Nicholas Walker

Professor, Music Performance
School: School of Music


NYSSMA Presentation Documents

To the right you will find two Handout Documents from my lecture presentation at the 2008 NYSSMA Winter Conference, and the 2008 CASDA Conference.  

Two Bass Position Systems at a Glance:  I feel the clearest way to indicate the desired hand setting for bass players is to give the "x & y coordinates" for the indicated pitch with the fingering number above the pitch (eg. "1"), and the string number below the pitch (eg. "I" = G string).  But here is a chart I put together to clarify the Simandl and Rabbath position names.  I've also included my own suggestions, (on the left side), for generic names for these general areas of the fingerboard.

A Fun D Blues in Block Position:  Starting beginners in block position has the advantage of establishing a clear corporal (and ergonomic) relationship between the left thumb and fingers.  This hand setting is reinforced through the fixed placement of the thumb, and helps build an instinct for proper thumb placement when sifting to other positions on the neck.  This blues can be played by several bass players at once, and enthusiastic students can experiment with improvising in block position with the notes on the adjacent strings.

In my presentation I discussed several Other Web Resources that might be useful to music educators.  Here they are for your convenience: 

Materials, Aides, and Equipment:

-       Adjustable Stool from KI Furnishing:

-       George Vance Bowing Template: (p.6)  Vance Home Page:

-       Paul Strelau sells Shen Double Basses and works with student instruments:

-       Barrie Kolstein is also committed to helping young bassists:



-       Rabbath Book II available from Liben Music Publishers: (click, François Rabbath, then music, then A New Tech.)

-       Barry Green & Jeff Neighbor’s Popular Bass Method available at Hickey’s Music:

-   George Vance's Progressive Repertoire for the Double Bass: 


Other Points of Interest for Young Bassists:

-       The International Society of Bassists:

-       Art of The Bow by Hans Sturm, François Rabbath:

-       Klaus Stoll DVD:

-       Jason Heath’s Double Bass Blog:

-       Xbass has many entries and interviews, including this interview with Eugene Levinson: