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Why Simandl?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by David Kaczorowski, Jan 8, 2001.

  1. I was raised on Simandl. Am I correct in my impression that it is the most widely used method, more or less the standard? If so, why? What is it about the Simandl Method that makes it more widely used over Bille and Nanny?

    I have Bille vol. 1 (or maybe II I can't remember now). I admit not having given it a serious look, it was left at my house and I've only sight read from it a few times. But the issue of the third finger aside, it seems good. I haven't seen the Nanny Method, though in the 20 Etudes of Virtuosity there is an occassional suggested fingering I wonder about.

    Why Simandl?
  2. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    My teacher reviews textbooks as a consultant to publishers, and told me that the Nanny exercises are sometimes out of sequence in degree of difficulty, and that a student will sometimes hit a stone wall and think it's his deficiency when it isn't.
    As for Simandl, there's a difference between the Sankey edition and the Lucas Drew edition. More than one of my teachers has rejected the Sankey edition in favor of the Drew.
  3. The differences I've seen are Sankey, in places, offers an optional fingering and has exercises not in the Drew edition.

    Maybe it's because I used the Sankey that I prefer it, but I've had a couple beginning students show up to their first lesson with the Drew. The first time I tried working with it but it was frustrating. I'm sure I'm not as qualified to judge as your teachers though.
  4. Although I originally started on a small amount of Simandl, my first teacher quickly changed me over to Bille, and I went through most of the Bille books with him (plus Montanari and Simandl "Gradus ad Parnasum').

    Again, apart from the third finger issue (which is easily ignored) I find the Bille studies far more musical and more representative of real pieces of music, or orchestral parts. I use Bille with all of my students - in particular, a very important section is his 'Bow School' at the end of the second book (Ricordi 262).

    I don't even use Simandl (basic method) at all anymore.
  5. The reason Simandl "made it" - beyond the fact that it's a very decent system for fingering, created in a time where there was nothing close to a consensus on fingering methods - is that ***he had a good distributor***. More Simandl books made it onto sales racks than any other book... so we still have Simandl today.
  6. nickchalk


    Jan 30, 2001
    sorry for my ignorance but what is this third finger thing in bille??

  7. In the old Italian school of playing, instead of using their 1st and 2nd fingers as a unit (widely spaced), they would often use 1st, 2nd and 3rd less spaced out to achieve the same pitches.

    As a result, in the Bille books, you'll see a lot of fingerings marked withe 3rd finger where we normally would use our 2nd. It doesn't take long to get used to substituting 2 for 3 in your mind.
  8. The Simandl method utilizes the 1-2-4 fingering up to thumb position. The Bille Method uses all 4 fingers,which sounded like a good idea until I tried it, and immediately went back to 1-2-4.
  9. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Gary Karr's 4 finger method seems so logical, until you try it on a 41" string. I suspect his bass has a much shorter string length
  10. Actually, the Bille method is not based on 4 finger system - at least not in the way we usually think of it. It wasn't like he was using 1 finger per semitone.

    As I said earlier, usually when you see a "3" in Bille, it is meant to be played with all three fingers grouped together. For example a C in first position might be played with the 3rd finger, while the first finger would be on a B natural (the second finger would be somewhere in between).

    I'm not exactly sure what changes are made to the hand to get to 4th finger notes though. Perhaps some rotational movement is involved.
  11. A 41" string length is actually fairly short... the 'standard' seems to be 42", and several basses around these parts are 43".
  12. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Please pardon my ignorance, but what is Gary Karr's 4 finger method? Is there a source where I could read about it? My teacher currently has me working out of Simandl and Rabbath and I'm happy with both, but I'd be curious to find out what the hell Karr is doing at times - just listening to it mystifies me...
  14. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    It's about 2 minutes on his Bassically Karr video. Why bother?
  15. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Curiosity. For the hell of it. Because it might be interesting. Why not?
  16. Actually, his fingering method is used throughout the 2 + hours of the video.

