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

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

Planting Fingers - Double Bass Shifting Technique + Drill (L#99)

In this lesson Lauren Pierce shows us how to shift cleanly on the double bass. This technique will help you play smoothly and cut down on squeaks and scratches. It also helps you to develop your muscle memory which is an essential aspect of playing in tune. 
In addition to explaining the technique and showing you how to shift, Lauren also shares a great shifting drill for you to practice. 


I hope you enjoy the lesson and if you have any questions or want to share what's helped you shift, please join us in the comments section.

If you want to learn more from Lauren you can check out her full length double bass courses:
'Double Bass Bowing Technique' & 'Double Bass Thumb Position'

What are the Best Hybrid Strings for Double Bass?

In this episode of 'Ask Geoff & Lauren' we answer the question 'what are the best hybrid strings for double bass?'

We share our recommendations for hybrid double bass strings that are suitable for jazz, classical, bluegrass and more. Finding the perfect string has been a life long quest for both of us so we share what has worked and what you should bear in mind if you are on the hunt for your perfect string. 


Some of the brands we discuss are:
Pirastro: 'Evah Pirazzi' Weich, 'Original Flatchrome'
D'Addario: 'Kaplan', 'Zyex'
Thomastik: 'Spirocore', 'Belcanto'

I hope you enjoy the video and please join us in the comments section to let us know what strings you're using. Cheers Geoff

 

Two Octave D Major Scale (L#98)

In this lesson I teach the two D octave major scale on the double bass, as well as a useful alternative fingering. 
I also compare the fingerings to those in the two octave D Aeolian and D Dorian scales. Plus, the tow octave Db major scale, so we cover a lot of ground in a short video!

To learn more about scales please check out my course 'Double Bass Scales: The Play-Along Collection'.  

I hope you enjoy the lesson and if you have any questions or lessons requests please post them in the comments section below and thanks for watching! Cheers Geoff

How to Break Though a Plateau?

'How do you break though a plateau?'

In this episode of Ask Geoff & Lauren we discuss how you can break though plateaus and make the most progress with your bass playing. I hope you enjoy it and if you would like to join the conversation please leave a comment below the video. 

If you want to learn more about scales for the double bass please check out 'Double Bass Scales: The Play-Along Collection'. 

Bowing Technique for Playing Double Stops (L#97)

In this double bass lesson Lauren teaches us the bowing technique for playing double stops.
Starting the string cleanly, without any squeaks takes care, especially when playing two at once! Lauren explains the technique and demonstrates how you can play double stops with a great sound. 


I hope you enjoy the video. It's a preview from her course 'Double Bass Bowing Technique'. The course comprises 70 lessons and is over 5 hours long!

How to Memorise Music

In this episode of Ask Geoff & Lauren we discuss how we approach memorising music. It's something all musicians have to do. Whether you are playing jazz standards, or a classical concerto, it's an essential part of the performance process. There are several different ways to approach memorising music so we share our recommendations in this video. 


I hope you enjoyed the video and if you have any questions, or want to share your tips on memorising music,  please join the conversation in the comments section. 

Crossing Strings in a Slur (L#96)

In this lesson Lauren teaches us how to cross strings in a slur without creating a gap between notes, or any scratches and squeaks. She shows us the left hand and bowing techniques you need to know to play with a clean sound. 
If you want more lessons like this please check out Lauren's step-by-step bowing technique course

I hope you enjoy the lesson! If you want to join the conversation please leave a comment below. 

Essential Walking Bass Line Patterns (L#95)

In this lesson I share some essential walking bass patterns. These riffs work over almost any chord which then moves up by an interval of a 4th to the next chord. This is the most common movement between chords, it's literally everywhere, so having some great bass riffs under your fingers will really help you. It's also a simple method that you can use to get started with improvising your own walking bass lines. 

I demonstrate how you can apply these patterns using the chord progression from 'Fly Me to the Moon'.

If you want to take a comprehensive course please check out 'Creating Walking Bass Lines: A Step-by-Step Course'. 

