Thought I would ask this question about left hand technique here as well..

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Libersolis, Jul 26, 2009.

  1. Libersolis


    Sep 9, 2004
    Austin, TX
    I asked Lynn Seaton, but I appreciate the wealth of knowledge and different perspectives from all of the players here so I thought that I would get your advice/opinions on this..

    I know that many players are believers in the method of keeping all the fingers down on the left hand and not letting the trailing fingers dangle about... How does this apply when playing across the strings? say on the A string I play the notes Bb and B in half position with the 1st and 2nd finger and the next note I am supposed to play is an F on the D string. Would I keep my fingers down over the Bb and B on the A string while playing the F or would I move all of my fingers down to the d string (thus covering Eb and E). Not sure if I explained this clearly, but if you can help me that would be great! Thanks
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Don't know what Lynn replied, but I try to shift the weight of the arm to and from each finger as it plays in sequence, so in your example I would be playing the B with 2, repositioning my arm to shift the weight onto the F with 4, and 1 would be still touching the A string but with no pressure on it; in addition, when I did this just now, I noticed that 1 slid forward a bit once I played the B to help facilitate the intonation of the B being played and the F coming up.

    I liken this shifting of weight from one point to another to what our bodies do when walking: the hips are the center of balance, roughly analogous to the left shoulder on the bass. As we take a natural step, the hip pivots forward to transfer the weight of the body from the leg that was carrying it to the leg that will be carrying it. It would be impractical or even impossible to walk while maintaining equal support on both legs/feet. It's a transfer of power from the big joint (hip/shoulder; knee/elbow; ankle/wrist) to the small mechanism (foot/hand) that actually touches the surface on the other end. At the micro level, only one finger gets the full support of the arm weight at a time, and as we move from one note to the next, the weight transfers evenly from one finger to the next. Any finger that isn't playing should usually stay in a basic Simandlesque position in relation to the active ones, but I don't see any benefit of trying to keep pressure on it.

    As always, YMMV.