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Simandl Fingering?

Discussion in 'Ask Leland Sklar' started by zon6c-f, Feb 24, 2016.


  1. Lee,

    OK...We both studied String Bass.

    In high school, they gave me a bass and I played..got better and stayed in School Symphony. Of course electric was my real love; however when I took private string bass lessons, I was introduced to Simandl Method.

    Sold my string basses in late 70's..haven't had a private lesson since early 70's.. yet Simandl fingering haunts me especially when I am trying to play and read.

    My electric bass sensibilities employ 4- finger; 1 finger per note/ fret, which makes more sense to me whether playing electric or string bass. My fingers get confused.

    What says you?? Thanks in advance....
     
  2. Leland Sklar

    Leland Sklar

    May 12, 2015
    Warwick, Dingwall, Euphonic Audio, GHS
    I too still think the Simandl way. No third finger until after the octave. When I hold my electric upright it makes total sense, screws me up a bit when in a traditional electric position. Hard to break old habits.
     
    Bass. and zon6c-f like this.
  3. This is very encouraging to me personally.

    I took up the bass for the first time in my early 50s. The bass instructor I had at the beginning insisted on the one-finger-per-fret approach and told me to "stretch till it hurt". Needless to say, I quit after one lesson. ;)

    I'm 5'6" with very tiny hands, not to mention my hands are semi-arthritic at age 59, so I find the 1-2-4 fingering a whole lot more agreeable and comfortable. If it's good enough for Leland Sklar, it's good enough for me. :thumbsup:
     
  4. Off-Beat

    Off-Beat

    Dec 8, 2014
    Vienna, AUT
    I hope it's okay to inquire in existing topic:

    What do you mean by after the octave? I also use the 1-2-4 and the ring finger just for supporting the pinky on lower positions. I can play 1 finger per fret without problems, too, but I can barely spread my hand further than an octave up until the 7th fret. It even happens on minor 6th. This sometimes makes fretting notes tougher and less fluent than it should be and I often find myself playing passing notes I don't really need and want musically, just because it's ergonomically easier.

    Also slide-ups after octaves kinda cause problems and jam my pinky and ring fingers together in opposite direction of the slide. Most of the time I can compensate for that by sliding further with my hand than I'd need to but sometimes the landing note just isn't fretted right.

    Are there any exercises that can help that?
     
  5. Thanks Lee... I am NOT the only one.

    Agreed with Lee..Even after decades without owning a string bass, OLD HABITS hard to break. Still screws-up my electric playing as stated, but if that's my big problem, I am pretty lucky!

    Simandl Method teaches string bass students all of the "positions" and provides exercises / studies . As you go further into it, it will provide exercises which will include the current position of study and usually incorporates pervious positions, down to the first and / or half position. It teaches you to play string bass while ONLY looking at the music and not at your hands. As you play a 2 octave position study; playing down-scale, it will eventually confirm you were correct or tell on you if you are sharp or flat, as open strings will be used.

    Explanation for :"after octave" or above octave". Simandl method requires 1-2-4 fingering until the octave position; "double-dot" area on electric bass. From the octave position 7th if memory serves me.... Simandl requires 1-2-3 fingering. I still have my book and Simandl method remains widely in use with school and professional symphonies today. There are other methods, but my study was limited to Simandl in my string bass study years. What I also need...would have made a world of difference was if I had good music theory books, at that time.

    By the time I found my music theory books, I had sold my string basses. When I have more time, I will provide the ISBN number for my fave books. One of which is Music Theory Dictionary, written by Dr. William Lee, Will Lee's dad. It has typical Music Dictionary in front, but SO MUCH more following that; including over 20 DIFFERENT scales and soooo much more. Had I been armed with that one book while l I was in High School, it would have been a life changer for me as well as another book, I will include when I have more time..

    Again, ISBN numbers for another day, if allowable by moderators.
     
    Off-Beat likes this.
  6. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    http://www.amazon.com/Music-Theory-Dictionary-William-Lee/dp/0849400228

    I'm not even an upright player and I'm curious to know what the other book is.
     
    Leo Smith likes this.
  7. Off-Beat

    Off-Beat

    Dec 8, 2014
    Vienna, AUT
    Thank you for your informative post. Understood that wrong then.
     
  8. phillybass101

    phillybass101

    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    Not to cut in on this thread but I started on Electric Bass and my Instructor was a Classical Guitarist. He taught me using Simandl as well so I too am 1-2-4 man. I've found that it helps because I've been playing for 45 years and have had no Carpel Tunnel problems. That one finger per fret sure looks pretty but it looks like it hurts. Also since I am a Funk and R&B player that one finger per fret would have to be quickly unlearned due to all the muting, ghost notes, and 4ths that have to be played. Think of the term Detroit Style. It's almost like the left hand works more like a mitt and your left hand is more flat on the fretboard. That Pretty one finger per fret with arched knuckles is great for single note playing and fast runs but just wont cut it playing Funk and R&B. End of story I'm a combo 1-2-4, and Mitt man :) and appreciate my Simandl training and all of the finger exercises I had to go through :)
     
    DrayMiles and bluejack like this.
  9. To all: To each their own..whatever fingering style works for you, then use it!

    I forgot to mention that Simandl method at 7th / octave position or double dot for electrics, requires using the thumb as the nut or anchor, so you have only 1-2-3 fingers to use . It is also called " Thumb Position" . Although it is ideally used to reach higher notes on all strings, it is mostly used [my opinion] on higher notes on G&D strings; using "lower" positions for lower/ deeper notes.

    ISBN update: Still haven't dug-out my old books.. we are packing to relocate, so ISBN numbers aren't provided in this post but the titles are, " Basic Materials in Music Theory" ,
    a self instructing text. And "Music Theory Dictionary". by Dr. Wm. Lee as in my previous post.

