Double Bass Technique

The pedagogy and training for the double bass varies widely. Classical double bass has a history of pedagogy dating back several centuries, including teaching manuals, studies, and progressive exercises that help students to develop the endurance and accuracy of the left hand, and control for the bowing hand. These traditional techniques evolved into what is known as the Simandl Method.

During the twentieth century Francois Rabbath developed a new pedagogical technique. The main differences in Rabbath's approach from that of the double bass method of Franz Simandl is Rabbath's use of the left hand and his detailed attention to the bow arm. In Simandl's system, first position (below thumb position) encompasses only a whole step. In Rabbath's method, the entire fingerboard is divided into only six positions, defined by the location of natural harmonics on the strings. Playing the bass with six positions is possible by using a technique called pivoting.

Contributed by Nicholas Walker, the chart to the right details the differences between the two left hand techniques.

Jason Heath effectively compares Rabbath and Simandl.