Four Fingers - Basic technique

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Whousedtoplay, Jan 24, 2014.


  1. Whousedtoplay

    Whousedtoplay

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    May 18, 2013
  2. Sneakyfish

    Sneakyfish

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    Jan 24, 2014
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    London, UK
    These links are great! Been working with this four finger stuff for a few years now, and it's defo opened up my playing. Do you know of any threads on TB that cover four finger technique utilising the pinkie? Been experimenting with it for a few months now and I want to make sure I'm not locking some bad habits which will bite me in the behind later.
    Cheers! ;)
  3. FrednBass

    FrednBass

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    Feb 24, 2012
    Billy Sheehan said he uses the pinky sometimes
  4. Sneakyfish

    Sneakyfish

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    Jan 24, 2014
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    London, UK
    Well, I guess I'm number two in the weird mutant pinkie user club then! YAY! :hyper: Genuinely not trolling. lol I play metal mostly and my drummer has some very fast 16th/32nd passages on the bass drum (too fast for my three finger :bassist:). So I've been experimenting with this one in rehearsals and live with mostly good results! Still hitting the stamina barrier, but thats improving all the time. I'm going to try out those exercises in a bit, I'll let you know how I get on. :)
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  6. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

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    Cool videos by Sergey, and he is on the right tracks.
    Four finger plucking is common place in guitar technique, but for bass its generally referred to a Garrison technique, because the bassist Mathew Garrison was one of the first modern players to become associated with it. Add in his use of ramps and four finger technique or his high quality use is his own.

    There is a sticky on the Techniques page dedicated to him and what he does, but just in case you misses it here is the sort of playing skills you can develop from it.

    Take on board and understand why he felt he needed to develop it and the time it took him to meld it into his technique.

    http://youtu.be/rW0Hoxo32FA
  7. Rio Chavez

    Rio Chavez

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  8. Sneakyfish

    Sneakyfish

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  9. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

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    Nov 22, 2008
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    London,NewYork,Paris,Braintree
    Abe uses whatever he feels, here he is with 5 fingers,

    http://youtu.be/0PLh_O8k5tg

    But using more than two fingers is not a new thing,
    check out a 15 year old NHØP who at this point, in the early 60s clips, had been playing bass for just over a year two.

    http://youtu.be/KAXBdzBIWRk
  10. Matthew_84

    Matthew_84

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    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Ooooh... Going to have to check out these videos this weekend. My right hand thanks you in advance
  11. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

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    Mathew....that just reads soooooooo wrong :rollno: LOL
  12. Rio Chavez

    Rio Chavez

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  13. markjsmithbass

    markjsmithbass Supporting Member

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    Mike Flynn, awesome bass player and writer from over here in the UK has done some great tutorials on 4 finger picking. I remember when I first wanted to learn 4 finger picking, I found his videos after watching Garrison, Hadrien, Dipiazza et al and thought Oh no, 'everyone' can do this damn thing but me!! Then I realised Mike is exceptional and I didn't feel so bad.



    The first time I saw him I was blown away and that feeling never quits every time I watch him. That's for his artistry as well as his technique.

    Mark
  14. markjsmithbass

    markjsmithbass Supporting Member

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    Ha ha. Just realised the vid I posted of Mike was linked in a previous post. Didn't realise. Anyway, that's Mike Flynn. Lovely guy and superb player.

    Mark
  15. markjsmithbass

    markjsmithbass Supporting Member

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    Oh my God Fergie! Never seen those clips. The guy was a monster and a legend. 15 years old and swinging like a 60 year old veteran.
  16. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

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    Again its the old story of, if you are aware of them.
    There are so many players around the world that we have never heard of playing amazing music using fantastic chops.

    Nils was a monster player but never really courted publicity or any ones approval of what he done. The clip certainly shows a 15 year old kid, but it also shows a bass player two years after he took up bass and a year into his professional career.
    Yes his father was an organist and yes he did study and play piano up until he was 13, but he changed to bass and never looked back playing for most of the top American Jazz Artists that visited Denmark before he was out of his teens....again he was special. RIP big man you will never be forgotten. :)
  17. Matthew_84

    Matthew_84

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    Toronto, ON, Canada
    I finally got around to checking out some of these videos.

