a notch below

a notch below somebody/something

not quite as good as someone or something else Fifty years ago, there were many big bands that were good, but they were a notch below the great ones.
See also: below, notch
References in periodicals archive ?
Sweeney's debut: Brian Sweeney, who began his third season in the California League earlier this season, was pitching a notch below the majors Wednesday night in Omaha, Neb.
High Desert was the Diamondbacks' most advanced minor-league franchise in 1997, which meant Double-A and Triple-A quality talent like Cameron and Cal League Most Valuable Player Mike Stoner played at least a notch below their talent level.