Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Four finger method book

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by John Lehmann, Feb 28, 2006.


  1. John Lehmann

    John Lehmann

    May 16, 2005
  2. TomGale

    TomGale

    Jul 31, 2005
    American School of Double Bass
    Never saw the book you mention but then again he probably never heard of mine!
    Tom Gale
     
  3. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Tom, how similar if at all is your book to The Simandl book edited by Stuart Sankey?
     
  4. TomGale

    TomGale

    Jul 31, 2005
    American School of Double Bass
    Who knows? I devoted Technical Foundation Studies, vol 1 to the "open hand" or whatever you want to call the 1.2.3.4. finger technique.Then, in Tech 2, I mixed the "open" with the closed hand" (Simandl, etc)). I believe - after 50 years! - Oh, God, I can't believe I've been playing that long! - that this is the combination that is the present and future of bass technique. I wish I had known this in 1955 - I wouild have kicked some serious ass....
    Tom Gale
    ASODB. com
     
  5. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Silvio dalla Torre's method involves a very small Bass called the Bassetto that is only a 37" string length. That's about a 1/4 sized Bass or so. Being just slighty larger than a Cello and tuned from G to E in fifths (a 4th below the cello) I can see how the 4-finger technique would be practical. But playing a Bass with a 41-42" string length with orchestra gauge strings and tuning, I would stick with the Pivots for 1 1/2 steps at most and use the 3rd finger sparringly. A certain amount of strength is needed to play the Bass and with fast orchestral passages I would think the tone and/or intonation would suffer trying to use Cello technique on an Orchestral sized Bass.

    I know the Princ. of the Philly orch and have the book of the Princ. (Levinson) of the NY Phil besides studying with 2 members of NY not to mention one of them was the pupil at the time of John Schaeffer, then NT Princ. Prior to that I studied with direct students of both Fred Zimmerman and Stuart Sankey. I think I come from fairly good 'stock' and the players and orchestras I have mentioned here are included as the the best in the world today.

    I have to go with the playing technique of these greats rather than some new Cello adapted method that to date, no one that I know has used it successfully. I would love to hear recordings of someone playing about 100 different difficult excerpts up to tempo, in tune and with proper dynamics using the 4-finger method on an Orchestral Double Bass around 7/8 with a 41.5" string length.

    Enlighten me/us Tom! Send a few copies of your books out to some Orchestral playing TBers and get you name somewhere on the charts.
     
  6. student

    student

    May 15, 2005
    Ken Smith's opinion can only be due to a misunderstanding.
    Silvio Dalla Torre wrote his "BASSics and application of the four finger technique according to the New Dutch School" for the common double bass with average string lengths and tuned in fourths. The bassetto he played on his CD "Songs, Chansons, Elegies" was a double bass tuned in fifths with a string length of 41". He uses the four finger technique in all positions, even in thumb position. By the way, he will be in the USA soon:


    http://www.bassodyssey.org/Home_Page.html
     
  7. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.

    Sorry, my bad.. keep us updated on his visit..
     
  8. TomGale

    TomGale

    Jul 31, 2005
    American School of Double Bass
    I think we're all on the same page- just different terms. The biggest mistake i"ve seen has been the player trying it for the first time ( with no experienced teacher guiding them) and making some basic mistakes. The worst is locking down all fingers - BAD! There has to be motion connected with the left hand to take off any strain - call it pivoting or my favorite;
    "Don't block and lock.."
    "Just Rock and Roll!!"
    Tom Gale
     
  9. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.

    I think 'the Big Bopper' of the 50s said it best in one of his songs (Chantilly Lace?).. "loose like a Goose"...
     
  10. sibass89

    sibass89

    Jan 29, 2006
    Cincinnati, OH
    This so called 4 finger method has many misconceptions to it. I tried it by myself and was a strong advocate against it until I started studying with Mr. Levinson. It has made my playing so much easier and more efficient. If you're going to lock your hand it is going to be impossible to do and will definately cause pain. But if you apply weight seperately into each finger and use an almost pivot motion in your thumb it is very efficient. In my mind there is no easier way for connecting two positions. I play on a bass with a 42" string length and have no problems (althought I have very large hands) but I know many people with very small hands who pull this off better and more easily than I do. Around talkbass, Justin Kujawski has small hands and uses the method with no complaints, and Levinson's pre-college assistant Joel is one of the best bass players I have ever heard and he is also a small guy, as well as many girl with small hands use this method in the studio.


    If you haven't studied it, how can you possibly talk out against it? (edit: comment not directed to people in this forum, just a general statement)
     
  11. TomGale

    TomGale

    Jul 31, 2005
    American School of Double Bass
    I forgot! His New Dutch School list my books as resourses for the school and it's followers! At least it did up to the last time I checked - about 6 months ago. I sent him and upated version and he sent me one of his CDs. Very nice.
    Tom Gale
     
  12. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    My experience has been similar to yours, although I don't follow a formal four finger method...I just use it when the music seems to call for it. But I've always had more luck with "fluid hand" than "locked hand".
     
  13. TomGale

    TomGale

    Jul 31, 2005
    American School of Double Bass
    " But I've always had more luck with "fluid hand" than "locked hand"."

    "Don't block and lock..."
    "Just Rock and Roll!!!....

    and gradually develop that lazy third finger....
    TG
     
  14. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
  15. Justin K-ski

    Justin K-ski

    May 13, 2005
    You know what they say about guys with small hands...

    ...small gloves.

    On thing worth noticing is the diffrence between the New Dutch/Tom Gale 4 finger school and Levinsons way.

    From what I can gather of the NDS is that the 4 LH fingers play in any step formation, with each finger taking an equal role. The way Levinson teaches is that 3 should only be used when playing a W step-H step m3rd. When you play 2-4 over a whole step it is significantly more uncomfortable than playing 1-3. In his mind you should always have a "point of refrence" and never just be flopping around on the fingerboard. The rock on the thumb is acceptable but it should always be able to function as the "refrence".

    Conincidentally, without any knowledge of the NDS I've came to the same conclusions regarding playing seated, except for the fact that I find it advantageous to have a higher stool with both of my feet up on the rungs.

    Just my .02
     
  16. bassbaterie

    bassbaterie

    Dec 14, 2003
    Houston Texas
    Director, Quantum Bass Center
    Hey folks, I'm the one hosting Silvio and he will be here for about a week - May 17 thru 23 - you can email him through his site, if you want to meet with him. I think he was initially open to doing another event while he was here, but I can't speak for him. It would be great to see him be able to do that, as the Bass Odyssey concert he is booked for here has 12 performers and he will only be able to play a couple of pieces. He is doing a double bass master class and a presentation on the bassetto during the day. that's the bassodyssey.org deal. It would be great if you could all make it, but if not, maybe he will be into doing another master class in a different region.
     
  17. damonsmith

    damonsmith

    May 10, 2006
    Houston, Tx
    I have Silvio's cd, he sounds fantastic. I think it is important to the various factors in choosing a fingering system, if it is through composed music you know well you can do nearly anything. If you are sight reading or improvising, you may want something a bit more solid.