Extended Technique

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May 20, 2006, 3:11:12 AM5/20/06
to The Classical Double Bassist
Just curious:

Writing a piece with D.B. and I wanted to know if it's possible for a
good player to pull off bends; perpendicular to the finger-board. If
so, can it be done exceeding a whole step?
Thanks for any input.

Joe Lewis

May 20, 2006, 6:41:54 PM5/20/06
to The Classical Double Bassist
I just tried it out and managed to squeak out a half step for a D on
the G string with medium gague Pirastro Flexocor strings. Going lower
on the neck means more resistance, and going higher means less support
from the hand to achieve a bend. Also bending a string in that
direction against the fingerboard frequently will cause irregularities
in the fingerboard to appear, so I'm betting many bassists would feel
uncomfortable with this when using a finer instrument. It might be
possible on a very light gague G string, but certainly it's not a very
practical or standard technique and it's going to be fairly difficult
to impossible with the thick cabling most bassists use. Just say no.

My advice is this: Since the double bass is not fretted, you should
consider a glissando instead, with the expression that you're trying to
make it sound like the bend of an electric guitar. This way the
friction is from string to finger and not grinding on one's
fingerboard, and there's no limit to how wide the pitch range is.



Jun 17, 2006, 12:01:42 AM6/17/06
to The Classical Double Bassist
I tried this out too, and it only worked if I de-tuned a string down a
step or two causing less tension overall. But, then again, I would not
do this on my carved bass due to my gut strings and the risk of
breakage. I like the above guy's idea.

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