Rabbath or Simandl Fingerings?

In this video Lauren and I discuss the differences between the Rabbath and Simandl methods. This is in reply to a question from Michal who wanted to know if we thought the Rabbath method would be suitable for jazz bassists. We have also had a number of questions about how Rabbath compares with the Simandl method so decided to cover that here. In case you don’t know how the two systems of fingerings differ, here’s a superb comparison chart created by the ISB president Nicholas Walker that was posted on Double Bass Blog.

These are the two books we reference in the video:

The New Method for Double Bass by Franz Simandl (1840-1912) is the grandfather of double bass method books. First published over 100 years ago it’s system of fingerings is still used by bassists all over the world.

‘Nouvelle Technique de la Contrabass’ is a three volume book by François Rabbath, which includes the use of of pivoting and is popular amongst many bassists.

Both of these methods cover a lot more than just pivoting and shifting so check out the respective books for the full picture. It’s also worth noting that the vast majority of bassists don’t still rigidly to a single system of fingerings or technique, but choose what works for them from several different sources. However, make sure that whatever path you take you use a consistent method of shifting as that makes playing in tune a lot more reliable. If you are interested to learn more about the way I play check out my book on scales called ‘Double Bass Scales: The Play-Along Collection’.

I hope you enjoy the video and if you would like to join the conversation please leave a comment below. I would love to hear what’s been working for you.

Cheers Geoff