all 14 comments

[–]TNUGS 10 points11 points  (7 children)

you need to use your ring and pinky finger as a unit. your hand should (generally) only cover three notes at a time. like on the G string at the nut, it should be 1st finger Ab, 2nd finger A, 4th finger Bb. 3rd finger supports 4th.

also, get a teacher. double bass is one of the worst instruments to self-teach. the physical technique can be unintuitive and unforgiving, totally the opposite of electric bass.

[–]ClarinetRoach[S] 4 points5 points  (3 children)

Does double bass in jazz use the 1-2-3-4 method? Can I not use my third finger or can I use all of them?

[–]Midas-toebeans[🍰] 14 points15 points  (0 children)

The spacing on a double bass in first position doesn't make it doable to do 1-2-3-4, hence the grouping of 1-2-3and4. Your ring finger is also the weakest finger of your hand, anatomically (it shares a tendon with your middle finger, but the middle finger has the control) so from a physical stand point it's not ideal to use your ring finger alone on an instrument with thick strings and high string tension. You do end up using your 3rd finger the higher up the neck you go because the spacings between notes gets smaller.

[–]TNUGS 3 points4 points  (0 children)

using all your fingers independently is generally not a good idea. sometimes useful as an advanced/niche technique, but you should just use 1-2-4 for almost everything.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The simandl Technique is what's used

[–]gray-towel 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Get a teacher. If not, at least watch A LOT of technique videos. don’t hurt your hand. it is very easy to hurt your hand. Don’t practice until it hurts, especially if you’re not sure if your position is ok. There’s a book called the abcs of bass for the absolute beginner. it’s a kids book, but i learned with it as an adult. good to get you started with some beginner songs while you complement with etudes for technique from a Simandl or similar book.

[–]some-freakati mandara 3 points4 points  (0 children)

get a teacher. especially if you want to learn bow.

[–]ThemFatStrings 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Check out Discover Double Bass channel on YouTube. Possibly the best source for tutorials and lessons on these topics. Specifically, they have a very good one on left hand technique:


They also have very good paid courses, in case you want to dig a little deeper.

[–]Midas-toebeans[🍰] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Your pinky finger will get stronger with time and practice. At this point, good technique and hand positions is what you need to focus on for longevity and the health of your hand (no need to develop carpal tunnel syndrome down the line).

There are two different bass bows and they are held differently: French and German. I would take lessons for a bit 1) to learn proper technique and 2) if your bass teacher has both bows you can find out which one you are more comfortable with.
French bow is similar to what the cellos, violins, and violas use. Personally, holding French bows make my hands cramp up. German bows are more comfortable to me.

The Simandl red/scarlet book is what I started on and it's been around a while and is very dull. I'd still recommend it, but I'm sure there's better stuff out there. Rabbath is also a good source as well (lovely man, too. Got to meet him at a workshop).

[–]sutefaniaku 0 points1 point  (0 children)

https://youtu.be/R7xmFPUFc1I I got a lot out of this vhs back in high school. The audio and video is out of sync, but this is a good simple exercise.

[–]VamsiVee 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Strength comes with time but in the meanwhile use your ring finger and pinky finger as a unit as much as possible. I find myself rarely using just 3 fingers I usually play either with a 1, 2, or all 4 fingers down. With learning on how to use a bow, make sure you develop good habits in your bow hold, whether it’s a French or German bow. I started out with a French and transitioned to German but it’s really just personal preference.