpleasant to say the least! Practise in front of a mirror and make sure that your bow is perpendicular to the string at all times!

    Also if your left hand is not adequately firm against the ebon stretch then the bow will not draw the loudest pitch possible. (i.e. an enornous core sound)

    This should help - Happy strokin'
  15. Scroller


    Jul 16, 2005
    Hate to bring the "screech" issue up again, but it has been a thorn in my side for quite some time, especially when crossing to the G. I'm pretty good at keeping the bow perpendicular to the string. I use a German bow. A previous teacher once said to imagine you're drawing back a bowling ball and this seems to work well. I still have never figured out how often to use the open G or should this be avoided as much as possible? When playing fast, 16th note passages it often seems logical to use open G but my screech ratio ends up being about 50/50. Sometimes it sounds smooth with the open string, sometimes it screeches. Sure I get screeches on other strings but the G seems the most troublesome and difficult to correct. I use Helicore strings. Anybody care to comment...?
  16. littlekatie


    Jul 14, 2004
    London, UK
    thats down to getting used to what measure of weight/speed your g likes...im a helicore as well (heli orch) and find them perfect - but everyone gets the odd screech!i will probably be corrected by the bass experts on this one, but from my perspective ive got used 2 what makes the g sing and what makes it screech! its an issue of technique, methinks,not your bass or your fab strings
  17. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Yup. More'n likey.
  18. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Try wiping off the excess rosin from your strings more often. New rosin (on your Bow) doesn't stick to old Rosin (left on your strings).

    The Best 'G' I have found for the Bow is tyhe Regular Flexocor (Purple/Orchestra).

    So this problem to your teacher. He will be best to help you as far as Technique goes. We can only guess without actually seeing you play and Screech.
  19. Scroller


    Jul 16, 2005
    Thanks ladies and gents. While my bass isn't exactly a "plays by itself" beauty, I do believe it is set up the best it can possibly be for arco. I have never tried mixing different strings but I am interested in trying the G Flexocore. Alas, I am not currently taking lessons but I plan on doing so once again. As I've been focusing more on this problem, it actually seems to be more of a "scratch" than a "screech" or rather, the bow(me) isn't fully grabbing the note. Anyway, I will try the Flexocore and practicing more probably wouldn't hurt either!