Scales on One String For the Double Bass Lesson

In this double bass lesson we are going to look at playing our major and harmonic minor scales on one string of the double bass. As bassist’s we spend a lot of time practicing our scales with a multitude of fingerings across multiple strings.Skipping over the basic step of simply playing the G major scale up and down the G string. This is beneficial in several ways. It helps us physically see the distance of the intervals that make up the scale.  These etudes are also a great work out for our shifting and intonation.  Something all of us double bass players must constantly practice.


Getting The Most out of your Music Lessons and Practice Time

As both a teacher and student I have had both successful and disappointing lessons.  In this article we will look at ways to improve both your practice habits and time management.  By applying some if not all of these ideas you will not only achieve great strides in your own playing but will invigorate both your teacher and your self’s musical adventure.


Three Parts of a Beat and Today’s Tempo

Two of the most important musical lessons I ever learned came from my college orchestra professor Marshall Haddock.  He is a fiery conductor whom all of his former students have fantastic stories to share.  This musical lesson can be applied to whatever instrument you play be it bass, mandolin or sackbut. 


What Should My Left Hand Look Like When Playing The Double Bass

One of the biggest hurdles a new Double Bass Student must address in lessons, is the proper hand shape of the left hand.  Having the proper hand shape is important for ease of playing but equally importantly intonation.  In this article we discuss steps  to and techniques to help you achieve an accurate left hand.



Hand Shape and Thumb Location


Let’s start with our basic hand shape and thumb positioning.  I instruct my students to make the letter C with their Left Hand  and then slide the C onto the neck of the bass.  Then work your thumb down towards the floor slightly so it ends up behind your second(middle) finger.  We do not want our thumb pointed toward the sky.  The other visualization that I find helpful to use is holding a pint glass your thumb warps around the cup.  However make sure you are not wrapping your thumb around the bass neck and touching the strings.


How To Hold The Double Bass

The first lesson one must learn when playing the Double Bass is how to hold and stand with the instrument.  You will see people holding the bass in all sorts of crazy and wild ways. While we are all different shaped beings there are some stead fast rules that  will make holding the bass a comfort and not an odyssey.


I approach holding the Upright Bass the same way you would climb up a ladder. There will always be three points of contact that are keeping the instrument upright and in position. 


The purpose of these three points of contact is to eliminate our want to hold the bass up with our left hand.  If you hold the bass using our left hand we place unwarranted pressure on the thumb.  Using this method you will free your left hand and arm to move freely up and down the neck of the instrument.


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