Re: Need Video/Book for Correct Use of Bow


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Posted by Rich Laird on January 04, 2001 at 14:48:22:

In Reply to: Need Video/Book for Correct Use of Bow posted by Tony Baluga on January 04, 2001 at 10:43:39:

: I am a church musician playing the electric bass (with 4 other guitarists) during Sunday guitar mass. I recently bought a beginners model upright acoutic bass just so I can learn the bowing technique. Plucking strings on the electric bass is not always appropriate for sacred music we play.

: I am basically a self-taught musician, but can play well enough to be the bass player in a dance band, (that plays for hire only 4 to 5 times a year, on account of the other members being busy physicians like myself). However, I am starting from scratch with the use of the bow. I could use videos/tapes/or books that details the proper use of the bow.

: There's a ton of material for the electric bass but hardly anything for the string bass! Any suggestions?

: You may want to take a look at some of the other postings on this site...there's a bit of an ongoing debate on the question of whether you need a teacher or whether it's worthwhile to "go it alone". Having played the double bass myself for more years than I care to admit, my vote goes - without hesitation - for getting a teacher. I'm sorry - but this stuff just can't be wrtitten down.

Having said that, here's a book that makes possibly the best attemt to date at explaining "how to bow": The book is called Creative Bass Technique, by Henry Portnoi. You can order it from this web page: http://www.astaweb.com/publications.html It has a lot of pictures as well as explanations of the fundamental principles of all aspects of bass technique - and least as professed by Portnoi.

Let me add this: I used to study with Henry Portnoi. My memories of him don't exactly overwhelm me with feelings of warmth and fondness. But I did feel at the time - and still do - that nobody I've ever known really understood the intricacies and subtleties of really good bowing - and bass technique in general. He worked wonders for my playing. But the there's two things that I'm reminded of as I've looked this book over: First, it's mostly work. All the theories and ideas in the world are meaningless if you don't apply them and make them an inherent part of what you do. Secondly, you need someone there listening to and watching what you're doing...coaching, reminding, and critiquing.

The simple reality is that the double bass (electric or otherwise) is just not as intuitive as the bass guitar. Save yourself, your fellow musicians, and your audiences some grief. Get a good teacher and get a good start.

Best of Luck!!




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