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Rabbath Method - how does it work with Db & Ab

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by mike_odonovan, Sep 27, 2003.

  1. This is gonna be a hard one to communicate so bear with me. basically from what i understand the Rabbath method is big on reference points on the bass and using the pivot of the wrist to reach other notes that may be a little way from the hand. this works great so far. but what about in keys like Db and Ab? he doesn't seem to give any examples in his book 1 or 2 and deals with it in book 3 without much direction as to what position the hand is in.
    one question i have especially is to do with thumb position. the harmonic octave G note is kind of in my muscle memory now and i can happily jump to it (he says) and access G A B C . but what about in say F# say? do i have to learn a new muscle memory to land the thumb on an F# and then get F# G# A# B ? me thinks his method is great but lacking in this area as there don't seem to be any etudes that have lots of sharps and flats and i play jazz so .....
    anyone got thoughts?
    especially quoting page numbers from his book would be big help.
  2. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    If I understand Rabbath's method at all, a major component is to help you learn both the fingerboard and good intonation from the get-go. Hence, scales and keys that leverage harmonics as much as possible are brought into the picture from the beginning and reinforced for quite a while.

    To me, you're looking for recommendations on fingerings in your post. If you want to stop the F# with your thumb, great. If you want to use another finger and do a shift, that's great too. It's really up to you.
  3. I don't know Rabbath, I understand it's largely about pivot shifts. The only place I can make that work is Ab in half position. I can pivot up the neck but I can't seem to get into the thumb-behind-index position initially to allow me to pivot down the neck.

    Regarding thumb position, I don't play much (or well) up there. I play big band stuff, I rarely encounter anything in a chart in the second octave and I rarely solo(!), so I'm not really qualified to offer a whole lot of advice. However, based on my limited experience, if you can hit the G octave reliably with your thumb you have an F# under your hand on the D string with a two tone spread. Close up the hand a half tone (index/ thumb) and you get 2-3-4 on the G.

    I'm trying to work my way through Rufus's "Evolving Upward", some good thumb position exercises in that book.
  4. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    I'd ditto Eric's comment.

    One of the idiosyncrasies (or benefits, if you prefer) of Rabbath's technique is to play across strings in thumb position. Keep the thumb at the harmonic for reference and use the second finger to start with F# on the D-string.