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Upright bass technique questions


EddiePlaysBass

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I have two questions re: upright playing (which I suppose will be the same for electric upright playing).

 

One : how do you determine the height ? Someone told me the first position should be at eyebrow level but I found this too low for comfort and put my bass a bit higher.

 

However, I still notice that playing higher up on the bass I tend to stoop. Undoubtedly this is a bad habit / bad technique that I am developing but I am wondering if I should just mind my posture or raise the height of the bass.

 

Two : When playing faster notes, do you pluck like you would an electric bass ? Or is one supposed to still pluck with the side of the index finger ? So far I have found that, playing rockabilly, I tend to be playing any given way except with the side of the index finger, which is making me feel a bit silly :)

 

I know it's hard to figure out what I mean without seeing me play, but I hope I made myself sufficiently clear. If not, let me know :thu:

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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Ooooo! Ooooo! I KNOW THIS ONE!!!

 

1: With the bass striaght up and down, the nut should be somewhere in the middle of your forehead. With your feet shoulder width apard and about a foot away from the bass, turn the bass and tilt it so the upper bout is planted in your stomach. Keep your fret arm parallel to the floor. This is the "classic" method. You ain't doing classic. Buddy Holly's bassist used to stand on the C-bout and slap over the top of the bass.

 

2: Rockabilly and Blugrass use a slap technique with is much faster than using the fingers. To pick up the transitional eights and 16th stops in some our faster Latins, I would use the sides of both the fore and middle fingers but it's hard to maintain any kind of sustained speed that way. Learning slap technique may be your best option.

 

P.S. Upright Slap is not the same as slapping a bass guitar. I don't have the chops for it, but there are some books out there.

 

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

 

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Thanks Flank ! I only have an electric upright though so point 1 is somewhat lost on me :( But yes, you do know this one :thu:

 

As for point 2, I see your point and am incorporating a really lousy rockabilly slap technique at this point :grin: I figured I'll unlearn the bad habits at some point ;)

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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Correct. If you're standing straight up, the nut should be around eyebrow level. Hunching over when you play up the fingerboard is not a bad thing. If you were playing with a bow it couldn't be helped. But as with any instrument, mind your posture and make sure your not slouching too much or your back will yell at you the next day.

 

When I start playing faster I switch from side of the finger to tips as if I were playing bass guitar. I've never tried learning to slap on URB but from what I've seen of other players, they use their tips.

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Expand Note 1 -

 

My URB is set so that the nut is right about level with the top of and just behind my ear. First position is just below and in front of the the ear lobe. Third is about my jaw line. So the top part of the neck should be actaully behind you face, about the middle of your head with the neck turned slightly inward.

 

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

 

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I just like to ride it around like a stick horsey.

I know . . .

 

But seriously, I have had my hands on an URB lately and it's not as intimidating as I first thought. Still not sure if I'm old or geeky enough to own one but thanks for the onfo you two.

"He is to music what Stevie Wonder is to photography." getz76

 

I have nothing nice to say so . . .

 

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I just like to ride it around like a stick horsey.

I know . . .

 

But seriously, I have had my hands on an URB lately and it's not as intimidating as I first thought. Still not sure if I'm old or geeky enough to own one but thanks for the onfo you two.

I've been old enough since 6th grade.

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