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Question regarding positions (for bass guitar rather than double bass)

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by emor, Mar 11, 2010.


  1. emor

    emor

    May 16, 2004
    kcmo
    I've seen people refer to fingerings in first, second, etc., position when discussing bass guitar.
    When I began playing, I worked out of the Simandl book for double bass which starts in half position using 1-2-4 fingering, and moves up the neck (I or first position, II, II/III, III, etc.).

    Is there a standardized set of positions for bass guitar? Who developed it and where can I learn more about it?

    Thanks.
     
  2. onlyclave

    onlyclave

    Oct 28, 2005
    Seattle
    Simandl positions on electric bass work the same way. They are closely related instruments you know ;)
     
  3. Swampman Cory

    Swampman Cory

    Nov 9, 2009
    Los Angeles / ex-Michigan
    Endorsing Artist: Reunion Blues, 64 Audio, Mesa Engineering
    I've been taught different;

    Your standard position on the bass guitar is having your fingers spaced out, one per fret, starting at the first fret. That's what counts as first position. If your first finger is on the 2nd fret, then you're at the 2nd position, etc.

    Unlike the double bass, a) there is no half position, and b) you have 4 notes per position, and not 3.

    And then there's nothing else you need to know :) That Simandl book is a great one to work out of, but those fingerings won't help you. You'll need to work out for yourself where to best play the etudes.
     
  4. emor

    emor

    May 16, 2004
    kcmo
    Thanks for the description.
    Frankly, I don't think in terms of "numbered" positions anymore.
    It's just that I see it referred to and wondered if it is a standardized system (like it is for DB).
     
  5. You know, as an electric bass player and an upright player, I dont stick to the 1 finger per fret rule on electric all the time. Especially when playing jazz, I dont think theres anything wrong with sticking with 1 2 4 and shifting a little extra. Im not saying there isnt a time for all 4 fingers, and I do use all four often; but 1 2 4 has you covered for the most part.

    And thats from someone who played electric before upright.
     
  6. kr0n

    kr0n

    Feb 4, 2009
    Minor and major both have 3 notes within 4 or 5 fret span. So with finger per fret, you have those 3 notes available within the same string only having to shift when three notes are in WWW configuration. With Simandl, you'd have 2 notes and would have to shift no matter what major minor you're using.
     
  7. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    I use upright fingering on electric 90% of the time. I will switch to a four finger technique when needed, but most of the time, when I'm laying it down down low, I will use 1-2-4. It feels more natural and comfortable to me. I've seen alot of guys do this.

    I don't use my thumb on electric, but I will switch to 1-2-3-4 when I play at the octave.

    Of course, it all depends on what the music calls for. I don't think that there is a 'standard' method of electric bass approach. .
     
  8. Swampman Cory

    Swampman Cory

    Nov 9, 2009
    Los Angeles / ex-Michigan
    Endorsing Artist: Reunion Blues, 64 Audio, Mesa Engineering
    I knew that it has been common for me to not be using the 1-2-3-4 approach (read: very common. especially when i'm 'in the moment'), but your responses made me go see if there was method to my madness. Apparently when I'm not rocking the spaced out deal, I am found comfortably in the 1-2-4.

    PLOT TWIST
     
  9. I started on electric, I now play both. On electric I use 1 finger per fret and double bass I use 1-2-4. Personally I don't like playing 1-2-4 on electric, it doesn't feel right for my hands.


    Personally I don't think the music would call for any fingering, that's a decision the player makes based on their comfort. There isn't a standard fingering for electric bass, and there really shouldn't be. It's a flexible enough instrument that one can choose a fingering that works for them.
     
  10. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    What I meant was, with my technique, the music dictates which I use. If I am laying it down, down low, I will use 1-2-4. If I have to play a faster line, or a solo, then I will stretch out a bit.
     
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    Nov 23, 2020

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