Had My First Real Lesson On URB Yesterday


Had My First Real Lesson On URB Yesterday

Postby Ben Esparza » Tue Nov 10, 2009 5:26 pm

I just got the neck replaced on my no-name 100+ y.o. carved, German URB. Got it done at Lemur Music in San Juan Capistrano upon high recommendations from Ken Baker and am more than pleased with the work. I took my first lesson from a fairly young guy in Los Alamitos named Sam Montooth. When I say young, I mean 35ish. He's a jazzer and will also plays in pits. He's getting me started on the Simandl Book and I'm starting on half position (thumb directly behind the middle finger are "fret" 2). I gotta say that I never took lessons other than one from a guy Ken knows (David Black) and could go no further because of the restrictive 44 1/2" scale from the old neck. I feel like I'm 10 years old again taking my first piano lessons from my mother. I have to re-learn hand placement and fingering technique. He says a lot of the physical issues and fatigue that URB players experience comes from improper technique and mentioned a few pros that will only do a 45 minute concert because of this (no names mentioned here). One bad habit I picked up from being self-taught on the bass is not taking advantage of hand positioning ie: I'll slide up and down the neck to hit notes on a scale on fewer strings as opposed to keeping my hand in one place and hitting those same notes utilizing more strings. Another is using the pad of my finger tips to note; whereas, he says using the tips make for better ergonomic hand usage and less tendonitis issues on the upright. Plus a few other things.

I'm gonna stick with it, though. This bass is too nice to not play correctly and I want to take full advantage of it's tone. Plus I want to learn to play it correctly. I want to get a jazz trio gig. I want to play in a pit. I need to buy a French bow (that's what he uses), but the wife is telling me that we have to save for my daughter's wedding. So now I have to be creative in funding this bow. I need to make time to practice. I need to learn to read music. I need talent. Etc., etc., etc.

Damn, that bass is nice!
"You can talk about virtuosity all you want, but what it comes down to is you're supposed to back up the other guys. They're not supposed to notice you until you stop."
- Keith Ferguson
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Ben Esparza
 
Location: Pico Rivera, CA

Re: Had My First Real Lesson On URB Yesterday

Postby Ken Baker » Tue Nov 10, 2009 6:16 pm

Ben Esparza wrote:I just got the neck replaced on my no-name 100+ y.o. carved, German URB. Got it done at Lemur Music in San Juan Capistrano upon high recommendations from Ken Baker and am more than pleased with the work. I took my first lesson from a fairly young guy in Los Alamitos named Sam Montooth. When I say young, I mean 35ish. He's a jazzer and will also plays in pits. He's getting me started on the Simandl Book and I'm starting on half position (thumb directly behind the middle finger are "fret" 2). I gotta say that I never took lessons other than one from a guy Ken knows (David Black) and could go no further because of the restrictive 44 1/2" scale from the old neck. I feel like I'm 10 years old again taking my first piano lessons from my mother. I have to re-learn hand placement and fingering technique. He says a lot of the physical issues and fatigue that URB players experience comes from improper technique and mentioned a few pros that will only do a 45 minute concert because of this (no names mentioned here). One bad habit I picked up from being self-taught on the bass is not taking advantage of hand positioning ie: I'll slide up and down the neck to hit notes on a scale on fewer strings as opposed to keeping my hand in one place and hitting those same notes utilizing more strings. Another is using the pad of my finger tips to note; whereas, he says using the tips make for better ergonomic hand usage and less tendonitis issues on the upright. Plus a few other things.


I remember Kevin struggling with Simandl - still does in fact because it's repetitious as Hell and a workout. But the exercises are great for technique. The deal with how you finger the strings (pads or tips of your fingers) is REALLY subjective. There are any number of top players that will tell you one or the other. Dave Black (PSO) is a fingertips guy. Jeremy Kurtz (San Diego Symphony) is a pads guy. In the end, you'll end up with what works best for you unless it involves a beating from the teacher. There is a fair amount of physical conditioning with the URB, from proper hand technique to posture, and you may re-discover muscles you'd forgotten about.

I'm gonna stick with it, though. This bass is too nice to not play correctly and I want to take full advantage of it's tone. Plus I want to learn to play it correctly. I want to get a jazz trio gig. I want to play in a pit. I need to buy a French bow (that's what he uses), but the wife is telling me that we have to save for my daughter's wedding. So now I have to be creative in funding this bow. I need to make time to practice. I need to learn to read music. I need talent. Etc., etc., etc.

Damn, that bass is nice!


I am REALLY glad you're happy with the bass and happy with Jeff's work at Lemur. The guy is an un-sung world class luthier. As to the bow - we're German bow folks here. If you'd like, I can ask Kevin if he knows any French bow players that have an extra bow for sale. Thing is, the bow needs to be a good fit to you and the bass.

Ken...
...at least the doctors find me fascinating...
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Ken Baker
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Location: Orange County, CA

Re: Had My First Real Lesson On URB Yesterday

Postby Mike Childree » Tue Nov 10, 2009 8:05 pm

The bass prof that I took a few lessons from (she moved away, or I'd still be at it) also told me the pad/fingertip thing is very subjective. Many people don't have the arm or finger length or the flexibility to play tips. I know that seems to be the case with me...I can play with fingertips but it's dang uncomfortable on the shoulder.
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Mike Childree
Bouncer
 
Location: AL-GA

Re: Had My First Real Lesson On URB Yesterday

Postby Rob Francis » Tue Nov 10, 2009 8:16 pm

Congrats Ben that is one of my mid-term goals
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Rob Francis
 

Re: Had My First Real Lesson On URB Yesterday

Postby hmagman » Wed Nov 11, 2009 9:46 am

Great news Ben! You're never too old for lessons... [smilie=music-smiley-005.gif]
Harry
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hmagman
 
Location: San Diego, CA

Re: Had My First Real Lesson On URB Yesterday

Postby ampig » Thu Nov 12, 2009 10:17 am

Congratulations on making that leap. I need to do it also, but working with 2 bands takes up so much of my time..........
Howard

"That's no surprise, kids are too cool for tort" - aussiemark
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ampig
 
Location: Newport News, Virginia
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