Fairly new bassist. Question on my plucking! help please
I've been playing for 4 months now and I've learn SO much.. my influence to pick up this instrument is none other than Mr. Geddy Lee. I love his playing style, and the way he "attacks" the strings and not just plucks them..
Anyway! Getting to my question. I am absolutely LOVING this punchy tone I'm getting when I play right now. Sure I have to literally attack the strings.. RUSH has always been my favorite band and I cannot visualize any other playing style that would truly satisfy me.. I love the Ged tone, its unreal. I've heard that it is not great for your hands though.. Like it may be fine now, but down the road I may develop some problems. Is this true?
My fretting hand is the only hand that gets tender after playing for a while which is strange.
Any help would be significantly appreciated!
You don't always have to 'attack' the string to get a punchy tone..in fact, if a note is plucked normally, it is going to produce a significantly 'punchier' sound than if the string is walloped really hard, that it why it makes sense to develop a good, steady plucking technique, alternating fingers. Sure you can get a little rough with the strings if you want, but try to develop some control over how you play the notes. That is very important.
To your fretting hand: It is very important to develop a good fretting technique with the fingers of your left hand with thumb pivoting on the back of the neck...much like a classical guitarist would. You've probably seen guys grabbing the neck like a baseball bat. Sure...you can play some things like that, but if you really want to cover a lot of the neck with minimal hand movement and still have great dexterity, you must develop this technique.
Down at the business end of the bass (first 7 frets) you should be using index, middle and little finger for the most part and not working the third finger too hard (not much strength in the third finger by itself). For example , play octaves with index and little fingers, and a major triad (e.g. C major) with the second finger on the root note (C...third fret A string), index on the major third (E..second fret D string) and little finger on the fifth (G...Fifth fret D string).
You don't have to be constantly shredding your fingers to death. I've been playing a long time and can cover most styles successfully using only a very light touch.
The single-most important advice I could give would be this: get a good teacher. A good teacher will help you get all the bio-mechanical issues sorted out for you before you develop any bad habits.
I hope this has been some help...now get out there and play!
[quote=PJ Down at the business end of the bass (first 7 frets) you should be using index, middle and little finger for the most part and not working the third finger too hard (not much strength in the third finger by itself). For example , play octaves with index and little fingers, and a major triad (e.g. C major) with the second finger on the root note (C...third fret A string), index on the major third (E..second fret D string) and little finger on the fifth (G...Fifth fret D string).
I agree with most of the pointers but I use the three fingered approach described below for upright only. I use 4 fingers on my left hand for electric bass. I have never had left finger problems in 15+ years of bass and 50+ years of electric and classical guitar playing
After years of playing I have in recent times concentrated on lightening the touch with my plucking hand. This has resulted in a reduction in plucking hand fatigue, increase in speed as the time the finger spends in contact with the string is reduced and an overall more even tone. Geddy is fantastic, but just don't fall in love with one player. Listen to as many as you can in order to discover the wealth of possibilities with the bass guitar. Best of luck and joy on your journey
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