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Boardwalkin' before Rabbath #3?

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Garagiste, Jun 10, 2020.


  1. Garagiste

    Garagiste

    Feb 16, 2013
    Brooklyn, NY
    I just received Boardwalkin' and worked through some of the exercises in C major. I'm wondering if I should back up and get a hold of the Rabbath book on which it is based. The fingering of the six positions is pretty clear but I like to do things "by the book". I've been playing DB for 8 years and I'm just about to begin part III of Simandl (p.68). Do I need to start Rabbath at the beginning or can I jump to book 3?

    Thanks
     
  2. Co.

    Co.

    Sep 10, 2006
    Germany
    I don't know Boardwalkin', but I know the Rabbath books.
    I wouldn't get book 3 just for the scale fingerings. I makes more sense, to work also on the etudes, to understand his concept. Why and when to use what fingering. What does the music sound like, that made him arrive at his system?
    If you want to get his conception of bass playing, I'd start with volume 2, even if it looks easy to you.
     
    Garagiste likes this.
  3. Garagiste

    Garagiste

    Feb 16, 2013
    Brooklyn, NY
    Thank you. That’s very helpful.
     
  4. Boardwalkin' and Rabbath 3 are excellent and you will benefit from working through both. To answer your question, I don't think you need to work through Rabbath 3 to benefit from Boardwalkin' (completing R3 is a major undertaking!). However, you must be familiar with the fingering concepts, e.g. pivoting in position. Vance's Prog Rep 2 and Vade Mecum provide good introductions to pivoting. Without pivoting, some fingerings in Boardwalkin' will be difficult/impossible/painful. Spending some time with Boardwalkin' each day is a great warmup.

    A couple of things to consider as you practice Boardwalkin'...

    You don't need to go from position 1 to 6 (and back down) right from the start. You can focus on one or a few positions, as needed.

    I found G major is a nice key to start in (lot's of open strings and familiar fingerings).

    Use a drone on the tonic or dominant to help with intonation.

    Search the archives of TB for more on practicing Borardwalkin'

    and, of course, have fun!
     
    lrhbass and Garagiste like this.
  5. garrett2

    garrett2 Supporting Member

    May 15, 2017
    Make sure to practice the arpeggios in Boardwalkin'. And get Strokin'!
     
    Phil Rowan likes this.
  6. Rabbath made some great innovations and his books are great to have. Best to work through them with a Rabbath teacher, though. Also remember part of Rabbath is doing two hours of scale work a day!
    Petracchi leads out of Simandl better and is more clear and condensed, I would consult that for upper register studies.
     
  7. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    Here is a good explanation of the book:

     
    james condino and damonsmith like this.
  8. PaulCannon

    PaulCannon

    Jan 24, 2002
    Frankfurt, Germany
    NS Design Endorsing Artist
    Boardwalkin is based on just one exercise in book 3. It’s an extremely useful and practical daily routine. Going through book 3 is not a prerequisite, although you will need to be familiar with pivot technique.

    The first half of book 3 is basically a catalog of fingering systems. A thesaurus, if you will. There is a very specific method to working through it, but there’s nothing wrong with approaching it in your own way at your own pace.

    The rest of the book, as well as the first two books, require more explanation and ideally a teacher who is trained for that.

    I think book 3 is a must-own for any bassist, if only as a reference. It’s still the most concise fingering guide I’ve ever seen. You only need the first two volumes if you’re particularly interested in the Rabbath school of playing.
     
    the_Ryan and damonsmith like this.
  9. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    Can you share the specific exercise you mean? Would be helpful for the discussion also. Thanks.
     
  10. PaulCannon

    PaulCannon

    Jan 24, 2002
    Frankfurt, Germany
    NS Design Endorsing Artist
    In my copy, it on pages 52-53. It’s the very first exercise in the book after all the scales. Boardwalkin takes these pages for C major verbatim, and simply elaborates the same idea for all 12 keys.

    The arpeggios in Boardwalkin are original, as far as I know.
     
    Les Fret likes this.
  11. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    Ok thanks. I don’t have the Rabbath book though.
     
