At what month is most common to finally learn how to shift into positions other than first and half?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Blobby O Jelly, Oct 19, 2018.

  1. Blobby O Jelly

    Blobby O Jelly

    Oct 19, 2018
    Just need an idea of where I stand right now. :)
  2. My teacher at the first lesson showed me the thumb position and the four-finger technique...
    Michal Herman and Sam Sherry like this.
  3. lurk


    Dec 2, 2009
    You should start exploring the whole thing now, while still following your teacher's step by step"Simandl?" approach. Your teacher is your guide, not your boss. Have fun with the bass. The problem with going years, say, without exploring upper regions is that there's an implication that those areas are difficult and should be avoided, not just, as they are, part of the bass. That said, most of my working bassist life has been spent below thumb position, cause, after all, when we play high we're still kinda low in the general scheme of things.
  4. Adam Booker

    Adam Booker

    May 3, 2007
    Boone, NC
    Endorsing Artist: D'Addario Strings, Remic Microphones
    I get my students up there from the get-go. When you’re new to the bass, it’s all equally as difficult. Scales and warmups into thumb position, with appropriate repertoire in every register of the instrument are just as easy to tackle holistically than slogging through months of half and first position exercises.

    That being said, it is vitally important that you have the “rent range” as solid as you possibly can.
  5. fu22ba55

    fu22ba55 Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2009
    It takes a while (more than a few months) to USE those other positions in improv lines, even if you use them in etudes or transcriptions.

    But you should be able to FIND them already.

    I do the 'Shifting Warmup' below every day for a minute or two just to calibrate myself to the bass when I first pick it up. DO IT ON ALL STRINGS even though I only wrote it out on the G string. Maybe repeat it four times per string. That's it.


    And (assuming you have a D neck) you can always find 3rd position by doing a 'karate chop' (open palm) onto your neck heel, then closing your hand, your first finger should be on C (on the G string). And 4th position is easy: when your thumb hits the neck heel, your first finger should be on D.

    Even if you're not USING them every day, work out some daily exercises that help you FIND those other positions (Thumb position, etc), so you'll know where they are when you need them.

    Geoff Chalmers has a great video on the neck heel:

    geoffbassist and Francois Blais like this.
  6. September.

  7. marcox


    Dec 10, 2007
    I'm at 120 months and nearly ready.
  8. rufus.K


    Oct 18, 2015
    Beat me to it
    Groove Doctor likes this.
  9. Leo Smith

    Leo Smith Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2009
    Sounds like you are in the Simandl method book. A great book, but in my opinion it's an intermediate-level book designed to get your reading, intonation, and bowing in solid shape for an orchestra job.

    My advice to you is to go find the Vance method books. They're based a bit on the Suzuki method. Vance starts the student playing melodies in the middle of the fingerboard (1st finger on D of the G string). By the end of the first book (it's a thin book), the student is already playing a few notes in thumb position as well as in standard first position.

    As someone said earlier, explore the whole board on your own. That's how you'll really learn it.
  10. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    Agree 100%. I really like the Vance books.
  11. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Through excellent luck, I started DB on the Karr / Tolo method. Gary's approach to the question of "where to start" can be summarized like this:
    . Move all over the bass on day one and every day
    . Find where your strengths are and use them
    . Find where your weaknesses are and address them

    FWIW a lot of players find that the lowest part of the neck -- "1st position" in Czech nomenclature -- is not the very easiest place to begin exploring the bass.
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  12. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    ^^^^ agree with Sam as usual. It's fine to focus on a particular area of the bass in lessons in order to build some good habits and technique and really learn that area well. At the same time, the overall goal is to make music on the bass.

    Using a language analogy, you may have studied only a few words and phrases in a foreign language from a book or class, like "the pencil is yellow" or "where is the restroom?". But that should not stop you from trying to say the things you want to say, even if they will get mangled on the way out. We learn by doing, making mistakes, and correcting those mistakes. Perhaps designate a portion of your practice time after you've done the exercises your teacher has assigned you to playing the same exercise or melody in a different key or position, or explore some material that goes beyond the limits of what you are working on with your teacher during this time while trying to keep the same technical approach to fingering.
    Sam Sherry likes this.
  13. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    Nashville TN
    I’ll let you know when I get there
  14. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard Commercial User

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Black Dog Bass Works
    I started with Simandl and think it generally is a good system in reinforcing hand position and intonation. It is one way to help people learn to play the bass. Simandl is rigid. Rabbath is free with pivots and more fluid. Had Rabbath been taught 35 years ago, I might be more in that camp.
    Personally, I would experiment with Simandl exercises, finding different ways to play them. Rather than shift all the way up the neck, why not play horizontally using pivots?
    I had a student play the Lieutenant Kije at State. One of the judges thought her intonation was good and her playing sounded good, but docked her score due to her ‘jazz’ fingerings. That experience is one reason I seldom teach.

    I look at what works and what feels right. Play it! Have fun and explore. In the end, we learn where the notes are and how to play them in tune.
  15. lurk


    Dec 2, 2009
    Man, that judge is a fool.
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  16. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    “It sounds great, but you’re doing it wrong”. Priceless.
  17. Do not get the Vance books without a Vance teacher. Simandl is still by far the most common and solid method. I think building a solid position is important before moving it.
    Once you can play the early F Major exercise without struggle, then work on the G and C. Once a student has those under their fingers pretty well I go to a two octave G (on p. 37) in the orange book. I believe in getting students up the neck quickly and into TP as well. Building that position is important.
    I'd say up to a month or two depending on your reading for that first part of the bass.
    TwentyHz likes this.
  18. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    I attended a recital at IU last week that one of my jazz band students, a drummer, was playing in. The bass player in the group had a different looking technique than what I would have taught, but he sure sounded good and got around the instrument fine. Different strokes again...
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  19. I think it is good to divide between practice and play. My advice goes for practice, when playing anything goes.
  20. Or he is a very good judge and takes into account all factors.
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