Pedal power (Or lack of...)

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Thirteen Ball, Jul 26, 2004.

  1. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Hi all.

    I'm currently playing 2nd BBb which means I get all the daft low notes to play. :D Problem is, only being 5'11 and 13 stone (Positively trim for a bass) I just can't see to get any power into them. :( I'll get any note down to my pedal C, but anything lower than a 1st+4th F sounds a bit thin, and my C's very ropey.

    Is it just a matter of more lung power (oo-er :? ) or is it more about technique?I know top BB players can pedal almost anything these days and it sounds awesome when they do. I've just no clue how on earth they manage it.
  2. bigcol

    bigcol Member

    Diaphragm, breath control, long note practice and most important of all, a strict diet of beer and curry.

    Seriously check your instrument is ok - if you have a slight leak or it is non-compensating/out of tune, it won't help your cause to rubble the floor and make the 2nd horn player's wig fall off.
  3. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Beer.... Curry.... Sorry, just taking notes. :wink: Cheers mate.

    Any particualr sort of curry?
  4. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    I'm not bald :cry:
  5. bigcol

    bigcol Member

    Lol some bass players would shift your hair, attached or otherwise!!

    Seriously it's the diaphragm that's the key - plenty of pressure to get enough air going to set up and maintain the vibrations. That and a wide embrouchure.
  6. amgray

    amgray Member

    One for Grezzy to comment on methinks.....
  7. JessopSmythe

    JessopSmythe Active Member

    Have you tried experimenting with different mouthpieces? (or should that be mouthpi?). You'll find it difficult to get effective pedals if your mouthpiece is too small. Be careful though. You don't want one so big that the upper end of your range suffers.
  8. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    I'm using a 24AW Vincent Bach at the mo. I know it's really an Eb mouthpiece, but at £60-odd a throw and broke as I am, I just stuck with it when I changed over. (And it beats the hell out of the ropey old besson prototype I played on for three years!)

    P.S. Top range? What do I need one of those for? I haven't played anything above a middle C in a month! :wink: Such is the lot of a 2nd BBb.
  9. IckleSop

    IckleSop Active Member

    Try Breathing exercises, there great and can be done anywhere!!!!, works for me on sop!!!
  10. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    I've got a lot of respect for sop players. If I drop a note on stage, there's normally at least three other players it could have been, so no-one's sure except me! :lol: And that holds true almost everywhere else.

    But If you sop players goof, everyone in the whole concert hall knows it's you! :oops: Takes some big ol' bottle to play that little instrument.
  11. IckleSop

    IckleSop Active Member

    Bass is just as bad one note out and it can be hurd spess if you have a short drone!

    Sop's great fun,

    Yeah think about your mouthpiece, most music speacilist like john packer and fred rhodes let you see if you like a mouthpiece first and if not you can send it back and try another one.

    hope that helps
  12. Big Fella

    Big Fella Member

    breathing excercises, really do work....
    I was bought, i think it's called Breathe-Easy, for last Xmas, by my beloved other half, and it has definately helped in breath control..

    You might also try practising with a mute in, and blowing long notes for twenty mins a day, helps with the resistance levels..

    Change of mouthpiece is a very funny one, it's down to the individual, and the way he or she plays. I know people that play of smallish mouthpieces, and have sounds like the side of houses.

    Again, there is really only one way to improve, practice, practice, practice.
  13. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Another thing to bear in mind when playing pedal notes is intonation: if the slides are not properly adjusted for the various combinations you are using then the notes will not be truly in tune, making it much harder to produce the desired effect. I personally often find the "F" by far the worst to get in tune, perversely as it is one of those most often required!

    Just one point of semantics: the term "pedal notes" technically only applies from the bottom "C" downwards.
  14. wally

    wally Member

    alright mate

    i find its a combo of all the above. nice big mouth piece, breath control and lots of oomph from the lower abdomen. thats where they have to originate if they are going to stand any chance of making it out the bell end and sounding good!. also dont forget to thrust your lower jaw forward the lower you go and i find really loosening up the chops and letting them flap around helps (dont know if iuts correct technique though.)

    most of all though - beer and curry. the more the better!

    p.s. working on your high range somehow helps with low range aswell so dont skimp on the high notes....even if you never play them
  15. Drew

    Drew New Member

    Big Than The Average Bear - Quote

    "Again, there is really only one way to improve, practice, practice, practice".

    Where have a heard that before ????

    People in the glass houses !!!! (Mind you I can't talk)

  16. paddo

    paddo Member

    As comented from a few of you I will agree with diaphram, Large mouthpiece (perrantucci pt88+) and the jaw.

    But I must point out, I have been on the BBb since I was 11 years old and loved every minute of it. I have played with quite a few of the top bands over teh years and the pedle end is brilliant, BUT I am having serious problems with my jaw. 12 years ago I had an MRI scan for the jaw locking and cracking.....its alot more severe now. Locking and very bad pain.

    Advise....if you are floating you jaw about for pedling be carfull, it can end up very painfull.

    Any one else has this problem?
  17. brass journo

    brass journo Member

    pedal power

    If you are who I think you are and I think that you are (with it so far!!) all I have to say is that you are doing a great job on Bb bass and the section is beginning to mould really well.

    You've only been on Bb for a month or so and doing really well. A lot of it may be confidence! don't be shy!!

    Most importantly - enjoy it!

    I'm sure 24 hours practice may do the trick!!!

    ps. nice picture in the paper today - I've got you a copy!!
  18. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Yep. I took up Euph when I was 8, and Bass Trom when I was 13. I'm not entirely sure when it started, but a persistent clicking and occasional locking of the jaw became steadily more frequent and worse, until I properly messed it up by following a few weeks' layoff from serious playing over Christmas 1996 with three eight-hour playing days with the County Youth Orchestra. The result was that when I woke up on January 4th, I couldn't open my mouth more than a centimetre, and to try to do so caused plenty of pain; the muscles on the right side of my jaw had gone into spasm, I was told by my doctor, and might stay that way for a long time. An appointment was made for me to see a specialist at the John Radcliffe hospital - in a further 6 (or it may even have been 18!) months. Meanwhile, I went to see a McTimoney Chiropracter, who gave me a course of treatment on the premise that having all my muscles and bones lined up optimally would help my jaw to relax, and it seemed to work; by the area that year, I could play passably, and, after a couple of years, everything was moving more or less as freely again as it had before. It still clicks to an abnormal extent, but I've had no serious locking problems for a long time, and minor ones only when I haven't been back to the (McTimoney) Chiropracter for a few months. If you're experience difficulty, I'd unhesitatingly recommend this treatment, even though it isn't cheap (£29 / 30 mins round here). When I finally did see the specialist, he gave me a sheet of exercises, and told me to continue being treated by the Chiropracter. It is odd; they tend to be lumped in with the aromatherapists, acupuncturists, and other practitioners of somewhat unscientific treatments, but the principles are well enough established.

    Although it seemed a disaster at the time - in fact it persuaded me that there was no hope in my pursuing a playing career - I feel that it has given my playing a large net benefit, forcing me to play in a very carefully efficient way that disturbs the jaw as little as possible in the core lower register, though I must admit that I do protrude my jaw a little for bite on the very lowest pedals when required (never in any written parts!). I am not sure how practicable that scheme is on the Bb Bass, but it must be preferable to rendering yourself unable to play properly for a year?
  19. Janet Watkins

    Janet Watkins Member

    Just as a not very helpful aside..............

    An anagram of: PEDALLING


    (Erstwhile Countdown Conundrum!)

  20. bigcol

    bigcol Member

    Cue music:

    de da de da dedadola boooooom.....