    Are you going to discout the impotance of stretching before or after playing just because it only takes a certain amount of time, or the importance of intonation-fixing because he only spends a short while talking about it?

    Karr is clearly doing a lot of great things; and discounting something becuase it sounds like a "weird" technique to you or it's something you can't do (while others clearly *can* do it) seems like pretty bad form.
  17. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    "Actually, his fingering method is used throughout the 2 + hours of the video."
    SHAZZZAAAAMMMMM!!!! Really? Wow, I thought he was sneaking in Simandl and did that 2 minute explanation just for show. Well, anyway, I was waaaaaay ahead of you on that string length stuff. I've known that since Tuesday. Goth Barbie told me. A favor, please. Don't put words in my mouth so you can discredit them. As for his 4 finger technique, (which I haven't tried, so I don't know if it's something I can't do while others clearly can) it was discounted to me by my first teacher, who was a teaching assistant to Karr, and by my current teacher, in whom I have (dare I say it ?) greater confidence than you.
    Oh yeah; I am aware that I incorrectly omitted the capitals in naming the video as Basically Karr. Every hip person knows it's BASSically KARR. Silly me.
  18. Well Don, now you've given me the words (formerly implied, for such is the medium we are in), from your own mouth, to discredit: if you haven't tried it, how can you, in good faith, say "why bother?"

    You do seem to have extraordinary confidence in yourself, and clearly not in me. So try it **yourself**, for a good while, and then come back to offer your thoughts on it.

    And try it without your teachers' evaluations in mind; come to your own decision about where-and-why to "bother" (or not) with this technique.

    Also, beware the spammers to this talkbass board who find it so easy to "get your goat", and proceed to do so because it's so fun (and so predictable) to see you "go off..." !

    (this is just a little, - and actually friendly - reminder about certain personas at talkbass, and about internet posting boards of this nature...)
  19. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    I'll spend a little time with this, then it's over for me.
    The original offending remark was "It's about 2 minutes on his Basically Karr video. Why bother?"

    Read each word of this next sentence thoughtfully:
    You do not 'know' what I was talking about.
    If you can't agree with that sentence, stop reading this; don't go any further. There's no point. I quit.

    If you're reading this, it means you agree.

    Do you see the question mark in my offending sentence? That means I was asking a question. I wanted to know Chris' mind-set before saying any more. You see, I was going to offer to send Chris my copy of the Karr video so he could enjoy and learn from it as I did. Knowing Chris' mind-set in advance, I could avoid saying something which might prejudice his perception of the video. Before I could respond, you had posted diatribe #1, none of which was warranted, because:
    You do not 'know' what I was talking about.

    Since then, Chris and I have communicated by e-mail, in which I have expanded and explained my remarks, in confidence, because although others don't hesitate to, I don't express or report everything publicly. It's none of your business. All I had done publicly was ask a question.

    This won't be the first time I have shared the Karr video. Others may or not confirm it. So be it. It doesn't change the truth of the matter, which is that you don't 'know' what I was talking about.

    And when you presume, at least this time, you have difficulty getting it right. As in diatribe #2:

    "You seem to have extraordinary confidence in yourself, and clearly not in me." Half-right. I have extraordinary confidence in Linda McKnight, Michael Moore, Louis Kosma, Pat Dougherty, Louise Koby, and many others much more talented and knowledgeable than I. My posts reflect this.

    I defer to you in having the last word. It's the least I can do for someone so in need.
  20. x3234x


    Mar 30, 2007
    I know this is old but,
    I have no problems hitting lets say A#-B-C-C# with for fingers.
    My hands are alot bigger then most, my string length is 41 1/2, so do I have to learn 1-2-4?
    Is there a book that teaches in 1-2-3-4 ?
    Also another question that this brought up to me is, why do some basses have say 42 or 43 inch string length?
    As far as I know this would just widen the intonation and give the strings a higher tension.
    Help anyone?

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