Watch the Section 2: Basic Techniques online guitar lesson by John Goldsby from Upright Bass Handbook
It's important to learn the simple, small techniques that combine to make good, solid, complete bass technique. Great bass technique is simply a lot of simple techniques working together in an interdependent package. Every complicated technique, hot lick, incredible bassline, or killer solo can be analyzed as a series of simple techniques that have been practiced to perfection.
In this section, we'll look at basic upright bass technique, starting with where to put your right hand, and how to get a good sound. Your sound is the first thing people hear, so it's important to spend time with right-hand technique. We'll learn how to get a big, warm, flowing sound, first on open strings. We'll also learn how to mute strings to articulate solid, clear rhythms. Then we'll move on to the left hand and look at some important landmarks on the bass.
Since the upright bass has no frets like the electric bass guitar, we need to orient our left-hand movements according to physical landmarks on the instrument and strings. We'll also learn how to tune the instrument using harmonics.
Finally, we'll look at notes and left hand fingerings in the half and first position. These are the "money notes" at the low end of the bass. Another major difference between the upright bass and the bass guitar is the left-hand fingering system. On the upright bass, you need to use the classic "Simandl" left-hand fingering system: 1, 2, 4. Once you've learned the fingerings for the notes at the low end of the bass, you'll be ready to jump in and make some music!