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Franz Simandl

Franz Simandl (August 1, 1840 - December 15, 1912) was a double-bassist and pedagogue who is remembered most for his New Method for the Double Bass, 30 Studies, and more advanced collection of studies, Gradus ad Parnassum. All three of these works are still in use today and are available in a number of competing critical editions.

His approach uses the first, second, and fourth fingers of the left hand (actually, the third and fourth operating together as one digit) for stopping the strings on the lower register of the instrument and divides the fingerboard into various positions.

The second volume of the method looks at the use of thumb positions using the thumb, first, second and third fingers, to play solo, high register work and again dividing the fingerboard up into a concept of positions. The second volume also delves extensively in to the playing of harmonics.

Simandl's "New Method" of playing (over a century old now) is still the keystone of classical double-bass technique, but modern adaptations of, extensions to, and challenges to New Method doctrines are acknowledged.

Simandl studied at the Prague Conservatory with Josef Hrabe before becoming the principal bassist in the Vienna Court Orchestra. His pupils include many of the leading bassists of his time such as Ludwig Manoly, who came to New York City becoming principal bass of the New York Philharmonic and was an influential teacher.

The Simandl "family tree" of bass pedagogues extends for many generations. Prominent bassist/educators who can trace their lineage directly back to Simandl include Richard Davis, Mark Dresser, Joseph Guastafeste, Greg Sarchet, Gary Karr, Hermann Reinshagen, Karl E. H. Seigfried, Ludwig Streicher, Bertram Turetzky, and Frederick Zimmermann.


  • Simandl, Franz (1956). 30 studies for string bass. LCCN 85751475
  • Simandl, Franz (1957). Gradus ad parnassum : 24 studies for string bass. LCCN 85752065
  • Simandl, Franz (1968). New method for string bass. LCCN 97706725

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