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Re: sad bass situation

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Posted by Marcus Johnson on October 31, 2001 at 12:43:22:

In Reply to: sad bass situation posted by Jeff Utter on October 20, 2001 at 20:13:57:

: Alright, here goes. First some background info. I'm 16, i've been playing bass in my school for about 7 years. the first 4 or 5in only orchestra, now i've moved into marching band (without the marching part) and jazz band/jazz combo.
: Here's my situation, my school has no budget for music (neither do i) they eliminated the orchestra, now I (the jazzband) has about 5 old (and dying) accoustic basses.
: My jazzband teacher has me using the only functioning bass left (some are like 1/4 size, too small.... some are missing strings (they can't buy new ones) and one is colapsing)
: So now i have the only playable bass, and in my opinion it's terrible.. i'm not sure if there's a differance between a classical bass, and a jazz bass, if there is please tell me what this differance is.
: Also i've seen some professional upright bass players, and they just seem to have such ease, elligance, and movablity in both of their hands. i think my problem in this situation, is the strings? and bridge height, causing too much tension on the strings.
: If you have any tips on that, or how to remedy it, please tell me.
: Also are there any exercises you can think of, to help me improve my speed?
: I also have this problem, with having to use 2 fingers, whenever i pluck to get a decent volume out of the instrument (although it has some crazy pickup that clips onto the side of the bridge) even amplified, it's not very loud.
: Another, probably unremedably situation i have is small hands. my middle finger, is maybe 2-2 1/2 inches long, i guess there's nthing i can do about this, but i've seen professional bass players, and they seem to have HUGE hands.

: OK, so overall, i just want to know what i can do to make the best out of this sad situation. i'm told that i'm a good bass player, but i think not.. i go to all the All State, and All County things. (i live in NY btw) so any help would be greatly appreciated.

: p.s. Sorry for all my poor spelling and grammer :P thanks.

You should head to NYC, the mecca of the jazz bass world, and get your hands on some instruments. Just hearing how pissed off you are at your current situation tells me that you have the desire needed to change things for the better. Don't replace your school bass with a mail order mystery bass; there are lots of laminate basses out there that will fill the bill nicely. Check out Bob Gollihur's great bass website, you'll learn a lot. I started out on a POS white school bass with an action like the Brooklyn Bridge; thirty years later, I'm still playing for a living(different bass, of course...) Just keep at it; your desire and drive will get you where you need to go. BTW, you may find you get the most volume when doing two finger pizzicato by angling your fingers pointed down towards the bridge, almost parallel with the strings. You can get a lot of power from your arm this way; the angle of attack is towards the front of the bass, rather than across the strings. You can get all sorts of fun stuff going this way when you coordinate it with your left hand. Good luck; no turning back now....

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