Some Notes on the Double Bass Rob Oxoby FAMI, May 2014
This is a series of tips, ideas, and explanation on how I play bass. They are only one person’s option so take them as such. The key element in playing bass (and music in general) is to have fun and not hurt yourself.
When you practice, have something you are going to practice. That is, take two minutes to think about what you want to work on in the practice time you have. This type of focusing on something will make your practice time more efficient. I would recommend 10 minutes of warming up with your instrument. You can do scales, work on arpeggios, or exercises to develop your dexterity and agility on the instrument. I always warm up with some bowing expertise, even though I rarely bow. Bowing brings out a lot of skeletons in your intonation and I find that it has helped me a lot to hear when I’m out of tune. I practice with a metronome set at 20 beats per minute (bpm) and play a scale (maybe a new one or maybe one I know) and play three octaves with one beat per click. This forces you to think about the rhythm and subdivide in your head. I go up and down the three octaves, then subdivide each beat into four and play one note per subdivision (i.e., play sixteenth notes against a quarter note of 20 bpm).
Basic tips: Wipe after playing, don’t over tighten to speed up stretching. string height. duration The debate over strings is never ending. People are always experimenting with new brands, models, and mixing sets to get the sound and feel they are after. However, given the cost of bass strings, this type of experimenting can be costly. This is where having friends who play upright are a great resource. Chances are their basses are set up differently and have different types of strings. A little mutual respect for one another’s instruments can give you access to trying a wide variety of strings. In the end, your choice of string can be a pretty personal choice based n the sound and feel you want, the type of music you are playing, and your finances. Below I offer some of my comments on strings I’ve tried.
Notes for the upright bass class taught by Rob Oxoby in May 2014 at the Foothills Acoustic Music Institute camp