Should Professional Bassists Play French & German Bow?

Should professional bassists play French and German pattern double bass bows?

This is a great question! We all know that double bassists have to choose to play either French or German pattern double bass bow, but do professionals need to play both? In episode 51 of 'Ask Geoff & Lauren' we answer the question and share our experiences.

So what do you think? Should professionals learn to play both? What if they are teachers as well as performers? Join the conversation in the comments section below and let us know your thoughts. 


Want to learn more about the French bow? Check out Lauren's step-by-step course, 'Double Bass Bowing Technique' for over 5 hours of lessons.

What is the Optimum Setup for Thumb Position?

In episode 50 of 'Ask Geoff & Lauren' we discuss how to achieve the optimum double bass setup for playing in thumb position. It's a great topic as playing bass shouldn't be made harder due to a poor set up. We share what's worked for us and what you might want to consider when setting up your double bass.

If you want to learn more about thumb position technique check out Lauren Pierce's step-by-step video course. 

I hope you enjoy the video and we would love to hear your setup secrets! Join us in the comments section and let us know. 

Should I Do a Jazz or Classical Major?

In episode 49 of 'Ask Geoff & Lauren' we answer a question from Eric about whether he should major in jazz or classical music at college. It's a great question as there are many different routes that musicians can take and especially double bassists! We share our backgrounds and what we would recommend new students consider when choosing what area of music to study.

Eric also asked for school recommendations and we forgot to answer that question! This means we need your help. Please post below and let us know where you think Eric should study. Here's his question:

"Any school recommendations? I've been thinking about Indiana, NEC, Juilliard."

I hope you enjoy the video. It would be great to hear your thoughts and recommendations for colleges to study music.

Old vs New Double Bass Strings - Can you tell the difference?

In this video I compare a brand new set of double bass strings with an identical brand that have been on my bass for a year and a half. I discus the topic and share some examples of pizzicato and arco playing.

The strings I use in the video are Evah Pirazzi Weich by Pirastro. I'm a big fan and recommend them if you are looking for a hybrid string. I usually change them about once a year, but please bear in mind that some brands can last much longer, especially steel strings like Thomastik Spirocore.
It really comes down to personal taste, so you may not need to shell out for a fresh set as often as you think.


So, can you tell the difference? Which do you prefer? Let me know in the comments section. 

Related Lessons:

Pirastro Evah Pirazzi Weich String Review
How to Change Strings on the Double Bass 
Double Bass Strings Buyers Guide

How Do I Treat a Wolf Tone on My Double Bass?

In episode #47 of 'Ask Geoff and Lauren' we answer a question from Jennifer about treating a wolf tone on her double bass. A wolf tone is an artificial overtone which occurs at the frequency your double bass naturally resonates. They are very common and the bad news is that a that a wolf tone can sound terrible but the good news is that they are easily treated. 

We discuss how we have handled a wolf tone on our instruments and how you can go about it. 

 

In the video we discuss Wolf Tone Eliminators. They are a cheap and effective way to combat wolf tones and here's a great article on Gollihur Music if you want to know more about them.

Double Bass Articulations & Markings Guide

Meet the Author

Lauren Pierce

Lauren Pierce

Lauren Pierce is a professional double bassist and educator. Her hugely popular YouTube channel features virtuosic performances of double bass solo repertoire. 

Lauren is our classical double bass teacher & co-presenter of 'Ask Geoff & Lauren'. She has released numerous lessons and two step-by-step courses ‘Double Bass Bowing Technique’ & 'Double Bass Thumb Position'.


Introduction

Below is a list of some of the most common articulations and markings you will find in written music. For some of the articulations, I’ve included the equivalent vocal sounds - these are from Henry Portnoi’s book, “Creative Bass Technique,” which is a fantastic resource for orchestral playing and overall a great read by a legendary pedagogue.