    Again, had I owned these 2 books in early 1970's, when I was taking private lessons, it could have been life- changing for me. I had playing skills, but my reading skills have always been limited. Limited [ music] reading/ comprehension skills, added with learning Simandl Method along with being an adolescent with a stronger suit in rock-n-roll / prog-rock , led me to quit taking private string bass lessons, selling my basses in 1979 and playing mostly by ear ever since.

    My private instructor was Jane Little, A.S.O Principle Emeritus...sighs.... She's got to be in her 80's and still playing a 7/8 museum piece string bass with Atlanta Symphony. Sadly, I didn't convey my handicap in reading/ theory, so she couldn't help with my real issue with playing string bass.

    My objective was to be a long-haired rock player with jazz skills and symphonic training. Oddly some cat named Stanley Clarke was ahead of me..sighs.

    Regardless of my adolescent desires, and still to this day, I owe most of my playing style to Lee Sklar, because of his stellar playing with J T.

    I pretty much leave Jaco and Stanley alone; however I still make my stumbling efforts to read....
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
  10. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Thank you for sharing.

    Basic Materials in Music Theory: A Programmed Approach (12th Edition): Greg A. Steinke, Paul O. Harder: 9780205654208: Books - Amazon.ca
     
  11. Diabolus.YEPPP..That's the one; best Music Theory Book I have ever read. I have many other MT books, but that is best in my opinion.

    After I quit taking string bass lessons, guitarist David T. Chastain introduced me to that book as well as William Lee's Music Theory Dictionary, also a must read.
     
  12. Michael _T from Feb 11

    My former string bass teacher, Jane Little is a petite woman, with small hands.

    During one lesson, I complained about lower positions and finger stress. She set me aside, demonstrated on her bass from higher " thumb positions" on G String and descending to lowest F on E string with full vibratto. Then she held her hand next to mine. Her hands seemed tiny in comparison; she asked, "So what was your problem?" .........

    She scoffed at my 3/4 string bass, sold me a student quality 7/8 bass. So I had 2 string basses for several years, until I realized my ineptness and that I was not likely to make a living with a string bass, so I sold them.

    We plan to move to a more "string bass" loving community within next year.. may have to buy one and play some Blue Grass....
     
  13. The only issue I had with this particular instructor I was talking about was he insisted on the "no pain, no gain" approach, as opposed to teaching proper technique for working with smaller hands; he absolutely refused to even talk about the 1-2-4 fingering as a viable option. At age 52, I wasn't willing to risk permanent injuries to my hands by "stretching till it hurt".
     
  14. Michael..I don't believe pain should over ride passion for our chosen instrument.

    No disgrace in playing short scale basses.

    Basses such as: Gibson EBO, Hoffner [ Beatle] basses as well as others are "short" scale instruments and have made the grade in history, performance as well as recording.

    Good luck!
     
  15. Leland Sklar

    Leland Sklar

    May 12, 2015
    Warwick, Dingwall, Euphonic Audio, GHS
    I play every length scale and it really makes no difference to me. I have an old EBO, Hofner and Jazz Bass. The adjustment time is little and the results are what they need to be for the occasion. There is NO right or wrong.
     
  16. Thanks, Lee. I'll take this advice to heart and keep on doing what I love - making good music without being obsessed with "technical correctness".
     
  17. In late 1960's, my first electric bass was a used Single PUP, Short Scale Kay, which my parents bought for me . At that time I knew more about string bass, but was in love with electric bass as I listened to so much contemporary radio/ recordings. As soon as others knew I has that bass, I was " in demand", but didn't own an amp, nor my own transportation. [ Eventually, I gave it away in the mid 1980's] .

    Within a year, the Kay's pup died; I knew nothing about repair/ replacement, so my next bass was 1970/71 red Epi. Also a short scale, with 2 pups and pup selector. Again with no service knowledge, the EPI died. So I instantly replaced it with my first Rickenbacker; a Burgundy-glo. I still have the EPI, but by that time, I was aware of Rotosound rounds, YES, ELP and prog rock. I enjoyed adjusting the tones of the Rick to achieve the "M.S.S." tone and began the next decades by playing your licks as well as prog licks.I digress...

    The red Epi short scale is THE bass I studied, learned your work on Mudslide Slim ( and the Blue Horizon].

    As time progressed and my skills increased thanks to you, Lee Sklar, I became an even more in demand player ..with my short scale Epi and my first amp [ still have it] ; a 71/ Kustom B-200. [ I practically wore-out the groves on the M.S.Slim vinyl....STILL HAVE IT as well as CD version! ] ..again digressing.... I proudly played that short scale instrument and had I not been so wanting a Rick, I would have had it repaired.

    I own a Fender AB-1, which is also short scale . Rest of my basses are long-scale.
     
  18. MR PC

    MR PC Banned

    Dec 1, 2007
    This is too good to not repeat. Excellent insight and advice! simandl is an excellent system to learn, it just makes sense for movement in the standard 4th tuning, imho. Being able to switch out of it for certain kinds of passages and fingerlings is very useful as well, say a four note maj 7 arpeggio across 3 strings below the 5th fret. whatever allows the music to flow. But I think Simandl feels like home once you learn it...and as Lee said scale length is a secondary concern when it comes to technique on the electric bass.
     
  19. Lee..I saw your new signature bass in April BP...Nice!
     
  20. LEE..EVERYONE ON THIS SITE.....Look at Jane Little, my former string bass teacher..SHE FINALLY MADE IT TO TALKBASS! She has a link on the forums page..longest performing symphonic bassist ever!
     

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