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Fret Hand "Positions"


KikkyMonk

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Ive heard the term used in reference to upright, but does it apply to elec bass as well, more specifically to fretless elec bass?

 

what are they... I'm finding that after playing for 5 years without a teacher there is alot of things that I do wrong so now I need to go back and relearn technique.

 

Dave

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I have a lot of DIYer in me, but I sure do try to stand on some of the shoulders of those who have gone before me when exercising my choices. If I hadn't listened to a few guys in magazine interviews and here and elsewhere about ways to use both hands and wrists I'd be fighting some pretty big limitations.

 

KikkyMonk, if you have found some places where your hand can outline a chord or play scales/modes, you have found basically what positions are all about. They allow you within one box to play the majority of tones you need in that range and establish patterns that help you understand where you are harmonically and melodically and where you are going, as well as easing un-necessary shifting.

 

There are guys here more qualified than I to explain this clearly and to give examples, and that is also one function of the teacher. Much of what I play in terms of positions is what I saw guys doing when I was into saxes.

 

For instance, start with a G note on the E string using the flipper finger, then play a 2nd-fret B note on the A string with the pointer finger, and go to the 5th-fret D note on the same string with your pinky, then use the pointer at the 2nd fret on the D string to play an E followed by the flipper on the same string at the 3rd fret. Then come back down the same way only in reverse order.

 

Congrats!: you've just play a boogie blues line in G - outlining the main chord tones (G, B, D) and the 6th and dominant 7th (E and F respectively). If your hands feel that a bit of a stretch just pivot on the thumb a little to play without undue stress and still maintain your placement.

 

Then start the exact same pattern on the A string at the 3rd fret with your flipper finger and you are now on a C chord (the IV chord in the key of G) and are well on your way to playing a blues or country walk.

 

To walk the D chord in that key you can either:

 

maintain that position and start with the pinky on the A string at the 5th fret, to the ring finger on the D string at the 4th fret to the pointer at the 2nd fret on the D string followed by the ring at the 4th fret and then pinky at the f5th on the same string

 

- or -

 

simply shift up 2 frets from where you were outlining the C (IV) chord and play your D walking pattern there, using the same shape you used for the C walking pattern.

 

That's all positions are really, and as you explore music you find more because they help you perform different lines in different ranges efficiently and also helping you if you sing to keep your place on the fretboard.

 

Hope that helps. I'm sure a live teacher or a method book with pictures would be a lot easier than reading a whole bunch of numbers and getting all tangled up in which ones mean frets and which ones mean fingers, scale steps, and what day of the month it is ; }

.
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Greenboy just gave a nice answer. I'll give you my answer in a second after I give an impolite answer to eyertw19.

 

So after five years you know everything? That's great! Remember that both Tony Williams and Marcus Miller were playing with Miles Davis when they were teenagers. After having a band together for a few years The Beatles had 6 of the top ten songs. How are you doing so far?

 

Amazing confidence! I don't need to wish you good luck, since you know everything already!

 

Meanwhile, some of us, even those of us who have been playing for over thirty years, are still trying to refine our techniques.

 

And after seeing hundreds and hundreds of students, I think I can give advice as to what would make things easier in the long run. If some people don't want that advice that's fine with me, but most people appreciate it.

 

I thought I knew how to play everything after five years too. Then Jaco's first album came out. And if you can't hear what's going on that album, maybe you will be able to in another ten years.

 

Meanwhile to get back to the question. On the upright we talk of positions: the half position, the first position and so forth. On the electric it is more typical to talk about chord positions. If you learn moveable chord positions you can move them all over the neck. There are six basic kinds of seventh chords: 7, Ma7, m7, o7, m7b5, and +7. There are at least three fingerings for each kind of chord. If you learn these chords and multiple fingerings for each of them and then play them starting on every possible place on the neck, you will know quite a bit about your bass.

 

It should take about a year to get through all this.

 

Have fun!

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The reason for asking is at the advice of someone in my thread "breaking the pentatonic barrier" I ordered simandl's method for double bass... One problem I came across when researching the book is someone else said it was a difficult book to read without a teacher because It contains little information on positions. I was simply wondering if It was going to be a problem for me when adapting it to elec bass. Does that make any kinda sense? I sure hope so.

 

Thanks for all your input!

Dave

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If you find reading easy in the first place you should have no problem.I am no reader by any stretch of the imagination but am able to recall the basics and read charts.This in no way qualifies me as a reader.

 

The Book is all music,no real how to that I recall.I think my book is in Japaneese for the most part.

Interesting to know that 12 notes, 12 keys and 3 basic chord types made so much music.
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Ive been asking alot of Q's recently and Ive been finding I know alot of this stuff but don't know the proper names and terms for it all. I really appriciate all you time and effort (typing long stuff can be a pain sometime)

 

I think it really shows the class of this board and its members.

