Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

3 fingers vs. 4 fingers

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by fivesevenoh, Sep 23, 2003.


  1. right now i mainly play with fingers 1 and 2. but for some melodic parts and "tech" parts of my band's songs, I like to use 3 fingers, sometimes 4. but the thing is, I have no set order my fingers go in. I play it different each time.
    Is it better to have one consistant technique and get REALLY good at it. or is it better to be medicore at playing the same thing using different techniques.

    also, should I bother developing dexterity in my pinky on my picking hand? or is 3 fingers good enough?
     
  2. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Depends on what you find comfortable and what your technique calls for. Myself, I tried four fingers and realized that my pinky, being a lot smaller than the rest of my fingers, was a hindrance.

    It isn't a speed issue. You can play at the same speed with 2, 3 or 4 fingers, but the feel will be different each way.

    I'd say the best way to learn for now would be to get your material down using the technique(s) that you know best. Learning songs and learning techniques should be done separately.
     
  3. Everyone has a different style, and in my view, the end justifies the means. IOW, it's how you sound that really counts! One of my favorite bassists is Carles Benavent, and he sounds great (IMHO) using a pick! Do as TJ suggests, concentrate on learning the tunes using the technique that you're comfortable with. Take time off at night to practice fingerstyle technique (using T + 2, T + 3, and T + 4 fingers). Take your time and make sure you're comfortable with each before throwing another finger into the equation. What I found to be useful when teaching my young students fingerstyle technique is REPETITION. Don't try to play an entire tune for practice, instead, work on a few notes at a time, and repeat until you are comfortable with them. Speed comes with practice.

    I'll post some exercises here tonight, for whomever is interested.
     
  4. ole Jason

    ole Jason Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Louisville, KY
    Yep, you'll get it. I use 3 and 4 fingers on my right hand but I've seen all kinds of people that can play faster with just 2. It just takes practice.
     
  5. Ok. just to let you know, I started a "Finger Exercise" thread HERE
     
  6. BustinJustin

    BustinJustin banned

    Sep 12, 2003
    NYC, LI too
    3 fingers and a thumb....
    but, sometimes i'll use my pinky for the low (E or B) strings when i need a quick attack... i do need to practice more as i use it to fool around mostly
     
  7. I use as less fingers as possible to get the most consistent tone possible.

    I can't use all four 'cause my ring finger's screwed up (damn snowmobile!) but sometimes I use the pinky (for example, the triplets in "Run To The Hills").
     
  8. Wastegate

    Wastegate

    Sep 25, 2003
    Norcross, Ga
    Depending on the bassline I use 2 or 3 fingers and sometimes thumb and use my pinky to mute the string directly above the string I'm on. If I'm playing the E string then my pinky is under the B muting it and so forth down the line. Many people use their thumb for this but until I get on the D, G or C string I anchor my thumb on the neck pick up. Sure there are plenty of techniqiues out there but ultimately it's what you're most comfortable with.
     
  9. I had a bass teacher once who used 4 fingeres on his right hand and he could play some amazing stuff. I tried it for the longest time, but it was too much of a hindrance, so I just had to drop it. Oh well :meh: On another note, James Jamerson played some pretty impressive stuff with only one finger.