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Re: Simandl Method - not the right method either


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Posted by Carol Kaye on January 16, 2000 at 11:55:22:

In Reply to: Re: Simandl Method posted by Rob Perl on January 06, 2000 at 13:08:25:

: : : :

: : : : : David,


: : : : : 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
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Stretching that ligament is not a good idea, there will be problems down the road from trying to stretch the ligament that the 3rd and 4th finger share. I've recorded 12-16 hours a day every day of the week back in the 60s, never had any problem at all with wrist/hands/shoulder/etc. and when you're recording hit records in the LA studios, you're playing harder than you've ever played live, it's very intense to make sure a recording becomes a hit reocrd and you're constantly playing hard, take after take after take. And playing live jazz with Hampton Hawesin the 70s, as well as Joe Pass etc,., I never had a problem either. Neither have my 3,00+ plus privately-taught students. No, it's not Simandl but it's not 1-2-3-4 either (except for light-playing jazz soloing). You have to use your thumb as a PIVOT. If you look at your hand, the thumb is on the SIDE of your hand, and it opens up. Use your thumb as a pivoting mechanism that way, and you can never go wrong. The fingers mostly move as a group together on the elec. bass which is a much different system than on upright, yes, but don't do the fingerings that others who have not taught for decades use....this will kill your wrist/arm/hand/shoulder in time. I've seen people have to get surgeries on their wrists and hands from some of the poor techniques out there, which seem plausible at first, but in time will give you worse problems then you tho't possible. No matter if you play hard or soft, make sure you use your thumb as a pivot -- see the pics on my Playing Tips page. I'll be happy to email to anyone the proven LH fingerings and LH techniques you need to play not only fast, smooth and clean, but safely too. I've seen ALL 3rd finger players have carpal tunnel for one thing (the twist of the wrist) and if your thumb ever moves to the middle of your hand for most of your playing, you're in deep doo-doo. Do it right, this is a new instrument, don't go with the 1-2-3-4, never use the 3rd finger in place of the 4th which is the strongest finger (side of the hand) according to doctors, chiropractors, etc. I know all this as I had TMJ problems (from an attack, not from playing) and it took me 2 TMJ surgeries and lots of knowledge to get back into playing in my 60s, happily, and when you have the whole medical establishment endorsing the LH fingering system you use, you know it's the best, especially when you've been playing that way for almost 40 years and the ones you've taught have almost as long -- some of my students: David Hungate, Jim Hughart, Reinie Press, Chas. Meeks, John Clayton, Mike Porcaro, Pat Smith, Billy Laymon, Dave Edelstein, Roy Vogt etc., they have no hand problems whatsoever.
: : : : : 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,


: : : : : Rob


: : : : Rob:

: : : : Sure wish I could have found you when I started playing 30 years ago! I went from classical to bass guitar, taking the same exercises from one to the other. The problem is that at the age of 40 I developed serious inflammatory issues in my left hand, requiring me to take lotsa pills! yuk.

: : : : For me, I have found that I had to change the way I was playing below the 7th fret in order to keep playing at all. I play a long scale (35") bass - I actually have three of them - and I discovered that playing one finger one fret below the 7th fret causes me no end of grief. I regularly use stretching exercises before and after I play and throughout the day during my day job... what do you teach your students in regards to stretching? Maybe there is something I am missing, here.

: : : : Regards,

: : : : Paige


: : : HiPaige!


: : : Basically, you need to make sure your fingers are parallel to the frets and your thumb lines up with your middle finger; additionally, your thumb should stay in the center of the neck, and should be flat. This will maximize your reach.

: : : The stretching excercises consist of one octave arpeggios - major, minor, dominant, and half diminshed - thses all are done with the left hand position remaining stationary. Also, we do all possible combinations of the left hand - 1234, 1324,etc.

: : : on all strings with a metronome. You start slowly, then increase speed as your embrouchure widens. I caution everyone to take a break if there's any discomfort

: : : in the left wrist. I also have some excercises to stretch out the tendon between the ring and fourth fingers. I've had students with tendonitis caused by years of playing with improper

: : : technique, but the tendons still do stretch, and they've been able to play comfortsbly with the four finger method. There are a few other techniques we use. but I can't really show you over the net.


: : : By the way, I also have 35" scale electrics - they're both 6 string basses.


: : : Let me know if you're ever planning to come to Manhattan. I'll be glad to introduce you to the regimen.


: : : Rob


: : Might not be out of the question.... my company, PanAmSat has a teleport in New York area. Could very definitely be a possibility.


: : p.s.

: : what basses do you have? I have a CArvin LB76 with EMG's, an Alembic Epic 5 string fretted and an Alembic 5 string fretless.

: : Paige


: I have two six string MTD Basses custom made by Michael Tobias (formerly the maker Tobias Basses). The fretted is made from tulip wood with a maple burl top; the fretless is solid spalted korina wood. They both have Wenge necks and finger boards and custom Bartolini preamps with selectable

: mid range boost.


: I had an LB76 fretless. It was a great all purpose axe! They make them alot better now. Funny - I traded up to a Pedulla, but the Carvin sounded better!


: Seeya,


: Rob





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