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Simandl without bow?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by hjallis, Sep 22, 2003.


  1. hjallis

    hjallis

    May 16, 2001
    Hi all! My first post here.. Im starting to play double bass these days, have been playing EB for some years now. Just one question: Is it useless to play the simandl exercises pizzicato? I dont have a bow, and i play jazz mainly. But i kind of like a classical approach in learning to play, and i need help with fingerings. So would this be a good idea? Or should i just get a bow? Thanks for any advise!
     
  2. Welcome to TalkBass.com - you will find lots of great advice here, as well as many different opinions.

    Learning to play with the bow (arco) is worthwhile in that it will help improve your intonation and your fingering technique, both of which in turn, will help your pizzicato playing. Get a good teacher, then get a bow. Long note arco practice (see threads passim) will help your playing and technique enormously.

    - Wil
     
  3. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    Welcome ! I played Simandl w/o a bow for the first 6 months that I played bass; it was still a great way to start.
     
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Ditto that. I've been through almost all of Simandl without a bow, and think it was very helpful. Would it have been more helpful with a bow? Possibly. Still....
     
  5. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    The bow will ruin your life. Stay away from it at all costs, lest you wonder out loud why some jazz bassists don't use the bow a little more often than never...

    On the flipside, it's kinda hard to discourage someone from trying to learn anything if he or she wants to. Simandl wrote some etudes that required pizz, and wasn't scared to do it. You shouldn't be either.
     
  6. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    Chris, that was quite good...I can hear the overture now !
     
  7. I'm working on Simandl both with and without a bow. I have found it helpful pizz because I mostly play jazz and most of the exersizes in book 1 are quater notes they can be real good in helping your quater note walking feel. at times I put the metronome on beats 2 and 4 and play the Simandl exersizes like a jazz walking line. But I would say get a bow and a teacher, even if you don't play arco jazz it still helps with the bass in general. Many jazz teachers make you work on classical technique (John Patitucci who teaches at my school makes students study classical).
     
  8. kwd

    kwd

    Jun 26, 2003
    silicon valley
    I started out the same way you did. That is, Simandl w/out a bow. I was only interested in jazz, had little money for lessons so I figured that it was an acceptable path. I got me to a point where I could play a solid line and acceptable solos. But, I found that my playing and tone were inconsistent and I hit kind of a wall where I couldn't get any better.

    When I started taking lessons from a classical teacher using the bow things changed. My pizz tone and intonation improved. I think that's because arco exposes all of the warts and forces you to fix them. These days I prefer playing my arco studies over jazz lines. If you're going to start on the bow, be warned that you can't do it w/out a teacher. There's a lot of zen involved and you're going to do a lot of cussing along the way. But, it's well worth effort.

    kevin d.
     
  9. metron

    metron Fluffy does not agree

    Sep 12, 2003
    Lakewood Colorado
    You could play the Simandl without a bow for sure. I have the same interests (mainly jazz) but I also want to be versed with the bow. I found that it helps with pizz. Im using Rabbath with the bow and I wouldnt have it any other way. The exercises are too easy pizz style. I guess its ultimately up to you. If you want to learn the bow stuff then go for it! That would be my recommendation...
     
  10. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Not for this dumb hillbilly they aren't. I think it all depends on how musically and in tune you want to play them. I must admit to having done a small amount of bow practice recently (but not enough to shake a stick at), and I honestly can't see the big difference in intonation difficulty that everyone talks about. I'm still in tune arco where I was in tune pizz, and out of tune by the same measure.

    Where the arco practice does seem to make a difference is in my awareness of left hand pressure on the string and awareness of lack of fluidity in left hand technique - on these issues the STICK 'O PAIN does really shine some light on my deficiencies. YMMV.
     
    jimmyb likes this.
  11. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    I agree with this in principle, but on my original flatchromes the E sounds so dead it almost doesn't matter where I stop the string...and it does matter when I put the bow to it. Probably what influences some folks to mix their strings up a little. Spirocores rule though.
     
  12. FWIW, I used the Simandl method to get my electric chops together when I first started playing it. I've never had any instruction on electric other than my double-bass teacher telling me at the time, "Don't let your left-hand technique go to hell -- keep the fingers curved and the thumb on the back of the neck."

    To this day, I have bass players approach me at electric gigs who spot me as an upright player because of my left hand and the Simandl fingerings.
     
  13. metron

    metron Fluffy does not agree

    Sep 12, 2003
    Lakewood Colorado
    Sorry Chris! I found that the exercises I could do pizz style I cannot pull off with the bow for the most part thats all. Im using Rabbath and Im in the first 5 pages of the first book though! :p I was playing arco exercises last night from that book and its sooo hard! Mostly open string rhythm variations and slurs then first position to work on intonation. Then I switched to pizz and it was much easier. Im becoming motivated to use the bow a lot more because I think it serves to develop a stronger pizz style.
     
  14. I can see Chris's point about intonation with and without the bow, but for me playing with the bow has brought a new awareness to what I do. I have noticed out of tune notes jump out more when I play arco. I also pay more attention to overall sound production with the bow, making sure my left hand works with my right hand to get the best sound possible. Bottom line IMHO is if you play in tune pizz, arco will be more in tune and vice versa. One more thing, I saw John Patitucci playing a concert at school the other day, a duet with piano. They played some classical, Ravel, Bottesini's Elgy in D, and some originals. JP has a wonderful arco tone, but even HE had to concentrate on intonation when palying arco. It's a thing we all face.
    Mike