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left elbow up or down

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Matt Ides, Jun 28, 2004.

  1. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Proper technique, or what I have alway been told, is that elbow should be more horizontal than vertical. Lately I have seen some great bass players with the elbow basically vertical until they get to the neck break.

    So is it just lazy elbow syndrome or what???

    For those with more years under their fingers than me what works for you???


  2. With your left elbow down your left hand frame suffers. With the elbow up its easier to keep you fingers arched. Play Ab first finger and Bb fourth finger on your G string then play F and G on your E string. Notice with your elbow up this is easier and your hand frame is better.
  3. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    This has a lot to do with how your hold your bass and how all the angles are coming together. More than the elbow, pay attention to what the wrist is doing. The wrist shouldn't be kinked weird. Once past that, if your arm in perpendicular to the neck then your hand will open up larger and easier on the neck if you need to.

    If your left hand is very 'Simandl' in your thumb placement, then you're going to be about at a 90 degree angle fore arm to neck. As your thumb heads toward your first finger your elbow will drop.

    In my case, I vary it as I need to, usually at about 45 degrees for the low-notes end of the neck, unless I need to play doubles stops like open fifths, and closer to 90 degrees in the middle of the neck.
  4. Elbow position cannot be prescribed out of context. In Simandl, the elbow is up. In Streicher, the elbow is down. If you reverse them, you defeat the whole principle of the specific method.
  5. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Something I've recently read talks about shifts to a lower string following the fingers and shifts to an upper string following the elbow. In practicing this I've found that shifts down are much easier to achieve if the elbow is raised and in shifting up the elbow naturally drops a little. I don't think there is one perfect place to hold the elbow at all times and that it is going to float somewhat.
  6. bmanbill


    Jun 29, 2003
    Chicago, IL

    My feeling is that you need to take a lesson with a good teacher to get an overall "gestalt" view of your technique. None of us here IMHO can help you with words very much without seeing your stance, how high you have the bass on your body, etc. A good teacher can help you find the right angles (no pun intended) that work for your particular physicality. Good luck!
  7. In general, 'elbow up' is proper. As far as the exact angle goes, it's whatever it takes to get your wrist straight. My advice: Talk to your teacher. You do have one, don't you?
  8. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Ray and Don I think are on the money with their assesments.