Posted by Rich Laird on September 28, 2000 at 12:47:17:
In Reply to: Nanny,Sımaldı or Rabbath posted by Altug Basaran on July 23, 2000 at 05:15:43:
: I am a new beginner and I am practicing Nanny's method for about 4 months.
: The etudes do not seem to follow each other in terms of difficulty:it is like
: for the pages to look good many etudes in between are discarted. The other
: methods I know are Simaldi and Rabbath. Is there much difference between
: Nanny's method and Simaldi' s? I tried the Rabbath fingering for the A major
: scale:Astring;0 1 4 Dsring;0 1 4 G string;-1 2. I cannot reach the g# and a
: with out changing the place of my thumb. Can I benefit from Rabbath's
: methods. Which method (also there must be other methods)will be best for me?
: (Note: i cant afford a teacher)
I used to teach bass quite a bit and was often frustrated by the minimal usefulness of available method books. Admittedly, I don't know anything about Rabbath. But I understand that his method of playing is quite unorthodox. For example, I agree with your comments about the A-major scale. There's no way in hell I would try to do that without shifting. But Rabbath is supposed to be a fantastic player...there's probably something he's doing that I don't understand.
As far as I could ever see, the only reason anyone ever used Simandl is that you can get the books easily. If you look at those books from the standpoint of giving the student "progressive" exercises and etudes to build up chops....Simandl is pretty crummy - and totally hopeless from the standpoint of being music you would actually want to play. It's been a long time since I've seen them, but I seem to recall that the Nanny books are only a slight improvement over Simandl - probably more musical, but not that progressive.
Somebody mentioned Bille - they are "pleasant"....but really don't seem to take the student through any real progression of difficulty and challenge.
Now to the good news: There is a series of method books by a Hungarian bassist named Lajos Montag. They are, in my opinion, far superior to anything else I ever saw. I used to get them from Pattelson's in New York. Call them - tell them what you need - read the number off your plastic - and they're in the mail! (I don't remember the name of the publisher...but if you're interested - send me an e-mail....I could try to find out.)
Not only do the Montag books offer good progression, they provide some unique - and really valuable "calesthetic" type exercises that build up your bowing technique as well as fingering. You work on difficult bowing and string-crossing problems at the same time as you're moving up the neck position-by-position. The material is a mix of these workout types of things and other stuff that might actually remind you of real music at times.
Here's another suggestion: One of my old teachers (Henry Portnoi, the former Principal Bassist of the Boston Symphony) didn't use any of the method books or etudes at all. Instead, he had exercise sheets written out with two-octave scales, arpeggios, scales in thirds, and things like that. There was one page for each major and minor key. (Yes, I'm talking about actually practising in G# minor, Db major, etc.) Mr. Portnoi would have you practice one of these sheets for two-three-four weeks, insisting on perfect intonation, even sound, clean shifts, for the entire scale - using different tempos, different parts of the bow, different dynamics. Tortuous, no doubt...but the most effective workouts I ever devoted my practice time to.
Probably the most infamous of these was playing scales of double-stops in thirds. (Play C and E together, then D and F, then E and G, etc. - up and down the scale.) This does wonders for your intonation - because it forces you to develop incredibly reliable hand posture. Trust me, if you can play an two-octave F#-Major double stop scale in tune, you've got some good, solid chops. Maybe not flashy...but solid! (Maybe a little challenging for a beginner...but think of all the sweaty arm-busting you have to look forward to!!)
While I'm rambling on here...here's a final recommendation: GET A GOOD TEACHER. I know you said you can't afford it. But I really have to question whether you can afford to waste hours of practice - only to develop bad habits - and then "un-learning" and then "re-learning".
By the way, I'm not talking about some bozo who spends an hour a week running his mouth about whatever he feels like talking about at the time. (Yes, those guys are out there.) Nobody can afford that.
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