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Old 09-24-2007, 04:12 PM
Richard Prowse Richard Prowse is offline
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In my constant endeavour to play better I have experienced a little problem. I am comfortable playing anywhere on the bass. When I play in half position I am standing with my left hand in the air and I'm supporting my bass with my hip and my left knee. As I climb further into thumb position, I guess you could say that I'm almost laying on the bass. This is, in fact, a comfortable position to be in and, when I head back down to the lower end of the bass, it takes a little effort to stand up again. This means that my transition from low to high and back requires a bit of body effort that tends to make one want to stay at one end of the bass when improvising and playing with the bow. Now, you might just say,
"Don't be lazy."
That might be the answer. Any thoughts?
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Old 09-24-2007, 10:40 PM
Charles Federle Charles Federle is offline
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I think it is fine that you have two playing positions each with their own comfort zone. The key is increasing the gray area between the point of no return. This makes it so you can choose your body position based on the context of the piece. If you are going up for one or two high notes and have to change how you hold the instrument this is making you do alot more work then is needed (the same is true if you are playing up high and need to grab a few low notes).

There are a few exercises that can help you expand the gray area. Something similar to shifting drills (also known as vomit drills) can help you become more comfortable playing out of your comfort zone, and expand the gray area in your holding of the instrument.
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Old 09-24-2007, 10:41 PM
Richard Prowse Richard Prowse is offline
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Default oops...

I think it's just a balance problem that I can fix.

That was easy.
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Old 09-26-2007, 07:43 PM
Johnny Layton Johnny Layton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Federle View Post
...vomit drills...
I was taught to do this early on when I was doing lessons and sometimes I think it was the most important and useful lesson I ever had.
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Old 10-17-2007, 08:36 AM
stan haskins stan haskins is offline
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Yeah, Richard - vomits. through two octaves on each string.

Having seen videos of your playing, I think you're right to be concerned about this issue. Try "popping" the bass forward with your tummy when you're coming back from high positions. Try to also leave some space between your left arm and the shoulder of the bass, even when you're playing very high. I think you're "hugging" the bass too much, and "leaning on it" instead of balancing it.

You're good at playing across strings in the upper positions, now try to work in arpeggios and other bigger leaps (vomits, again) up and down one string. Try to minimize the huge difference between upper and lower positions.

My current teacher is encouraging his students to treat the entire range of the bass as "one position" instead of breaking it into "high/low/middle". I like this idea.

Please take this in the spirit it's given. I enjoy your playing and am just offering advice - you can take it or leave it.
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Old 10-17-2007, 12:13 PM
Richard Prowse Richard Prowse is offline
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Thanks Stan for the thoughts - nice to see you posting again.
I certainly like the one position idea and the balancing thing.
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Old 10-18-2007, 10:54 AM
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Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Prowse View Post
In my constant endeavour to play better I have experienced a little problem. I am comfortable playing anywhere on the bass. When I play in half position I am standing with my left hand in the air and I'm supporting my bass with my hip and my left knee. As I climb further into thumb position, I guess you could say that I'm almost laying on the bass. This is, in fact, a comfortable position to be in and, when I head back down to the lower end of the bass, it takes a little effort to stand up again. This means that my transition from low to high and back requires a bit of body effort that tends to make one want to stay at one end of the bass when improvising and playing with the bow. Now, you might just say,
"Don't be lazy."
That might be the answer. Any thoughts?
Oh, you mean connecting the registers.. I didn't get your meaning at first until I read thru your post again. Try sitting on a Stool. It keeps things more even. Also, loosing some, ah, of your mid section will help take the strain off your back. After rehearsal last night I jumped on the tread mill. Not for long though, my warm apple pie was getting cold..lol

I worked off about 40 calories on the tread mill in just a few minutes. Then to keep up my stature, I put 430 calories back on by eating a piece of pie.. oops..

I gotta figure a way to do the reverse.. More off than on..
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Old 10-18-2007, 01:26 PM
Richard Prowse Richard Prowse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Smith View Post
Oh, you mean connecting the registers.. I didn't get your meaning at first until I read thru your post again. Try sitting on a Stool. It keeps things more even. Also, loosing some, ah, of your mid section will help take the strain off your back. After rehearsal last night I jumped on the tread mill. Not for long though, my warm apple pie was getting cold..lol

I worked off about 40 calories on the tread mill in just a few minutes. Then to keep up my stature, I put 430 calories back on by eating a piece of pie.. oops..

I gotta figure a way to do the reverse.. More off than on..
Ken, I know what it's like at our age, I saw my tummy in a school video yesterday and it wasn't a pretty sight! I like to stand when I play but I do have a stool which works really well. As regards the pie, I hope this helps:
I went to a workshop featuring trumpeter Bobby Shew many years ago... I really loved his playing. He said that, on a gig, if it was a toss up between the warmup and the coffee, he always went for the coffee.
Now I know that apple pie has more calories than coffee, but I always liked Bobby's human side. Maybe that's one reason why I liked his playing so much.
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