Tips for pedalling?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Pythagoras, Jul 12, 2006.

  1. Pythagoras

    Pythagoras Active Member

    We have been playing Procession to the Minster recently and its got a pedal Bflat in the Bflat bass part. Any tips on how to get this note, and at any volume louder than ppppppp.
  2. nickjones

    nickjones Active Member

    no magic formula

    No magic formula ( I think it's written as PPP) on the part ,just do what you do with other pedal Bb's..loads of breath support and no teeth help :) just keep practicing it...
  3. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    There's a lovely pedal "Bb" in "Irish Blessing" (approached from the "F" above, crescendo from pp to mp) which gives a great feeling when it works! I personally never get too hung up over the volume of pedal notes - nail them at a lower volume and they should still have an effect.
  4. Redhorn

    Redhorn New Member

    Practice them at ffff (but controlled!) into a practice mute... daily! (Although seeing as you're a bass, perhaps you should use a traffic cone!) Will also help with your high register.
  5. yorkie19

    yorkie19 Active Member

    Practise, I'm afraid.
  6. Bungle

    Bungle Member

    If you go to James Gourlays web site, you can download some low etudes to practice. Have fun
  7. bassmittens

    bassmittens Member

    Practice it????? Ever heard of the Brown note? ............THATS IT - It's a pedal B flat on a BB bass!!

    What a mess!:eek:
  8. steve_r

    steve_r Member

    Tuck your trousers in your socks

    [sorry couldnt resist it]
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2006
  9. Tack7

    Tack7 Member

    There actually is a method you can try, instead of playing down into your mouth piece, put ur top lip on the top rim of your mouthpiece and let your bottom lip slightly underneath ur top lip produce the note. If you practice this method you will in time be able to get lower & lower & still be able to enter at pppp's very easily. It also puts no pressure on your teeth or mouth at all, so you can keep going. Have a go.

    Si Bb B&R
  10. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    I couldn't get anything low for ages, which was down to having little or no tuition and hopelessly faulty technique. (thankfully now sorted!)

    I still find it very hard getting below a pedal C though as the air just disappears into the instrument, but I'm not a big chap so probably jus more breathing excercises needed.

    I'm no expert, but the main thing I always found with dropping the octave is not to go all out for volume. Pedals aren't about that, they're about broadening the sound up and producing that huge, warm, ringing bass sound that a really good section has at any dynamic. (Or in my case, add "Trying" to all of the above....) The Key to that is balance and tuning. It'll sound a lot bigger to the audience if you play quiet but in tune than if you blow it up a bit and lose the balance.

    That said, I'm still going home to try that technique Tack described above....

    Stick at it, it'll come.

    Andi C: Octave-dropper's union rep.
  11. I agree with everything Andi says in the post above. I just found it much easier to pedal if you have a bigger bore mouthpiece and plenty of warming up beforehand (about an hour or two should suffice!).
    When starting off "cold" (ie; the beginning of a rehearsal), just go from bottom C down to B, then Bb and so on in semibreve beats.
    I also found it much easier to pedal when, having finished rehearsal, to just do the same exercise - its easier cos you're fully warmed up, and it also gives you the tone of the note you are aining for..... Good luck down that end.

  12. Tack7

    Tack7 Member

    If you practice my method for just coming in on a specified note you will find in time that its possible to get any note straight from picking your bass up & only a little warm up. I play most pedals in the normal way as explained by Andy, but lets say for example: pedal bottom A at pp at the end of a horn solo. On this note id use the upper lip method as i can just come in really quiet, no pressure, and the main thing, totally in tune. Its worth a try for those who struggle a bit down there.
    If you have two methods to utilise its better for you & the band.

  13. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    I went home and tried this, and it really does help keep the quiet stuff in tune as it's dead easy for it to go sharp when played quiet.

    A strict diet of Ale and Curry helps too! ;)
  14. Anonymous_user

    Anonymous_user New Member

    I researched the best way to drop an 8ve in my own practice time many moons ago. I spent hours trying out different ways and also to see what way was best for any given dynamic / mood or moment.
    Dont fall into the trap of thinking that a huge mouthpiece is the best way to achive this! I hear too many players in good bands just flapping around in too large a mouthpeice. BIG is not BEST.
    It wont happen over night so you need to spend time with it. I still find better ways to approach playing low now.

    Another bit of advice ....go and listen to the organist at York Minster. Thats the sound and effect you should be aiming for.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2006
  15. PowerRanger

    PowerRanger Member

    What Mouthpiece does he play on Simon? ;)
  16. See Andi, I knew you'd get the diet right eventually - none of them there fancy cocktails involving Jim Beam and coke!!
    Get the right strength and temperature of the curry and you're laughing!! (Nothing of a lower strength than madras....) :clap: :clap:

    Andy, still trying (and failing) to get a decent curry over here in Belfast
  17. Bass Man

    Bass Man Active Member

    I don't know about others but I don't think that practice mutes are the best way to practice (or improve) your ability to pedal. I think that because the practice mute alters the tone slightly it's difficult to guage progress. I think the best way to improve in this area is to actually pactic with a pillow in the bass. Many think that it would hve he same effect as a practice mute but it doesn't. The tone doesnt change so you know exactly what note you are producing, it's just more difficult to get the air through, thus improving your ability to do this. Correct me if I'm wrong but it works for me
  18. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    Haven't played them yet, but this looks a cool link - The "Hommage a EG" looks an excellent piece - unsurprisingly similar in style to Gregson's Alarum (bit of mutual back-slapping going on there methinks).
  19. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Willis 32 FT I should think ;)
  20. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Having a think about this particular subject, I have come to the conclusion that the way the range of the tuba is perceived in banding is maybe limited. Pedal notes seems to be treated as an 'extra', some 'specialised art' that is used every so often. Because of the way bass parts are scored this is generally the case, but look elsewhere and you will discover that this magical pedal register is just treated as the lower range of the instrument. Solution? Earlier posts suggest practice ... and yes, do use the lower register and get used to playing there ... but don't forget your upper one too! It's a matter of getting used to hearing these low notes and remembering the physical changes needed to centre them. If it becomes impossible to succeed there then think about getting lessons or changing your mouthpiece to a deeper cup (again compromise is required as you don't want to lose your upper register!).

    Basics are ... you have to lower your jaw, open your throat and change the airflow to create less vibration in your lips to get down there. Phonetic production is useful to help focus on that target ... using sounds like 'aw' and 'oh' to widen the larynx. Treat that lower register as it is ... your lower register!

    post edit:- another handy tip is to examine how your embouchure is set up as this can also have a significant effect on your range. Here is a link to show variations and working range.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2006

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