I have wanted to post a lesson about some simple melodies that you can play on the double bass so I decided to just post something that interests me. And at the moment I am into the late Gary Moore….an incredible blues-rock guitarist. I absolutely love Gary’s performance of Parisienne Walkways. The intro to Parisienne Walkways contains the hook and while at first due to the passion with which Gary plays it appears complicated or difficult, by analyzing it you discover that it is actually quite simple.
The song’s tonality is Am and begins with three downward glissandos of A, E (from the octave on the A and E strings) and C (on the E string). The melody begins on E or the 5th of the Am scale and descends to F or the 6th (two steps below the root A) and then repeats the pattern by returning to the E above the root briefly but begins the downward series of notes by dropping one step and starting on D and going down to E below the root. It repeats this pattern until it lands on C below the root A and finishes as it started with the three downward glissandos of A, E and C before going into singing the first verse.
After the three glissandos at the beginning, start playing with your 4th finger at E on the G string.
The basic melody written out in bass clef is show below.
Getting used to practicing with a metronome is really important. It will help improve your rhythmic abilities and improve your consistency of playing at a given tempo. And the more you practice with a metronome, you will find that you start hearing a metronome in your head at other times. You just become more tuned in to timing issues.
Make sure you can HEAR the metronome clearly when you are practicing. Either put it as close to you as possible, or connect it’s output to your amp or headphones, if you are practicing through headphones.
If you don’t have one like this there are many metronome apps out there (“There’s an App for that!”) that work on the iPhone or other smartphone. If you have a smart phone you should have no trouble finding a metronome app. One that I use is the “Pro Metronome” by EUM available on the iTunes store.
By the way, the metronome measures tempo by beats per minute (BPM), therefore 1 click per second = 60 BPM.
Just a quick news release to update you that I have not forgotten about continuing the double bass lesson series. My last lesson post was on February 26th. I was preoccupied and/or traveling for business (I have a full time day job other than music to keep me busy!) for most of the month of March. Then in the first week of April I managed to break my thumb! And I’ve been struggling with the VA healthcare system ever since trying to get properly treated. (See “Dear VA – Sorry, but you still suck” post for details!)
Anyway, stay tuned because once the thumb is better I will be continuing the DB series of double bass lessons and videos. The next lesson will be on beginning to play open string notes, learning to control the bow and then moving on to fingering notes from, as Simandl calls it, the “usual” or “half position”, or as I call it from the open strings through the third position (equivalent to the 3rd fret on the electric bass).