The information below is intended to be used as a reference guide so I recommend bookmarking this page for later use. If you have a friend or student who you think would benefit from this information please share the page with them and help spread the word about what we are doing here at DiscoverDoubleBass.com.

If you would like to learn more about these articulations, as well as other bowing techniques, check out my step-by-step course, 'Double Bass Bowing Technique'. It's comprises 5+ hours of HD video across 70 lessons for beginners to advanced students.

Please note: The video demonstrations are not playing the specific notated examples.



Index/Quick Links

 

Articulations

Written Symbols


Articulations

  • If you see the word “Arco” written in your music, it means to play the notes with the bow, instead of plucking them.

 

  • Pizzicato means to pluck the strings with your fingers, as opposed to using the bow. The technique varies between different musical genres. To play a classical pizz, grab the string with your index finger and pull the string upwards, away from the fingerboard. For a jazz pizz, the string is pulled more to the side.

 

  • Short or detached. When a dot is placed over a note, there should be a clear separation between that note and the following one. When dots are placed over a series of notes, there should be a clear space or break in between each one.

 

  • While staccato refers to a type of sound or shape of a note, spiccato is the bow stroke often used to achieve that sound. To play spiccato, the bow bounces off and back onto the string throughout a series of quick notes, making them short with a percussive quality.

  • This is one of the more notoriously tricky techniques in bowing, so I would recommend getting together with a teacher who can show you the intricacies of this stroke and how to do it properly.

  • Vocal sound = "Peter Piper".

 

  • Legato indicates that the notes should be played more connected with no space in between. When playing this, you should aim for a sound similar to a slur, but played with separate bows.

 

  • “Detached”.

  • Non-legato, but with no accent at the beginning. To play detache, use an even amount of weight and speed throughout the stroke (to create an unaccented beginning), but with a distinct break in the sound between every note.

  • The vocal sound might sound like, “Dado”.

 

  • A combination of legato and détaché, this indicates that the notes should be played connected like legato, but with a more pronounced beginning like detache. Usually slurred, each note is re-articulated throughout a continuous bow.

  • When playing portato, be careful not to add space by stopping the bow in between each note. The bow should continue to move throughout, re-articulating each note by using more weight and a faster bow speed. It should sound like rounded and pulsing, not sharp like an accent.

  • The vocal sound for this might sound like, “ha ha ha”.

 

  • “Marked”.

  • This is a type of accent that indicates a noted to be played with more force. You should aim for an accent at the beginning of the note, but the notes should have no space in between.

  • To play this, begin by playing a series of legato notes - connected with no space in between. From there, add an accent at the beginning of each note by increasing the weight in your arm and speeding up the bow at the beginning of each note.

  • The vocal sound for this might sound like “tar tar tar”.

 

  • “Hammered”.

  • This is another type of accent, but with a sharper attack and more space between the notes. You might think of martelé as an aggressive form of staccato - short, but with a lot of force. The “hammer” sound comes from the sharp, aggressive accent at the beginning of the note but, unlike marcato, a series of martelé notes will have space in between each one.

  • The vocal sound for this might sound like “Cocoa”.

Martele

 

  • "To hold".

  • Usually, this marking means to hold the note for its full value (or slightly longer, when taking time or pulling back the tempo), or to play the note slightly louder. Essentially, the tenuto marking means a note should have emphasis.

  • If the tenuto marking is written over a staccato dot, play with a space between the notes, or detached. In that instance, the marking is indicating length of the note.

  • If the tenuto marking is written over an accent, it is calling for emphasis on the accent. In this instance, it is indicating the dynamics of the note.

Tenuto

 

  • “Suddenly with force”.

  • A sforzando is a type of accent that indicates a very sudden, sharp emphasis on one note. To play this type of accent, use an increased amount of weight, combined with a faster bow speed. This works best with a down bow because of the natural weight closer to the frog, but can also be done in an up bow.

  • The vocal sound for this would be, “K.”