 

One day I'll pass the torch and write long info filled posts!

 

Dave

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Everything Jeremy and greenboy said, plus:

 

Position numbering is consistent and established for the violin family of instruments. They would be (On the A String)

Half: First finger on B Flat

First: First finger on B natural

Second: First Finger on C natural

Third: First Finger on D natural

Fourth: First finger on E natural

Fifth: First finger on F natural

 

Notice how closely they align with the dot markers on the fingerboard.

 

The electric bass can be fingered with 2 main strategies: using fingers 1-2-4, covering a major second and playing positions similiar to an URB or using fingers 1-2-3-4, covering a minor third and playing similiar to a guitar. Both of these strategies are useful, both are used interchangeably and both are used by virtually all players of the electric bass.

 

There are advantages of each of these, and I teach both. I also downplay positional references, instead have students use fingerboard dots as an initial reference. I teach shifting a perfect fourth within the first three lessons...

 

Positional playing is quite useful in learning how to play the URB, which has no dots, frets, which requires more reading (assuming it's classical role.) The theory of positional playing is how you play the URB in tune. (How many times have I heard someone say, "I just don't understand how you know where the notes are on that thing." and my answer is, I play using muscle memory of positions, i.e., "positional playing."

 

I trust that "run-on sentences" are not a reflection of "run-on thinking" which would lead to "run-on playing." I would only hire a musician which I knew treated his musicianship with caution, care, integrity and cleanliness.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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Simandl is a wonderful book. I know most of it by heart by now.

 

I have gone through the book several times in different ways. The book is very clear about the positions, in my opinion, and is full of fingerings.

 

The first time I went through the book, I followed the fingerings to the letter.

 

The second time, I ignored the fingerings and used moveable hand positions as normally used on electric bass...in other words, one finger per fret, if it's in the the key of G put your 2nd finger on the 3rd fret G on the E string. If it's in the key of B, put your second finger on the 7th fret B on the E string, and so forth. This is not at all how the book was intended.

 

The third time, I went through the book, I just read through it and let whatever happen, happen. No pre-conceived ideas about fingering.

 

Nowadays, I use some combination of all the above, which of course is the approach I take to sight reading....sometimes I use upright positions, sometimes scale positions, sometimes I just play the notes however I can. (I do a lot of sight reading on gigs).

 

It's a great book.

 

I recommend memorizing the chord arpeggios which are somewhere about two thirds of the way through the book...and then rewrite the exercise and do it again for minor chords.

 

Have fun!

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I could tell the young guys that had a few lessons under their belts from the ones who hadn't at this recent 20-and-under Battle of the Bands I attended at a local club. The ones who had no tutoring tended to play entire lines on one or two strings and fumbled lots when the lines covered a larger range. The ones with tutoring played more in what I call "boxes" - the notes all falling in a position/pattern across the four or five strings.

 

It was more evident yet when they were playing their bands' own material: the kids without any lessons generally wrote bass lines that didn't have as much smarts, because they were technically and imaginatively constrained.

 

"Single-stringing" (playing more of your notes up and down the neck on one string) can be a beautiful expressive device, getting some different feels and colors. But it's good to be able to have access to what positions can give you - again, when singing it can really be a big aid.

.
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Even though I know about box playing I tend to "single string" too because on a fretless you can slide up and down and even though diff strings have the same note sometimes you want a fatter note (up the neck say on the a or e string) or a thinner note near the nut on the d or g string... that make sense?

 

My thoughts is that everything on the bass can be used to create different tones including string size (as outlined above) right hand position attack angle etc.

 

I think that is what is so awesome about any musical instrument is the more you know it the more you are able to express what you are trying to do.

 

Dave

 

im posting more then practicing :freak:

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I'm as old fashioned as a Norman Rockwall grandpa. But I use Simandl.

 

In fact (even though there is a trend among the younger teachers to leave method books entirely) I believe it is utterly essential to learning to play "positionally" as I previously stated.

 

I have taught this book, at least the first 40 pages, at least 250 times. I have it memorized.

 

One caveat: there are several editions of Simandl out there. One of them, the one edited by Stuart Sankey, is a revised edition I do not use or believe in. (This is the one published by International.)

 

The problem is, Mr. Sankey "re-numbered" the positions in an effort to make it more useful to the bass player. Unfortunately, the rest of the world did not follow his numbering strategy...the position numbering system is a couple of hundred years old.

 

If you have the International edition, do the exercises, but beware not to learn the names of positions. This is quite hard, since they are actually posted above the more difficult shifts.

 

And, do it like Jeremy did...use URB fingering, then use the guitar, one-finger-per-fret method.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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That's the good one...wow...they've gone up.

