Improve speed and comfort when playing

Rx: To play quickly, you’ll want to be in greater control of your left hand. 

Geoff teaches us how to keep our fingers from flapping around, something that we need to have in control if we want to play quickly.

This video is from Geoff Chalmers’ DiscoverDoubleBass website. While he is focused on jazz playing, there are several lessons on his site that are easily useful to anyone playing bass whether they are into New Music or any other kind of bass playing.


Harmonics on the double bass

Rx: Playing harmonics cleanly.

Discussion of two reasons to work with harmonics early in your study:

  • building the correct shape of the hand for thumb position
  • build confidence in the higher positions

Some specific mechanical issues addressed:

  • where to put the finger when playing harmonics on upright bass
  • how to reach the high harmonics by shifting weight/posture


Preventing tendonitis

Rx: Preventing injury to the noting hand (or left hand) on the bass

Preventing tendonitis is a key skill of any bassist, beginner or not-beginner. This requires removing excess tension from our posture.

From Michael Klinghoffer’s Mr Karr Would You Teach Me how to Drive a Double Bass.

Includes demonstration of an exercise for noting hand pizzicato that relaxes the muscles of your fingers and thumb.

Noting hand, first steps

Rx: Beginning to play pitches beyond the the open strings. 

Zoltan is usually associated with jazz playing. But everything he talks about here is also useful to classical playing as it’s basic mechanics and posture.

Straightforward presentation. Zoltan is great about explaining why he suggests to do things so there isn’t any guesswork required.

Concepts presented include:

  • playing with fingertips
  • angle of the wrist
  • position of elbow relative to everything else
  • distance between fingers
  • position of thumb on the double bass neck
  • using arm weight to press the string to the fingerboard

Holding the bass

Rx: How to hold the bass (posture) and shape the noting fingers for intonation/finger placement.

This lesson is by Andrew Anderson of Chicago Lyric. This presentation is really geared towards other teachers, but it will work great for adult beginners as well. Great conversational style and approach.

Check out his five string upright too!