Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Howard K, Dec 15, 2005.

  1. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Not sure if this is the right place for this?

    To-date, I've been tuning using an electric tuner, plugged via the piezo pickup in the bridge of my bass, and only playing pizz. So far my ears havent picked up any intonation problems that I havent just put down to the fact that I'm a beginner.
    Of course, my ear is far from perfect, but it's not that bad (I hope) and I'm pretty sure at least of the people I've played with would have noticed... or at least I hope so :D

    Now, I decided to start practicing with the bow, to work on my intonation, and I noticed that when I tuned the each string using long notes played with the bow, the string is 'in tune' at a different place to when I tune plucking with my fingers

    I'm guessing this is something related to the attack of the note - that when playing with the bow the notes are consistant pitch - wheras playing pizz the note reaches a peak, the tuner read it and it decays again, at a different place. Please correct, or explain me if I'm wrong or missing something

    So, my question is, how should I tune the instrument? I'm thinking that I should always tune using the bow even if I'm going to play walking lines pizz? Is the right thing to do?

    EDIT: also, does this mean my right hand technique needs serious work to play in tune?

    Any help very much appreciated! :)
  2. When playing jazz or standards were I will be playing pizz only, I tune using pizz. When playing in an orchestra, where for the vast majority of the playing I will be using the bow, I tune with the bow.

    As it was explained to me, by my teacher, when using the bow you are applying a constant pressure on the string while vibrating it. This actually slightly raises the pitch of the string while it is under the bow.

    This is very easy to see, if you use a tuner. Tune your bass with the bow, then pluck the strings and see how the open strings compare. I do this every orchestra rehearsal and the result is always the same, when I tune the open "G" for (using the tuner) with the bow, and then pluck that "G", the plucked "G" is always slightly flat.
  3. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Fantastic, exactly what I needed to know. Thanks very much