#1
Well I know this is technically a bass guitar forum but the only other place this could go is the pit and i refuse to go there. Anyway, my band director is going to let me take the schools upright bass home and try to learn it and I just need some information as to where to get started, just anything to put me in the right direction is greatly appreciated.
#3
Well, to play jazz pizzicato (plucking) you take the side of you index finger, at roughly one inch above the end of the fingerbord. Then put you thumb all the way under the board and play the strings by pinching your thumb and forefinger together. It's kind of a side motion, if you're getting blisters where you would on a bass guitar you're doing it wrong. You should be getting blisters and callouses where the last knuckle on your forefinger is. You can do two fingers this way but start off with one.

To play classical pizz up higher on the fingerboard, almost where the body meets the board or even higher, you pluck like a bass guitar. You put your thumb on the edge of the board and play just like you would be playing an electric. You do it this way because classical players are always playing with a bow and this allows easy switching between the two.

That last leads me to the most important part of upright in orchestra, and the technique that you should almost always be using to practise scales, fingerings etc.: bowing. I would assume your teacher has given you a French bow to learn on. If he has given you a German bow go back and ask for a French bow because French bows are the best bows for learning on. Now, to bow properly you take you thumb and put it where the square endy thing (the frog) meets the shaft of the bow. It's a little, usually red, spot between the frog and the little coiled wire. The knuckle of your thumb should rest on this spot. The rest of you fingers should curl over the top and the first row of knuckles on your fingers (the second one on you pinkie) should rest over your thumb. If there was no bow in your way your thumb should come up in between your middle finger and ring finger.



To play with the bow you first need to resin it up (unless it's already resined). To do this you need to take a key or knife and scratch out the surface of the resin, then, take it and rub it all along the bow (I think the gents will know how this is supposed to be done ). If it's the first time the bow has been resined you need to take about 20 minutes and resin it. If it's not the first time or first time in a while, you only need about maybe a minute. Actually playing, compare to proper holding, is actually fairly easy. You take the bow, rest it on the string, and smoothly pull and then push along the string. Not too light, not too hard. Just hard enough so that it makes a sound, just light enough that it gives a nice tone. Your arm should be perfectly straight and your wrist should be doing all the work, your arm barely moving. Make sure you're playing about an inch below the fingerboard, and 2-2 1/2 above the bridge. At first just practise frog-to-tip playing. With a metronome play whole notes on the same string, making sure to take up the full bow on each note. The faster the bow moves the louder and better tone, too fast and you'll run out of space on the bow. Next try going from E to A to D to G all whole notes smoothly transitioning, frog-to-tip, change string, tip-to-frog etc. That's basically it for bowing.

Now on to fingering. First thing is, your arm should be almost totally perpendicular your fingers. Next, the finger set isn't the same as a bass guitar as instead of having 4 semi-tones at your disposal you only have 3. Now the way this is achieved is through something called the Simandl Method, basically two fingers used as one digit. Now, a lot of people use 1-2-3+4. I personally like this method, because it's the simplest. A more advanced version of this is the 1-2+3-4. It allows for more of a stretch. Remember regardless of which version you use the pinkie should never operate by itself. Even when playing the more advanced version the ring finger, while staying at the same spot, goes down with the pinkie. The basic exercise with fingering is obviously just scales. Take the F major scale and start at where you hear an F, it's roughly in the same position as on a bass guitar. Then, keeping the same hand position play the G with 3+4 or 4. Be careful as sometimes, if your stretch isn't that great, you might have to shift from the original position. With the advanced method, you should never have to change hand position (another reason I like it). Another rule for fingering. When playing chromatic, always go from one to one on the way up, and from four to four on the way down. This means that when you want to go F F# G G# you play it F with 1st finger, F# with 1st finger, G with 2nd, and G# with 3rd. If you want to play G# G F# F, play it G# 4th, G 4th, F# 3rd, F 1st. It makes it so you don't have to shift insane amounts and guess, it allows you to more accurately play notes.

If you put all those things together, you're on your way. I seriously hoped this helped. If it didn't then I just wasted 25 minutes and the anger my teacher is going to rain down upon me for not practising.
#4
Bales that like rocked my socks off and really did help, I don't have a bow at my disposal so I'll be using probably the classical style for a while until I can get used to the jazz. Also who are some like really good upright players that I could listen to for inspiration. I assume the tuning is also the same as bass guitar so my next question is can harmonics be used in the same style that they are on electric or can harmonics even be used at all
#6
You should listen to Edgar Meyer. He's amazing. The tuning is the same and harmonics can be used the same way. Also, go on youtube and look up Andrew Anderson bass for some videos that cover the basics.
Got Bass?
#7
Quote by thunderbritches
Bales that like rocked my socks off and really did help, I don't have a bow at my disposal so I'll be using probably the classical style for a while until I can get used to the jazz. Also who are some like really good upright players that I could listen to for inspiration. I assume the tuning is also the same as bass guitar so my next question is can harmonics be used in the same style that they are on electric or can harmonics even be used at all

search youtube for Stanley Clarke, and check out School Days Solo. thats what i'm talkin' about!

jazz_rock_feel, i am totally impressed! i'm movin' you to the front of the class.
scoot over Fitzy. lol
Last edited by 83lespaulstudio at Oct 7, 2007,
#8
Yay! I'm a nerd again! Anyway, I don't know a lot of classical bassists but some jazz ones are, Charles Mingus, and Paul Chambers. Damn two? I'm totally blanking on names right now. I'll moved my sorry ass to the second row.
#9
Ha, same thing here TS. My band director wants me to learn for jazz band. So, jazz_rock_feel, what's wrong with using the pinky independently?