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steviedee

Using a different size bass for practice

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I’ve been upping my hitherto non existent practice regime on bass and double bass. For the upright I’m using a smaller bass, a little smaller than a half, it’s at home and very convenient. It’s maybe a moot point because I’m only striving for adequacy but is there a potential that it might hamstring me when I get back to the 3/4 or is all practice good?

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I routinely switch (on EB) between 35" scale and 30.5", and I occasionally pick up a uke-bass. Each instrument / scale length has a slightly different technique, of course, but it's all electric bass. The only thing that could be affected by routinely practising on short scale before gigging on long scale is muscle memory.

I don't own a 1/2-size DB so I can't be certain, but I suspect that the same is true.

 

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I'd say go for it, I think the brain can adjust to any changes given a bit a time, and you'd soon adapt your finger positions to a different scale length. Caveat, I'm not classically trained in upright bass, so I go on what I think I'd do myself.

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+1 to the above advice. I switch between my db and my 5 string EUB which is a different scale. You'll be fine ;)

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It depends what you're practicing for. If its to develop your line writing, or your harmonic, melodic and rhythmic understanding then yes absolutely; the instrument's 4 strings and consistent tuning means that all are interchangeable. 

If you're trying to practice muscle memory though then no, they're not interchangeable as the positions will differ, and with upright I advise practicing blindfolded, with a bow, along to drones to develop muscle memory. 

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All practice is good.

As above, the only difference is muscle memory, and speaking as a player of 3 lengths of unlined fretless plus the DB I reckon you'll get the 3/4 muscle memory back once you have regular access to it again.

Onwards and upwards! :)

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6 hours ago, DanOwens said:

It depends what you're practicing for. If its to develop your line writing, or your harmonic, melodic and rhythmic understanding then yes absolutely; the instrument's 4 strings and consistent tuning means that all are interchangeable. 

If you're trying to practice muscle memory though then no, they're not interchangeable as the positions will differ, and with upright I advise practicing blindfolded, with a bow, along to drones to develop muscle memory. 

Blindfolded? That would surprise my wife, but I might give it a crack! 

Bow and a drone is solid advice. That’s what helped me to make rapid progress on a 3/4.

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Yeah, you can just close your eyes or look away but I found it uncomfortable to be screwing my eyes shut and dangerous to my shoulder position to look away to an unnatural position.

Blindfolded was a suggestion of my former teacher, Steve Berry, and it was absolutely a top tip. It allowed me to really focus on the note I was producing and more critically analyse its pitch and tone. 

Try it! What's the worst that can happen? 

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I'm intrigued and will give it a go and report back in the next few days. That's what I love about this forum, new things to try every day!

My issue isn't left hand technique, but like all of us, I have some intonation challenges that need to be worked on, particularly when transitioning from positions or playing more quickly.

I currently use a Yamaha headphone amp with my MK bass and it's been a revelation. I can practice for as long and as loud as I wish, all on the only instrument (bar perhaps the SLB) that replicates a DB accurately. 

 

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