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A (Somewhat) Definitive Guide To The Matthew Garrison Technique And Playing Ramps

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Bryan R. Tyler, Jan 22, 2006.


  1. Mr.Typhus

    Mr.Typhus

    Sep 14, 2004
    Finland
    I have a friend that plays with this technique without a ramp. I bet that ramp helps alot, but you can do it without if you just practice :)
     
  2. jtommey

    jtommey

    Feb 12, 2014
    Austin, TX
    From my experience the ramp is not important for the 4 - finger technique. It only come into play when playing regular finger style. It only give you more variations in tone when you are anchoring your thumb on it and as you hand is floating above the strings when playing with 4 fingers it doesn't matter.
     
  3. Need some help guys, I've been playing like this for a while, but I rarely use all 4 fingers all the time. If it's a more rhythmic groove, I'll usually stick just my thumb and index. If I'm playing triplets, I'll play thumb, index, and middle. I'll pretty much only play thumb, index, middle, and ring when I need to play really fast and on one string.

    Lately I've realized I usually always start a line with my thumb, and if I done realize I started with another finger, I screw up. I also have a hard time crossing strings with all 4 fingers.

    For the next little while, I want to only play thumb, index, middle, and ring no matter what. Just keep that order going, and there will be times I start on index or middle or ring or thumb, but I want to just stick to this order so that it becomes a subconscious thing, and I can do it well no matter which finger I start on. This will also improve string crossing, and maintain a strict alternating order (T, I, M, R, T, I, M, R, etc)

    It almost seems like I'm relearning the technique though as I can't play any song really, just simple odd numbered rhythms, to force myself to lead with different fingers, but it's coming too slow to me. Anyone have any tips?
     
  4. flameworker

    flameworker

    Jun 15, 2014
    Landenberg, Pennsylvania
    one day....
    Thanks for this, i just started checking out Matt Garrison technique and this summed it up well. It's hard.

    my ring finger is blistered and bleeding and ive only been trying it an hour or too. dang. Sounds so cool tho. Props. I went right to Mike Flynns page.

    This is going to take a while. How important are the ramps?
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2014
  5. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    I just started working on learning this technique. I'm not sure if it will be my "Go to" technique or a "Special Effect" technique but it will be interesting to see how it evolves for me personally. Since I'm playing one of the last Fender Steve Bailey Jazz Basses made I'm not particularly inclined to put a ramp on it.

    C/S,
    Rev J
     
  6. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Posted this in another thread earlier so I figured I'd post it here. A ramp demonstration video.
     
  7. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    The big snag I've run into (no pun intended) is that I keep getting my C string caught between the end of my thumb and thumbnail. I'm also having a bit of a hard time integrating my ring finger which is strange since my standard technique is R-M-I.

    C/S,
    Rev J
     
  8. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    Hoping to bring some live in this topic again!

    I have been playing a lot with the four finger technique lately. I have studied classical guitar so the four finger technique is nothing new to me. I have been using p i m a open strokes on bass ever since I picked up the bass (besides conventional two finger rest strokes).

    I have read all this topic and checked out all the players and exercises here and watched all the youtube videos I could find.

    My questions are:
    -most exercises are in an upward scalar motion.That makes sense because it is easier. But what about going downward? how do you do the right hand fingering? Do you keep the same four finger pattern (pima) or do you change it? and do you always start with the thumb
    -most exercises are to to learn the basics. Mostly just straight sixteenth notes etc. I get that. But are there some more advanced exercises or examples of how to apply it to grooves?
    -what are some variations of the basic pima or pim patterns that you (or the other players mentioned in this topic) use?

    So I am hoping for some more advanced stuff to practice and more examples of how to apply it musically (besides the basic patterns that have been covered here).
    Any ideas are welcome. Thanks in advance!
     
  9. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Can’t really help you when it comes to using your pinky- the fourth finger that I, and most people, tend to use is the thumb. The thumb also massively helps when descending- I use my thumb first on almost every descending string rather than sticking to strict alteration as it’s hinged downward, making it the easiest finger to use when descending.
     
  10. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    Hi Bryan. Think you misread my post. I didn't say anything about the pinky. I never use it. I use four fingers but it is thumb, index, middle and ring (pima). Same as Matt Garrison.
     
  11. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Oh- why are you using a P instead of a T for thumb?
     
    Les Fret likes this.
  12. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    That's the standard classical guitar indication. P=thumb, i=index, m=middle, a=ring.

    Some people (like me) use those indications for bass also.
     
  13. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Learn something new every day :) I’m pretty sure one of my old videos on four finger plucking has a little section on the descending using the thumb- it would be in the third or fourth video I think.
     
    Les Fret likes this.
  14. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    Yes I saw that video. You do what I also do; mostly use two or three fingers when going down.

    Was looking for more groove ideas and examples of the four finger technique. Any specific songs or grooves of the players mentioned in this topic I can check out?
     
  15. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    Not so many people interested in this thread anymore so it seems?
     
  16. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    My answer is pretty similar to when people starting out on a 5 or 6-string asking what songs they should play that now that the trying a new kind of bass- I wouldn’t go out of my way looking for anything specific. Just try to get it integrated into all of your normal playing. Focusing on the technique itself can lead to what my teachers called being “technique-y” back in art school; example would be a new 5-string player overusing the newly available low notes to the point where you notice their usage rather than how they work within the song.

    That being said, Matt Garrison has uploaded some videos with numerous angles to YouTube where you can see him using four fingers in great detail. You can also hear him ripping through a four finger groove at the 33 minute mark here:
     
    gscroggin and Les Fret like this.
  17. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    Ok thanks for that video. In the mean time I have been working on this technique for quite some time. I already used it for arpeggios and chord stuff. But for scales and sixteenth note patterns I prefer the three finger or two finger technique a la Dominique de Piaza. I can get it much more tight and better sounding that way. It is also less complicated for the mind when doing solos. It feels more natural to me. So now I use a combination of 2,3 and 4 finger technique as well as regular rest strokes if I want a fatter sound.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
    Lackey and Bryan R. Tyler like this.
  18. Lackey

    Lackey

    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I've used this technique off and on over the years but started to use it less when I lost the ramp for my primary sixer.. dont ask how that happened.

    However, I still use all my fingers to play multiple strings, and have started to implement Willis's ring finger grabs as well for upper strings. I think perhaps being less obsessed with outright speed as I age is one factor, but I must admit I have a ramp/ pickup cover on deck for a new bass..

    Also, I just got a cheap classical and have been trying to play PIMA with short nails. The fluidity isn't bad but it's sure hard to grab the strings enough with my big dumb fingers. There's a reason I like bass!
     
  19. JRMK

    JRMK

    May 28, 2007
    Just did some research on this technique and most YT vids and discussions look to be dated pretty much around 2009-2011-maybe 2013 years. And then it has gone relatively quiet. Wondering what made people lost interest in it (since it has visibly dropped off since)
     
  20. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    People still use it. I see guys on Instagram doing it all the time- I just don’t think it’s talked about much. When it first came around almost no one except for Matthew Garrison and Dominique DiPiazza were doing something similar and there was no info on it, so it got a lot of initial attention. Now it’s a bit more common and there’s a lot more information out there for anyone that wants to use it so the talk around it has died down.

    I personally have hybridized it a bit. While I still use my thumb, index, and middle for standard plucking, I use my ring less often for single string plucking and much more often for ascending strings, similarly to Gary Willis (although I rarely anchor it on a higher string).
     
    JRMK and Lackey like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    May 8, 2021

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