Sunday, September 27, 2015

Gaining Stamina for Stand-up Bass: It's Working

For less than a week now, I have been exercising my shoulders, arms, sides and back with 2 pound, hand-held weights.  That seems to be working, as I am tiring less quickly than before.

Today my practice consisted of playing my bass along to my music app, iRealPro.  This part of the practice is most important, as it (1) exercises my hands and arms, (2) develops my ear and improves my intonation and feel for the neck, and (3) allows me to practice making basslines on the fly.

I also spent some time sight reading notes to a couple of songs.  You should practice sight reading notes every day.

When I finished practicing, I noticed that my hands, arms and back weren't tired or painful.  Further, my sound production was good -- clear tones, produced by strong left hand fingering and correct right hand plucking (using the side of your plucking fingers rather than the tips).

I feel encouraged.  It indeed seems possible that I will gain the strength and skill to play the one to two hours I will face in a typical gig.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Playing Stand-Up Bass is Not for Sissies: How to Build Stamina? (#playingbass)

It has become clear to me that playing stand-up bass is very demanding physically.  You get tired playing string bass.  Your arms, your hands just poop out.

Obviously, if you want to be a double bassist, you need to build stamina and strength in arms, hands, back and shoulders.  I found a thread over at TalkBass forums about this issue.  One double bassist said he thought it would take a year for him to build the needed stamina in his hands.  Another said that it is more than hands that need stamina, but arms, shoulders, back and even butt.

In order to build stamina, it seems to me, that I need to play my bass vigorously for a few minutes a day.  I would say 15 minutes of playing fast and demanding songs.  Be careful not to injure yourself.  I started this regimen yesterday.

Besides playing the bass line to fast songs (recorded), I intend to use two pound weights to exercise my arms and shoulders.  With light weights, it is the repetitions that supply the needed exercise.  I will start with ten repetitions of various exercises, and add more over time.

Of course, your bass needs to be properly set up so that a poor bridge adjustment, too heavy gauge strings, etc, are not issues.

Adopt this regimen at your own risk.  You can injure yourself if you are not careful.

Currently, I am relying on my bass guitar somewhat until I build stamina for my double bass.

Monday, September 21, 2015

My Jazz Band: Two Great Tunes, Live Performance #jazz #swing

Here's a couple of songs my band is studying right now.  These recordings were made at our regular weekly practice.

All Right, Okay, You Win


If possible, listen with earphones, otherwise you can't hear the bass and get the full effect.

Update for Georgette:

I added some more songs.

Dreamsville (Practice Sesson)

Cute (Recital)

Corcovado (Practice Session)

Satin Doll (Recital)

Don't Get Around Much Anymore (Recital)

Embraceable You (Recital)

In a Mellow Tone (Recital)