Ed Friedland's 1-2-4 fingering technique

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Righteous Thunderer, Jun 2, 2012.


  1. Righteous Thunderer

    Righteous Thunderer

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    As some of you know from another thread, I recently purchased the Hal Leonard books that Ed Friedland wrote in order to learn how to read music. One of the first things that it teaches is that, rather than stretching one finger per fret for four frets, one should use the index for the first fret, middle for the second, and the pinky for the third. This goes completely against everything I've ever read or been taught, naturally; I've spent quite a bit of time doing permutations and such and it's strange for me to use the 1-2-4 method.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. bass_study

    bass_study

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    Is it because of the fingering of the upright? Some use 3 left hand finger only.
     
  3. Righteous Thunderer

    Righteous Thunderer

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    He mentions in the book his reasoning being that you shouldn't ever stretch farther than is comfortable, and I assume he proposes it because of the long term health effects of doing so. It just feels...wrong... after years of doing it the other way, though.
     
  4. TomA1234

    TomA1234

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    I use both the 1-2-4 when I am being lazy, especially for octaves, but mostly use 1-2-3, so it isn't weird to me, it just feels more comfortable to use my pinky in some cases.
     
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  6. j.kernodle

    j.kernodle

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    yeah, I'm ignoring the left hand fingering instructions in those books. Great way to learn to read bass clef, those books. but the 1-2-4 thing, i can't do.
     
  7. SBassman

    SBassman Supporting Member

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    I'd have to skip over that if I was working in those books.

    No way I'm doing that.
     
  8. iJazz

    iJazz

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    First, Ed is awesome. If everybody here knew half as much as he and played half as well music would be better to all the corners of the world to which TB reaches.

    That said, I think both are right and can be employed as seen fit by the player. As a counter example, there are certain times when curling the little finger under lends itself well to playing a repetitive riff over three frets, even though you would think it should make no difference, but other times your hand is comfortable with the little finger over the board and ready to go. Using four across the first four sometimes is just peachy, just as using three can be better depending upon the line you're playing.

    iJazz - You do what works.
     
  9. Righteous Thunderer

    Righteous Thunderer

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    I completely agree with you regarding Mr. Friedland, the man is truly amazing. I can't tell you how many of his videos I've watched where he reviews instruments.

    I definitely get the feeling this is one of those "personal preference, do what works" type situations, I just want to see how other people view it. I'm definitely getting a lot out of his right hand techniques as I've been doing it a bit differently, in a way that doesn't allow things like raking and such. Sounds the same, but I think this will allow for more economy of movement. That being said, when I try to do the 1-2-4 thing, my brain straight up short circuits and I mess everything up.
     
  10. precijazz

    precijazz I want a name when I lose. Supporting Member

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    When I started playing on my own, I tried one finger per fret and found it hard to stretch that far in the lower register. To read about 1,2,4 after few week's struggling was a revelation. Improved my playing immediately.
    Now I find myself playing 1,2,3,4 more and more, and down there too, but only if the bass line demands it. If not, 1,2,4 is still cool, even within the same line. Gives your left hand a short break while still playing. My brain got used to switching, obviously, especially if I manage to just not think about it too much.
     
  11. Righteous Thunderer

    Righteous Thunderer

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    I really wish I'd gotten these books earlier in my attempts at playing, it wouldn't be so much like trying to reprogram myself. I'm going to put a sincere and earnest effort into using the 1-2-4 method the way he teaches it and hopefully it works out for the best.
     
  12. mbeall

    mbeall

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    There was already a thread on this a while back. Ed does cover 1 finger per fret once you get further into the series. Lots of guys still use 1-2-4 in the money note range if they have smaller hands. If your comfortable with 1 per fret in the open and first and lower positions then go for it, if you have smaller hands I believe the consensus was that 1-2-4 will save you some wear and tear in the long run.
     
  13. ba$$

    ba$$

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    I took lessons from Ed back in 2004. The 1-2-3-4 technique was for more "riff based" lines and the 1-2-4 technique was used for more free flowing funk/jams/improv lines.

    From what I remember, it was hazy dayz back then!

    All in all, to each their own. Don't kill yourself trying to make a stretch that isn't natural/comfortable.
     
  14. thtbassloser

    thtbassloser

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    Ive always felt that 1-2-4 is a very naturally way of playing. When your thumb is on the back of the neck and your fingers are parallel to the frets the way your tendons work it makes the ring finger incredibly weak and your pink stronger. I forget where i heard this but it was from a bass great, but we play bass with our tendons/arms and not with our fingers (for the strength of pushing the strings down) so if we bend our wrist we lose that extra strength hence the fatigue, 1-2-4 is a SUPER comfy way as long as we keep our wrists and arms comfortable
     
  15. jeffbonny

    jeffbonny _____________ Gold Supporting Member

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    Friedland would be the first to tell you he didn't come up with 1-2-4 fingerings, Franz Simandl did in the mid 1800's. It's pretty common for people who've learned the Simandl fingerings on the double bass to use them on the electric bass too. It's a perfectly valid approach that makes a lot of sense mechanically especially in the lower positions. It's nice to see someone respected like Ed giving it more credibility. As a college student I took quite a bit of grief for using 1-2-4 on the electric bass.

    Hopefully this answer didn't offend you R-T. :D
     
  16. Righteous Thunderer

    Righteous Thunderer

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    That's pretty much the way I saw it after looking into it a bit, it's just SO contrary to everything I've been told/heard/read that it causes me to scratch my head a bit. I'm still going to give it a whirl and see what happens, but it's just a bit... odd.

    Indeed, it does not offend; hopefully my quoting your post doesn't offend you and cause a tirade :D
     
  17. ErikP.Bass

    ErikP.Bass

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    I'll probably get flamed for bringing her up...but I had lots of issues until I started using 1-2-4 particularly with the specifics of Carol Kaye's methods. I'd say what most have here, go with whatever works for you.
     
  18. Mudcat35

    Mudcat35

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    I pretty much always play 1 - 2 - 4. Of course, my ring finger doesn't really work very well any more due to injury and arthritis, but I don't feel limited at all with 1-2-4.
     
  19. ozzyismetal

    ozzyismetal

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    Dave Marks also touched on this, interesting watch:
     
  20. jeffbonny

    jeffbonny _____________ Gold Supporting Member

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    :D
     
  21. f.c.geil

    f.c.geil I'm your huckleberry... Supporting Member

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    1-2-4 fingering started, as mentioned, on DB back in the late 18th or early 19th century. The reasons for 1-2-4 are first, that the ring finger isn't as strong as the pinkie; and second, that 1-2-3-4 is an unnatural stretch for the hand, and can cause health issues in later life. It doesn't always work out that way, but it does often enough to be a concern.
     

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