Sforzando .png

 

  • A variation of sforzando (written sfzp or sfp), which is a sforzando accent immediately followed by a piano. This creates a sharp contrast in dynamics.

  • The beginning of the note will be played exactly as a sforzando would be played - with a large amount of weight and fast bow speed. Immediately after the accent sounds, lighten up the weight considerably and slow down the bow speed to play. This will create a sharp, loud accent at the very beginning of the note, followed by a very soft dynamic.

 

  • Commonly used on dotted rhythm passages, hooked bowings help to play groups of notes short, but without accent. A slur marking is placed over two notes with dots over each note. This indicates to play the two notes in one bow direction, but with a space in between each one.

  • To play hooked bowings, stop the bow in between the two notes that are connected to create a small space.

 

 

  • This means to play with the bow close to the bridge. The sound produced is thin and tinny, and allows the higher harmonics to be brought out. Common examples of Sul Ponticello are in Francois Rabbath’s “Poucha Dass” and Bela Bartok’s Roumanian Folk Dances.

  • To play this technique, move your bow as close to the bridge as possible while still able to get some pitch. If the bow moves too close or on top of the bridge, very little sound will be produced. As you play, use a free bow speed (not too slow) and not too much weight.

 

  • The opposite of Sul Ponticello, this means to play with the bow above the fingerboard. This creates a glassy, airy tone quality with a soft dynamic level. To prevent the string from crunching underneath the bow, use a light amount of weight with a fairly quick bow speed.

Sul Tasto.png

 

  • Flip the bow over so that the stick is on top of the string. To play the notes written, tap the stick of the bow against the string. This creates a soft, percussive sound. The most common example of this technique is in “Mars” from Holst’s “The Planets.”

 

  • This is an effect caused by quick bowing on a single note. The rapid re-articulations create a shaking or trembling sound.

  • The trick to playing tremolo is to use as little bow as possible. If you use too much bow, even when the dynamic is marked as forte, you won’t be able to move as quickly. This technique works best if you stay away from the frog and move closer to the center or tip of the bow.

 

  • A trill is an ornament that calls for a quick alternation between two pitches. In context, “tr” will usually be written above a note, sometimes with a wavy line following. The two notes in the trill consist of the note written and the pitch directly above it.

  • Unless otherwise indicated, the pitch will be the in the given key signature, making it a diatonic trill. If there is an accidental over the trill, it is called a chromatic trill. For example, if there was a trill over the note G in the key of C major, a diatonic trill would use the notes G and A. A chromatic trill might use Ab or A#.

  • Depending on the time period of the music written, the trill will either start with the note written (the lower note) or the note above. Trills begin on the written (or lower note) in music written during the Romantic Era and later (example 1 in video below), while trills in music written during the Classical Period and earlier are played starting on the upper note (example 2 in video below).

 

  • “With mute”.

  • This indicates the musician should put their mute on the bridge. This created a softer, fuzzier, and generally more muted tone quality.

  • Alternatively, “senza sord” means to remove the mute.

 

Written Symbols

 

  • Play two or more notes within the same bow without re-articulating or changing bow direction. This creates a smooth, legato sound with no break in between the notes.

  • Vocal sound = “minimum”.

Slur.png

 

  • Down bow is notated by a symbol that looks like a square with the bottom missing. This means to move the frog from left to right.

  • Up bow is notated by a symbol that looks like an uppercase V. This is the opposite direction of down bow, where the frog moves from right to left.

Up Bow.png

 

  • Lift the bow off of the string and return it to the starting point. This is used when you need to play 2 down bows right after each other, but a slur or a hooked bowing isn’t appropriate.

 

  • Get louder or increase the dynamic level.

  • Get softer or decrease the dynamic level.

