Simandl-Plus . . .

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by gruffpuppy, Jan 30, 2002.

  1. or 4 finger playing seems to be the hot topic over at the new 2XBassList. At my lesson tonight my teacher was showing me this and Rabbath style of playing (or at least his interpretation). Seems interesting but I couldn't help but wonder why stray from the norm.

    Any views?
  2. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    My early studies were strongly influenced by Gary Karr (who I know is a controversial figure for some). Gary taught four-fingers -- definitely NOT Simandl, though. I bet Gary would say that it's not "normal" to ignore a finger.

    I never use four fingers for walking. I use four fingers routinely, but not exclusively, when soloing from "seventh position" up until thumb positions. Sometimes -- for instance, playing the head to "Scrapple" -- I'll even bring it down to "fifth position." It's a challenge to get four fingers in tune, but intonation is my weak point anyway.

    Four-finger technique lets me grab more, quicker. It's great for fast runs and chromaticism if you can play in tune and not stretch so hard you hurt yourself.

    Here's a brief tour of the opening phrase of "Scrapple" with four fingers in motion: S -/Scrapple from the apple.jpg

    F# - G are 1st finger on D string, slurred & carried
    Bb is 4th finger on D string
    A is 3rd finger on D string
    G is 1st on D
    F is 4th on A
    D - G - C all 1st finger, on A-D-G respectively.

    Yes, it is quite a stretch, but look how fast you're getting around! I can't picture a way to play this tune as efficiently with three fingers. No doubt someone else will post something that shows how.

    Have fun, and by all means, don't hurt yourself stretching.
  3. Hushpuppy,

    Sometimes it's just an awful lot cleaner to use an "extended" fingering technique instead of shifting. I haven't used the four finger thing, but for example I have used my thumb well below the octave (as low as A on the D string), and stretched to cover a minor third between 1 and 4. There's a time and a place, I'm not over-anxious to use these techniques, I let the music dictate it.
  4. I can see the positives in learning different techniques and getting them to the point that you don't have to worry about there differences.

    Like you said to let the music dictate what will best for your hand to do, to reach the goal of smoothness.
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    When I'm playing on a gig, I use whatever fingering gets me to where I need to go at that moment. When I practice, I practice "correct" fingering. Over time, a lot of the things I used to do with "incorrect" fingering gets morphed into "correct" fingerings in playing situations because of the time spent practicing that way. I don't know if I'll ever play in an entirely "correct" manner, and I don't really care. I think that in certain situations while improvising I tend to use my third finger in the upper positions, but I never think about it...when you get to a certain point on the neck, it starts to feel like thumb position without the thumb sometimes, which is probably "wrong", but I feel strongly that THINKING and PLAYING are a terrible mix.

    (Just in case anybody reached for their flamethrower upon reading that last sentence, I also feel that THINKING and PRACTICING are a great mix....but PRACTICING and PLAYING are two very different things when you are talking about improvisation)
  6. steve 1

    steve 1 Guest

    Feb 18, 2002
    utica, ny
    i play with all four fingers in any position on electric bass, but not upright. i use three (pointer, middle, pinky) until i get past where the neck meets the body, then i use four.