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SizingStringsLeftHandRightHandFingerings

FingeringPositions
PedagogicalDecisions
NotationAccessories

Double Bass 101: Foundations for Building


Strong Players
The Midwest Clinic Chicago, Illinois December 19, 2013
341214
GDAE (A E B F#)
(1) Thumb in middle of neck (3) Rounded finger
(1) Thumb Bump (3) Squared Hand
1 ^ 2^(3)4
General Notes
Traditional
Rabbath/Vance
BowPostureEndpinBeginning Position
Pitch Clefs

ClassStrings
Ithaca College

James Mick, Ph.D. Double

Bass Pedagogy

Nut should be between hair line and eyebrow Comfortably form a


proper LH shape in first position
Highest to lowest (Tuned in 4ths) Solo strings are tuned a M2
higher
(2) Bass K = space between 1st and 2nd(4) Straight wrist (elbow
floating above heel)
(2) 2nd and 3rd split ferrule, almost 2 knuckles deep (4) Straight
wrist, relaxed hand
m2 between 1^2 and 2^4 = M2 between 1 43rd finger used in
thumb positionThumb used in place of 4th finger in thumb position
Thumb position starts on the middle harmonicPositions are
generally anchored with 1st finger placement Shift = move the 1st
finger/hand a m2 or morePivot = roll the hand on the thumb to
reach a m3
Location of the 1st fingerBuilt on natural minor scale for each
string[Ex. G-string = I (A), II (Bb), III (C), IV (D), V (Eb)]
12 (Ab), II 12 (B), III 12 (C#), V 12 (E)]
Anchors on the 1st finger, but overall location of hand Based on the
natural harmonics of the strings[Ex. G-string = I (A), II (C), III
(D), IV (G)]
French or GermanSitting or StandingStraight or BentBlock or
Traditional (lower positions = first and third)
Sounds down an octave from written pitch Bass, Tenor, & Treble
Rock Stop = keeps endpin from sliding Damp-it = prevents
cracking & open seams StoolSoft Cloth
C-extension = drops E-string down to a low C

jmick@ithaca.edu

Allen Beginning Class Warm-Up


This exercise should be performed pizzicato with focus on posture
and left hand technique. Teacher and student(s) alternate measures.

3
4

2
4

2
4

3
Vance Finger Pattern Exercise
This exercise reinforces proper left hand shape and aural skills.
Focus should be given to left technique and intonation. If desired,
start in 12 position and work up to V position (and beyond).
Repeat on D, A, and E strings.

12421424


4
12 2

Bradetich Finger Replacement ExerciseFocus should


be placed on making quick, smooth, and unnoticeable shifts.

3
4
1 2

414
4241

21

2414
14

14
4 212

gliss.

Karr Vomits
This is a shifting drill that is used to reinforce left hand technique,
right hand technique, and aural skills. It is useful if the student(s)
tell you what technique they are aiming to reinforce when
performing (e.g. straight bows, rounded fingers, etc). Shifts should
be slow-ish and deliberate. Repeat using different strings and
finger combinations: 1-1, 1-2, 1-4, 2-1, 2-2, 2-4, 4-1, 4-2, 4-4.

Dry Heaves

More advanced variations go one- and two-octaves. In these


th
versions, all 4 fingers are replaced with the thumb when
performing in thumb position.

Progressive Solo Repertoire for the Double Bass


Built on New Yorks NYSSMA Manual
Grade 1 Progressive Repertoire for the Double Bass, Vol. 1
ReubenandRachel(pg.18)
FoxandGoose(pg.18)
String Festival Solos, Vol. 1 Festival Performance Solos
MummersDanseGrotesque(pg.23)

Grade 2 Progressive Repertoire for the Double Bass, Vol. 1


Vance, George
arr. Applebaum, Samuel pub. Carl Fischer
Vance, GeorgeEtling, Forestarr. Applebaum, Samuel pub. Carl Fischer
arr. Applebaum, Samuel pub. Carl Fischer Vance, George
Etling, Forest pub. Carl Fischer Vance, George Vance, George
Vance, George
Marcello, B. / tran. Zimmerman, F. Faure, G. / tran. Zimmerman, F. Capuzzi, A. /
ed. Baines, F
Cimbador, G. / ed. Slatford, R. Galliard, J. / ed. Zimmerman, F. Vivaldi, A. / tran.
Zimmerman, F. Eccles, H. / tran. Zimmerman, F.

TheHappyFarmer(pg.31)
Solo Time for Strings, Book 2
TheBrook(pg.9)
String Festival Solos, Vol. 2
Rigaudon(pg.3)

Festival Performance Solos


MinuetinGMajor(pg.22)
String Festival Solos, Vol. 2
Allegretto(pg.3)
Festival Performance Solos
TheJollyDutchman(pg.16)

Grade 3
Progressive Repertoire for the Double Bass, Vol. 3
TheElephant(pg.13)Gavotte(pg.8)
Solo Time for Strings, Book 4
Minuet(pg.5)
Festival Performance Solos
GavotteinGminor(pg.15)

Grade 4
Progressive Repertoire for the Double Bass, Vol. 1
Bagatelle(pg.36)
Progressive Repertoire for the Double Bass, Vol. 2
SongoftheVolgaBoatmen(pg.13)

Grade 5 Progressive Repertoire for the Double Bass, Vol. 2


Allegro&FlowGentlySweetAfton(pg.3031)SonatainGminor(mvts.1&2)
ApresunReveConcertoinFMajor(mvt.1)
ConcertinGMajor(mvt.3)SonatainFMajor(mvts.1&2)SonataNo.3inA

minor(mvts.1&2)SonatainGminor(mvts.1&2)

Grade 6

Recommended Resources

Applebaum, S. (Ed.). (1995). StringFestivalSolos,Vol.1&2.


Belwin Mills. Close, J. P. (2012). EarlyStartontheDoubleBass,
Books13. Barenreiter. Etling, F. (1970). SoloTimeforStrings,
Books14.Highland/Etling.Fischer, C. (Ed.). (2002). Festival
PerformanceSolos. Carl Fischer.Green, B., & Neighbor, J. (1999).
ThePopularBassMethod,Books13. Liben Music. Rabbath, F.
(1980). NewTechniqueforDoubleBass. Alphonse Leduc.
Simandl, F. (1984). Ed Lucas Drew. NewMethodfortheDouble
Bass. Carl Fischer. Vance, G. (2000). ProgressiveRepertoirefor
theDoubleBass,Books13. Carl Fischer.

Young Double Bass Programs


JohnnyHamil(KansasCity)
<kcbassworkshop.com/?page_id=45>
TracyRowel(Baltimore)
<Peabody.jhu.edu/conservatory/strings/doublebass/bassworks/inde
x.html>
BarryGreen(SanFrancisco)
<www.goldengatebasscampsf.com/members/barry-green/>
IthacaCollegeSummerMusicAcademy(upstateNewYork)
<www.ithaca.edu/music/prepdivision/academy/>

THANKS!!!
Particularly to all of my double bass friends and teachers
Nicholas Walker, Patrick OConnell, Tony Pinelli, Mark Foley,
Nick Scales, Henry Neubert, and the list goes on...