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3 fingered technique

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by rashbeep, Aug 26, 2005.


  1. rashbeep

    rashbeep

    Jul 15, 2005
    Toronto, ON
    anyone know how to master this technique? im currently playing with two but i would very much like to learn to play with three
     
  2. chaosMK

    chaosMK

    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    I am not sure when I started playing with three fingers with my right hand. I had probably been playing some pretty fast metal (Fear Factory) with a pick and one day just started throwing in the third finger to do stuff like hurdas (sp?) and sixteenth note triplets. So maybe in some ways neccessity is the place to start.

    The way I improved my proficiency over time was by trying out about as many different patterns that I could think of and drumming rudiments that would be really hard with just two fingers.

    Here are a few of my favorites these days, that I usually practice on arpeggios.

    Reversing 4 note pattern-
    3-2-1-2-1-2-3-2

    Reversing triplet pattern
    3-2-1-1-2-3
     
  3. Correlli

    Correlli

    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    I would like ask two questions if I may.

    How long have you been playing bass?

    What do you want to use 3 finger technique for?

    Reason why I ask these questions, is that 3 finger technique has very limited uses. To "get the job done" 2 fingers is all you need. What I man by "getting the job done" is playing bass as part of the rhythm section, and supporting the song.

    But I do agree, that the 3 finger technique is very useful as a soloing technuiqe. Also, many bass soloist have learnt soloing methods and techniuqes over a very long period of time - I'm talking Years. Using bass guitar as a solo instrument is very much an evolving process. For example, it was 6 years of playing bass, before I even started thinking using bass as a soloing instrument.

    I'm not trying to put you off learning 3 finger techniqe, but if you've only been playing for a few months, or even a couple of years, it's better to put that technique on the back-burner, and learn the basic stuff first.

    It would interest to hear other peoples view point. And sorry if I'm not been very helpful, it's just the experience I had with the techniuqe
     
  4. rashbeep

    rashbeep

    Jul 15, 2005
    Toronto, ON
    true i have been playing a few months, but i am taking lessons come september so i could basically learn the basics and perhaps these kinds of techniques. btw thanks for replying
     
  5. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    If using three plucking fingers is something you plan on doing regularly, then starting as early as possible is best. This way you'll have less ingrained instict to have to fight against- many players who try to switch to three or four fingers after playing.playing with just two for years have a difficult time at it, while at the other end of the spectrum, Gary Willis started out playing with three fingers, so it was always natural feeling for him. Classical guitarists are taught to use three or four fingers from the get-go.

    It's beneficial to use for standard fingerstyle work because it releives some of the stress on your plucking fingers by allowing you to use less finger movement to acheive the same speed.

    There's a couple ways to go about it. You can use index-middle-ring in patterns of either 3-2-1-3-2-1 (or going the opposite way if you prefer 1-2-3-1-2-3) or going 3-2-1-2-3-2-1. Or combinations of both. The downside of the second method is that your middle finger gets more work than the other two fingers, but the upside is that playing groups of even notes (2, 4, 8, etc.) is more natural feeling in this manner, rather than the natural triplet feel in playing 3-2-1-3-2-1. Steve Bailey uses both, with 3-2-1-2-3 as his more standard method.

    You can also use your thumb instead of you ring finger for a three-finger attack, which is benefical as the thumb is much more versatile than your other fingers in that it can hinge up and down quickly, allowing you to pluck sixteenth notes at the same speed as your other fingers, but also allowing you to hinge it downwards for descending strings far more quickly than your other fingers. And it's a natural finger to use for chords and octaves anyways. With using your thumb and index and middle, the typical pattern would be 1 (thumb), 2 (index), 3 (middle), 1-2-3-1-2-3. You can also use four fingers ala Matt Garrison by playing thumb, index, middle, ring, 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4. This is a great way to play fingerstyle as well, because using four fingers often feels more natural than using three for someone who has grown accustomed to playing with two fingers, as using four has the same even-number-of-plucks-per-note feel as two does, while three takes some mental effort to get past the odd number triplet feel.

