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Double basses, bowing and fav. bass players
I bought an upright last year sometime and have most played pizz. I would like to learn how to play arco but between my full-time job and going to the gym and all that, I haven't had much luck in finding a good teacher. The bass I bought is an old Kay that was sold to me for probably a lot more than it was worth. I didn't do enough research on basses and I just HAD to have one. Anyway, the bow I got is a German style, plasticky thing with nylon (or something) instead of horsehair. It's probably your typical student bow. I got a few tips on technique from the guy I bought the bass from (who teaches at the college down here), but I have more questions:
Sometimes when I am bowing, especially on the G string, the pitch goes flat up to about 20 cents. Is this because my technique is not even, I am pressing too hard, or what? I keep an eye on my left hand and from what I can tell, I am keeping it still. I am looking to buy a French bow because of a prior wrist injury which makes the German technique difficult. Being a beginner and all, what should I look for? How much should I expect to spend? What should it be made out of? Should I get real horse hair?
Thanks for your help! I took a listen to the acoustic cafe show last night. Pretty cool! How did they record you? It sounds like there was a single condenser in the middle of the room, just a guess.
Hey, when we chatted at your gig at the Casbah in San Diego, you mentioned that you got to see Alain Cairon (spelling?) play at NAMM. What is your favorite work that he has done? I'd like to check him out, and anyone else you'd suggest. Thanks!
Congratulations on your K Bass. If that Bass has had an owner in the past who loved it, then I'm sure it sounds great. I hope that changing over to a french bow will solve the discomfort in your arm. I play a french bow but admire the cats who play german style. Sometimes holding the bow from the underside makes more sense. But fundamentally in both styles of playing the shoulders should be rolled back and down. Holding the bow the german way naturally makes your shoulder roll back, so when I play french style I remind myself of that german sensibility. Rolling the shoulders up and forward will usually lead to cramping, and that's no fun. Try to breath and relax regardless of which style you chose. Ah Ha, the pitch waivering thing. This happens when I play my digerydoo. Usually at the beginning of blowing when my air hasn't reached a constant flow. The same applies to playing a nice even note with the bow. The trick is even weight (not pressure)from the beginning of the bow stroke to the end. Believe me I know that little worble at the beginning of the stroke well. One must let that shoulder,arm, and hand just fall onto the bow, without breaking up your breath. it's almost as if all the bass player can do is simply set up the perfect conditions for the bow to go on it's way. Defenitely not something one can force. Maybe that's why I find so many humble bass players, they must know it's counter productive to be pushy. A book I would like to recommend is "Zen in the Art of Archery". I haven't bought a bow in 10 years so I wouldn't have a good estimate. I bet a string shop in your town does. Yes, Alan Caron was joyously awsome to see. He appeared to just love to wittle around different rhythms and changes. Bass players I would recommend quickly are: Edgar Meyer, Miroslav Vitous, Jaco Pastorious. Take care of your hand and just ask the horse before you use it's hair. Man can they kick.