upright bass

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Rafterman, Feb 16, 2001.

  1. i'm gonna start practicing upright bass next week...any pointers?...warnings?...encouragement?...or whatever feedback
  2. Do it! Go easy on your left hand, build up your strength over a preiod of weeks, or you might do some damage. Some good books are
    Simandl Bass Method.
    Ray Brown's Bass Method
    Rufus Reid's Bass Method
  3. well i already know how to play electric bass just fine...is it really that much different?
  4. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    The position is one thing, that I know lots of people never got over. I love it, and play my bass guitar in practically the same pos.
    If your'e talking double bass, you'll probably feel that the body of it is in your way.
    But the first thing you'll notice, and probably hate (at first) is the high action. It IS heavy! And combined with the longer scale, it's alaotta hard work.

    Bottom line: prepare for a tuff start and a rewarding future, if you stay at it!
  5. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    My electric bass teacher left his double bass with me for a month while he traveled. He gave me a few lessons first, though, and I can tell you these things. One...he nagged me constantly about keeping my right elbow UP. I had a tendency to let it sink and trying to keep it up...well level actually...was tiring.

    Two, I got carried away with the plucking, trying to play along with a Stray Cats song. Whew, did I get a blister or what!! My finger had a purple blister all the way UNDER my fingernail. Be really careful. Limit your first practice sessions.

    The high action will be a challenge at first. Oh yes, if you haven't played fretless bass, it will be a challenge to you to hit those notes right where they are supposed to be.

    The notes are further apart and you will have a challenge playing way up on the neck (I mean down by the body of the bass), but you won't start out with those high notes anyway.

    ANother thing, you'll notice very fast how much the double bass HELPS your electric bass playing because your fingers get so strong.

    I didn't do any arc work. I don't know if you are going to learn to play with the arc. There's two ways to hold it...the German way and the French ( or is it Italian) way. Mastering the arc is a great challenge at first...like for months and months.

    Lastly, post this same question down in the DOUBLE BASS folder. Those guys can really help you. They play double bass. I would be pretty much of a double bass poser with my limited lessons several years ago.

    Good luck and I really, really envy you. One of my great regrets is that I didn't pursue the double bass when I had the best chance of my life.

    jason oldsted
  6. AuroraStar


    Apr 15, 2000

    I just started playing on the double bass..and I'm 5'3 so the body does get in the way..

    I'm not sure if my teacher said anything about my fingers being crunched up, or about keeping the 3rd and 4th fingers together..it's pretty uncomfortable, but I'll get over myself...callouses, blisters, aching wrists and arms...I love it..

    I'm having trouble using the bow...
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well there are loads of people with vast experience on the "other side" - that is the "Double Bass" part of the forum - don't call it "upright" and be "nice" - they will give you lots of tips! ;)

    If you say it's not really that much different though, you might just get "Kung Fuqua'd"! :D
  8. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Rafterman, I'll leave this post up until tonight to see if you get more anserw, then I'll move this thread to the double bass forum where the experst who really do play double bass can give you responses that will help you more. NOt only that,as you start your classes, you may have specific questions to ask and they will be the ones who can best answer you.

    Good luck with your explorations of the double bass experience. I envy you.

    jason oldsted
  9. My thoughts exactly, Bruce!! :D
  10. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    I wouldn't call it an upright down there either. :)

  11. WOW!That is soooo kewl!
    One of my long term goals is to one day be able to play the double bass.But for now I have my hands full with just learning the electric bass guitar.I think if you can,then go for it!!!!

    Best Wishes,and keep us posted!

  12. rablack


    Mar 9, 2000
    Houston, Texas
    Check the archives on this and also see the thread here in DB land under the Basses section called " huh huh, I'm like posting on the double bass forum. this is cool."

    DB ain't something you can learn online. All the books or videos in the world, while helpful, aren't enough. You simply must have lessons with a real live teacher or, as you will see said over and over in the archives, "you're gonna hurt yourself." The DB is a completely different (and much more difficult) beast and very little of your BG technique transfers.

    P.S. there are a few folks who are touchy about nomenclature down here. Call it the double bass or The Bass (not upright or acoustic)
  13. There are really only a few things to remember.

    1) If it hurts, STOP. Seriously, stop and figure out a different way to do whatever you were doing. It may just be you pressing down too hard but it could get bad if you let it go and form a habbit.

    2) Particularly in lower positions (half, first, etc), you need to use your index, 2nd and pinky for "fretting" the notes. Do not try the Jaco 1 finger-per-fret logic; it will kill your hand trying to stretch like that. One of the main differences of electric and double bass is that you shift a LOT more because the notes just aren't as close together and the pressure to push down the strings is so much greater.

    3) You shift with your arm (elbow is the pivot point)...keep your elbow up (slightly higher than horizontal).

    4)The bass should lean on you not the other way around. You should be able to let go of it and it stay up by itself.

    I hope this helps. I could go on but this is enough to get you going. Good luck.
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    You waited over 8 years to say that....:eek:

  15. Yep i agree with all of those books
    I would also reccomend to relax your right hand alot
    and listen
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yeah - but the OP has had 8 years to go through all this since then!! :eek:

  17. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Probably working as a DJ by now....
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Gone from being a spotty teenager to mid-20s adult by now!! ;)
  19. We get it...the post is old...It can help someone else that stumbles across it, though...calm down.