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Re: Fingering written music, on the electric...

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Posted by Rich Laird on February 15, 2001 at 12:23:35:

In Reply to: Re: Fingering written music, on the electric... posted by Zach on February 12, 2001 at 00:13:07:

: Sorry...I didn't mean it as an insult...I just wanted to know if you were considering doubling on upright. Indeed the concepts are very different. So what? I LEARNED! You probably can too!

: Sorry again!

: Zach

I don't see where anybody has insulted anybody here...but let me add this: I agree 100% that the technique of playing the bass guitar is totally different from playing the double bass. Xavier made a lot of really good points about why you have to approach fingering on the two instruments very differently.

And it's true that bass guitar players don't have the advantage of a tradition of 3-4 hundred years of double bass playing that includes all those ghastly etude books where somebody put fingering numbers in above all the notes. But something the books never seem to emphasize is how to go about working out decent fingering for yourself.

I think I've been relatively lucky in having had two teachers who talked about certain principles that players can apply when mapping out a fingering. Just simple things like trying to get as many notes as possible in one position...trying not to plan things out so you don't end up shifting to play one note, and then shifting right away to get the next note, etc. Nothing really sophsiticated...more or less common sense if you just stop and think about it.

I used to blow my own students minds when I asked them to justify how they fingered something. If they were doing something a certain way just because that was the way some nineteenth century cat put it in his book - sorry that's not good enough. You have to think for yourself.

In the same way, I've tried to do that with the Bass Guitar, which - admittedly - I never studied as extensively as the upright. Cause even though you're going to finger things differently, a lot of these same basic principles apply. You're probably going to use all four fingers more're probably going to work more horizontally (at least in the upper register)...but you're still going to try to minimize shifting and try to map things out intelligently.

It kind of comes down to what string playing in general is about - whether it's an URB, a bass guitar, a violin, or a frickin' Hurdy-Gurdy.

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