Bass is too large. What to do…

Hi everyone – I received an email from a teacher and wanted to share…

QUESTION: I have run in to a problem with a fourth grade student and thought you might have had a similar experience.. The student is really excited to learn bass but the school only has a 1/2 size available and it is too large for him. In order to get the 1st and 1/2 positions accessible he has to hold the bass in an odd way that hinders him from properly bowing the E and A strings. If you have any recommendations they would be greatly appreciated. I would hate to see him get frustrated and stop playing due to a setup issue. Hope you can help.


ps I love the practice flow chart but what do you mean by “Fanning out”

MY REPLY: This happens a lot in school settings.. Sometimes you just have to deal with it – not the best solution…. here are some thoughts:

1. Spend some time in each lesson playing pizz
2. Spend some time just bowing – have his left hand on the heel of the neck and work on bowing
3. Emphasize that “We’re not doing this perfectly, but its not your fault”…. I have found that students understand and will adjust their technique when the time comes.
4. Get “Practical Studies” by Thomas Gale and bow in fourth position – that should alleviate left hand issues and also allow for bowing correctly.
5. If the endpin is removable, take it completely out – that should lower the bass another inch or so
6. Don’t be afraid to do some thumb positions – harmonics are easy and fun!

Fanning out – back up a note or two…start there and go a note or two past the trouble spot…then back up a few more notes and go a little farther..etc…. it’s like ironing a wrinkle.


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