How to get into Upright Bass

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Upright Bass…

I received a question today about how to get into upright bass. My journey started on the electric bass, and a great entry point for upright it was for me:

I remember picking up the upright for the first time and – bam – it connected instantly! I remember my classmates being astounded: even though some had an electric bass back ground, too, not all of them had such an easy time with the transition. And some were new to bass entirely; I remember feeling for them because they had to deal with many new things, whereas I mainly dealt with new fingering and posture/technique issues.

The main reasons for my easy time with it I think were:

  • Music Theory: I knew music theory (years of classical and Jazz theory training)
  • Fretboard Geography: I knew the fret board (due to studying the fretboard systematically, soon to be a book on “The Pattern System”)
  • I had a healthy appreciation for good instrument technique (from piano since I was little)

Then of course this cannot be overstated: I had a fantastic teacher for years, Wolf Wein, who opened the world of music and learning to me like nobody ever had before – from thinking beyond just the bass to the emotions music can convey; he emphasized mental practice and gave super helpful feedback (the kind that makes you a better player instantly).

Other influences include Victor Wooten, Kai Eckhardt, Chuck Rainey, Steve Bailey, Michael Manring, Peter Herbert… amazing teachers I was lucky to learn from.

These days I don’t get to play much upright, sadly.

If you want to add it or start it, go for it. (If you cannot see a text box below, please click this link to view my answer on how to start playing upright.)

Read Ariane Cap‘s answer to How do I get into/start playing the double bass? Do you have any tips? on Quora

Comments(2)

  • Ryan T.
    June 14, 2017, 09:40  Reply

    Love it! A good understanding of music theory is so helpful when it comes to learning a new instrument. This is how I transitioned from the trombone to electric bass (oddly enough, they have some surprising similarities).

    • Ari
      June 17, 2017, 16:59

      Hi Ryan, thanks for your comment. Trombone! Nice! And it has the same clef, which is nice 🙂

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