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124 fingering on electric bass.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by davrip, Jun 30, 2012.


  1. davrip

    davrip

    Jun 30, 2012
    Hi all,

    I am wondering if anyone can recommend the best book, resource, or
    site to learn more about applying the 124 fingering on the lower
    positions.

    I find the one fret per finger rule causes pain at the lower frets
    for some types of playing.

    EG: Playing a blues "box" repetitive riff in F or G.

    Using a two fret reach with 1st finger and 4th totally eliminates it.

    The problem comes when using learning materials where the author is
    using one finger/one fret for everything.

    The specific book I am working through is "Complete bass manual"
    by Stephan Richter.

    I need to get a handle on reading and theory to improve and this book
    does cover a lot of ground.

    But I don't know the correct way and times to adapt 124 fingerings
    and when not to.

    I hope I am clear in my explanation and would be grateful for any tips.
     
  2. Jazzkuma

    Jazzkuma

    Sep 12, 2008
    Get the Ray Brown method book, its for upright so you get exercises for 124 technique.
     
  3. Jazzkuma

    Jazzkuma

    Sep 12, 2008
    You use it on the lower registers like you said. But there really isn't a specific location in which you should shift to the 1234 (like upright would to thumb position). It varies on everyones hand size, comfort, and bass size.
     
  4. davrip

    davrip

    Jun 30, 2012
    Hi and thanks for the reply.

    I guess what I am trying to work out is 124 on the lower frets
    and the correct 124 fingerings on these frets.

    For example in F# "Blues box" I would use 1and 4 to play R and octave.

    To play the F# major scale I would switch to 1fpf, but how would
    a 124 player play it?

    Looks like a DB book as you suggest would provide tips and
    correct fingerings.

    Thanks again.
     
  5. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Simandl.

    int3020.
     
  6. Octaves

    Octaves

    Jun 22, 2012
    The Hal Leonard books teach the 124 method. Bass Method by Hal Leonard.

    Personally, i have an issue with it, as it seems like a habit that becomes hard to break. In a way, i wish i could "unlearn" the 124 method, as i seem to use it too much on the upper frets.
     
  7. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    If what you play sound good, then you have no need to change.
    But if you are looking for an idea to practice and develop into your playing then try developing chromatic scales.

    If we look at the way a standard bass is set up and tuned we always have options for the same note one fret to the left or right on a new string when playing 1234.

    I call working out fingering options as " fret mapping", this is just a way of examining what fingerings are possible to use and what ones are best to use. The chromatic exercise i mentioned will open up the ideas of this and help see and hear more options.

    For example "A" chromatic scale over two octaves what are the options?

    The key ( nothing to do with music it is the key to the terms used) is the open string and the fret number being used, this has nothing to do with intervals or chord tone numberings, this is purely fret numbers.
    So the open strings are named as such, E-A-D-G then the fret number is named to that string
    A5= D,
    D6= G#,
    E= E,
    E1= F,
    E3 = G,etc

    So one option to play "A" chromatic over two octaves are ex1.

    A chromatically to A20 (A-A20)
    D16 chromatically to D19 (D16-D19)

    or another option is ex.2

    E5-E20
    A16-A19
    D15-D18
    G14

    or another option ex.3

    E5-E12
    A8-A15
    D11-D18
    G14

    or another option ex4

    E5-E8
    A4-A7
    D3-D6
    G2-G14

    So now you have the idea of fret mapping, this is just a few of the options for A over two octaves. All we do is learn the options we have rather the any pattern. Once the best option has been choosen, then look for a pattern to learn if need be.

    But any fretting postions need to maximize fingerings to make a complete fret map.
    As a rule we want to optimize the use of all 4 fingers on the fretting hand following on from each other, so if i call the fingering key, 0-1-2-3-4 then
    0 when used is an open string,
    1= forefinger,
    2= middlefinger,
    3= ringfinger,
    4= littlefinger

    Using "A" chromatic over two octaves again ( because it is familier to us as an example) then what fingering options do we have?

    Remember each number represents a finger.
    Once we get familier with it we learn to associate the fingers used with the fretting used.
    I will touch on why this is so at the end because it is an associated learning that happens....something you become aware of.
    Because the fretting is always a new note to the left or right then any repeat numbering is a new note for the numbered finger, again remember each note is fretted once.

    Its fair to say our mapping will not follow an even fingering of fours, so the option is to use open strings, move the fingering at the start or at the end. so a fingering may start
    0-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4 etc
    1-2-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4 etc
    or end 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1.

    So looking again at ex.1

    A chromatically to A20 (A-A20) the fingering is 0-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4
    D16 chromatically to D19 (D16-D19) becomes 1-2-3-4

    ex.2

    E5-E20 =1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4
    A16-A19 = 1-2-3-4
    D15-D18= 1-2-3-4
    G14=1

    ex.3

    E5-E12 = 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4
    A8-A15 = 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4
    D11-D18 = 1-2-3-4
    G14= 1

    ex.4

    E5-E8 = 1-2-3-4
    A4-A7 = 1-2-3-4
    D3-D6 = 1-2-3-4
    G2-G14 = 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1

    In ex.4 G2-G14 is one option, another may be

    1-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4 or
    1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-4

    I said earlier about an associated learning with the fingering.
    If you have been working on these exercises you will associate that
    A -A12
    means the hand had to move three times so the the little finger landed on A12 ( the octave) 3x4 = 12.
    As we use it we start to associate notes, fret positions, fingerings as one.
    Once we start to see and hear A7-8-9-10
    as E-F-F#-G then the mapping is becoming internalized and part of the playing skills we draw on.
    This means when we see Standard Notation and read the notes
    of say a simple latin triad line of

