Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Some Thoughts on Playing String Bass

My Fully Carved String Bass,
a Calin Wultur Panormo
I have been practicing and gigging with the band herein for a year and a half.  During that time I have used my electric bass guitar exclusively.  I own two string basses, one a laminate and the other a fine carved bass.  My two string basses were only gathering dust in my music room at home.  Oh, I would practice on them from time to time, but the strings hurt my fingers too much and there seemed to be little opportunity to actually play them with the band.  For one thing, string basses are large and not easy to transport.

Here's how I started to actually use and play my string basses.

1.  I changed the strings from heavy gauge to medium gauge, making the basses easier to play and more comfortable on my sore fingers.

2.  I took the laminate bass to our practice room and left it there (on a bass stand).  Now it will be there for each and every practice, making it unnecessary to transport it every time.

3.  I started actually playing the string bass with the band, and this is an important point.  If you want to learn to play string bass, then play the darn thing.  It won't play itself, and once you begin, you start becoming familiar with the instrument and learning the best techniques for playing it.  (You won't bother learning the best techniques until you have a pressing need to do so, i.e. because you are actually playing the bass with a band.)

So I began playing string bass with "Stray Cat Strut," an easy song for bass and a nice starting point for my career as a string bassist.  Once you have begun, you can move forward.  I'm excited by the possibilities.

Note:  You really must amplify your bass in order to be heard.  I use a $90 simple bass microphone that plugs into my bass amp with a regular guitar cord.  You can order these from Gollihur Bass at this link.

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