Simandl Position System
Many bassists are often confused with Franz Simandl’s method of numbering the positions. I think of it as G minor scale on the G string. Another way is to put your first finger on all natural notes on the A strings – which works out to be an A minor scale.
But…Why? Why would Simandl choose such arbitrary positions and note something more systematic such as a chromatic system (where every half step – or fret on an electric) is a position. My theory – and I must emphasize this is my personal hypothesis – is that since Simandl was living and teaching in Vienna he probably tuned his bass different than we do now. Perhaps he was using a Viennese tuning based on a D major chord. That could put his lowest and / or highest strings at an A. Now if your outer string or strings is an A, what easier way to think of positions than just natural notes? By putting you first finger where the naturals are you immediately arrive at his system.
VOILA! (not to be confused with viola)