    A-C#-D-C#/D-F#-A-F#/E-G#-B-G#/D-F#-A -F#/A-C#-D-C#

    We can follow paterns or notes or a combination of them.
    This is because in music we are always coming to, staying on passing through, and leaving chord changes and any associated harmony involved. so fretting options for these triads can be

    E5-A4-A7-A4/A5-D4-D7-D4/A7-D6-D9-D6/A5-D4-D7-D4/E5-A4-A7-A4

    or

    E5-A4-D2-A4/A5-D4-G2-D4/A7-D6-G4-D6/A5-D4-G2-D4/E5-A4-D2-A4

    or combinations of those two such as

    E5-A4-A7-A4/A5-D4-D7-D4/A7-D6-G4-D6/A5-D4-D7-D4/E5-A4-A7-A4

    or

    E5-A4-D2-A4/A5-D4-G2-D4/A7-D6-G4-D6/A5-D4-D7-D4/E5-A4-D2-A4

    These are just some of the options, more include the use of open strings, a new D2-G1-G4 to replace any of the E triads etc.

    Fret mapping is just about exploring and learning what notes are available to use to fit any playing situation. Its as a skill that once learned never really needs any more thought.
    When we read we associate the notes to the fret position, and when ever fret numbers are used we associate the notes to them as a matter of course rather than any pre-planned labouries process
     
  8. Jazzkuma

    Jazzkuma

    Sep 12, 2008
    +1, although a book like Hal Leonard or Ray Brown is probably more simple and easier to get into.
     
  9. anonymous111813

    anonymous111813 Guest

    Mar 1, 2011
    Evolving Bassist by Rufus Reid
     
  10. Ron G

    Ron G

    Mar 16, 2009
    Portsmouth, VA
    124, I use it up and down the fret board no pain in my left hand.
     
  11. MKoby

    MKoby

    Jul 14, 2004
    MD/Metro DC
    124 may be done as a loose pivot on the thumb (open hand)

    example
    thumb & index finger at 3rd fret, small finger 5th

    Pivot back -on thumb- index 2nd fret, long finger 3rd & small finger 4th

    Pivot forward index on 4th fret, long on 5th fret, small finger 6th fret.

    thumb stationary through the pivot

    I have found this gives me a stable reference.
    It took a while to get used to (having played guitar before taking up bass)

    See George Vance method, or Rabbath approach
     
  12. RNJBass

    RNJBass

    Oct 15, 2011
    Great thread - I am a comeback player and used Ed Friedland's Hal Leonard book to get back into playing. This was my intro to 124 fingering - completely transformed how I play vs when I stopped many years ago.

    I agree with the other folks about Simandl as well - it has specific 124 fingerings written out. I keep going over the first 30 - 40 pages to help ingrain the concept.

    Note that both the Hal Leonard and Simandl books use OFPF as you get higher on the neck - which makes sense.
     
  13. Bass Mentor

    Bass Mentor

    Apr 30, 2012
    Nashville Tennessee
    endorsing artist: Lava Cable, E&O Mari, Rupert Neve Designs
    I use the 124 method for my private students-- as I have been using it for years - no pain and more balance for the hand -- your 3rd and 4th fingers share the same tendon--- use of the 3rd finger is ok for quick passing tones etc..but not for good strong bass playing
     
  14. RNJBass

    RNJBass

    Oct 15, 2011
    Do you use any particular method book to reenforce 124 fingering with your students?
     
  15. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    124 makes the best sense on bass in order to prevent overstretching, IMO. Actually my callouses are thicker on my 1st and 4th fingers from playing 1-4 so much when I only have to go a whole step.
     
  16. Bass Mentor

    Bass Mentor

    Apr 30, 2012
    Nashville Tennessee
    endorsing artist: Lava Cable, E&O Mari, Rupert Neve Designs
    You can check on the Carol Kaye website for info--- I use here method to teach this via Skype and all my students have benefited from it....contact me thru my website if you feel it would benefit you in any way

    Steve Bryant
    Bassmentoring.com
     
  17. Franz Simandl never dreamed of an electric bass. Ninety percent of double bass player who are faced with Beethoven and Richard Strauss have been using 124 for hundreds of years, because 99% of double bass players didn’t, don’t, and won’t have hands like Shaq to handle a 42 inch or longer string length. The 4th finger is not used above F# on the G string, and the thumb is often used above G.

    Electric bass, with a 34ish inch string length is a different instrument. There is NO reason not to use 1234, one finger, one fret. It opens the fingerboard to patters of scales and arpeggios not reachable by 124 (without contorting or shifting). One key feels like another, and at 2:00am, when you’re faking a tune with some guy sitting in, you want to go by feel, not dots and fret counting.

    1234 all the way, and I'm 5ft.6.

    (Anyboady who is an Esperanza Spalding expert… what does she do when switching instruments??)
     
  18. Jazzkuma

    Jazzkuma

    Sep 12, 2008
    yes, technically speaking the "correct" way for electric bass is 1234. However a lot of popular music moves in 4ths and 5ths so 124 technique applies perfectly to the instrument and it also puts your hand in a natural position.
    There is no right or wrong technique, but seems that the op wants to learn 124 too so why not.
    Yes there is no reason not to use 1234 but there also is no reason not to use 124. If you can use both and shift within each technique unconsciously then its perfectly fine.
     
  19. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I still say that 1234 stretches the hand too far unless it's absolutely needed. No need to keep your hand like that and the thumb squarely on the center of the back of the neck. If you're worried about speed, well, I played upright in the Columbia Philharmonic for six years playing 124. No problems.

    Just my opinion, mind you.
     

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