 

  • The string can be divided into intervals - 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, etc. At each of these points is a node where, when touched on a vibrating string, will produce a harmonic overtone. The most common harmonics are the octave harmonic of each string, an octave and a 5th above the open string (on the G string, this would be the D harmonic above the octave G), and the 2nd octave harmonic (2 octaves above the open string). Outlined below are some of the more common harmonics.

  • Some harmonics are the same pitch as the note when pressed down, like the octave G harmonic. These are notated like a regular note would be, but with a circle above the note to indicate it should be played as a harmonic.

  • Some harmonics produce different pitches than when the note is stopped. An example would be the A on the D string (see chart below). The note that sounds is an A, but an octave above the A when stopped. These are notated with an open diamond to indicate not only that the note should be played as a harmonic, but also that the pitch will be different than the stopped note on the fingerboard.

  • To play a harmonic, tough the string with one finger without pressing down. Make sure only one finger is touching the string - otherwise, the harmonic won’t sound properly. To get a clear sound, move your bow closer to the bridge and use a fast bow speed.

 

 

  • Full stop in the music. Stop playing, then wait for either the conductor or ensemble leader to resume the music.

 

 

  • Indicates the note should be held longer than the written duration. The prolonged duration is not exact and is up to the discretion of the performer or ensemble director. However, it is common to hold a note with a fermata for about twice as long.

 

 

  • This means to go back to the last double bar or inside repeat symbol (see below) and play the passage again. Unless otherwise specified, a section with a repeat is played twice all the way through.


I hope you have found this page useful. If you have please share it with another bassist and help spread the word about what we are doing here at Discover Double bass. 

If you want to learn more with me check out my step-by-step courses 'Double Bowing Technique' and 'Double Bass Thumb Position'.
 

Double Bass Bowing Technique

Double Bass Bowing Technique

- A step-by-step video course to master the French bow.

- Over five hours of video lessons with transcriptions of exercises.

- Ask Lauren questions directly on the lessons pages.

- Access to an exclusive members-only study group.

Thumb Position

Double Bass Thumb Position


- The most comprehensive video course for double bass thumb position technique available anywhere.

- A step-by method.

- Over five hours of video lessons with transcriptions of exercises. 

- Ask Lauren questions directly on the lessons pages.

- Access to an exclusive members-only study group.

Thanks for checking this out! - Lauren Pierce

Neck Heel Navigation

In episode 46 of 'Ask Geoff & Lauren' we discuss how you can use the neck heel to play in tune on the double bass. I remember the first time I was shown this technique and I couldn't believe how useful it was! 

In this video I reference my lesson 'Unlock the Fingerboard: Neck Heel Method for Great Tuning'
I also recommend checking out 'Two Questions about Thumb Position'.

I hope you enjoy the lesson. Please let us know your thoughts on using the neck heel by joining us in the comments section. 

How Do Professionals Structure Their Practice Routine?

In episode #45 of 'Ask Geoff & Lauren' we answer a question about how professional musicians organise their practice time. Lauren and I are always working on improving our practice routines to make them as effective as possible, so it's a great topic that we are really passionate about. 

It would also be great to hear what's been working for you, so please join the conversation by leaving a comment below. 

 

In the video I reference shifting drills. Here's one I use each time I play, 'The Glide Exercise'.

Geoff's Favourite YouTube Double Bassists - Pt.2: Classical

In this selection of my favourite YouTube double bassists I share some classical recordings that are at the top of my ‘most played’ playlist! Of course I've only scratched the surface of the incredible music on YouTube, but I hope you enjoy the selection. GC


Mikyung Sung - Bottesini 'Elegy No. 1 in D' 

Korean double bassist Mikyung Sung is one of my favourite classical soloists. Her virtuosic performances will take your breath away, but more importantly she is also one of the most expressive musicians I've ever heard. I love the way she phrases her music and communicates her ideas in a unique and beautiful way. Here are two examples of her incredible double bass playing.

