left hand finger orientation
Hey all, I've been playing bass off and on for the last few years and now I'd really like to get serious about it. My first question at this time is what should my finger orientation be on my left hand. Ok, now I'll clarify -- I've been told that I should use the very tips of my fingers so that my callouses form just below my finger nails. But, I've recently heard I should I should use the pads of my fingers (opposite side from my finger nails). I've checked some YouTube videos but I see examples of both. So is there a better way or do I just play however I want. I'm planning on trying to find someone to take lessons from in the near future but my previous attempts to find a teacher have been less than successful; I get replies from guys who say they play guitar and that they can teach me to play bass. No thanks. Any other tips? Feel free to offer them up.
I'm certainly no expert, nor do I believe that there is a "correct" way of fretting. There is definitely a wrong way/bad technique. I use the area between my pad and tip, almost as if my fingers are around 45 degrees with the fretboard. I'm sure I don't have perfect technique, but I can fret very reliably with little noise and I've done it all my life.
IMHO, if you're getting the sound you want proficiently and not straining to do it, keep it up. You're playing like YOU. You'll only refine your skills the more you play. Little changes in muting and touch can have a HUGE impact on our fat bass strings. :D
One thing to keep in mind is that you'll probably need to use the under sides of your fingers to help mute the thinner strings. You can't really do this if your fretting with your fingertips.
If your playing double stops or chords you may need to use you finger tips so you don't touch the adjacent string.
I use all parts of every finger at different times so I can be muting some things and letting other notes ring out. I was never taught there was just one way to fret a note. It's about how you want it to sound, and knowing how to get that sound.
When I regularly taught new players, I always worked with them to arch their fingers, and to approach the strings from above. It seems that everyone who picks up a bass or guitar, with no previous experience, grabs at the neck. Fingers are laid across it. I'd work on getting my students to move their left thumb to the centre of the back of the neck, and making a curve with their left palm.
With your left fingers striking down on the strings, you can play much faster and smoother, once you get used to the position. Flute and trumpet players are generally taught exactly the same thing, and for the same reason. The flatter your fingers across the stings, the less fluidly you will be able to play.
Looking at my left hand, the calluses are from well above the centre of my finger pads, to just under my fingernails.
Thanks for the replies guys/gals (<-- just in case).
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