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Re: Simandl Method

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Posted by Rob Perl on January 05, 2000 at 00:32:25:

In Reply to: Simandl Method posted by David on January 04, 2000 at 13:49:50:

: I recently started playing bass. I've diligently been practicing and taking lessons from a pro. I am already a musician with BA in Jazz performance on trumpet. I've emersed myself in the bass literature and have also purchased video's. I've read several articles on the Simandl (sp?) technique where the 1,2,4 fingers are used for the first five frets. I was attracted to this idea because i really have small hands and one finger per fret is really a stretch for me. By the time, I get to the 4th fret, I need to move my thumb slighltly. I do notice that if I keep my left hand relaxed and thumb in the middle I have a little more reach and flexibility but not much.

: I also purchased Ray Brown's bass method and it seems like his upright method is basically the same as the Simandl method. It seems that these methods only teach the scales which according to my teacher and all the literature i've read...electric bass players want to avoid playing open strings because closed position sound better among other reasons given.

: I'm wondering how prevelant the simandl method is among bass players and if it really makes sense to invest time in this method (especially going it alone)as opposed of slighly moving my hand up the fret board to hit the fret correctly. It seems that there is no way to avoid playing one finger per fret especially playing closed position minor scales (C to Eb is four frets) Major triads (between the 3rd and 5th require a four fret stretch)

: Could somebody shed some light on this subject for me.


I originally started out using the Simandl Method for both Upright and Electric
Bass. I found that I could do much better using one finger per fret on the Electric.
I teach quite a few students in Junior High who have small hands. While it's definitely
true that your third and fourth fingers share a tendon, there is a method of stretching this
tendon, along with the rest of your embrouchure which will allow you to easily play with one
finger per fret. All my students use this method successfully.

I would strongly urge you not to use the "three finger" (Simandl) method of fingering. It's
meant to be used with open strings on an upright bass. The Simandl Method requires much more
shifting which cause much more fret and string noise, and makes it harder to achieve fluidity.

In my years of teaching, I've yet to find a student incapable of playing one finger per fret. It's
a question of doing the proper excercises.

Good Luck,


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