Mikyung Sung - R.Gliere 'Tarantella'


Bassiona Amorosa Featuring Roman Patkoló & Maxim Vengerov - 'Czardas'

I was first shown this video by a teacher of mine Paul Miller (principle bassist with Opera North). I can still remember watching it on his old computer and being completely dumbfounded. Paul was a great teacher and showing me this video taught me the lesson that anything is possible on the double bass.
It’s a truly astonishing performance by bassist Roman Patkoló and I love that it’s a light hearted, fun vibe on stage with everyone enjoying the moment.


Jeff Bradetich - Elgar Cello Concerto (1st Mov)

I could have picked any one of Jeff Bradetich's YouTube videos as they are all amazing, especially his performances of the Bach cello suites. However I just love this version of the Elgar Cello Concerto (1st Mov) and I hope you do too!


Rinat Ibragimov - Bach Cello suite No.3 Movement 1.

I love Rinat Ibragimov's playing and in particular the video Lauren shared in her list of favourite YouTube double bassists. My second favourite is this masterful performance of Bach's third cello suite.


Božo Paradžik - Bruch: 'Kol Nidrei'

Božo Paradžik was a visiting bass tutor when I was studying classical music at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. He would come several times a year and it was always a joy to study with him. He has an incredible amount of talent, a formidable work ethic and a gift to be able to communicate something very personal with his music. There are a lot of great bassist I can point to, but only a handful who’s playing is as moving and genuine as his.


Renaud Garcia-Fons - 'Aqa Jan'

There are very few musicians who develop a truly individual voice on their instrument & Renaud Garcia-Fons is one of them. In this video he showcases his virtuosic technique, original music and soulful playing. I have listened to the album version of 'Aqa Jan' hundreds of times. I find it so uplifting and a truly beautiful composition. This version was filmed on a mountain! 


Edicson Ruiz - 'Vals Natalia' by Luis Laguna

Venezuelan double bassist Edicson Ruiz is a true virtuoso. He has numerous videos documenting his astonishing technique so I thought I would share one of his simpler performances, but one that's played with a lot of passion!  


Ethan Jodziewicz & Sierra Hull play Bach Invention #6 in E Major.

Sierra Hull and her bassist Ethan Jodziewicz are an incredible team! I love it when they play bluegrass, but they also do a great job with this Bach invention!


Lauren Pierce - 'Maria' (from leonard bernstein's west side storY)

I can remember watching Lauren's video of 'Czardas' for the first time in 2014 and being blown away! Lauren plays the piece beautifully, with passion and a great vibe so it's no surprise that it's had almost 200,000 views! You can see that, as well as her other incredible videos over at her YouTube channel
She has continued to make incredible music like this wonderful version of Maria that's arranged for four double basses! That means four Laurens at the same time!

In addition to being an incredible performer Lauren is also a wonderful teacher and I'm proud that's she's now a part of Discover Double Bass and has created several superb, step-by-step video courses


I hope you enjoyed these, they have brought me a lot of pleasure over the years and I want to thank each one of these artists for sharing their unique talents with the world, for free! It’s mind blowing that we can watch this stuff so easily and I hope it will inspire you to find your voice on the double bass. 

What have I missed? I can only scratch the surface of the great music that’s out there on YouTube so would love to hear what you are listening to. Join us in the comments section below and share your favourites. 

Cheers Geoff

 


Lauren's Favourite YouTube Videos: Pt.2 Jazz

Here's part two of Lauren's list of favourite YouTube videos. Part one was very much focused on classical music, so this list covers jazz. 
 

Esperanza Spalding - 'Overjoyed'

I remember watching this video in my Jazz History class at UNT and being enamored by it (and then subsequently watching it thousand of times to the annoyance of everyone around me). Esperanza is just an all around fantastic musician - her beautiful voice, stellar bass playing, and upbeat stage presence make this such a fun performance to watch. You can see Mr. and Mrs. Obama bopping their heads in the audience, which is quite possibly the best part of the whole video. 


