Tips for improving fingering on fretboard.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Precision101, Nov 29, 2013.


  1. Precision101

    Precision101

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    Hey guys this is weird question but I've kind of at an intermediate level at this point as a bass player and I've been playing for a year. I know much about the instrument and I've been starting to do my own set ups. I need to get better with my fingering on the fretboard though. I'm getting very picky with the instrument and always find myself adjusting the saddles and truss rod because sometimes it's uncomfortable to play. (Is this a normal stage of a growing bassist?). like action and string height.and also I feel like my truss rod might be too tight. Anyway the buzz gets to me sometimes when it's unnecessary. I know the bass is a noisy instrument but sometimes it's too much. I do play with low action and my rotosound swing bass strings are light as a feather and I play with a fender p. I do not want to change this setup. and have gained a light touch but my fingering could improve. Now I do play upside down because I'm a lefty so some positions are a bit tough sometimes. So my right hand would be my fingering hand. (Imagine if the E was on the bottom and G was on the top) Any help on this would be a great pleasure. And I just realized I should of put this in the technique forum. Sorry guys.
     
  2. Britbonic

    Britbonic Supporting Member

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    Well this is kind of a combo question so I'll break it down.

    For setup, constantly adjusting, while maybe a good way to learn about setups, it's helping your progress as a player. If say it's uncomfortable, what do you mean? Action too high? Too low? String tension too high? Is there a fundamental problem with the bass itself? Neck not straight? Uneven frets?

    My advice would be first to get the bass checked out and setup properly. Then you'll have a reference point. If you want to try yourself, there are tons of resources here and elsewhere on line for how to do setups and check the condition of your bass. Dan Erlewine's Guitar Player Repair Guide is an excellent resource for all of the above. Otherwise, take it to a good luthier and have him/her do the setup.

    Properly setup, you should be able to get relatively low action without buzz. You may be getting buzz because you're digging it too much with your right hand.

    Not sure I understand what you mean be fingering on the fretboard? The fact that you are playing what sounds like a right handed bass left handed would seem like a huge impediment to your progress. Unless, there's good reason for this, economic or otherwise I'd suggest finding a left handed bass. Short of that, I'd at least have someone swap the nut so you can play the E & A strings closest to you.

    Sounds like you need to work on a good fundamental left and righthand techniques. Steady plucking using alternating 1st and index finger on the your left hand, proper hand position with thumb under the neck and 1 finger per fret on your right. Again, lot's of great resources here and elsewhere for technique. Have you thought about getting a teacher? A good one can help you with all of this.
     
  3. Precision101

    Precision101

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    I need a proper permanent hand placement technique on my fingerboard. The way I hold it is kind of weird sometimes. The problem is I think I rely too much on my ring and index finger so I constantly find myself sliding around too much making it uncomfortable to play. And I hate the feel of high action so sometimes I feel like it's set high when it's not. So I constantly adjust the bass. I need to stop that most of all. I just need to find some techniques to play more comfortably without buzzing and clicking with my low action setting. I naturally play bass upside down so I can't get a lefty. Also I already take drum lessons so that's 25 bucks already for a teacher :D I used to be the same way with drums as well but I chilled out on that. I also need advice on keeping my plucking fingers at one level (not too hard not too light) controlled.i find myself playing too many notes sometimes too. My notes sound rushed and i don't know why but my brain and fingers sometimes work that way instead of keeping a simple groove. I just want some advice on this stuff i just want to be a more controlled focused bass player instead of a sloppy bass player. I do find my self hitting notes and pulling away with other strings humming as well that's a big problem too
     
  4. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

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    Have a good setup done on the bass, or do one yourself. Then put the issue of setup to rest. It's NOT the instrument at that point, it's technique.

    You should be asking this question in the Technique forum, not here. You can also benefit by searching YouTube for videos showing fingering technique. Where and how you position your thumb is important. I suggest you look up Carol Kaye's website for info on the thumb, as I suspect that's actually an issue for you. I found exactly the comment I was looking for - here it is: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?id=168440386566810&story_fbid=476134702451942

    You MUST learn to use at least your first, second and fourth finger (pinky) in fingering. I learned on upright bass where the third finger is also used separately, and I personally think that makes perfect sense...but many don't agree. I understand that the first and second fingers are stronger, so it's not unusual to use them. But you don't need to be pressing hard if your setup is good. In fact, pressing hard can be bad for your hand.

    I'm not sure how long you have been playing, but I suspect that part of the answer is more hours of practice and playing.
     
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  6. Precision101

    Precision101

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    Thanks and yeah I know I mentioned I should of put it in the technique forum. Sorry bout that. I play every day and I might be thinking too much about the instrument than actually playing it. Thank you so much for the carol Kaye info.
     
  7. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

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    Carol Kaye may be a somewhat controversial figure (in terms of her claims), but she is one helluva player and one of the greats. That specific link tells you most of what you need to get started on better technique.
     
  8. Precision101

    Precision101

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    Thanks a lot pilgrim. I'm already getting started. I think I might need some higher tension strings too I'm thinking. My strings are really flimsy I'm getting d addario steels shipped in a couple days.
     
  9. DeadZeriousBass

    DeadZeriousBass

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    Precision101. Practice playing Scales and Arpeggios with a metronome. That will help with your dynamics and sloppy bass playing.

    I would suggest you get your bass properly setup by a professional luthier so you know what the bass looks and feels like in proper setup. This will give you a starting point to learning how to setup yourself

    Check out these websites for some practicing ideas as well

    Www.studybass.com
    Www.activebass.com
    Www.scottsbasslessons.com

    There are a few places to go to learn some of the techniques your seeking

    Hope this helps

    Scottee
    Bass player for Deadzerious
     
  10. Precision101

    Precision101

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    I got the bass set up just how I want it. Part of the problem is my hand sticking to the strings and fret board I just realized this. I should wash my hands with some cold water before I play and practice too. I used to do this with drum sticks
     
  11. enricogaletta

    enricogaletta

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    Well this is a normal stage for any bass player because you need to understand what will be your bass action setup for ever.
    So it require times and patience because you need to get used by small step working on bridge and on the truss rod.
    Especially for the truss rod, make small change each time and let your bass get used to it.
    Action depends from a lot of factors, especially from the weather humidity, so when you make a change give days to the bass to reach the best conditions and see if does fit your needs.
    About buzz frets noise, well this is another important thing to keep in mind.
    Usually with lower action, (I'm a low action player too) buzz depend from two important things, but first keep always in mind that buzz is a thing connected to the low action, but from what depend if your buzz is too much noisy compared to other players?
    If the low action setup has been made right, (I suggest you to check with luthier or experienced player first) the first thing that made the buzz noise a pleasure and a feature of the modern bass playing and not a frustrating issue is the dynamic of your touch.
    You need to learn how to get gentle but at the sometime reach volume, punch and definition with your right hand technique.
    The second thing depends from the instrument and explain which differences there are between a bass that cost $500, 1000 and 3000.
    The frets work is one of the most important and valuable thing a bass maker give to a bass and when you use low setup is the evidence of truth.
    When you ear the buzz noise at least on the 60% of your fingerboard your setup is not right, but if you hear the buzz just on some frets than the frets are not so good.
    For example industrial production as fender, yamaha, ibanez etc etc usually have problems on low action setups.
    Expensive bass in the 90% of the cases give you great way to set low the action, and this is a reason why a lot of player make a refret on their loved jazz bass.
    So be patient keep working on that and ask suggestions to experience players or bass makers.
    If you need any further help just let me know, I will be happy to help you.
    Cheers.

    www.enricogaletta.com
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