ISB Review

Mr. Karr, Would You Teach Me How to Drive a Double Bass?

By Michael Klinghoffer, preface by Gary Karr

 Michael Klinghoffer is one of our leading bass pedagogies, working at the Jerusalem Academy in Israel and at workshops around the world, including ISB conventions. He worked with Gary Karr for several years at the Yale and Hartt Schools of Music. In this book, Michael presents Gary Karr’s approach to bass playing in a clear and entertaining approach. The analogies in the title are reflected throughout the book, comparing playing the bass with driving a car. For example, the chapter “Neutral Gear” addresses bass height, balance and posture, “Shifting Gears” deals with the support and movement of the left hand and arm, “Slalom Driving” and “Crossing Safety” discusses the relationship of the bow and string. The points Michael makes are dead on and there are excellent photos as well, clever and colorful drawings to reinforce the points made. The preface, by Gary Karr himself, describes his early years as a player and teacher and how he developed his approach to playing and teaching. He was fully approved this book and has great admiration and appreciation for Michael’s work. The first appendix deals with scales and Gary’s fingerings, while the second is an abstract of a paper Michael presented at the Jerusalem Academy discussing the differences between excellence and professionalism. This book provides insight regarding Gary’s approach to the instrument and will appeal to bassists of all ages and levels from young beginners to seasoned veterans and to teachers who are not themselves bassists.

- Review by David Murray

Published in Bass World (International Society of Bassists) Volume XXXV, No. 2, 2011 pp. 71