Christian McBride - 'Turnaround'

So I have to admit something. Christian McBride might be my favorite jazz bass player ever. I’m sorry if that offends you, or if anything I ever say offends you. But I can’t help it - I love Christian with all my heart. His playing is unarguably virtuosic, and I love how he is always right at the front of the beat, sometimes uncomfortably so, but still somehow manages to just feel so good. 


Brad Mehldau - 'Teardrop' 

I’ve watched this video probably close to a thousand times. Brad Mehldau has one of the most beautiful touches on piano, and his slight changes in harmonies and added dissonances make this such a special piece of art. 


Nina DeCesare and Zach Rizer - 'Spain' 

Nina and Zach are friends of mine and both great musicians. I love this arrangement of Spain because they bring something new and different to an already beautiful tune. Nina’s tone perfectly fluctuates between airy and mellow to direct and forward-moving depending on the moment, and I love her choice of where to add slides and vibrato. Zach’s playing is fantastic throughout, but I love his solo towards the middle of the video. 


Christian McBride and Lynn Seaton - 'Blues in the Closet'

I’m proud to say I was in the room for this beautiful moment, and even still, I’ve watched this video thousands of times. If you don’t know Lynn Seaton, he is the jazz bass teacher at the University of North Texas, former bassist with Tony Bennett, and all around badass and beautiful human being. What’s not to love about two fantastic musicians and friends getting together to jam?


Ray Brown, Victor Wooten, Edgar Meyer - 'Sister Sadie' 

I love it when I find out my idols are friends and even more when they get together to collaborate. I think this video speaks for itself - there’s an insane amount of talent on that stage, and some stellar music making! 


John Clayton - 'Cheek to Cheek' with Diana Krall

John Clayton’s bass lines are some of my favorite to listen to. I used to transcribe his bass lines and play them along with the recordings, alone in my house so no one could hear me. I love hearing him play with Diana Krall because they just fit so perfectly together. 


Tal Wilkenfeld - 'Blue Wind with Jeff Beck' 

Anytime you see two people playing one bass at the same time, you know it’s going to be entertaining. Underneath the playfulness and spontaneity of the moment, there is still some fantastic music being made between these two masters. 


Craig Butterfield - 'Donna Lee' 

I know Geoff included this video in his last list, but I just couldn’t leave it off of mine - it truly is one of my all time favorite videos! I’m sure I’m biased because Craig is my former teacher, but I just love his playing, particularly his bowed solos. I was at UNT when this video came out, and I remember everyone in the jazz department watching it and raving about “that guy’s crazy bass playing.” I was proud to brag on my teacher then, and I’m proud to do it again years later. 


Jamareo Artis with Bruno Mars & The Hooligans - 'Treasure'

I know Bruno Mars isn’t exactly a jazz musician, but I’m not exactly a jazz musician either, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ One thing I love most about Bruno Mars is his band, particularly his bass player, Jamareo Artis. I have watched every video of Bruno’s band on YouTube and that boy never disappoints. He’s got such a great feel and a punchy tone quality that makes Bruno’s already fun music even more upbeat. I love his playing from around the 3:50 mark in this video - those fills are incredible, busy, but still just feel so good. And of course he does all of this while dancing seamlessly.


What do you think? Did you enjoy the videos and what what are your favourites? I love to hear new music so please join us in the comments and share your favourites. - LP


How to Eliminate Feedback on the Double Bass (L#102)

In this video I share my top tips on eliminating feedback when playing the double bass. If you want to get a great amplified sound on your gigs check out my top tips! 

    In the video I reference:


    It's also great to hear your experiences with taming feedback. How do you do it? Join the conversation in the comments below this video. 

    Four Bad Habits That Make You Play out of Tune in Thumb Position (L#101)

    In this lesson Lauren shares four bad habits that cause you to play out of tune in thumb position. These tips can make a big difference to your intonation, so check out the short video to learn what the most common problems are and how you can fix them.



