Guitar fingerstyle to bass?
So I just got my first bass last weekend, a Schecter, after finally taking a leap of faith after a few years of internal conflict over whether bass or guitar is my thing. Anyways, for the past two years, I have worked my Hermione off to get a decently proficient guitar fingerstyle technique, and I was a bit bummed when I discovered that bass fingerstyle is way different. Anyways, I have been playing the past few days on my bass with GUITAR fingerstyle techniques, where thumb and first two fingers are all used. So my question is whether this technique is actually done by any well known bassists, or this is just my thing that I do that would make a bass teacher grimace?
And an example of the technique would be anything by Mississippi John Hurt or any delta blues fingerstyle player.
And I am not really a blues musician. Shoegaze is where it is at.
If it sounds good, it doesn't matter how you do it, as long it there's no pain, of course. The problem is, guitar fingerstyle is not very conducive to playing more conventional bass lines. I use guitar fingerstyle when playing chord voicings in the higher positions, but that's generally on my own, not in a band setting.
However, there are certain things you can do in this way. Root, 5th, octave seems like it could done thumb, index, middle with little problem; mainly because it involves string crossings. But how would you play three or four consecutive notes on a single string? All thumb? That may slow you down.
I wouldn't try to completely dissuade you from doing it the way you are doing it, but I'd recommend working in conventional two- or three-finger plucking and use of a pick if you prefer. See which style(s) work(s) for what you want to accomplish musically.
Do what you like man. Play it the way you play it.
That being said, there are guys out there that do employ that technique (myself included but not exclusively nor because I was a guitarist).
I've been an acoustic guitarist (fingerstyle) and a bassist (guitar and upright) for more than 45 years. Whatever gets the sound out the way you want to hear is correct. When I've got a quick riff going on the bass it's not unusual to see me play it with thumb and forefinger, often hitting the 8ths and 16ths on the same string with a down stroke (thumb) and upstroke (forefinger).
I believe Gary Willis plays that type of fingerstyle bass.I, too, play fingerstyle guitar, but came at it from the opposite direction-played bass for years, and was disappointed that bass fingerstyle was quite different from guitar fingerstyle when I began guitar. But, hey-always good to learn something new!
I do this. Usually Root Octave then Min3rd 3rd 4th 5th on top of that. Then sometimes up and down key chord tones. Pretty cool grooves to be had.
All guitar techniques work on a Bass Guitar, remember it a guitar...........that plays bass. :)
While on a 30-year hiatus from bass, I played fingerstyle acoustic guitar.
After going back to bass, I found the thumb and forefinger method very comfortable but I forced myself to learn the two-finger
(index and middle) approach to playing.
However, I still revert to the thumb and forefinger method to nail either a fast run or to get a certain sound/tone.
You asked for well-known people who use this technique? Look up Hadrien Feraud on YouTube and watch his right hand.
He uses the thumb + forefinger method regularly in his playing and he’s a killer player. IMO.
Check out Sting ... He plays like that on most of his tunes these days
I learned classical guitar technique a few years after taking up the bass, since then I have used 4 fingers to pick the bass, just like on classical. You can pretty much do anything with 4 fingers.
And for some additional information, I have extremely short nails, so I only pick with the meat of my fingers. I was pleasently suprised at how normal it sounded last night. Thanks for the info!!!
Check out Abraham Laboriel. He plays with a flamenco-guitar-inspired finger technique and he's just great. Loooooong list of studio work so you can tell he has a clue what he's doing. He had a video tape instructing his particular use way back when, but I don't know if it was ever made available online or DVD. You may get lucky and find it on eBay, if you even still have a VCR!
here's a clip from one lesson video of his
Abe is a great reference.
Also the points made up to now are dead-on: be yourself, and get the sound you want how you want.
Use your approach and fade in practice time with a conventional two-finger approach, and pick as well if you like.
As for artists, Entwistle was well known for using much more than just the two fingers and in very unique ways.
Geddy Lee uses this technique on several songs on the newest Rush CD, mostly quiet sections playing broken chords. If it sounds good, do it!
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