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3 THREE Finger Technique

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by teenagebass69, Mar 25, 2004.

  1. Im currently working on my 3 finger fingerpicking technique on my right hand....its waaaaay harder than it looks so does anybody have any tips or tricks? and it would help if anybody knew any exercises to help...thanx
  2. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    go and buy the Gary Willis video - you will not be sorry

  3. Bassius


    Nov 6, 2001
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar amps
    Yes...definitely get the gary will video
  4. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    I don't know... I've seen the Gary video and I find his technique very personal. Not at all the kind you'd expect a beginner to pick up.

    I'm not trying to be the alternative to GW, but I'd like to share how my three finger technique came about.

    When I studied classical guitar, the instructor made me play 2 octave scales from low E string to high E string using three 2 finger combinations: Index and middle, middle and ring and Index and ring. The goal was to alternate fingers going up and down the neck. A one octave exercise starting in G going up and down the neck would be(Top number is you fretting hand fingering, bottom is the plucking hand. Alternating index (1) and middle (2), Index (1) and ring (3) and middle(2) and ring (3))

    G A B C D E F# G F# E D C B A G
    2 4 1 2 4 1 3 4 3 1 4 2 1 4 2

    1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1
    1 3 1 3 1 3 1 3 1 3 1 3 1 3 1
    2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2

    Notice that you end with the same finger you started with on the fretting hand. Your plucking hand must alternate even when you're descending from one string to the next.

    This took care of my two finger Pizzicato. After a few years, it occurred to me to mix it up. Ymmv.
  5. andrewd


    Sep 5, 2003
    that last finger pattern is pretty tricky!
  6. nicorus_bass


    Mar 31, 2004
    Billy Sheehan has 3 techniques for playing bass with timing 3 being 1 2 3 4 thus below
    index = 1
    middle = 2
    ring = 3

    this is pattern
    Finger = 3 2 1 3 2 1 3 2 1 3 2 1
    Timing = 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4




  7. The "Advanced Bassix" one??? I've been looking for weeks for that but I can't find it. Anyone got a link of where I can find it, preferably in the UK??
  8. dTune


    Feb 28, 2004
    I'll second practicing with different finger combinations. After you can control the ring finger (volume etc.) like the other fingers, it's the most reasonable time to take it with the other fingers.

    Besides, it's good to know how to play with i.e. index&ring, helps a lot when you have a wound in your middle finger... :D
  9. bassuser35


    Mar 25, 2004
    Go to Steve digorgio's home page. He has a great pdf file on 3finger technique.
  10. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    It's called Progressive Bassics.

    I recommend learning the Billy Sheehan system outlined by nicorus
  11. I've tried out both briefly I think I prefer Gary Willis'. It seems a lot easier when playing 16th notes.

    Out of interest what does Gary Willis teach in the Progressive Bassics video since I can't find a description and it's £23 so it isn't cheap......
  12. IanM


    Apr 2, 2004

    Thats cool! I'll have to try that...I've been having the same problem
  13. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Thanks, Ian. Hope it helps.

    Although that technique is workable, I always felt that my string transition could be smoother. I just thought it was a matter of practice, but I was turned on to an alternative pizzicato technique by Bunny Brunel.

    Instead of alternating fingers when descending, simply use the same finger to play the next note on the lower string. This is brand new to me and I'm working on it as a two-finger technique, which is the way it was shown to me. I have no idea if and when I'll expand it to three fingers.

    Here's an exercise to help get the principle:

    1) Hold down or fret two notes a perfect fifth apart (C and G, for instance) and play a pattern similar to Steely Dan's Ricky Don't Lose That Number or Green Dolphin Street (?) with the following righthand fingering (1=index, 2=middle):

    12 12 21 21 12 12 21 21, etc.

    The goal here is economy/continuity of motion and the advantage is that ideally the attack will be uniform when going from one string to the next. The arm position suggested to me was to pivot my thumb on a pickup and move my hand over ever string without letting it collapse. (I got the habit of supporting my forearm on the bass and curling the fingers to reach individual strings. Perfectly good on guitar, but doesn't quite translate to bass).

    I'm practicing my band's songs' basslines with this in mind. I don't think I'll be fluent in it before a couple of months.
  14. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
  15. I found his method to best for me. Digiorio can hang with the rest of em' on 3 finger technique.

    Other people's methods I didn't like, were Percy Jones but he is an awesome player!
    Gary is great too but I never found his 3 finger technique to be as practical to me.
  16. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Not Impressed By Those Who Flaunt “Authority” Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    Steve Bailey instructs on this too.

    I apply this where I can. The hardest part for me is to maintain the same level of attack across all fingers.

    I can be fast, but it's not always a "natural" technique for me. Sometimes I just do it without thinking about it.
  17. Little G

    Little G

    Feb 27, 2003
    Check Matt Garrison his uses a 4 finger and sometimes thumb technique which incredibly fast.

    You can see him use it on Herbie's Future 2 Future dvd or Matts solo album.

    He is meant ot be releaseing a book detailing it.

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