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Instruction/Method Books

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Feorel, Aug 5, 2007.

  1. Feorel


    Aug 5, 2007
    Chicago, IL, USA
    Hi, new here.

    I've been playing DB for about a year and three months now. I've taken lessons for a year of that time, and my teacher had actually had me use Suzuki books. I worked from there and my teacher and school music directors were surprised by the progress I was making and were thoroughly impressed.

    However, I've been reading through various topics on this magnificent forum and I've come to realize that although my teacher did teach me well, I feel that I could've progressed even more with better instruction books. Simandl is a name I hear often, and I know the standard fingering 1-2-4 method originates from him.

    My question is, what instruction/method books should I look into buying that aren't too pricey? I checked out the New Methods for Double Bass by Simandl on Amazon, and it was about $22, which is fine with me. Though I'm nowhere near the ability to play it well, I'm intrigued by Bottesini books as well.

    I'd honestly would rather go to a music shop and buy them, but I don't know what music shops in Chicago sell these sorts of books. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you. :)
  2. Jeff Moote

    Jeff Moote Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Beamsville, ON, Canada
    Why not just go with whatever your teacher has you working out of? Ultimately the method/exercises serve the teaching, not the other way around.

    That said, I feel that etudes (such as Simandl 30 etudes, many others) are generally more productive than the content in the method books assuming you already know your way around the instrument (which it sounds like you do).
  3. I borrowed the Bottesini books froma friend, I was not able to get much then, but I would love to see them now. Billie is nice to have around, but Rabbath's books and Petracchi ( which is great and worth the $30 I paid for it.) are important for bassists to be aware of.
    A lot of people like Nanny but I have not run across a cheap copy.
    As far as Simandl, what I like best is the music, once you get an excercise down with the suggested fingering and positions, try it with all other possibilities.
    It is great book, most US teachers are famliar with it and it does work. I just would not end there.
  4. Feorel


    Aug 5, 2007
    Chicago, IL, USA
    The reason why I don't really want to stick with the Suzuki books is because they're not too difficult or challenging, and besides, it'd be nice to go through some other method books, as well as finally jumping into some varied things, like etudes.
  5. Simandl was the standard bass method book for a long time in North America, but bass playing has come way beyond what Simandl taught since it was first published. I'm a big believer in the Rabbath method (I just spent two weeks working with him here at Domaine Forget), which opens many more possibilities for your playing, and in many ways is easier to use than Simandl.

    If you can't find a teacher in your area who is willing to teach Rabbath's methods, you should probably skip the first two books. Unfortunately, the written instructions in the first two books don't make a whole lot of sense without further explanation. The third book is probably the most practical and expansive. Most of the third book is a series of scales and arpeggios in each key. Rabbath offers around 135 fingering possibilities for each key, and it's a great way to get to know the whole fingerboard.
  6. Stan Haskins

    Stan Haskins

    Nov 17, 2005
    NY and Miami
    Suzuki book 4 is roughly equivalent to the level of Simandl 30 etudes.

    No matter which other methods you study, you're probably going to want to have gone through Simandl's book 1 Method. You and your teacher will make some changes in fingerings as you go through it (if you've already gone through Suzuki 1-3, you've already got a head start on this)

    Simandl is the 800-pound gorilla of the bass world. You can't ignore it.
  7. Exactly. The newer methods are additions, they don't nullify Simandl.
    If you are really into virtuoso playing and I am, Simandl won't be enoungh, but it is great for preparing you for standard bass-role stuff of all genres.
  8. sibass89


    Jan 29, 2006
    Cincinnati, OH
    The key to technique and technique study is to learn as many as you can and develop your own technique. The bass is a big instrument and every person is built different so it every person has different technique. I learned with the Simandl method, and it gave me a solid foundation and a good start on the bass. One thing I don't like about Simandl and many methods out there is the use of positions. There should not be any positions on the bass, every time you place your finger down and hang that weight your body should feel the same and get the same product. You need to develop a balanced and agile technique and then eventually teach your students your technique.

    I have studied Simandl, Bille, Levinson and now my teacher Mr. Laszlo's own method, and I am developing my own technique to get what I need. I in the future would like to study Rabbath to have just another thing in my arsenal.

    Don't limit yourself, study with everybody and learn everything you can. That is the only way you will develop technique and master the instrument.
  9. Jeff Moote

    Jeff Moote Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Beamsville, ON, Canada
    I absolutely agree with this, and all of you who suggest trying different methods.
  10. TomGale


    Jul 31, 2005
    American School of Double Bass
    Although tempted, I'm not saying ONE word.
    Tom Gale
  11. mcnaire2004


    Jan 17, 2006
    Maybe some of the advanced Simandl books if you have already been through the Suzuki books. Maybe even Tom Gales books. Honestly though. If your teacher is teaching you good, just do what ever he (or she) tells you.
  12. Cfederle


    Jun 19, 2007
    Denton, Texas
    If you are really enjoying your teacher's work, but are finding the books limiting, then tell your teacher find out what they have to suggest as well. Very few teachers would want to limit their students from advancing themselves. Surely they have some ideas and can help guide you along the way. There have been several great books mentioned. The Simandl is a stepping stone that does help give a systematic approach to the instrument, but it is limiting to a modern player. Approach it with that in mind and it is a great tool, along with almost everything in print (some more then others :) ). I know one of the best things I ever did in this same strain of thought was I went to my university's library and just looked at them all.

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