    For any of these methods, the best way to get used to it is likely constant practicing with a metronome going VERY SLOWLY for a long time. It's a lot of work-it likely won't feel natural for months- but it can be worth it. Once you've gotten it to feeling more natural, play using only this technique- don't allow yourself to go back to playing two fingers for anything (at least for a while)- this will help force yourself to become proficient in all the areas your were profiecient in using two fingers.
     
  6. Tash

    Tash

    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    +1

    More than anything I've ever done on the bass, nailing high speed 3 finger technique took the most amount of dry, slow, repetative practice. You really, really have to make sure that you are playing perfectly at slow speed before you advance to a higher tempo. Building muscle memory is the key, and its especially difficult because this is not a natural type of movement your muscles are used to. .
     
  7. rashbeep

    rashbeep

    Jul 15, 2005
    Toronto, ON
    this is the method that i plan on using the most but i could give the other technique a try
     
  8. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Cool. Try to give them an equal shot to figure out what you like more. While playing 3-2-1-2-3 does make your middle finger do more work than the others, it has the advantage of having a quicker recovery time between finger strokes. By that I mean that after plucking with your index finger, your middle finger is the next closest to the strings and will be able to pluck the string with a little less time between plucks than if you pluck with your index and then have to skip down to your ring to pluck the next note. That the reason that playing 3-2-1-3-2-1 often has a galloping, triplet sound to it- because the ring finger takes a little longer to go down and pluck the string after the index plucks it.

    I tried to learn this three finger technique for quite a while, but had to give up after my pinky started getting pains whenever I'd try it. It was because my pinky would naturally try to follow my ring finger, but since I wasn't using it to pluck with (too short), it would just wag in the air over and over again. I turned to the thumb-index-middle-ring plucking technique after that (playing 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4) with my hand cuved in playing freestrokes instead of reststrokes (ala classical guitarists), and I've had a much better time at it- no pinky pains, and it's become my standard plucking technique.
     
  9. nysbob

    nysbob

    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    While I agree that you can get the job done with two, I strongly disagree the 3 finger has limited uses. If you want to be able to drive 16th notes through a whole tune or 8ths through a thrashing rocker, it will enable you to do it. It's not something that comes overnight - you really have to work at it (as mentionied above, a metronome or drum machine will help a lot). I also do primarily 3-2-1, but different passages require different things so there's no hard & fast rules. Once it becomes automatic it will become helpful in every aspect of what you do.
     
  10. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Good post. The thing about playing with three or four fingers is that it's a "technique-y" technique, as in it doesn't have a different sound to it like slap or tapping does. If you're doing it correctly, it should sound the same as two-finger plucking. It actually has more uses that two fingers, as the addtion of more plucking fingers will allow you to play faster while exerting less energy and wear on your fingers, and it will also allow you to play with more fingers at once for chordal work.
     
  11. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium
    Do a search, it's been beaten to death.

    Otoh, my first post here was also about this subject :D
     
  12. Correlli

    Correlli

    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    point well taken.

    I think after a while of experimenting with various finger combinations, you start to use differnet fingers for differnet applications. I appraoch soloing with mostly 3+ fingers, but
    for rhythm situations, I find it more comfortable to use 1 or 2 fingers.

    Personal preference in the end.

    Cheers!
     
  13. rashbeep

    rashbeep

    Jul 15, 2005
    Toronto, ON
    exactly how i plan to use my fingers. i cant even possibly think of doing a rhythm piece with three fingers it just feels weird for me.
     
  14. Tash

    Tash

    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    That's exactly the opposite of my approach. Soloing I rarely play fast for long enough to need to use 3 fingers. I use short fast runs with lots of string skipping, which are easier for me with 2 fingers.

    The only time I need 3 is for long, drawn out rythym passages at higher speeds where 2 fingers will tire out too quickly.