Oh help me my upright brethern and sisters!

Here's the rub. I am trying to get some practice time until my old bass teacher comes back from Mexico in a few weeks, so I dragged out the Simandl book (yes, I'm that masochistic) and have been working through the scale and practice exercises but with a jazz finger style.

Good points--my intonation and right hand work is going well. I also find that my jazz basslines are locking much better.

Bad point? My pinky on my left hand is killing me after an hour. I am using the simandl method (1st, 2nd and pinky) and I believe my action is at a good height. I think I am positioning my fretting hand wrong somehow. Any suggestions? Is this normal?
From what I know about playing upright, you need to hold your thumb between your first and second fingers, use your pinky and ring finger together for added strength, arch the tops of your digits and hold your arm as straight as possible.

But even with all of that, you should start slow! I've only played upright for a total of... maybe an hour, but my left hand was killing me afterwards.

Maybe watch some videos of Ron Carter or Paul Chambers? Inspiration as well as technique!
Last edited by aguacateojos at Jan 10, 2010,
Are you using the ring and pinky together? You're using it for primarily jazz I'm assuming so the action is always going to have to be sky high for the most part. To be honest in my experience with double bass the technique on the left hand isn't that much different than electric. The same principles apply, like thumb on the back of the neck, have a nice arch in your fingers, all of that stuff in the same, just inverted 90 degrees. My guess is this is just old school muscle pain, because it is a lot harder to play upright physically than electric. My suggestion is to get some good stretching in after it starts to hurt and just try and work through it. If that doesn't work after a few days then someone better than I wll have to answer your question
Last edited by jazz_rock_feel at Jan 10, 2010,
Thanks--I'll consider this when I practice today. And Bales, I agree about the physicality of the instrument, it's what makes it so appealing and difficult at times.

I saw Tony Levin on Monday night and watching him play his EUB helped my right hand technique quite a bit. I'll have to spend some time on youtube today and keep on learning from the masters
Make sure your elbow is always raised up. If you want when your pressing with your pinky use 2 other fingers or all of them if you want.
Or if like Eb your trying to make these stretches dont bother move around abit and youll get faster as you go.

I dont care what type of music im playing the action cant be high, the strings should be pretty much touching the fingerboard at the nut.
Yamaha TRB1006
Fender MIA jazz bass
Hora Hybrid double bass
Hartke lh 500
Ev 606L
Epiphone les paul
Quote by anarkee
Bad point? My pinky on my left hand is killing me after an hour. I am using the simandl method (1st, 2nd and pinky) and I believe my action is at a good height. I think I am positioning my fretting hand wrong somehow. Any suggestions? Is this normal?

I don't play my DB much these days, but where does it hurt?
If it's in the tip/pad, probably just the finger not being used to the added pressure of the string, and you'll need to kill off more nerve ending in that area.
Along the finger might suggest you're losing the curvature of the finger, putting undo stress on the joints in order to hold down the string.
More in the hand? You may be over working it if the other fingers aren't backing it up.
Watch that your 3rd finger is working with the pinky when stopping a note; meaning on the string, not being pulled up off the string. Similarly, check 1&2 for the same issue. They're kinda like structural support. If you pull 1&2 off the board, not only is the pinky doing all the work, but it can cause the hand position to twist.

Just some ideas.
If it continues to hurt, wait for you teacher to help figure out what's going on. No need to risk injury.
Try moving around instead of stretching. My bass teacher used to hate that I used my ring finger and moved around instead of positioning correctly, but it didn't stop me from playing anything. Admittedly, playing properly probably has it's advantages, but my odd technique works nicely for jazz, and it's still possible to play classical pieces perfectly well with unorthodox fingering.
Quote by XxLloydxX
How young would you consider no-pedo attempt
Last edited by monkey_dancer at Jan 11, 2010,
Well after yesterday, I adjusted the arch in my fingers and the discomfort is basically the nerve endings at the end of my pinky. I'll keep at this until I can get a lesson in.

I have to say, oddly enough, I am finding this much easier than electric bass to play, esp. in jazz. Thanks again guys for your assistance!
Left hand technique is like E. bass with the thumb on the back of the neck but the fingering is different, it's like scissors is how i'm taught.

With the right hand you should always keep your elbow up, thumb behind the second finger. I also use 1, 2, pinky. You should keep 1 and 2 down when using pinky anyway as it's easier and don't try and stretch too much, it's easier to move your hand.
Your thumb should just sit above center on the neck behind the second finger, i find that's the most comfortable place and the Double bass should be adjusted for the right height.

That's all i can think of, good luck
Also is the nut around level with your eyebrows
Yamaha TRB1006
Fender MIA jazz bass
Hora Hybrid double bass
Hartke lh 500
Ev 606L
Epiphone les paul
I'll give you some help on performance style.

From what I can tell, there are two types of Jazz Double Bassist, illustrated perfectly by two photos I just googled for the purpose of this post.

The "Dead Inside":

Here, the bass player isn't really doing anything. The vacant expression, slack posture and saggy mouth all show us that playing dance music and trad jazz has slowly killed the person he was, the little boy who wanted to climb onto his bass while he was playing it.

If you want to look like this (it's preferable to the next one), simply imagine discovering a serene pool in a parched desert surrounded by trees, then upon jumping on the water you're teleported into space.

Yeah, it's sucks. But you'll deal with it, because you're afraid, and maybe someone will kill you before you die of asphyxiation. Where am I going with this? I dunno...

The "What The Hell Is Wrong With You?"

Here, we cannot truley comprehend what is going through this man's mind. Is he reliving a brutal double murder suicide? Has his testicles been flicked gently for most of the day, providing a level of discomfort unattainable by anything?

We'll never know. If you want to attain this expression, imagine the following. You're on the toilet, and you've finished. A local temporal anomaly causes the waste product to reverse it's travel and re-enter you.

That's right. This guy got packed by his own fudge.

As another example of this expression,

In the bass chat:

<Jon> take the quote of me out your sig plx
<Jon> i hate seeing what i said around lol

Leader of the Bass Militia PM to join!

And now on BANDCAMP!

Officially the funniest member of the Bass Forum.
Last edited by Nutter_101 at Jan 12, 2010,