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The Lowdown with Dr. D - Page 14

Common Upright Bass Tunings (Part 2 of 2)

This is part 2 of the Common Upright Bass Tunings series. This time, we’ll cover 5 String Tunings, C extensions and some practice suggestions. Check out Part 1. Five String Tunings As long as there have been basses, there have been basses with 5 strings. Traditionally, the extra string has been used to extend the range of the instrument lower....

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Common Upright Bass Tunings (Part 1 of 2)

One of the beautiful things about upright bassists is their unwillingness to conform. When it comes to tuning, we often refuse to conform not only to the practices of other instruments in our family, but also to each other! Although 3 string basses are largely a thing of the past, there are still uprights with 4 strings, with and without...

Rhythm Series: Improving Your Time

Rhythm Series: Improving Your Time

Having good “time,” or sense of pulse, is an essential skill for all musicians and bassists in particular. So much of what we do is reliant upon having a solid, steady and accurate pulse. In fact, I find a highly developed sense of time to be as important as a highly developed sense of pitch, perhaps more so. Ideally, of...

The Lowdown with Dr. D.: Buying Your First Bow

The Lowdown with Dr. D.: Buying Your First Bow

Using the bow on an Upright Bass can open up a world of creative possibilities. Most people who get into it never get out! Before you can wow and amaze your friends, however, you will need to own a bow. When you start investigating bass bows you will find that there are two main styles of bass bows. Their physical...

Dr. D. Mailbag: Electric to Upright, Upright Reinforcement & EUB’s

This week, I am going to answer some recent questions I received via Facebook and email. Can you give advice about learning the fretless bass or upright bass while you can only play a fretted one, as there’s a load of challenging intonation problems in the absence of frets? Speaking strictly about the upright bass, I believe your question arises...

Amplifying the Upright Bass

Amplifying the Upright Bass

Most of us will need to amplify our upright bass at some point. Besides… you know you want to! When amplifying your bass, there are a number of components involved in creating the sound that comes out of the speakers. Today, let’s consider a few of them. Your Bass Of all the things involved in amplifying the upright bass (pickups,...

Technique Series: Minimum Finger Pressure

Although there are times when strong muscular exertion in the left hand may be beneficial, in general we want to use a minimal amount of effort. The fingers should press the string with only enough force to produce the note cleanly, and no more. Keeping minimum finger pressure in the left hand will help with speed, stamina, shifting, general ease...

The Lowdown with Dr. D.: Reader Questions

I constantly receive questions in my email box from aspiring bassists. Unfortunately sometimes these pile up and I can’t always get to everyone’s question in a timely manner, or even send a personal response. So for a few installments, I thought I would take some time here on The Lowdown and answer a few of the more common questions that...

The Lowdown with Dr. D.: Electric, Upright or Both?

I constantly receive questions in my email box from aspiring bassists. Unfortunately sometimes these pile up and I can’t always get to everyone’s question in a timely manner, or even send a personal response. So for the next couple of installments, I thought I would take some time here on The Lowdown and answer a few of the more common...

Practice Technique: Note Isolation for Improved Intonation

There are countless ways to improve our intonation, both at our instrument and away from it. Here’s one strategy, to be done at our instrument, which can help open our ears and stabilize a key center. It involves isolating and spotlighting a single pitch every time it appears. The technique works well with music of any tempo. You can isolate...

Practicing for Performance

Practicing for Performance

When we are first learning a new work, we might spend many hours putting it together. We can easily spend days, weeks or even months working on small sections, phrases, passagework, navigating specific chord changes, or other musical and technical items in a piece. We do this not only to perfect individual sections and assure technical fluidity, but also in...

Practice Techniques: Utilizing Metronome to Improve Facility

Practicing very, very slowly One of the main advantages to playing a passage vastly under performance tempo is that you give yourself ample time to think. It is easier to plan, calculate and control your playing at slower tempi. Exactly how slowly you should practice depends on the difficulty of the passage. In general, the more difficult the passage, the...