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Alden Cohen

Mastering Double Bass Shifting by Alden F. Cohen

Mastering Double Bass Shifting by Alden F. Cohen

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The 5 exercises in my ebook will help you identify the shift distance and slowly ingrain the fundamental steps to achieving confidence in shifting.

Whole ( W ) Step Shifting – In this exercise, we work on the ability to control and understand the fundamentals of how our left-hand and arm shifts one whole step.

Whole + Half ( WH ) Step Shifting – The “pre-shift” note is introduced to establish where the new finger is starting from before it shifts. We learn how our left arm can shift the same distance with different fingerings. A preparation technique (Letter “H”) is also used to make sure the “pre-shift” finger is down and we say or think of the distance of the shift before we shift.

New-Note Finger Shifting – “New-note” finger shifting helps identify from where the “new” finger will shift after the previous note is played.

End-Note Finger Shifting – We shift with the same ending fingered-note to the next position of the following note before changing to the “new-note” finger.

Houdini Finger Shifting – Integrating the “new-note” and “end-note” shifting techniques within each shift will make a clean and almost undetected “Houdini” shift.


Alden’s detailed and comprehensive plan to master shifting on the double bass is an essential resource of instruction for any teacher of the double bass.”

-Stephen Tramontozzi, San Francisco Conservatory of Music (Faculty) and San Francisco Symphony (Assistant Principal Double Bass).

About Alden

A San Francisco native, Mr. Cohen is a professional double bassist in the San Francisco Bay Area. A graduate from the Peabody Institute (B.M.) and San Francisco Conservatory of Music (M.M.). In 2018, Mr. Cohen won the Oakland Symphony Assistant Principal bass audition. In 2008, he won the Santa Cruz County Symphony principal bass audition. In 2004, Mr. Cohen won a spot on the San Francisco Symphony Double Bass substitute list. He is also a member of the Berkeley Symphony and Modesto Symphony and acting Principal Bass performances with the Berkeley Symphony, Fresno Symphony, Modesto Symphony, Symphony Napa Valley, Pacific Chamber Symphony, San Francisco Lyric Opera and West Bay Opera.

As a soloist, Mr. Cohen performed with Stephen Tramontozzi, San Francisco Symphony Bassist, at the San Francisco Bass Bash in 2016 & 2005. He has also performed with other double bassists for donor parties and other special events.

Find out more about Alden on his website.

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