One of the highlights of the ISB convention for me last week was getting to see Joel Quarrington play from the 3rd row. The music was incredible to hear, but being in full "bass nerd" mode I was also able to watch a lot of aspects of his left hand technique. I saw quite a few things there that seem similar to what I've been headed toward for the past number of years, which was interesting. He tunes in 5ths, but that's not what I would like this thread to be about; rather, I would like to discuss several of his concepts and how they might apply on a more global scale to players from any tuning system or genre. I'll start by throwing out a few short statements from his iBook and a few observations from watching his performance. Hopefully others will chime in with their own thoughts and observations: On vibrato, which he credits as being the way he came to much of his left hand technique in the first place: "What is vibrato? Good question! Here is MY answer: vibrato is the sound of going FROM the note and BELOW it, and back up to it. In other words, vibrato is only going flat of the note, not vibrating sharp of the note. Why? I believe that the ear perceives the highest part of the frequency to identify the pitch, and you need this "horizon" of the pitch in order to hear the pitch If you have no horizon, you don't know where the land ends and the sky begins, or in our case, what the note is. You just have a confused warble. All the color, all the fluctuation in the frequency, has to be below the pitch. My entire left hand technique is based on that one premise." On left hand relation to the fingerboard in terms of angle: "The fingers should work in the same direction as the strings empirically speaking, not sideways to them. The way this translates to the double bass is that I take my hand, and instead of holding it up to the string at a right angle, I rotate my wrist upwards to that my first finger is at maybe a 45 degree angle to the string. Getting the first finger set is where all one's attention should be focused. The other fingers will fall into place very readily once the 1st is set. The exact same angle is used also used in thumb position and on every note, in every range of the bass. The angle of the thumb to be at the same angle; if you start off with it already at a right angle, you can't move anywhere. So when playing with the 1st finger, the thumb will also be at the same 45 degree angle; it will be pointing down." On playing on the pads instead of the tips: "The part of the finger that closes the string is actually much larger than would normally be allowed approaching the string at a 90 degree angle and a wider and more expressive vibrato in enabled. The angle and amount of finger pad that touches the string is really important! It should really cut through the whole central pad of the finger. The 2nd finger is rotated down somewhat via the slight wrist rotation until it meets the string, same with the 3rd, and by the time the 4th finger meets the string you are finally at a 90 degree angle that Herr Simandl might have even appreciated!" A few personal observations from the 3rd row of that concert: - In terms of posture, he sat on a lower stool with the bass at a relatively steep angle that allowed him to really get out over the instrument. - His left hand was pretty much relaxed around the finger that was actually pressing down the string rather than spread out around it. - Despite his concept of vibrato stated above, when his missed a note slightly and adjusted, he always came in high and settled down to the pitch quickly. - His vibrato was wonderful in that he tended to let the pitch settle before beginning it, then let the note express itself in the middle and tail of the note. It really allowed the pitch of the note to be clear. Enough for now. I look forward to hearing from others interested in this great player's playing and concepts!