    I hope you enjoyed the video and check out 'Double Bass Thumb Position' by Lauren Pierce. It's over four hours long and a step-by-step method to master thumb position technique on the double bass. 

    Sister Sadie on Bass - Playing the Tune! (L#100)

    In this lesson I teach you how to play the melody from 'Sister Sadie' by Horace Silver. It's a great tune and a lot of fun to play on the double bass.
    There's a lot to work on as it has a rhythm that's hard to play at full speed and the final A section is in thumb position. 
    I also demonstrate some walking bass lines for the B-section whilst the guitar plays the melody. 

    Big thanks to my friend Simon King who played both guitar and drums on the backing track! What a player and I love the lines he plays at the start of his solo.


    Please join the conversation by leaving a comment below and I hope you enjoy the lesson. Cheers Geoff
    P.S This is the 100th Discover Double Bass lesson that Lauren Pierce and I have published on YouTube. Big thanks to you for watching and for all of your support. 

    Geoff's Favourite YouTube Double Bassists - Pt.1: Jazz

    I’ve put together a selection of my favourite YouTube videos by jazz double bassists. My aim is to share some great jazz music that you might not have heard before, so there's lots of notable bassists missing. I’ve also shared mostly modern day bassists, so I will be sure to revisit the list with more in future (did someone say Ray Brown!). 


    "Shhh" by Wycliffe Gordon - Ben Williams on double bass

    I love this performance and it’s a world class band. Ben Williams pulls a huge tone from his double bass. I’m pretty sure he’s using a New Standard Cleveland hybrid model bass with Thomastik 'Spriocore Weich' strings. It also looks like he’s playing acoustically! Whatever’s going on he gets an incredible tone and plays a classy solo with some killer lines!

    The bass solo starts five minutes in. Enjoy :-) 


    Neil Miner - ‘C Jam Blues'

    Double bassist Neil Miner is another favourite of mine and he swings like mad in this trio recording. It’s classic jazz double bass with a fat tone that really drives the band. I can’t say enough how much I love his fills and solos. His performance in this video is how I aspire to play walking bass. Great tone, killer swing feel and an awesome groove! 


    Marco Panascia - ‘Solo Jazz Bass Blues in F’

    Marco is one of NYC’s top jazz bassists and this video will show you why. It was released only a year after YouTube had launched over 10 years ago, so he was a real pioneer! I can still remember watching this video for the first time. It blew me away and I’m still in awe of how effortless he makes it look. If you are into virtuosic bebop solos played on the double bass with real passion, Marco Panascia is your man! 


    Brad Mehldau Trio 'Ode [Number 19]' - Larry Grenadier on Double bass

    I’m a huge fan of Larry Grenadier, so I've had to include two of his videos! 

    First off, check out the bass solo at 02:13 with the Brad Mehldau trio! It’s just too good. The interplay between musicians, the way the solo builds and the phrases develop is a masterclass in improvisation. I recommend listening to this in a dark room with your favourite drink. :-) 

    Rebecca Martin and Larry Grenadier ‘ No Moon at All'

    This video is very low fi, but it’s got a great vibe and I’m sure you will love the bass playing. If you would like to hear more like this I can recommend their album ‘When I was Long Ago’. The band is only vocals, double bass and saxophone, so you can really hear Larry’s playing clearly. In the meantime check this out!


    Craig Butterfield - 'Donna Lee'

    Wow, just wow! I’m still getting over how good Craig’s bass playing is. His arco skills and left hand technique are flawless! He also writes some beautiful music so be sure to look him up online once you've seen this video. You won’t regret it! 

