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upper register

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by sgtbaker, Mar 14, 2002.

  1. sgtbaker


    Mar 14, 2002
    i am 21 years old and i have played the bass for around 10 years now, i started on electric bass. i started playing string bass about a year and a half ago and it's been so challenging for me. i have a wonderful bass teacher, jim widner(played for the stan kenton orchestra) of the jim widner big band and he helps me out alot.
    but what i'm asking is, i have so much trouble with the upper register of the bass. i practice so hard, sometimes 3 to 4 hours a day, but the upper register seems so impossible to me. i always feel as if i'm taking blind stabs at high notes. i think i have a descent ear and i've trained my relative pitch, so it bugs me when i hit a funny note, but it's too late and too quick once i hit a weird note. i'm wondering if you can give me any advice as to how i can fix my problem. i just started playing out of the evolving bassist books by rufus reid and it seems to be helping a little.
    well, thank you for your time.
    take care.
  2. Do you know about the Vomit Exercise? It's a actually a bowing exercise but it can also have a profound effect on the left hand.

    The basic exercise is like this:

    Starting in 1st position on the G string (1st finger on A), play the A and shift, keeping your finger on the string, a whole step to B and back down to A. Then shift from A to C# and back, A to D and back, ect. all using only your first finger, all the way up the A major scale through 2 octaves and back down. You can also start in half position and do it in Ab with your first finger or 2-2 shifts in A; in Bb or B starting with your 4th finger and shift to another finger up and down the scale, etc.

    You could also start working on one of the Nanny Etudes de Virtuosite. That's all about big-ass shifts, many in and out of thumb position.
  3. sgtbaker


    Mar 14, 2002
    so play the "a" and then play a "b", then c# all the way up the a major scale in two octaves? that sounds like that could help. i do stuff like that always but it still doesn't work for some reason. i'll keep doing it though and see if it ends up working for me.
  4. Let me clarify this:

    On the G string, using the first finger only, play A-B-A-C#-A-D-A-E-A-F#-A-G#-A, etc. through 2 octaves (so you get way up into thumb position), then descend following the some pattern.

    Then still in A major play all of the A's with the 2nd finger and all of the other notes with the 1st, then with the fourth. In Bb you could play all of the Bb's with 4 and all of the other notes with 1 and then 2.

    Through all of this, make sure your first finger is in constant contact with the string and fingerboard so it sound like a slur.

    And get the Nanny book!
  5. Bijoux


    Aug 13, 2001
    The way I learn thumb position was playing scales across the strings, let's say you can program a software or record a track or get one of those aebersold CD's and basiscly play a Cmajor triad, just let the thing loop, now start by playing the c major scale over that from your lowest available note, let's say if you start at the octave on E string that will be your major third for Cmajor, so your thumb will play the notes st the octave(harmonic)first finger play F on Estring,2nd or 3rd play G, move to A string, thumb play A, 1st play B and 2nd play C, move to D string, thumb D, 1st E, and 2nd F, now G string, thumb G, 1st A, 2nd B, and 3rd C: practice that and whenever you feel comfortable with intonation take the exercise to the next level which will be try to solo over the loop, just create melodies as you go, feel comfortable? move to the next scale, if you know the modes that will help a lot, let's say now you want to work on A major scale, your first available note on E string is E, in this case is your perferct fifth, also called mixolydian mode, just go from there and play E-F#-G#; A-B-C#; D-E-F#; and G#-A-B, hope this helps, it has helped me, I can play pretty much anything on thumb position, good luck!
  6. Well, Petracchi´s "higher technique" is an extremely
    condensed, demanding method, but it is also the most exact.

    You´ll find there the basic thumb positions (chromatic, semi-chromatic and diatonic) and
    excellent training exercises.
    Everyone should know of it and train daily.
    It might be one single exercise for ten minutes with
    the deepest concentration (I also can´t imagine
    many people can last this kind of training for more than 30 min.).

    :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
  7. James S

    James S

    Apr 17, 2002
    New Hampshire
    Find a teacher who can already do well what you are wanting to learn.
  8. You don't mention, but if you are only playing pizz now, you gotta get on the bow. Even if you don't really see playing with the bow as part of your perfomance goals, it oughta be part of your study plan.

    You can't learn to play good intonation unless you can hear it clearly. It is much easier to hear pitch accurately arco than pizz. Work with the bow will do wonders for you left hand in several ways. Vomit (above) is mainly intended as a bow speed and control exercise, but is also great for getting comfortable with finding the pitches in the higher positions. I couldn't see doing Vomit using Pizz, it wouldn't really work.

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