Thursday, January 21, 2010

Larry Grenadier Lesson and some quotes

Over the last weekend I was fortunate enough to hear the FLY trio, consisting of Mark Turner, Jeff Ballard and Larry Grenadier. I was contacted prior to the show by the manager of the jazz club, and Larry used my bass for his gigs. I ended getting a group lesson with him and some fellow bass friends, as well as got my tickets comped for the night I went. I have typed up the notes that I can remember from the lesson here:

1) Practice playing with a metronome in the difficult in between tempos, internalize the time.

2) When you pizz, pizz at the end of the fingerboard with your right hand.

3) Practice playing improvised scales, pizz, going up the scale differently than coming down it. Make sure you practice scales pizz, not just arco, to work on your right hand.

4) Three different right hand techniques, only use first finger, only use second finger and use both fingers. Work on using the second finger alone to build strength so when you use both fingers they are equal. To work on using both right hand fingers together practice phrases of 5 and 7 to make sure you are alternating them in uncomfortable patterns.

5) The strings that he currently uses on his bass are a Velvet G string, and the rest are Thomastik.

6) To make a chord ambiguous leave out the the root, opens up the sound more.

7) Try to do pull offs with the left hand while hitting a harmonic with the right hand/finger. This was something I saw him play live but was not part of the lesson.

8) Larry uses Explorer Audio mic clips to mic his bass with a Schoep mic, running it into a PA system.

And a few added quotes that I have picked up recently that I would like to catalogue here:

Responding to an audience member booing a new music performance: "Stop being such a God-damned sissy! Why can't you stand up before fine strong music like this and use your ears like a man!" -Charles Ives

"I needed to capture this word freedom into a musical concept, so I broke down the word "FREE:" F could stand for Frequency, R could stand for Rhythm, E for Energy and E for Emotion. Emotions are very important in improvisation. Improvisors connect their intellectual powers with their emotional powers." - Alan Silva


  1. Thanks for sharing this. It was much appreciated.

  2. Thanks for the posting. Great suggestions by Larry. Regarding the strings, are the thomastiks weichs or spiros? the Velvet is an anime?