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3 Finger plucking technique.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by My bass in your, Jun 7, 2004.

  1. My bass in your

    My bass in your

    Nov 1, 2003

    I'm playing bass for 2 years now. Started with a pick but found out that finger style sounds a lot better. I'm fast enough for what I play, but I like to add my 3rd finger if I ever need the speed.

    I'm gaining strenght, but it looks like I have to decide how I want to do it since it's training in mucle repetition. What's the right way?

    For example:
    Sheehan plays: 3-2-1-3-2-1

    DiGiorgio and Webster for example: 3-2-1-2-3-2-1

    Sheehans style is easier for me at the moment although I think Digiorgios style is better.
    What do you think?
  2. ironmaidenisgod


    May 20, 2004
    I normally play with two fingers to achieve speed.

    It is in more complex songs like the bridge of 'the Rime of the Ancient Mariner' I use three.I do 1-2-3-1-2-3.
  3. Groove_Master

    Groove_Master Guest

    Feb 29, 2004
    i always use 3 finger and its like : 1-3-2-1-3-2 and i dont know y :p and i think its not that much important. just try some different types and choose which is best for you. do you think that 3-2-1 faster than 1-2-3 or 2-3-1 or.......goes. find out which fits with you and dig it
  4. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    I try not to have a set sequence, I feel what I play. I feel that it's best not to have a set mentality of the "right" way to play.. Just play your music.
  5. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I agree. I dont always play 1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2 etc..sometimes depending on the string switching or whatever i might do 1-2-1-1-2-1-1-2-....
  6. john keates

    john keates

    May 20, 2004
    I think it depends on what kind of rythm you are playing.

    132132 is good for triplets but 12321232 would be better for groups of four. You want to make sure that you are keeping the rythm by having one finger (preferably the index) playing the pulse.
  7. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    I think Sheehan's method is the best and most natural.

    Just drum your fingers on the table, notice something?

    You start with the pinky and move through to the index.

    Changing directions aka 12321 is not ergonomic IMO and not very effective since it'll always slow you down compared to the Sheehan method.
  8. Groove_Master

    Groove_Master Guest

    Feb 29, 2004
    but i want to add that i dont know is that happening to you but for ex. you are playing with a band and unision part or bass solo bars are coming. if i start it with my index its ok but if i start to playing the solo with my ring finger or middle i cant play :-/ its crap
  9. joejet


    May 1, 2003
    Why can't the main beat be played alternating between all 3 fingers? 3-2-1-3, 2-1-3-2, 1-3-2-1 is'nt that hard to do once you get the hang of it - it's actually more of a brain/coordination teaser than anything - and once you get it down, your fingers will fell more like one plucking unit than separate "pluckers".

    Works for me (after months of practice, but still...)!
  10. Stephen Soto

    Stephen Soto

    Oct 12, 2003
    I do it like, 321-321.
  11. muthagoose


    Jan 18, 2004
  12. Stephen Soto

    Stephen Soto

    Oct 12, 2003
    woah. i was looking at some tabs, saw that in the lessons tab thing which i never look at, and read that already. lol, looks pretty good man.
  13. Billdog


    Feb 27, 2003
    Austin, Texas
    joejet is right. As Wooten would say, you need to control the technique, not have the technique control you. He and Steve Bailey, and I'm sure many others, make sure they can do any order and any rhythmic combination with their respective techniques. This ensures that you don't have to think of the pattern when you're playing. You just kind of do it. Peace.
  14. Billdog


    Feb 27, 2003
    Austin, Texas
    p.s. From my experience, three fingers may or may not be faster on one string. It's main advantage is speed in string crossings, especially to higher strings (pitch wise). Another really good example of three finger technique I didn't see mentioned is Gary Willis.
  15. maxy


    Jun 24, 2004
    on what figjam said about not doing alt. rt. hand fingering, I do the same. dont you think its wrong?