    I have worked on similar techniques before and here's my two cents:

    I personally do not like the method of keeping the wrist stationary as I string cross. I have always maintained the floating thumb method in any technique I adopt, and I keep my right elbow parallel to my chest, so it's also kind of parallel with the bass body. For the first few months it took some work for my shoulder to handle the extra load, but it helps to keep my wrist straight and it keeps the sliding movement of my thumb smooth. So, as I change strings instead of keeping my wrist stationary and playing the first few notes on one string and then stretching the other fingers to play on the usually higher string, I lift my elbow up and down and keep my hand position in relatively the same, somewhat closed, position.

    At first, I did not like this technique though, because of how I was using my thumb. At first, my thumb was not doing any muting whatsoever as it was used only to pluck the strings. I started a thread asking for help regarding this, and someone other TBer said that they keep their thumb muting the lower strings and pluck with the thumb by only bending the knuckle closest to the tip. I found it's best to keep the knuckle right on top of the highest string you want to mute with your thumb. This allowed me to mute with my thumb, keep the floating thumb technique, pluck with my thumb, and string cross the way I've grown accustomed to.

    Revisiting this stuff again, I see that in most of the videos, the players play with T, I, M, R. To me, T, R, M, I feels more natural and, to me, sounds more natural as well. I tried using these two methods going over these videos, and T, I, M, R is certainly the better method when keeping your wrist stationary and playing on multiple strings. However, since I do not employ that method, I find T, R, M, I to be a better method for me.

    I do recall though, that I stopped developing this technique, because in order to bend the thumb in the way I was (keeping it muting as well) seemed difficult over time.

    I tried the pinky method instead, this way my thumb was only used for muting (as it was before I tried this technique). However, I found that I could start on my pinky, and it would land on the lower string. Then, I'd use my ring and sometimes it would pin down the pinky on the string below. I could combat this slightly by twisting my wrist a bit, but I also found the pinky's tone to be a very bright one and noticeably stood out at high speeds - however, this may be different for any of you. But I stopped using the pinky as well.

    After this, I went to a slightly altered 3-finger technique, but on Friday I noticed a slight limitation with it as well.

    Watching these videos again, inspired me, and for some reason my comfort issues with my thumb, explained above, weren't there, so I think I'm going to try to refine this again, but using the methods I was working on before.
  18. Sneakyfish

    Sneakyfish

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    Best of luck to you!
  19. Matthew_84

    Matthew_84

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    Thanks, I've been working on ex. 1 of the first video in the first post at varying tempos for most of the day and have now acquired two decent blisters on my thumb.

    My reason for learning this technique is to play quicker that I currently can with two fingers, and I don't like the way the traditional three finger (rmi) method sounds.

    I do have a question though. What do you guys do for syncopated phrases (phrases that aren't just straight consecutive 16th/32nds)?

    Do you:

    A) play ghost/muted notes on the notes you don't want to sound out?

    B) instead of playing a ghost/muted note, take a rest with your plucking hand and then play be the next note using the next finger in your plucking hand rotation?

    C) same as B, but instead play the next note starting with the first finger of your plucking hand rotation (thumb/pinky)?
  20. Matthew_84

    Matthew_84

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    Location:
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Thanks Whousedtoplay. I'll try out your exercises when I have a moment... And I guess the thumb blisters heal, lol. For now I'll work on the three finger technique RMI just for gallops and triplets.
  21. topo morto

    topo morto

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    Lloegyr
    I've only just started with this technique (I do T-R-M-I).

    what I hope to learn to do is D) : take a rest with my plucking hand and then play the next note using the finger I would have played with if the phrase had been straight 16ths (or whatever).

    That way, if I'm playing 16ths in 4/4, notes on the beats are always with the thumb, notes on the offbeat 8ths are always with the middle finger, etc.

    As a variation, you can then try 'restarting' the cycle at odd times, so you can do T-R-M-T-R-M-T-R for a "two-threes and a two" feel.

    Just some thoughts. I'm new to this technique, but I really like it

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