How to train your left hand to be a double bass “pitch magnet”

I found a simple exercise that has been really helping to get my left hand to hand securely on pitches.

With Jason Heath · San Francisco, CA

Playing the double bass requires precision and control, especially when it comes to finding the right pitch. In this blog post, we will explore a simple technique that can help you train your left hand to become a “pitch magnet” on the double bass. This technique is based on utilizing natural harmonics on the instrument, and it can greatly improve your accuracy and overall playing experience.

Understanding Natural Harmonics

Before we delve into the technique, let’s take a moment to understand the concept of natural harmonics on the double bass. A harmonic is produced when a string is lightly touched at a specific node point, resulting in a pure and bell-like sound. These harmonics can be found at various locations along the string, but for this technique, we will primarily focus on the tuning harmonics over the “5th and 7th” fret, as well as the octave harmonic.

The “Magnetic” Effect

Now, you might be wondering how these natural harmonics can help train your left hand to become a “pitch magnet.” The answer lies in the repetitive practice of warming up on these harmonics. As you spend more time warming up on these specific points, you will notice a fascinating phenomenon: your hand will instinctively “snap” to these locations on the string, as if there are magnets in your fingers. This natural magnetism greatly enhances your ability to find the desired pitch quickly and accurately.

Unlocking the Bass Fingerboard

One of the notable benefits of utilizing this technique is the ease with which you can navigate the bass fretboard. By finding a few notes with confidence using the natural harmonics, you will discover that everything else on the bass is just one step away from a natural harmonic. This newfound understanding allows you to unlock the potential of the entire fretboard and enables you to explore various melodic possibilities effortlessly.

Incorporating the Technique into Practice

Now that you understand the concept and benefits of this technique, it’s essential to know how to incorporate it into your practice routine effectively. The key is to dedicate a small portion of every practice session to this exercise. Sprinkle it throughout your entire practice session, ensuring that you warm up on the tuning harmonics over the “5th and 7th” fret, as well as the octave harmonic. By consistently practicing this technique, you will notice a significant improvement in your overall playing accuracy and control.

Conclusion

Training your left hand to become a double bass “pitch magnet” is an invaluable skill that every bassist should strive to develop. By harnessing the power of natural harmonics and consistently practicing this technique, you will enhance your playing abilities and unlock new musical possibilities. The journey to mastery is built on consistent practice and exploration, and this technique is great for taking your double bass playing to new heights.

So, embrace the power of natural harmonics, let your hand become a magnet, and watch your playing soar to new levels of precision and musicality!

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