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jazzyvee

Playing Brazillian music on DB

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I have recently joined a band that plays Brazillian music, they have sent me the set list of about 30 songs to learn and we have a rehearsal next week. ( My first with them).
I have decided that I want to play double bass in this band using my EUB as a way of forcing my learning of it and reading music.  My progress is slow at the moment and whilst when I listen to the tracks I can hear the note to go for but can't always find it because no frets and different scale length to my electric basses.  So I wonder if anyone here has any experience of playing this music and can pass on any practical tips, good practice routines, some music and bass players in that genre to listen to. I'm still a complete novice on DB so advanced stuff will just go over my head. I am slowly working my way through the Simandl book which was recommended to me by a few DB players when I first got my bass. 

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So, you are learning a new instrument and you are learning a new genre. Why not separate these things for a little while? Start the new band using bass guitar, and aim to phase it out and replace it with the DB/EUB by say, July. Each rehearsal, you can play a tune or two on the EUB, gradually increasing its use.

 

In the meantime, your big challenge is to get the left hand together on double bass. This is not easy - you are building finger routine and muscle strength, honing your intonation and developing a consistent relationship to the instrument. Simandl is a great method. Explore it with a teacher in regular lessons, and if at all possible, using a bow. This is the quickest way - with the bow, there is no hiding, it's like a spotlight on your intonation and the shape of your left hand. Any imperfections are mercilessly exposed, and it will force you to adapt and perfect your left hand technique. IME, the hard way is ultimately the quickest and most effective. 

 

The Latin Bass Book by Oskar Stagnaro is a great resource for learning about Afro-Cuban and Brazilian bass playing. 

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This video is good:

 

 

There's a lot of discussion about the difference between authentic  Brazilian bass and the bossa styles that have been incorporated into mainstream jazz.

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Nice video. I think I could have safely skipped the first 8 minutes of chat. There's a lot of guidance here that is applicable to being a better musician whatever style you're playing in.

I'd tend to agree with Duckyincarnate . It would be a shame if lack of fluency on upright got you fired from the gig before you got started.

Bilbo has played some Brazilian music and would be a good person to talk to.

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In terms of recommendation, there's some great Brazilian jazz from the 60s that has some lovely DB playing. The Sambalanço Trio are worth listening to.

I'd agree with the comments above about playing DB though - latin bands tend to be less picky about DB vs BG so it makes sense to use the BG at first in the new band until you're up to speed on the upright.

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Sorry, guys. Only just seen this. 

 

I assume you are talking the usual sambas, bossas and Jobim stuff? Brazilian genres are many and varied but, when most people say Brazilian music, that's what they mean.

 

The secret is not to over complicate it. I suggest you listen to a lot of Brazilian stuff and a few versions of each tune. Electric players tend to fill the groove with lots of grace notes whereas a double bass player is going to have to hold back on that otherwise it's going to hurt. When things get manic, straight quarter notes can achieve the swing you need. It's the grooves that will catch you: the details are generally the same as they are for other genres. The trick is to play the one short and emphasise the second and fourth beats. This will explain what I mean. 

 

 

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On 10/01/2020 at 13:50, Duckyincarnate said:

So, you are learning a new instrument and you are learning a new genre. Why not separate these things for a little while? Start the new band using bass guitar, and aim to phase it out and replace it with the DB/EUB by say, July. Each rehearsal, you can play a tune or two on the EUB, gradually increasing its use.

 

In the meantime, your big challenge is to get the left hand together on double bass. This is not easy - you are building finger routine and muscle strength, honing your intonation and developing a consistent relationship to the instrument. Simandl is a great method. Explore it with a teacher in regular lessons, and if at all possible, using a bow. This is the quickest way - with the bow, there is no hiding, it's like a spotlight on your intonation and the shape of your left hand. Any imperfections are mercilessly exposed, and it will force you to adapt and perfect your left hand technique. IME, the hard way is ultimately the quickest and most effective. 

 

The Latin Bass Book by Oskar Stagnaro is a great resource for learning about Afro-Cuban and Brazilian bass playing. 

All of the above is great advice...simandl, using the bow and developing left hand. I would add triads! Play major, minor, diminshed and augmented triads just over the first five "frets" (from low E to C on the G string -fifth "fret"). It's a practice regime I got from Gary Willis and it is pretty mind blowing. If you want to know more about it, feel free to send me a message. Or just check it out.

Good idea from above to introduce the double bass gradually and if you're using an EUB, you won't be short of volume and feedback won't be an issue.

the Latin bass book by oscar stagnaro  is the best Latin book I've ever seen. I use it inside and out - sometimes I just put a metronome on or a drum groove and play any Latin tune as swing, it's great for reading! 

Anyway, good luck.

mike

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Posted (edited)

I did my first full 2 hr rehearsal with the band a couple of weeks ago and it was fine. My fingers did tire on some of the faster paced tracks but i got through them by simplifying my playing, and suggesting not putting the faster ones together till i get more proficient. The band were happy and my intonation was close enough not to throw anyone off. So things are progressing well i think. 

Edited by jazzyvee

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