Lesson #1 – Holding the Double Bass
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In this lesson, we discuss the fundamentals of how to hold the bass in a comfortable position and we begin to develop the foundations of left hand technique (shifting, vibrato, position work).
To hold the bass, make sure that the end pin is adjusted according to height. The nut (under the "peg box") should be about eye-level in playing position. The bass leans into the pelvic bone and is angled slightly; not enough to cause the bass to tip, but not stood completely straight up. The position should be comfortable for the player. The player should be able to lean over the bass and touch the end of the fingerboard with relative ease.
The left hand fingering system is slightly different than that of the electric bass. A 1-2-4 method (index, middle, pinky) is used instead of the "finger per fret" rule. Remember to keep the left hand relaxed and in a "C" shape to help keep the fingers perpendicular to the strings. Think of your arched hand as making a tunnel that a car driving up the strings could go through!
Practice sliding the hand up and down the fingerboard while keeping the elbow up and not slouched on the bass. This practice (ski jumps) will help you get the feeling of vibrato and shifting. Stay loose and do not tense up!
In the next lesson we will cover the right hand basic techniques; Arco and Pizzacato on the Do