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Rabbath Book 1 fingerings

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by fcleff, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. fcleff


    Apr 22, 2005
    Austin, Texas
    I have been turning a lot of my middle school students onto Rabbath. They all really like his etudes so I am meeting with great success.

    As I have gone through the books I have noticed a lot of misprints. With that said, here is my question. The last etude in book 1 has a dotted 16th-32nd note bar that begins on the first semitone of the G - string (first finger to open D) and then continues the same pattern by shifting to the D - string and playing second finger to first finger on the A - string (typical tritone fingering). Why the shift? (student question, actually).

    I usually try not to shift unless absolutely necessary. I understand that this is an ETUDE but would I be shot dead for teaching them to not shift? I hope that this is clear enough. If not I will spell it out again. :meh:
  2. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I think the word 'Etude' means 'study' so it's normal to learn something new from them. In one of the Bass Duets by Zimmerman he has you shifting from A to F# on the G-string. You could easily play A harmonic on the A-string and cross over to the F# on the G-string to be more accurate but then again, you would learn less and the tone would suffer as well.

    As a 40+ year veteran of the Bass and a Student for life as well I bought a set of 5 books from Tom Gale. He has mentioned them quite often here on TB so I asked him to send me them (I did pay for them in case you are wondering). In his first book he mentions the D-harmonic position (I am at home and the books are in my office so this is from memory). He has you shifting early on within the first pages playing D on the G string with the 1st finger (4th position/Simandl) and playing across all the way to the E-string. This way, you learn the Bass from the Nut to the heel right off the Bat. I do recommend that you also work with Simandl to fortify the positions but try this method as a change of pace for a practical point of view. This sort of breaks the mold for me in regards to gradient teaching but the music is simple and you can learn 'about' shifting early on as well as string crossings in higher positions.

    A few years ago we were givin a piece by John Williams. I can't recall the exact piece but it required some upper string crossings and quick shifts so I wrote out the fingerings for the entire Bass section so we would all be playing it the same way. Only experience will allow you to think of these types of things off the bat so that's why I buy and try a variety of books so I can see other points of view on fingerings, shifting and playing styles.

    You never stop learning so keep you eyes and ears open...
  3. fcleff


    Apr 22, 2005
    Austin, Texas
    Thanks for the reply, Ken.

    I am actually a product of Simandl. I got into Rabbath kind of late in the game. I also teach Suzuki, though I am not crazy about the bass method (the new edition is better).

    I teach mostly middle school so a lot of my students start with Suzuki/Essential Elements and graduate to Simandl and/or Rabbath. It really depends on the student. I'll take a look at the Tom Gale books. I remember a thread some time ago where he dished out his credentials "in a nutshell" :)

    I do like to expose them (my students) to different methods, though. I didn't mean to imply that I teach them to not shift. I was just wondering about this one example. I got lazy and taught it at the first semitone (Ab). Now I'm wondering if that was a mistake. After playing through it several times, I like the darker sound of the D and A string. Anyway, I'm starting to Babylon. Thanks again for the insight. :bassist:

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