Jump to content
Jakester

Bowing technique for long tied notes

Recommended Posts

Complete DB noob here - I have been messing about with a Stagg EUB for a while because a lot of the tunes I play in our orchestra are 'swingy' or call for that DB sound on more classical parts - and plus it's just fun. The vast majority of the stuff I play is pizzicato anyway so I can muddle through. I had hoped to get some lessons but lockdown put paid to that. So I've been winging it - I picked up a cheap bow from here (I think German?) and a cellist friend showed me how to make a noise but that's it. 

TBH I've mostly played it all on electric bass but I have a Christmas busking gig coming up (outdoors and we're in Tier2!) so fancied taking the EUB along with the electric. 

One tune however has an intro which relies on six bars of tied whole notes, bowed. I can just about get a single bow stroke to cover two bars, but when I reach the end of the stroke there's always a 'jerk' as I draw the bow back the other way, which obviously interrupts the smooth tied note. 

What's the technique for switching between the up and down bow strokes without there being a noticeable 'jump' - or is it just practice? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Practice,  I'm afraid! I can't claim to be particularly great at doing this, but better than I was a few years back. 

Best thing I heard was thinking of your whole arm, shoulder down to fingers, as a connected system like the pistons and rods on a steam loco. Aim towards a smooth circular motion, the end result being the least possible interruption to the flow of the bow.

At the reverse, your shoulder switches first, followed by upper arm and so on with the fingers being last to switch direction. They're the smallest and lightest bit of the system, thus least noticeable switch.

A little easier with French bow than German due to the extra flexibility of your fingers, but same idea either way.

We'd better both get practicing!

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This diagram is from Knut Guettler's excellent book A Guide To Advanced Modern Double Bass Technique.

Sadly now long out of print but it crops up used occasionally. 

 

20201130_110324.jpg

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the orchestra we make sure not to change direction at the same time ... doesn't work if you're the only bassist of course!  Helps to ease the pressure at the end of each stroke too.  A slight variation in volume being better than loud, silent, loud, silent ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...