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Re: Simandl Method

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Posted by David on January 04, 2000 at 15:46:35:

In Reply to: Re: Simandl Method posted by paige on January 04, 2000 at 14:55:03:

: I would be glad to. I played bass from 1971 to 1982, put it down to raise my family and make some $$$$$, picked it up again in 1991 and have been actively gigging and not-so-actively recording since. Several years ago I developed severe pain and swelling around my left hand ring and pinkie fingers, mostly the ring finger. I was taking 800 mg of Motrin just to make it through two church services (I played in a Praise Band). I was put in touch with Carol Kaye who informed me of some basic physical issues we bassists have to take into consideration.
: 1. The pinky and ring finger share a ligament and the inordinate stretching necessary to stay to the "one finger-one fret" method (a guitar technique) especially at the first 5 to 7 frets on todays longer-scale more massive basses can cause real damage... especially if you don't have big hands. (I don't)
: 2. There is real danger of Carpal Tunnel issues as well resulting from not keeping your left hand relaxed while playing and from having your left wrist bent at an improper angle while playing. Again, if you stick to the "one finger-one fret" method, and your hands are NOT large, you can't help but tense up as you make those unseemly stretches in the first 7 frets or so.

: Answer:
: Look to those old timers. The 1-2-4 left hand, with the left thumb placed lightly in the middle of the neck accomplishes several things:
: 1. You will reach for the notes with your pinky, not your ring finger, backing up the pinky with the ring finger.
: 2. Since you reach with your pinky, you will be forced to shift your hand or pivot around the thumb. This is much harder to do if you are all tensed up.
: 3. All this saves you ligament damage, increases your endurance and helps you to play with a lighter touch... all plusses in my book.

: I know many players use the "one finger-one fret" method and teach it, but for me, my physical limitations (smallish hands) rule against my going that way. I do use the "one finger-one fret" method above the 7th fret or so, but never below that.
: Hope that helps a little.... that's my perspective, anyway.
: Paige


Thank you for your response. Your answer makes total sense and supports my inclination to study this methodology. I think I will have to find a teacher to give me one or two lessons to demonstrate. Maybe you could clarify my other musical concerns. The Simandl method doesn't demonstrate closed scales. Are closed position scales not used in the Simandl method or is the fingering different. For a C major scale starting on the A string I was taught the following fingerings

C-2 D-4
E-1 F-2 G-4
A-1 B-3 C-4

How would the fingering differ with Simandl method to make it easier?

If I wanted to play C to Eb on the A string, I still have to make the four finger stretch. But if I understand you correctly, it isn't the four fret stretch that causes injury as much as the stretch between the 3rd finger and 4th finger. so it is ok to pivot the thumb or slightly move my thumb up the back of the neck for the four fret stretch?

How would chromatics be practiced with the Simandl method? How would I play C C# D Eb 1 2 4 slide to 4 again?????

Finally anybody know where in NYC I can find an electric bass teacher who is familiar with this technique?


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