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What I learned from a week at Berklee

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by DanielleMuscato, Jun 22, 2007.


  1. dumbdrum

    dumbdrum

    Sep 19, 2006
    NorCal
    Great info! As for this bit of advice, which edge top or bottom?
     
  2. Does Meshell Nedgeocello have a self-titled album?
     
  3. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    The round bit, right in the middle of the neck. So as far from the fretboard as the neck gets.
     
  4. dumbdrum

    dumbdrum

    Sep 19, 2006
    NorCal
    I guess that depends on what Dave's definition of "edge" is. I was experimenting with thumb positions yesterday and found that having my thumb higher up on the "shoulder" of the fretboard allowed for less strain in my hand and smoother playing. I thought this wasn't "proper" but with that comment I'm wondering if it might be.
     
  5. Dan1099

    Dan1099 Dumbing My Process Down

    Aug 7, 2004
    Michigan
    Tagging on for later study.

    I believe he means the "bottom edge" of the neck, from an electric bass point of view. This allows the greatest reach and spread, as well as better arch in your fretting hand fingers.
     
  6. DocBop

    DocBop

    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    That is real valuable advise and first time you use it you find just how valuable it is. Where I went to school they way they said it was "Wrong, but Strong!"

    Many bass players when they make a mistake or think they are going to they drop down in volume and that makes you stand out like a sore thumb. Being bass you are the one instrument that can't stop or chunka-chunka like a guitars do. What is weird is when you do play "Wrong, but Strong" few if any even notice, they just know they still hear some bass pumping away. So it sucks to step on the bass line, but sucks more if the bottom fall out of the tune.

    Again thanks for all these great tips you are sharing. They have a lot of value. :hyper:
     
  7. DanielleMuscato

    DanielleMuscato

    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    This is what I meant. I'm exaggerating a bit so it's easier to see, and normally, I would have the bass at a slightly more vertical angle, so my left wrist would not be bent -in this case, I just had the neck a little downward so I could get a better picture.

    Notice how many frets I can reach without shifting positions - I can effectively the low D on the 3rd fret, B string, simultaneously sounding with the D on the 7th fret of the G string using this left-hand technique. This is the same technique classical guitarists use for better reach and cleaner articulation.

    - Dave
     

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  8. dumbdrum

    dumbdrum

    Sep 19, 2006
    NorCal
    There is no pic. Are you referring to your avatar?
     
  9. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    Based on the pictures I've seen of him in the Hartke ads recently, he might not be taking his own advice!
     
  10. DanielleMuscato

    DanielleMuscato

    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    Try it now :)

    Also, this is a pic of the aforementioned 2-octave reach. It's very comfortable with no pain if you do it right (thumb on the bottom edge of the neck). The angle is better on this picture, as far as how I normally hold the bass.

    The second pic is a random classical player I found on Google, for reference.
     

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  11. dumbdrum

    dumbdrum

    Sep 19, 2006
    NorCal
    Thanks for the visual aid. I get it now. I'll have to try it. I've been working really hard at playing with a more relaxed technique. I think this will help.
     
  12. DanielleMuscato

    DanielleMuscato

    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    Yeah, he's getting to be a "bigger guy." Maybe that's why he said that - he's starting to realize it's good advice!

    When I was playing classical guitar, my teacher told me pretty much the same thing, although I think he was talking about my hands, specifically.

    As far as Berklee, though, I'm thinking about taking some online courses. They have for-credit classes for about $1k, and the summer semester starts on July 2nd. This might need it's own thread...

    - Dave
     
  13. KenToby

    KenToby

    Aug 15, 2002
    This is clearly a joke right Poop? Cornflakes with no milk, toast with no butter, bass player with no funk... ahh... WHAT!

    How is possible to be a bassplayer yet turn your back on some of the most melodic and challenging bass oriented music on the planet?

    Maybe you're not sure what funk is. I'm here just north of you. Come on by one afternoon and I think you'll have a new outlook.
     
  14. wyliee

    wyliee

    Jul 6, 2003
    South Hill, WA

    I presume you're exaggerating the bend in your wrist, yes? If not, you're losing a lot of strength in your hand by bending your wrist so far. It also looks like you're holding the bass neck much more vertically than most folks. Is this something else recommended at Berklee?

    -Eric.
     
  15. Hey Dave, these are great posts with solid info.

    I'd add Willie Weeks playing on Donny Hathaway's LIVE album to the learn list. Strong, supportive, musical...

    And to the guy who mentioned Wrong & Strong -- I love that. Back in the 70s the mantra I was taught was: Low & Slow. Kinda says it all, don't you think?

    Cheers!
     
  16. DanielleMuscato

    DanielleMuscato

    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    I don't usually bend my wrist that much, but then, I don't usually sound D2 & D4 simultaneously, either :)

    As far as the vertical aspect, it depends on the teacher - electric bass is a relative new-comer to the history of musical instruments, only the last 60 years or so. The shift from acoustic/jazzbox guitars to electric was pretty seamless as far as technique in the wrists, etc, but not so with double-bass. Playing pizzacato on upright bass works just fine, but when you move the instrument from vertical, in-front of your body; to horizontal, strapped around your torso, your technique has to change in order for you to get the same angles between your fingers and the strings, on both hands. The more vertical the bass, the more you can play the bass as though it were an upright.

    Here's an example of playing an electric bass with "correct" upight technique (I can't put my thumb under the fingerboard, lol, but close enough). Anyway, as you can see, both wrists are very straight, and I have complete access to the fingerboard across all strings (the same as I would on a classical guitar, by keeping my thumb on the "bottom" (far right in the photo) edge of the neck):
     

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  17. DanielleMuscato

    DanielleMuscato

    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    The first photo in this post is how a lot of people play electric bass - right wrist bent pretty sharply, in order to maintain the angle of your right-hand fingers to the strings, and keeping the left thumb on the bottom edge of the neck, to maintain the angle of the fingers to the strings on that hand. This gives you great access to the strings, but unfortunately, both wrists are pretty sharply bent to make it happen.

    The second photo is a hybrid of the two. Both wrists are pretty close to straight, and you have good access to the strings without losing dexterity or strength in your wrists. It looks a little goofy, but it's very effective.

    I should say that this is what I do, and what some people teach, but there's no one "Berklee" technique - it depends on the teacher. Some techniques, anatomically, work better than others, but you should probably do whatever is comfortable and lets you play well without pain and with good tone & articulation.

    - Dave
     

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  18. DanielleMuscato

    DanielleMuscato

    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    Here's a pic I found on Google of Gary Willis doing pretty much the same thing. His left wrist technique looks a little uncomfortable, in my opinion, but notice the angle of the bass neck - much more like an upright bass than a guitar.
     

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  19. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    I have also noticed Patitucci playing with a much more vertical orientation recently.

    View attachment 62183

    Me, I tend to go more horizontal, and high up, which is clearly not good for my right wrist. See my avatar.
     
  20. DanielleMuscato

    DanielleMuscato

    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    A lot of people play the way you do, WJG. I don't know if it's *wrong,* as much as that it is more likely to lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and other hand problems, rather than playing with your wrists straight.

    Here's Victor Wooten and Mark King playing with "bad" technique... and I don't think anybody would argue that they're going to have short careers because of it :)

    Mark King on YouTube:
     

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