Flying with a Double Bass

In this episode of Ask Geoff & Lauren we answer a question about flying with a double bass. Taking your irreplaceable instrument on a plane is never easy, so we share our experiences. Lauren also tells us how she got her bass from the US to Australia when she moved earlier this year.

In the video I reference the website Rentabass.

I hope you enjoy the video and if you have any questions please join the conversation in the comments section below. Plus, if you have flown with a double bass we need to hear from you! How did it go and did you both survive the trip! :-)

Cheers Geoff 

How to Hide the Sound of a Shift on the Double Bass

In this video lesson Lauren teaches a technique to disguise the sound of a shift. This happens when get an unwanted glissando when shifting between two notes. Due to it's size the double bass requires regular shifting, so this lesson is incredibly useful.


I hope you enjoy the lesson and if you want to learn more from Lauren please check out her step-by-step double bass courses.

 

How to Use Arm/Hand Weight with the French Bow

In this episode of 'Ask Geoff & Lauren' we discus how to use arm/hand weight with French pattern double bass bows. This technique will allow you to play for longer periods of time in comfort and without lots of squeaks and scratches. 

In this video Lauren references her lesson on stopping pain in the thumb when bowing.

I hope you enjoy the video. To join the conversation please leave a comment below. 

Acoustic Image Clarus SL Review

In this video I review the Acoustic Image Clarus SL amplifier. It's a single channel amp that's been designed specifically for double bassists. I've used an older model (series III) for the last 10 years. This new version is smaller, lighter and more powerful. All the features have been designed with the double bass in mind, from the impedance to the high pass filter. Even the EQ points have been set to help you get the most from your instrument. I love mine, so I thought I would do a review to share my experience. 

I hope you enjoy the video. To join the conversation please post below in the comments section.

Features

  • Extended frequency range, high fidelity sound
  • Light weight (<2.5 lbs.), small size (2.1x7.2x7.4 inches)
  • LoZ and HiZ 1/4 inch inputs for piezo pickup optimization
  • Input and Master level controls
  • Four band EQ
  • Sweepable low cut filter
  • Effects loop
  • Direct out with selectable 10 dB pad, pre/post switch and ground lift
  • Mute switch
  • Selectable internal jumper options for gain and limiter
  • High fidelity, low noise operation: 110 dB SNR at direct out
  • Automatic voltage switching for universal AC mains operation
  • 650 Watt output at 4 ohms (music power)
  • Dual speaker outputs with speakon connectors
  • Comes with padded case and speakon to ¼ inch adaptor

Learn more about Acoustic Image

What Size Double Bass Should I Get?

In this episode of 'Ask Geoff & Lauren' we answer a question about double bass sizes. As instruments come in a huge range of different shapes and sizes it's really important to find the right one for you. 3/4, 4/4, 5/8, 7/8,1/2, 1/4 etc.... there's a lot of choice! 
Hear our thoughts on the use of smaller instruments and how you can find your perfect bass. 

I hope you enjoy the video. To join the conversation please leave a comment below. 

'Chamber Mates' by Paul Chambers (L#93)

Paul Chambers

Paul Chambers

In this lesson I teach the melody of Paul Chambers' composition 'Chamber Mates'. It's taken from his 1957 album 'Bass on Top'. The tune is played with the bow and make sure you check out the original recording as there's also a great arco solo!  

Paul Chambers (April 22, 1935 – January 4, 1969) was a pioneer of jazz double bass. Known for his work as a side man on records such as Miles Davis' 'Kind of Blue' and John Coltrane's 'Giant Steps', he also recorded a dozen albums as a leader or co-leader.

Today's lesson feature's his composition 'Chamber Mates' from the album 'Bass on Top'. It's based on a simple blues chord progression and played with the bow. However you can always play this pizzicato if you prefer. 

I hope you enjoy the lesson and if you have any feedback or lesson ideas please leave a comment below.
Cheers Geoff

Keeping in Shape for Double Bass Playing

In this episode of 'Ask Geoff & Lauren' we answer a question from Andrew about the effect keeping in shape has on our double bass playing. Before we started filming Lauren told me that this topic was the best thing she has ever done to help her bass playing, so I had to hear more! 

 

I hope you enjoy the video. To join the conversation please leave a comment below.