Professor Robert Meyer’s advice

Professor Robert Meyer’s advice to young (or not so young) bassists, continued

In my post of July 8th, 2008, I wrote about having your bass set-up properly. That post was about rounding the fingerboard. This post is about setting the distance between the strings, which can greatly improve your technique thus giving you a better chance to get a job, quite a feat in these hard times, and also it will give you more satisfaction with your playing.

You see, sometimes it is necessary to press down two or three strings at the same time somewhat in the manner of a ligature that guitarists use, if your bass is set-up properly then you can do it.

As an example I can quote Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Scherzo where there is a pianissimo rising passage that can be played with relative ease if you give some thought to the instrument’s set-up. Another piece is Richard Strauss’s “Heldenleben”.

My bass has a stop of 41 inches.

Distance centre to centre between the strings at the nut:  3/8” (three eighths of an inch).

Distance centre to centre between strings on the bridge: 27/32” (Twenty-seven thirty-seconds of an inch, just under seven-eighths of an inch).

One thing; it is critical that your bridge be of the correct height so that your bow clears the bouts of the bass.