I recently saw a Punch Brothers show and Paul Kowert repeated a short lick an octave higher and higher until the pitch was higher than I ever thought a double/upright bass could go. He was definitely off the fingerboard, and may have been playing behind the bridge, but I don't quite remember. At any rate, are there positions after the fingerboard comes to an end and/or behind the bridge? If so, how might I refer to them? I unfortunately have no experience with fretless instruments and have pretty much exhausted all the search keywords I can think of. Currently surfing YouTube in search of high bass notes via pinched strings...

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    Can you post the video? Is it possible that he was playing natural harmonics? Commented Mar 28, 2015 at 6:49
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    For any definitive answer, we'll need a video or at least a title of the song.
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 28, 2015 at 8:36
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    Anecdote from a cellist (me): once past the fingerboard, it's possible to play non-harmonic notes just by touching the string at the right location. I suspect it's 'cause the frequency is so high that your finger acts as a hard stop. It is possible to play notes on the wrong side of the bridge as well, tho' they tend to be dang squeaky. Commented Mar 28, 2015 at 11:54
  • @Shevliaskovic i wish i had taken a video of it, but i don't have one Commented Mar 28, 2015 at 23:14
  • @Tim it wasn't a part of a song they've recorded. it was in like a breakdown section they did in the middle of a song. i don't know how different it is to play harmonics on a double bass, i'm only familiar with it on a guitar. but i'm pretty sure he had both his hands down by the bridge. Commented Mar 28, 2015 at 23:14

1 Answer 1


No, there are no formal positions behind the bridge.

As a double bassist myself, what I believe you are looking for is this: (v)

The Simandl method just would describe that positon as thumb positon but the Rabbath method would describe it as 6th postion.

It is also possible however that they are using artificial harmonics to create such high notes. this

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