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Ernie Ball Music Man Bass


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Oh yeah, Ben...were you goofing around or performing on that pic? I see too much thumb overhang and a slightly bent wrist...not enough fingertip...don't play flat-fingered.
Were you talking about my right wrist? My left is perfectly straight.


I'm cursed with a completely straight thumb (a recessive genetic trait), which makes it difficult for me to play in the "proper" classical position with the thumb right behind my middle finger...since the pad of my thumb can't bend backwards enough. People with "hitchiker's thumbs" have an easier time with that...


I used to strictly play classical-style, like Jaco, on electric, and my wrist bent at a pretty extreme angle. Eventually the pressure on my thumb caused it to get pushed back to the point where now it bends back a lot farther than my right-hand thumb, but it's still straighter than someone with a hitcher thumb. I played upright the same way...


Then I went to a great teacher named Jay Elfenbein...a Julliard graduate classical/jazz virtuoso who regularly subs for Ratzo Harris, blah, blah blah. He's also a virtuoso on viola de gamba, but I'm digressing...damn... :freak:


ANYWAY, he immediately noticed my bent wrist when bowing a long, low F# and told me to straighten it, I tried and couldn't...then he said to me "relax that thumb, bring it around". I was incredulous, "but I have to keep it in the back of the neck! That's what the books say!!!".


He said "well, sure, you should play that way most of the time if you're playing a phrase...but if you're bowing tied whole notes, why bother keeping your other fingers in position when you're not going to play there? Relax." It seemed to make sense...he also uses 1-2-3-4 sometimes around Vth or VIth position a lot on fast passages rather than doing the "Simandl shift".


When I saw photos of guys like Edgar Meyer and Milt Hinton doing the same thing, I realized he was right...it's a matter of what you're doing at the time...


Different people's bodies are built differently, and while I find putting my thumb on the back of the neck useful and I do it a lot (as my upright-playing avatar indicates), I've always been a proponent of having more than one left-hand technique at one's disposal.


As for the flat-fingered approach: It may be difficult to see, but I'm actually playing an Ab with my 2nd finger, and preparing to hit a C with my first. Both are bent...My third and fourth fingers aren't doing much of anything in that photo.


There, that settles that! :D

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Hey Benloy,


I hoped I was tongue-in-cheek enough...I would never presume that I could truly correct positions over the internet.


It is true that in moments of transition, hand position does change.


I just don't want the youngun's to look at that picture and go, "See..."


As far as the flat thumb, I have seen bassists who have very difficult hands to work with...one is a student of mine who made 8th chair state last year...if you took a picture of his hands you'd tell him to give it up...he'd never have it.


As far as a flat thumb goes, I actually teach a "flat" or neutral thumb on the LH. I don't believe it should be bent either forward or back.


You get the job done, you aren't wearing any tendon bracing, so you're doing fine.


Now, tell me about that sweet flamed top bass.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.


Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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Originally posted by alexclaber:

However it's not a bass that I've ever got on with because it doesn't have the mid growl to cut through the way I like - not saying that it doesn't growl, it's just a lower throaty growl.

I still maintain Flea was at best a mixed blessing to MusicMan basses. Until RHCP got huge, people (at least musicians in Ohio, where I bought my first MusicMan) thought of M/M and G/L as the things Leo Fender did when he got fed up with CBS ... Now, seems like most folks, even recording engineers (who should know better) seem pretty brainwashed about MusicMans, largely because Flea did such interesting slap stuff. But Flea played a lot of mid-rangey fingerstyle stuff, and moreover, there are a lot of tracks out there, made with MMs, that have nary a lick of pop nor slap.


All my playing is fingerstyle; I'm a pretty crappy slapper. I think if you're attentive to the placement of your right hand, you can get some really nice mid-honk/growl out of the Stingray5. I use heavy strings, and I pull hard (relatively close to the bridge), so YMMV ... but I think the 3-band eq gives you a good deal of control.

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Now, seems like most folks, even recording engineers (who should know better) seem pretty brainwashed about MusicMans
Not just about MusicMans - most basses and gear, and styles, and ideas about how many strings, and what is permissible seem to be issued from bassists and all other musicians, engineers, producers - all people who should know better. Tons of odd prejudices, assumptions, feeble-minded thinking, and power-over-others-ploys that are just obstacles.


No wonder the industry is such a FREEKING MESS. It's populated by humans, and some don't even try to be objective!

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This is the problem with talking about tone - it's so subjective. What I was saying was that I personally find the growl of the Stingray to be too low for my liking, which I think is the same growl that you guys rightly like.


And regarding lowmid punch, that's a different thing altogether in my book, though it may not be in yours. I think that almost any good bass will have plenty of low mid punch because it is that that seems to form the overiding character of the generic electric bass guitar. The growl is a more unique thing that is much more dependent on technique and the individual intstrument.


I think what I've noticed with Stingray's is that the throaty growl they produce sits sufficiently low in the frequency range that it is almost inaudible in the G-string without some help from EQing, hence the problem with that string getting somewhat lost in the mix. YMMV.



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