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Bass Method books

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by MisterBeagle, Nov 24, 2007.

  1. Hello all, I have a slight dilemma.

    I went to a strings camp this summer, after my fourth year of playing bass. I basically taught myself to play because my orchestra teacher didn't have the faintest idea on bass technique. I realised that my fingering is all messed up (I would use my third finger in the lower positions), and I'm trying to start over from scratch to get my fingering and technique right before it's too late.

    Since I can't find any decently-priced bass teachers in my area, ($100 for an hour seems like a scam to me) I've decided to teach myself from the book. I need your honest opinion, which method book would be best for orchestral studies, as well as solo?
  2. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    $100 an hour may seem like a scam now, but it will pay off down the road in better technique and less injury. I'm self taught, and am now dealing with physical issues at 56 that could have been fixed when I was 26. That said, Simandl and Bille would be a good starting point, but follow Simandl's 1-2-4 fingering.
  3. sibass89


    Jan 29, 2006
    Cincinnati, OH
    Using your third finger in the lower positions is not wrong, but the way in which you do it might be wrong. My first suggestion would be to fill out your profile and at least let us know where you are. This is a huge community, and you'd be surprised that there might be someone on talkbass that teaches in your area for a cheaper price. But either way, I would not be comfortable giving advice unless you had a teacher, as it can cause more damage than improvement.
  4. TomGale


    Jul 31, 2005
    American School of Double Bass
  5. I live in the Virginia Beach area, and the only bass teacher I know of is Christopher White. I've heard that he's good, but I'm not sure if $400 a month would really be worth it.

    Salcott, may I ask what physical issues you're dealing with?
  6. Alec Armbruster

    Alec Armbruster

    Nov 24, 2007
    I trust upon 'F. Simandle' books. They teach everything, but are painful. Your fingers will cry.

    Trust me on this one.
  7. Payment per month? It would be worth it if you could take advantage of it. Maybe 3 hours a week?

    My teacher charged $25 when we first started, and later upped it to $30, which I felt was a more than fair price anyway.

    Most likely those physical issues come as a result of improper bass playing for years. The fact is that performing music on a piece of wood with a ton of string pressure is an enormously unnatural process for our bodies; do it wrong for a long enough time, and you could cause serious damage. Not to mention that it takes more than twice as long to fix old bad habits than to learn it right the first time.
  8. Anonymous08272012

    Anonymous08272012 Guest

    Aug 28, 2006
    I know some people swear by Simandl, but if I were you I wouldn't touch it. There is a book written by Sturm in two volumes which is great because the etudes are melodic. Then there is Storch-Hrabe in two volumes, but that is somewhat advanced. Then there are the Bottesini etudes also published by York.
  9. I'll vouch for the Sturm books. I haven't used the others he mentions though. Yeah, there are a lot of etude books out there; the only one that gets mentioned daily is Simandl. That doesn't mean the others aren't worth looking into though.
  10. mjt0229


    Aug 8, 2007
    Bellingham, WA
    If it's the Sturm books that I'm familiar with, I think they may be a bit more advanced - if you've been playing for awhile, they may be just right, but if you want to ground yourself in the basics, Bille or Simandl can't hurt.

    If you're looking at Sturm, you might also consider the first or second Rabbath books.
  11. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    Simandl may have shortcomings, but it is well worth going through. You are not going to get a thorough technique for modern playing from any one method.
    Generally two types of people will recommend NOT touching Simandl, those who did it and underestimate it's value and those who were too lazy to bother.

    Contemporary methods are best understood in relation to Simandl, Billie or Nanny.
    I don't have a Nanny book, but I would love one. I like to check them all out, and the more you know about each of the more you can find the strengths and weaknesses of each.
  12. IMO, Simandl is the best organized and most thorough method to date. Plus, it has many additional left hand exercises and bowing exercises. Also, use Simandl 1 for thumb position!
  13. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
  14. I Agree. I also feel that you can benefit more from other methods (like Rabbath) by having Simandl as a basis.
  15. Anonymous08272012

    Anonymous08272012 Guest

    Aug 28, 2006
    I'll admit, I've never touched Simandl. I've taught out of it and I personally think there are better methods out there. You don't have to learn Simandl to understand the basics. As long as you have a good teacher who knows what he's talking about, the method book doesn't matter as much. I just think Simandl is overused. It doesn't address the technical aspects of the right hand which is more important in developing first than the left hand as a beginning bassist, in my opinion, as compared to Rollez scale books, Sevcik, or Kreutzer..etc, which address both.
  16. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    Case in point. How do you even know? Simandl has a lot of great points to it, most importantly the music. The music, dull as it may be, really develops good intonation, I use it will all kinds of different fingering systems.
    It is not that tough and doesn't take that long. If you are serious about the bass you should work through it, especially if you want to criticize it .
    Your comment about the right hand is untrue. The right is stylistic, the left is universal, at least in terms of the location of pitches. A fancy right had with poor intonation is not a great situation.
  17. Anonymous08272012

    Anonymous08272012 Guest

    Aug 28, 2006
    Anyone with little to no talent at all can develop a decent left hand with good intonation. Not very many new and young players focus on the right hand. The right hand is a stringed musicians voice. You could have an amazing left hand (and play every note in tune), but if your right hand sucks, you sound like crap. period.

    edit: I've taught out of Simandl before and have studied it very briefly when I started playing. I just think there are better and more efficient method books out there.
  18. Steve, I don't mean any offense, but your profile says you're 17. Maybe you should experience a little more before you make such huge pronouncements. Or, are you just parroting what someone else has said?
  19. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    +1! The right hand is going to greatly differ with choice of bow and playing style. So one definitive method is never going to cover that.
    What Simandl does cover is universal and important.
  20. Anonymous08272012

    Anonymous08272012 Guest

    Aug 28, 2006
    No offense taken. I just feel that younger players often overlook the right hand and often times become more proficient with their left hand leaving the right years behind. Sorry if I came off negatively, I just don't like the 100 year old Simandl method.