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16th note scales and octaves - Immigrant Song - need help

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Hedgehog_SBM, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. Hedgehog_SBM


    Nov 28, 2011
    I've read all threads here on the Immigrant Song by Zeppelin, and they are helpful, but I need more help (please).

    Been playing for a bit more than a year. I'm now trying to learn from Truefire videos purchased - great fun and very helpful. But certain techniques in certain applications are showing areas that I need work on. Immigrant Song by Zep sums up two of these well:

    1) 16th note scales at somewhat fast tempo:

    I'm doing the drill - 16th note scales in this song slowly first. I seem to be progressing, but perhaps I need a bit more patience. Is the correct technique simply going back to it day after day, increasing speed slowly until you get it? I'm trying to minimize fretting finger movement and playing close to the bridge. Any other advice?

    2) Playing the octave in this song is tricky for me. I think the main problem is skipping strings (discussed in a recent thread re: disco lines). Let me tell you more detail, and perhaps you can give specific advice. In TAB, I'm playing (fingerstyle):


    The easiest and best sounding way for me so far is to play the ghost note as a tap with index+middle, then play it index - middle - index, which allows playing the F# on the 4th fret D string with middle - which makes the string skipping easier for me.

    However - I normally don't concentrate on what plucking finger to start with, so I end up starting with the middle sometimes, and going for the F# with the index finger, and that messes up that idea.

    Any sugestions here?
    - should I concentrate on always starting with the index finger?
    - any general advice about string skipping?

    My other octaves lessons concentrate more on navigating the neck, which I'm improving on quickly. This new issue is very different - it's more about the proper technique for string skipping, and it's taking longer.

    RSVP, and thanks in advance.
  2. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    I don't use a pick either [don't have plectrum skills] for Immigrant song , so for picked JPJ parts I use a very tight compact and muted double thump .

    For the upper octave F# I use a muted [right hand and left] pop to mimic the picked snap JPJ gets on the record.

    Audio sample on my reverbnation page
  3. Hedgehog_SBM


    Nov 28, 2011
    Thanks Fraublugher. Can you describe the "thump" - is it a thumb slap? I'm imagining what you are doing then doesn't require switching fingers - thumb plays the low F#, and index or middle does the high F# pop?

    Totally different than what I was thinking. I've seen YT videos where people slap/pop this line, but it sounds very different from the original.

    A lot to learn - all part of the fun.

    Anyone else?
  4. Anonymatt


    Jan 3, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    I play that bit mostly the normal way. Sometimes I mix it up and use my pinky to snap the f# on the E. That way one of your other digits doesn't have to make it all the way down there. Lotsa leverage with the pinky, and he's always ready and waiting.
  5. Hedgehog_SBM


    Nov 28, 2011
    Hi Matt - can you explain the "normal way", and the sequence that you use for the pinky? There are 3 F#'s on the E before the octave. How many are "pinkied"?
  6. Anonymatt


    Jan 3, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    The normal way is an ordinary two finger technique, I guess. Probably not a strict alternation because of the three strokes on the low F#.

    With the pinky, it's to get that low F# after the octave. One an a two EE uh. The ee of the two and four.
  7. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    I always slap this line. I find it easier to fall in time and I can mute the ghost note easily with my hand.
    I just use a shallow tone so that it doesn't sound obnoxious.
    People know the version from Infectious Groove and they're not surprised to see slap at this point.
  8. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    +1. Thanks to Trujillo, we don't have to stress it and play it right.
  9. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    First of all JPJ never played near the bridge so I don't know why you mention that. Most of the time, though not all, when you think he's playing with a pick, no, he's slapping the strings off the board, his favorite trick to be a percussive player. His favorite spot to play was right on the neck. He is a slapper from the beginning.

    Second, forget the octave until you nail the rhythm and runs up the chorus. Nail that and the octave will fall into place. Just concentrate in the f# rhythm. Once that I'd down begin reaching for the octave and work it in. Just keep the f# going. My.02
  10. A general piece of advice about playing fast - make sure you're staying relaxed. A lot of us tend to "tense up" when playing at a fast tempo, which can cause you to use sheer muscle strength to push through and play a passage, with the end result being that your fingers and hands get "locked up."

    Lighten up your touch, make sure you're not hunching over the bass, and definitely make sure you keep breathing during the difficult passages (my old bass teacher used to have me practice difficult stuff with my mouth actually hanging open, so I would be forced to not hold my breath; it looked weird, but worked). If you can, video record yourself playing and see what happens when you get to fast/difficult passages. A lot of times, you see yourself tensing up in ways you never realized.
    FingerDub likes this.