    .... i tried like the correct way of right hand tech. for master of puppets and it does feel better and sound natural like the song. I think if i go on later to learn great super fast solos, correcting now wont create problems right???

    i m i m i m instead of
    i m i i m i ....)

    i realized the major scale sounds a lot neater when played with correct right hand tech. What ya think??? esp. descending!!!
  16. maxy


    Jun 24, 2004
    ON what figjam said...I think its wrong

    rt. hand should almost always be i m i m or .... m i m i right ? Maybe wrong but my scales sound and feel much better now.
    Any comments.
  17. Stachio

    Stachio Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2002
    I use the 3212-3212 technique but have started to rethink it.
    1. The ring finger is physically the weakest finger so you have to compensate with your technique.
    2. The pattern I listed isn't necessarilly more efficient since the middle finger is going twice as fast as the ring and index fingers anyways. The fact that I see bassists like Adam Nitti nail fast parts with only 2 fingers sort of made me question my approach.
    3. A bassist I was talking to brought up the fact that the 2 finger approach is probably the most natural approximation of a picking or bowing action.

    I'm stubborn though and am going to stick with the 3 finger "DiGiorgio" pattern, because of the time I've invested in it and the fact that it has a nice feel to it. A whole post just to contradict myself at the end :D
  18. I have tried to learn both, and use whichever sounds and feels the most natural at a time. Sheehan's technique usually feels more natural to me. Also, I have tried matching the fingers of the right hand to the fingers of the left hand, that's another interesting experiment to try if nothing else.
  19. Ozzyman


    Jul 21, 2004
    DiGiorgio's technique is slower and less effecient. And I agree will Billdog when he said, "As Wooten would say, you need to control the technique, not have the technique control you. He and Steve Bailey, and I'm sure many others, make sure they can do any order and any rhythmic combination with their respective techniques." And that is the reason Strict Alternate picking is the best cleanest way to play. And whether you play 1-2-3-1-2-3 or 3-2-1-3-2-1 is actually genetic believe it or not. Kinda like if you are right handed or left handed.
  20. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Not at all, going 1-2-1-2-1-2...etc all the time can be much slower in certain times. For instance, try plucking the G string with your index, and then the D with your middle. Then, try doing both with your index in one sweep. Going 1-2-1-2 is advisable for scales and beginners because that'll break the habit of always using the index and it gets a consistent sound for both fingers, but once you're past that, you can end up limiting yourself by strictly staying to 1-2-1-2. My technique is mainly index and middle, and MAINLY alternates between the index in middle, but if I'm doing a lot of octave shapes, I'll use my thumb to pluck the root and then hit the octave with the middle -- similar to slapping and popping, but just...plucking and plucking. And if I'm doing something that descends quickly and has a lot of string skipping, my ring finger will often sneak in and hit notes on the strinb below before my index and middle can even get there. For instance, when playing a descending C blues scale and there's a triplet on the G string going Gb-F-Eb and the next note is a C on the D string, I'll go m-i-m-r to hit those four notes. Then i for the next, and when it goes down to the A string, I use the ring finger again.

    My teacher taught me the 1-2-1-2-1-2 and then told me to develop it with what felt natural. The m-i-m-r thing I described above comes from what felt natural when I started muting strings I wasn't playing. When I'm playing on the G string, my index and middle play the G, ring rests on the D to mute, pinky on A, and my thumb on the E. If I shift down, my ring goes to the A, my pinky hangs out in mid-air, and thumb stays on E. If I play on A, same except for my pinky joins the thumb on the E string. The fingers on my left hand mute the higher strings when I play low. This technique works wonderfully for me -- never had any problems with hand fatigue or pain.

    If you structure your right hand technique absolutely too much, it'll be difficult to adapt to songs that have string crossing to almost any degree at any sort of high tempo. Learn the rules so you know how to break 'em properly. Going 3-2-1-3-2-1 just feels natural to me if I'm playing a triplet on one string, but if there's any sort of crossing you start to slow yourself. The ring for me is very useful when descending strings, but that's about it.

    I tried to do that spider-walk thing with all four fingers for a little while...my pinky's just too damn short. I occasionally use it, but that's a VERY occasional occurance. It doesn't have the same strength or consistency of tone as my other fingers, so it just never really gets used.