 

Last time I priced them they were about $14.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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So after five years you know everything? That's great! Remember that both Tony Williams and Marcus Miller were playing with Miles Davis when they were teenagers. After having a band together for a few years The Beatles had 6 of the top ten songs. How are you doing so far?
The sad truth is, this guy probably doesn't have a clue who any of these guys are (besides maybe the Beatles...).

 

Anyone who says going to a teacher is a waste of time usually is not worth arguing with, since their logic is flawed in the first place...

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Just found my Simandl.It was revised by F. Zimmermann - Edited and annotated by Lucas Drew and says it's Book one.Copyright 1984.

 

With all this talk about this forgotten treasure I think after this weeks 40 something songs I have to learn and know cold for Thursday through Saturday this book is something to get the nose back into.I have not opened this book since 1999 in my last attempt to go through the first 40 pages but hope it's possible to get further through it this time.

 

Any advice on this issue below?Bare with me as I try to explain:

 

Things which prevented me from going further into the Simandl book were:dotted notes, or notes which appear to look like 8th notes tripplets or 16ths.I had a feeling that something was wrong like playing EX 6 on pg.29(first time in the book anything other than:half - whole - quarter - or dotted notes are shown)the time sig is in 3/4 but are those 8th notes?...I have no clue how to play them other than by ear or assumption.

 

Sorry to be an idiot reader,I hope something said above makes sense. :freak:

Interesting to know that 12 notes, 12 keys and 3 basic chord types made so much music.
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Pg. 26 line 6 is in 3/4 with eighth notes.

 

The rhythm would be counted:

 

One--(2)---Three|One two-te three-te|One---(2)---Three|One two-te three-te

 

And so on.

 

If you can't make sense of what I wrote (and I'm not sure I do), you need to find someone who can teach basic rhythm counting principles and take a few lessons...it'll open up tons of possibilities

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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Thanks the time sig makes sense, it's playing 8th notes in 3/4 that I'm not hearing, or probably doing correctly.

 

Looking at the first 2 notes you have - a half and a quarter,then the next measure is a quarter with what I'm assuming are 8th notes.

 

If I could only hear the phraze of the first 2 measures it's probably possible to make it through the rest correctly myself.

 

My problem with asking other bass players around me is either they don't know,or are too cool to bother assisting another bass player.

 

Teachers around here are few and Far,don't respond to calls,have waiting lists and all the excuses you could possibly imagine.Most Bassists around here are not teachers and are not interested in teaching either.

 

The last guy I went to was a brilliant player but wasn't interested in answering my questions,or doing anything but blowing chops of everyone from Jaco to Sheean in front of me which is fine and great.

 

However,when he told me to get the Charlie Parker book,took it,said he lost it offering "free"lesson (in exchange),it was time to give up wasting my money and time sitting around with an: overplaying bass extremest who doesn't like guys "like me" who despite my lack of "extreme" bass experties, somehow wind up with a lot of gigs with people who think he's great but can't deal with him on a personal level or professional.

 

I tried to look for another guy in NYC figuring that would be the closest to finding a legit cat to learn legit stuff but $60 an hour lessons and however much for gas and parking and a 6 to 8 hour round trip including lesson time has made me rely on myself for all this time since my last bass lesson errrrr.......rip off.

 

I find it hard to believe at times that I make a part time living teaching after proof reading this. LOL!I have over 30 students and teach mostly theory,songs and jam with them along with Guitar and Drum machine.I am so dedicated to their learning as well as my playing I think it's time for me to try to better myself as a teacher and player.I was sort of hoping to find a place on the internet to ask dumb questions about playing 8th notes in 3/4 time. ;)

Interesting to know that 12 notes, 12 keys and 3 basic chord types made so much music.
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Rob E,

 

I don't see any exercises on page 29 in 3/4...they all appear to be in common time to me...

 

Are you sure you're asking about page 29? I wanna be sure davebrownbass's highly knowledgeable answer was really helpful to you...

 

I suspect you're actually asking about page 26...where there are eighth notes in 3/4 time. Again, the same logic applies. Since the bar is divided into three beats...there are still two eighth notes per beat...so you can fit a maximum of 6 eighth notes into one measure. Simandl beamed 'em all together, which is fairly common, but I can see how it could confuse a first-time reader...

 

To clarify, eighth notes are often beamed together in half-note-sized chunks to make reading the rhythms easier. For some reason your eye flows across the page better...

 

Don't feel too embarassed about not reading...and that Billy Sheehan aper probably doesn't get too many gigs anyway due to his extreme arrogance and disdain for any basslines that have eighth or quarter notes in 'em.

 

Remember...Jaco couldn't read when he was playing in the C.C. Riders...by the time he left that band, though, he could.