    Side note: Craig Butterfield also taught Lauren Pierce which might explain where she got some of her superhuman double bass skills! It's also rumoured they can fly. ;-)


    B'ANG Duet - ‘Whisper Not' - Petros Klampanis & Or Bareket on Double bass

    I was lucky enough to meet Or and Petros when I attended their masterclass at the 2015 ISB conference. They are seriously inspiring musicians so hearing them play and teach was a real highlight of the show for me. 
    Playing double bass duets is really hard and takes great skill to do well. This is a masterclass in tasteful playing!


    The Wood Brothers ‘Atlas' - Chris Wood on Double Bass

    Double bassist Chris Wood is a force of nature. I love his energy, incredible tone and tasty note choices. Don’t miss this one! 

    String Warning: Chris is using a full set of Pirastro's Eudoxa strings. These are sheep gut core, wound in silver and hand polished. So, you know they are not going to be cheap! His tone is to die for by the price may cause serious damage to your finances, so only watch this video if you can resist the compulsion to buy new strings! ;-) 


    Katie Thiroux - 'Oh, What A Beautiful Morning' & 'Ray's Kicks'

    This video was the first I heard by Katie Thiroux and I love it! It’s fantastic to see a modern bassist playing hard swinging jazz with some superb arrangements. Check out the tone, the energy and the good vibes!  

     

    There are loads of great videos I’ve missed, this is just a small selection to get started. I will be adding to this list in future and would love to hear your recommendations. As these are YouTube videos there are more modern artists, but I’ve not forgotten about the pioneers of jazz bass such as Paul Chambers, Ron Carter and Scott LaFaro. I'm sure they will be covered in a future update, or possibly a separate list. Anyway, let me know what you think and what's missing! 

    Cheers Geoff 

    Lauren's Favourite YouTube Videos: Pt.1 - Classical

    DaXun Zhang - Meditation (from the opera “Thaïs”) by Jules Massenet:

    I went through a period where I watched this video every day. There’s just something about DaXun’s phrasing and warm, tender tone quality that hits me in a way other recordings don’t. 


    Rinat Ibragimov - Gran Duo by Giovanni Bottesini: 

    Rinat’s recording of the Bottesini Gran Duo is a favorite for a few reasons - the obvious being that Rinat is absolutely fantastic and this recording is diva as all hell. I love that he is sharing the stage with his daughter, Alina, who also happens to be unbelievable. The chemistry between these two makes this recording really special.


    Božo Paradžik - Intermezzo and Tarantella by Reinhold Glière: 

    This is another recording I watched every single day for a while there. What I love so much about literally anything Bozo plays is how much care he puts into every moment - no phrase, no note, no pitch goes by without intention. He manages to play those fast notes with machine gun-like clarity, while simultaneously being incredibly musical. 

    I also love that he makes his pianist wait in between the Intermezzo and Tarantella so he can tighten his bow. 


    Maxim Vengerov - Violin Concerto by Jean Sibelius: 

    Maxim is quite possibly my favorite musician ever. He’s brilliant and exceptional, but he just truly loves what he does, and that really comes across in his playing. There are so many wonderful performances of Maxim on YouTube, but I think his interpretation of the Sibelius Violin Concerto truly captures what he’s all about as a musician. 

    And if you want to hear him talk about his thought process behind his phrasing, check out this masterclass on the Sibelius: 


    Edgar Meyer - Bach & Friends: 

    I can’t make a list of my favorite recordings without including Edgar. I love that man, and I love this video. It’s simple, but so beautiful and inspiring. It’s just Edgar talking about his relationship with Bach and his own musical journey, all while his performance of the 2nd suite prelude plays in the background. I watch this video anytime I’m in a bit of a slump or just need a lift. 


    Runner up…

    Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile - “Why Only One?”

    Surprise! It’s another Edgar video. I’ll bet you weren’t surprised. I just adore anything that man creates, and whenever he and Chris Thile get together, the result is going to be amazing. The playing is beautiful, the scenery is stunning, and the camera work is super cool.

    What do you think? Did you enjoy the videos and what what are your favourites. I love to hear new music so please join us in the comments and share your favourites. - LP


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