Experimental Double Bass: 100.001

For the first entry in the Experimental Double Bass: 100 Days project I have some pizzicato below the bridge. I enjoy this sound because it reminds me of a kalimba. We get four pitches that are sort of related, they resonate if quietly, and they’re up in a different register than we normally get.

You can also listen or download via bandcamp, or iTunes, or anywhere else that music is sold. Eventually I might get around to uploading them to Soundcloud as well (it’s just a real pain the ass to do that one so I’m procrastinating on it).

Experiments/Learning

Experiments on double bass timbres in this piece include:

  • primarily pizz below the bridge of the bass
  • rolling pizzicato
  • dampening the plucked strings
  • thumping on the tailpiece, main strings muted
  • thumping on the, main strings unmuted (at the end)

Some things I learned are that I can absolutely run these four strings two handed (I play seated cello style so I don’t have to worry much about supporting the instrument), dampening the main string length while playing below the bridge makes the tone nominally clearer but probably not enough to really worry about, when thumping the tailpiece letting the main string length ring makes an interesting reverb-like effect, the whole thing is very quiet and probably wouldn’t work in a large venue without amplification.

Composition/Improvisation notes

Mostly I just wanted to explore these timbres. The nature of the sounds lend themselves to something rhythmic so I focused on that, establishing phrases and patterns that I could repeat or alter or accent at different rates. An attempt at folding sound patterns over themselves.

Technical notes

Microphone: AKG 414B-ULS in cardioid mode, placed just off the treble side of the tailpiece and very close.

Mic Pre: Electrodyne 501 fairly jacked up.

Processing: a little bit of sculpting down in the lower end to remove rumble but preserve the tone of the tailpiece thump.

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