As the oldest private music school in the area, it’s no surprise that the Toedtman School of Music provides Cincinnati Bass Lessons to children and adults of all ages. But if you have interest in learning the bass, you may have been confused that there are actually so many different bass options!
What Is A Double Bass?
The double bass is known by many names, and it makes its home in a variety of musical settings – from the symphony orchestra (where it is the lowest-pitched bowed string voice), to the rockabilly group, to the jazz big band, to bluegrass and bebop and country and more.
While the note positions are similar to those of the bass guitar, the technique is markedly different. Here in our Cincinnati music school, we approach the double bass with a bow and without a bow. When using a bow, we have some choices – the French bow, which is an overhand bow similar to those we would use for violin and cello, or the German bow (also called a “Butler bow”), which is shorter, thicker, and held in a different way. The German bow is similar in Length and diameter to the French bow. The main difference is that the German bows frog is taller than the French. Some people describe the German bow grip as underhand. The bowed style, used in most symphonic music and chamber music, is referred to as “arco.”
The end of the bow nearest the playing hand is the “frog,” and near that frog is the grip where you hold the bow. Pulling down-bow (pulling the frog away from the bass) and pushing up-bow (pushing the frog toward the bass) produce a wide variety of sounds, and we will learn how the down-bow and up-bow moves work together to create phrasing.
In jazz, country, folk, and rockabilly, it is much more common to pluck the strings, which we call “pizzicato.” That plucking sound is what you hear on a walking bass line, usually – and when you walk a bass line through a set of chord changes, choosing the notes and leading tones you will play is a fun challenge.
For Cincinnati music lessons at our Sharonville studio – on drums, piano, bass, guitar, woodwinds, trumpet, violin, viola, and voice — contact Toedtman School of Music by calling 513.772.7900, or by filling out the contact form below.