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Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by fatjbass, Jan 10, 2006.

  1. fatjbass


    May 29, 2004
    Portland, Oregon
    I'm having troubles keeping good vibrato. It's not too hard for me at all when I'm playing pizz, but when I'm using the bow, I tend wobble my bow while trying to have a steady vibrato.

    Any ideas how I can fix this?


  2. I had the same problem for a while, one thing that helps is playing long tones while vibrating. Concentrate hard on the physical aspects; look at how each arm works when its independent of the other and work hard at getting them to do it at the same time. This promblem should go away slowly as you get more experience with the bow, but for now you'll just have to really think about it (I can't really remember when it stoped being a problem but now I have no trouble, I don't think it took real long).
  3. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Are you moving your bow too slowly? Have you practiced bowing without vibrato? This might cement your bowing technique before adding the vibrato element.
  4. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    My thought is that the speed of vibrato depends first on what note you are playing, with lower notes on the bass needing a slower vibrato to sound the same as higher notes with a slightly faster vibrato. The most important thing to me is to do vibrato in a way that does not require tensing up, and gives breath to the music. I would say different musical situations are different, and add that your vibrato will sound better if you are holding the string down with your arm weight instead of pinching with your hand. An irregular vibration will sound unsteady, and using arm weight helps keep things constant and steady.

    Speeding up or slowing down your vibrato can add to musical effects you are trying to create. It is pretty personal, and I have heard the great players vibrate many different ways.

    Listen and trust yourself and you will come up with something good.
  5. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    My dad recommended (horn player) and I've been practicing with good results working on vibrato's width and speed. You can practice these independently, going with a slow vibrato from wide to narrow and a fast vibrato the same way. This gives you all your choices, and gives you the control to match someone else's vibrato when you're playing with them. It also gives you the control to use different vibrato for different effects and styles.
  6. Ok - I'm just takinjg a guess here having looked at your profile and seen nothing but bg - and the guess is that with the bow you don't feel secure because piz holds the bass for you whilst arco lets it float and move if your'e standing.

    Rather than worry about vibrato I'd worry about basic stance and familiarity of the balance and feel of the instrument which when first doing arco form all piz can be damn insecure.

    Now you'll tell me you play sitting and have been taking lessons for five years but hey - only trying to help coz it happened to me, but let me get my apologies in first! ;-)
  7. Sorry - darn thing won't let me edit to clear up that what I meant was piz pulls the bass into you and makes it feel steady - I think you all get the idea anyway??
  8. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    My model for the perfect vibrato is Ed Barker. Listen to his solo album or the Boston Symphony recording of Mahler 1 (either one with Ozawa) and listen to his solo at the beginning of the 3rd movement. If you get the earlier recording (around 1980) bear in mind that he was 23 years old and was the BSO principal bassist for about a week when it was recorded. He said that it was done at the end of an 8 hour recording session. It sounds incredible.