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My tone is terrible; Plucking/fingering issue

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Derp, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. Derp

    Derp

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    I've been playing bass for 3 months now. Some good bass players (Either famous band members or professional level hobbyists(like the ones on youtube/talkbass)) I've heard play so smoothly that the bass line kind of flows like water, has that soft touch kind of feel to it. I can't do it. I sound more like drunk Duff Mckagan or David Ellefson or even Steve Harris (don't attack me TBers, these players are the greatest in my opinion and are the ones who influenced me the most and got me into the bass world). I love that powerful Steve Harris type of feel. But now I'm more into songs like Hysteria or Time is running out which require that soft feel. But I can't play without beating the hell out of the instrument. When I pluck the strings my fingers kind of get stuck and it also kind of affects the timing. Any tips?
  2. nolezmaj

    nolezmaj

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    Practise more :)
  3. fearceol

    fearceol

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    +1.

    OP, how else except through constant practice, do you think those bass players you mention, manage to " play so smoothly that the bass line kind of flows like water"?

    Be patient, slow down, take your time. Otherwise you will become so frustrated that you may give up altogether. That would be unfortunate and unnecessary. You have only being playing for three months. That is a VERY short time. You are expecting too much too soon.


    Fellow TB'r Scott Devine's web site has some great bass lessons on all aspects of playing. Here are some clips featuring right hand technique.



    Best of luck with it. :)
  4. carldogs

    carldogs

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    Fingers getting stuck, sounds like you plucking to deep with your fingers. Are you taking any lessons at this piont? To work on tone, slow everything right down, set your metronome or what ever you use to around 60 bpm, start with a scale and work on getting the notes even and connected, you can also work with arpeggios, they are good for getting used to string crossing. Set aside say 15 mins of your practice time to do this each day, results are not instant but even after a week you should start to notice that you have more control over your tone
    Good luck to you.
  5. Derp

    Derp

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    Thanks a lot! This guy is awesome
  6. kbaxter26

    kbaxter26 Supporting Member

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    YES HE IS!!!
  7. fearceol

    fearceol

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    You are welcome ! :)

    Yes Scott is indeed a great teacher. His site gets a lot of praise here on TB.
  8. SidMau

    SidMau

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    Or be like some of us and Flea and Geddy Lee and smack the **** outta the strings
  9. fearceol

    fearceol

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    Yep!....but you have to learn how to "smack" AND groove, at the same time. Easier said than done. ;)
  10. HalfPlayer

    HalfPlayer

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    Sounds like your literally plucking the string, you need to run your finger across it
  11. Jason Wilson

    Jason Wilson

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    Just for a different type of exercise -

    It's seems you are able to get heaps of attack, ie play hard, he is an exercise to play way at the other extreme, and then find somewhere in the middle that suits your needs

    With you left hand (if right handed), fret a note and left up slowly until the note stops, then push down again slightly so the note sounds again. This is actually as hard as you need to play with your left hand to play.
    Then with your right hand, try playing with a metronome straight quarter notes, 16ths what ever very lightly, still keeping that minimum pressure on your left hand.

    It will take you a while more than likely to be able to do this cleanly and still all with minimum pressure & attack. But once you do you should be able to increase just as needed. As everyone else has said, practice is your friend.

    The more you practice, the more your hands will relax and acheive the result you are looking for

    In the shed!! :p
  12. Schmorgy

    Schmorgy

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    Quick side note, both of those songs are played through so much effects processing (I think he had two Sovtek fuzz pedals and an Akai Deep Impact synth in the chain) that there's literally no attack left on the sound.
  13. Lownote38

    Lownote38

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    Keep your fingernails short and develop a lighter touch. You can actually play faster when you play more lightly.
  14. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya

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    You might be surprised to learn that Steve Harris has a very, very soft touch when playing. That's part of where his speed comes from. His punch and attack in a combination of his strings and rig.
  15. Steve

    Steve Supporting Member

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    Three months and you haven't yet developed professional level tone and technique????

    Imagine how I must feel still working on it after 40 years.:D:D
  16. tomilchik

    tomilchik

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    ...that may help. There are tons more, I'm sure; but these are ones that I rely on a lot to develop lighter touch, and get the respective feel into muscle memory.

    Right hand:
    Play 16th notes at comfortable metronome speed - say, 60bpm - on an open string (start with the lowest, then go through all).
    Goal is to gradually increase loudness (by plucking harder and harder), from quietest in bar one to loudest in bar four (without stopping), then bring volume back gradually from bar five to quietest in bar eight.
    Your "soft touch" will be in bars 1 & 2, and 7 & 8. Get used to the feel, remember it.

    Left hand:
    "Buzz étude". Works best on low strings (B, E, A), but you can extend it to higher strings as well.
    Same metronome speed (60). Play quarter or 8th notes around frets 2-3-4, in pairs: the first should buzz - that is, press the string just enough to produce a pitch, but not hard enough, so that it still buzzes and sounds "bad"; the second note should sound clean - increase pressure barely enough to eliminate the buzz, but not more. Remember the feel of how little pressure it actually takes to produce a clean sound - that's how hard your left hand should work.

    Credit for these exercises goes to my great bass teacher, Patrick Pfeiffer.
  17. Duckwater

    Duckwater

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    Practice practice practice. There are many different ways to play the strings to achieve different sounds, try to learn as many as you can, they are all useful and you will develop a much stronger control of your string's vibration and the sound of your bass. Don't try to rush your practice, make it slow and simple so you can pay attention to your right hand motions and how the string reacts.

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