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Some of the reading stuff you can get a hand from almost anybody who reads. Doesn't need to be a bass player - everybody who has a hand on notation deals with the counting and the various timing aspects.

 

Just to get a hand up, mind you, not to teach you bass-specific stuff.

 

<-- greenboy ---<<<<    hanging around with all types of instrument players can be educational

.
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I studied Simandl books 1 & 2 in college and think they are great doulbe bass methods. Some of the methods used in the public school environment are pretty good, but much less demanding than Simandl.

 

What I haven't seen is a great electric bass method that logically has the student proceed both up the neck and "in position" with incrementally more challenging music as Simandl does. (I.e. Simandl takes you from being a raw beginner into being a more than competent intermediate player who can successfully function in many orchestras, just in book 1.)

 

I am STILL more comfortable sight-reading on my upright than I am on an electric.

 

The violin/viol family has hundreds of year old traditions which, if followed, allow reasonably talented individuals become good players. Although a double bass method could be successfully used to teach and learn electric bass, it would be preferable to have a method which addresses the particular problems/advantages of the small bass.

 

I corresponded a little while back with Ed Freidland about this issue. He agreed with this assessment but said that the publishers did not believe that their was a sufficient market to issue yet another "beginners' book". Maybe one of our full-time musicians/private teachers who is very qualified academically & played clarinet(hint, hint JeremyC)could cobble together a method, self-publish it and sell it over the internet. I could be persuaded to teach privately again if I didn't have to come up with all my own materials. (I have it on third-hand authority that Jeremy is a HELL of a musician!)

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dotted notes increase the duration by 1/2 of the original note value... that is a dotted half note lasts 3 counts and a dotted quarter lasts 1 and one half counts. and a dotted eight lasts 3/4 of a count. Hope that helps

 

Dave

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Thanks for all your replies as well guys.Monk,thanks for the thread! :) I didn't mean to take it over with my troubles but I had to speak up somewhere and this place looked like a good place to do so.

 

Yes sir,I was talking about page 26 EX.6 not 29.

 

BTW- to that poster in RI I have a gig this Friday nearby in Providence or something close by there.

 

Glad to speak with all of you folks and will read this thread over and over when the work day is done.

 

Rob

Interesting to know that 12 notes, 12 keys and 3 basic chord types made so much music.
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I think the gig is at Full River or something like that.The guy who books this band didn't even give me directions yet.

 

This is so great to skim through here boys....Later today I'm going to have to read this thread in one sitting.

Interesting to know that 12 notes, 12 keys and 3 basic chord types made so much music.
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Spangle: don't tell anybody, my secret is out. I am working on a long term project adapting Simandl's method for electric bass.

 

Sure, I'll have to publish it myself...now you guys, don't go stealing my idea.

 

As far as the rhythm goes...I think you might invest in a drum machine and program those rhythms in. Then get the book: "Modern Reading in 4/4 Time" learn to count those rhythms and program them in.

 

As an alternative (and I can't believe I'm offering support to Finale) you can get a free download of the Finale Notepad software program here. It should have enough capacity to input the notes and rhythms and play them back for you (I dunno, never used that program) A real good learning aid...(but if you can get Jeremy's help, that's worth many, many dollars.)

 

Here's the site: http://www.codamusic.com/coda/np.asp

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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must be Fall River, Rob. Not the most exciting town in the world. Remember "The Accused" starring Jodie Foster? Based on a true story which happened in New Bedford, next town over.

 

It's a little far from where I am.

 

Meanwhile...one of these days I'll write that book. Although one of my friends has been writing the "jazz version of Simandl" for the last 25 years! I used to go over his house and read through some of the pages he was working on.

 

But it needs to be written!

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Yeah!This is inspiring to read through folks!Perhaps we should

create a Simandl tribute thread :thu: .

 

It's possible around here to ask someone how to play 8th up against a 3/4 sig.My drummer buddy should be able to help on that.

 

The sad part is I've done this before by ear and or played through these pages years ago but for some reason can't quite make the connection at the moment.If anything,the weakest point of my playing is the lack of fully understanding time sigs.Because of this my main focus in self study was theory but even that I'm rusty on.

 

If I'm able to get a better grasp of the Simandl book this time around I will rule!!! :cool:

 

Oh well jeremyc too bad it's a distance for you but I appreciate the thought of trying to meet anyway.

 

Monk thanks for yielding the right of way to your thread,I promise to put the info here to good use.

 

Dave and every other name I forgot thanks for the advisory and inspiration.

 

I have my Boss DR-550 drum machine which I'm sure has a 3/4 beat already pre programed and should do the trick if the metronome can't.

Interesting to know that 12 notes, 12 keys and 3 basic chord types made so much music.
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