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Bass Lessons with Missy Raines: Using Your Body

Here's something that doesn't get brought up enough in bass lessons: body energy. In this video from her online bass lessons, Missy Raines goes over the importance of using your body while playing double bass. This is more of a beginning bass lesson - body energy is something that you should be paying attention to once you get comfortable with holding the bass and learning the fingerboard. This is just a sample from Missy's online curriculum of bass lessons, so be sure to check out more at the link. 

Here's the secret to having great body energy while playing - it's all about being comfortable. The more comfortable with your instrument you are, the better body energy you'll have. Pay attention to the connection between your movement and the position of the bass. It's really important to maintain a sense of what your body is doing when playing music, especially on double bass. The double bass is a very large and physical so depending on how big you are, the bass can be a very daunting creature that must be sort of "man handled" in order to maintain control over it.  Being in control is key, but even more so is being comfortable - that's what really will bring out beautiful notes.

So for starters you want to be aware of what;s going on with your body as you try to get really good strong notes out of your bass. Take notice of your position, foundation, breathing, posture, and connection to the instrument. In order to do this you want to keep your mind aware of what's going on and remind yourself to keep your feet planted to the floor, about shoulder width apart.

Also keep you back and your legs strong about shoulder length apart but keep a relaxed posture. Keep your shoulders out and your elbow strong as well however don't be too stiff and keep it with a soft edge. In simpler words, just don't tighten up. Keep your wrist coming in at a very soft angle. Keep in mind that tightening up and strength are two different things. So notice this in your body. If you feel tense or uncomfortable, remember to relax. You're playing music, remember? It's supposed to be fun!  If you can't relax, you'll be more likely to tighten up your muscles, which makes them peak out and you won't be able to use them again. So, be sure to relax... 

Watch Missy's Free Bass Lessons
 

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At the same time, you don't want to become too relaxed either. You want to still maintain a sense of strength going on with your muscles. Don't confuse tension with strength, Keep your neck soft but in control.

Your left hand should be oriented with all your energy coming straight down onto the fingerboard as opposed to squeezing. In order to make that connection, push down with your fingers perpendicular to the strings. You're going to feel the bass push towards your body as you work on these tips and that's a good thing because you're using your body as resistance. This will give you more energy to get the notes out. You want to maintain a good posture through this so that when you are doing faster passages down the road your body is all around supportive. Start thinking about bending slightly around the torso as well.

When you do all this, your double bass will naturally come behind you. This is a good position for you to remember. It's also okay that the neck of the fingerboard disappears behind your head. This is a natural thing. As you develop more knowledge of the fingerboard you won't need to be looking at it so much anyway.  Just remember to maintain a very good, relaxed posture and of course, have fun and try your best to connect the bass with the body



bass lessons with missy raines

Want to more free double bass lessons?  Check out Missy's Online Bluegrass Bass School. This unique 24/7 online "virtual" school of Double Bass enables you to submit practice videos and get personalized feedback from Missy herself.  Learn more at www.MissyRainesBass.com today.

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