David Heyes: Daily Exercises for Double Bass

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About the Exercises

Daily Exercises for Double Bass is designed to build confidence and to develop and consolidate technique, primarily in the orchestral register of the instrument. Technique is simply a means to an end and music is the ultimate goal. Care should be taken not to put too much strain on the left hand and, much like an athlete, technique, strength, and stamina should be built gradually. Do not work through the ‘pain barrier’ and ‘a little and often' is a good maxim to follow.

The book should be seen as a starting point for you to discover and devise new technical exercises to extend and increase your technical skills throughout the entire range of the double bass. The exercises are in no particular order although the first (Chromatic Positions) is useful as a warm-up study and to develop a good hand shape.

I would suggest choosing two or three exercises each day, gradually working through the ones you feel able to tackle, eventually adding the more challenging exercises when you feel confident to do so. It is possible to adapt each exercise simply by choosing a few bars and by adding different bowing and rhythmic variations.

The exercises can be played at different dynamic levels and in different parts of the bow (heel-middle-tip), also with and without vibrato, and at different speeds. The possibilities are endless. Use them as a starting point to devise your own exercises, in different registers, and build your technique gradually and consistently, and most importantly, remember to enjoy your bass playing.

Table of Contents

1) Chromatic Positions

2) One Octave Scale Study

3) Hammer Fingers

4) Four Note Patterns

5) Diatonic Shifts

6) Scale Patterns

7) Fifths

8) Chromatic String Crossings

9) Neck Block Positions

10) Thirds

11) Running Thirds

12) Thumb Position (Hand Shapes)

Advice

The great Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich (1927-2007) once commented to a student ‘Just make it sound nice’ and these five words are applicable to every bar in this book and to every phrase you will ever play.

David Heyes

(Somerset 2021)

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