  12. garrett2

    garrett2 Supporting Member

    May 15, 2017
    It's a C scale just like the first Boardwalkin' scale. No arpeggios. Instead followed by a vibrato exercise.
     
  13. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    I have neither of those books. Only a copy of page 56 of Rabbath book 3. :) I guess that's sort of the same? Also that C scale in different positions...
     
  14. garrett2

    garrett2 Supporting Member

    May 15, 2017
    Ah now I understand. 56 is related. 52-3 is major scales across the neck position by position, starting in Rabbath 1st position through 6th and then back. Boardwalkin' includes 2nd position but Rabbath skips 2 and moves from 1st to 3rd Rabbath position. Also Boardwalkin' indicates pivots and Rabbath does not. And invaluable arpeggios that are deep studies of navigating keys, almost like a musical acupuncture map.
     
    Les Fret and Garagiste like this.
  15. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    Ok thanks. I have found some screenshots of page 52 and 53. I understand all these positions and that they are derived from the harmonics. What I find illogical is that he skips certain positions. He is jumping from first position to the third position. He skips two positions with this (if you keep 3 notes per string). The positions starting with first finger on low G and low A on the E string are skipped completely for example. Same goes for position 3 to 4. What's the reasoning behind this?
     
  16. Rabbath does skip 2nd position in his exercise. I don't recall his exact rationale but could be due to it's limited use in solo playing (not a solo player, so I can't say). Robinson includes 2nd position in Boardwalkin' due to it's importance in orchestral playing (and jazz, for those of us so inclined). The notation in Boardwalkin' is very helpful to see how the positions work. Every note has the position, string, and fingering notated (scales and arpeggios).
     
    Les Fret and Garagiste like this.
  17. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    But Rabbath his six position system skips a lot more positions than just the 2nd position. What he calls 3rd position is actually a 4th position because between his first and third position are actually two more positions. Same goes for his other positions. Like between 4th and 5th position he also skips some positions. I know he based it on the harmonics but what is the reading behind that?

    I like the concept of three notes per string but to me it makes more sense to have a different position for each root note on the E string when playing three notes per string. Not trying to diss the system by any means! Just trying to find out the logic and reasoning.
     
  18. PaulCannon

    PaulCannon

    Jan 24, 2002
    Frankfurt, Germany
    NS Design Endorsing Artist
    You're right, the 6 six position system is less precise. It's the difference between talking about neighborhoods versus streets. Depending on how your brain works, one system might be more useful to you than another. I definitely prefer thinking in terms of larger areas, but whatever works for you is great.

    I actually do practice my own version of boardwalkin most days which includes all the "missing" steps. The interesting part of this is learning to play across all four strings, and not over-relying on the G string and shifting. It's a more "complete" method to learning the fingerboard. The position names are a helpful tool for understanding that system, but it's not the point by itself.
     
    Les Fret likes this.
  19. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    Yes that's exactly what I like. Most (old school) fingerings are always going up and down on the G string (and D string sometimes). I find that rather 'limiting' so to speak. The three finger per string system using all four equally strings is actually very close to how I think on guitar and electric bass. I agree that it is a 'better' system if you want to use all of the fingerboard and not only the G and D string when going higher like many other methods do.
     
  20. Dogfightgiggle

    Dogfightgiggle

    Mar 4, 2020
    @Les Fret, I come from a guitar background (20 plus years) and I have to say that there are some very good and musical reasons for the “old school” vertical approach on double bass.

    First and foremost, vertical playing is related to violin technique and imparts a similar character to the line, particularly in legato passages.

    Further, in many instances you will be better serving the character of the phrase or piece by staying one one string rather than breaking a scalar passage across two or more strings, disrupting continuity.

    Last, the G and D strings have a larger tonal sweet spot compared to the E and A which become congested around the 3rd partial. I place tone/sound at the top of my musical priority list, so this is a big one for me.

    When you engage in horizontal playing you are also taking on the responsibility of developing the technique to the point where it is indistinguishable from vertical playing.

    That said, I love Rabbath’s position system. There is something so intuitive and immersive about using the “song” of the string to orient yourself.
     
    Garagiste and Les Fret like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Apr 21, 2021

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