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advanced 3 finger technique? (long)

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by XxBassmanxX, Apr 19, 2003.


  1. XxBassmanxX

    XxBassmanxX

    Nov 21, 2001
    Rosman NC
    Can someone help me out with this three finger stuff. I have been using 3 fingers (right hand) since i started but ive never really been sure how to do it the fastest and most efficiant way. i have no problem on one string, and as far as triplets and 16ths go i can play them as fast as i need to for now and when i need to get fast ill just have to practice that more. For now im talking about alternating fingers while doing fast riffs that arent in even 3s. What im trying to find out is what is the most popular or practical way of doing this. Alot of people tell me to go 3212321232123 for 16ths, but some say that 321321321321 is more practical since your hand will always be moving in the same pattern.

    Another question about this is: is it ok to deviate from a set pattern for certain runs? Am i sopposed to even have a pattern? In John Myungs "Progressive Bass Concepts" video he says that he practices drills for 321321321 and 3131313131. I watch his hands on the Dvds and he always starts phrases with 3rd finger or his 2nd and 3rd together as one. Is he braking up all his difficult runs into 2s and 3s and implementing the 3131 and 321321 on everything or does he use a 123 perhaps sometimes? i cant really tell from the Dvds. I am not so much trying to copy him, i just want a solid technique that works for really difficult music.

    As far as string skipping goes how does the 3 finger technique work? Currently i use a 321321 on everyhing that stays on one string and everything that descends. If im descending and i end on my 2nd finger i let it "rake" over to the next string and continue with the 321321. I read today in an Adam Nitti lesson the raking to strings is poor technique and you should go back to the first finger in the alteration. If thats the case how would you do a quick turnaround if you ended on your first finger? Are you sopposed to do this:

    321----321----32---2---21--213
    ----321----321---1---3----3----2 ect.....

    or are you "allowed" to rake like:

    321----321----32--*3--32--321-
    ----321----321---1---1---1----3

    *notice the skips in the alteration

    In "Change of Seasons" by DT Myung does a great breakdown and plays this riff:

    (sixteenths)
    C----------------------------------------------------[]
    G-----6-7-6-4-------------4-------------4-----*-[]
    D---------------7-6-4-6-7----7-6-4-6-7-----*-[]
    A----------------------------------------------------[]

    Thats only the first part but you can get the basic idea...

    Are you sopposed to play this with the finger alteration:

    3213-------3--------2....
    ------32121--32121----

    Thats the way ive always done it but ive been wondering if im going in the right direction with it.

    If you dont rake and always alternate it would be:

    3213--------3-------3....
    ------21321--21321---

    That would mean you would end and start the riff on your ring finger which would be almost impossible with 16ths at this speed.....unless of course you started the riff the 2nd time on your end finger. That would mean the whole thing would be played differently the 2nd time around. Im really trying not to be too anal about the little things in technique, just trying to do it the right way so i wont have to learn it over again! Ive played bass for 6 years without a teacher (except for talkbass) and i am very serious about improving my skills on the instrument. Any insight is greatly appreciated!

    Joe
     
  2. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    321232123 is a terrible pattern. anybody using that pattern and thinking they are going faster than 1212121212 is fooling themself.

    think of it this way - if the fastest that you can move your fingers is x plucks per second, than 321232123 is going to be limited to 2x plucks per second because of using the middle finger every other pluck - that's the choking factor.

    now, using 321321321 or 123123123123, the fastest plucking speed is going to be 3x, since, with the proper timing, you have available 2 other finger plucks between each same finger pluck.

    as for the examples you listed, why don't you try playing them and practicing them 1212121212? that's how i play the majority of my fast stuff. with practice you should be able to get that very fast.
     
  3. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    man, he is mr. clean. :cool:
     
  4. XxBassmanxX

    XxBassmanxX

    Nov 21, 2001
    Rosman NC
    I emailed the man himself Mr Billy Sheehan! I started listening to his solos and stuff.....<<<<<GGGGahhhh>>>>> If i ever get my right hand that fast ill die happy. Im gonna keep working at it! Also when he replies im going to invite him to talkbass. That would be awesome. Ill let you guys know what he says!
     
  5. Yup, I think Billy is the right man to go to.

    I emailed him three years ago myself and asked him some stupid questions. It took him a while to reply (which I could understand anyway) but it was well worth the wait! He came across as a really friendly, down-to-earth kinda guy, and gave me some fairly good advice in response to my silly questions. He's a cool dude!
     
  6. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    It seems to me that using 3 fingers as a standard right hand technique is just needless. I mean two finger technique for 8ths, 16ths, and even 32nd note accents is by far 'enough'.

    Also, the more fingers you use the more variation you have in your attack which makes your sound uneven. Getting 'perfect' attack per note (is there such a thing?!) is hard enough wth two fingers, why complicate things so much by adding a third finger, especially when the benefits aren't exactly huge!

    Playing fast isn't the be all and end all anyway - if you wanna rip out 16th notes at 140bpm use a pick... even Flea does now!! ;)

    I do use three fingers to pull off a triplet accent from time to time, but unless I play for another 12 years using 3 fingers I'll never get up to my current level of using two! I also use three fingers for four note chords sometimes, or when playing a realtively slow line that has a lot of string skipping

    ...but I just think it's waste of time really learning this technique for speed. You're far better off practicing a one finger technique IMO!
     
  7. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I'm going to have to respectfully disagree here. :)

    If you're playing lines that require 16ths at roughly 160bpm and you want to maintain the "round", less edgy sound that you get from your fingers, you will quite simply need to use three fingers.

    It isn't just for the sake of pure speed. IMO it will increase your right-hand endurance, as your fingers won't have to move as fast.

    Also, it is possible to get a consistent attack across three fingers. Not easy, to be sure, but possible. It just requires diligent practice, just like everything else.

    Is it NECESSARY to use three fingers? Depending on your style, perhaps it isn't, but I see it as the "more tools in the toolbox" approach.
     
  8. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    Hmm... I do agree, but - playing devils advocate =>

    When playing 16ths at 160 bpm it probably wont matter for sh1t whether you pick or use fingers cause you'll hear a blur of notes anyhow - a decent compressor with the right settings & a pick would probably sound almost exactly the same to pretty much anyone - and that IS still another tool in the tool box, is it not?

    I reckon I could play 16ths at around 160bpm using two fingers for a short space of time - say 4 bars, maybe?! I've not actually tried, but striaght 16ths aint that hard to get really fast are they?

    My point is I cant imagine ever playing something like that unless I was in a metal band fixated by speed, which I never will be ;)
    Again, in this context the 'rounded sound' deosnt matter for toffee cause you're playing metal. Use a pick like every other metal bassist! (kidding, you know what I mean!)

    Also, even using three fingers you'll get tired fingers very quickly.

    Yes of course.

    My point was that IMO it is a waste of time learning to play at that speed and consistancy with 3 finger technique or not for the few occaisions when you'd ever need or want to use it. And the thread starter might better spend his/her time practicing getting a great sound with one finger or even one note than all these "fancy techniques".

    I can just play the keyboard part to 'I feel love' by Donna Summer on bass and that amazes people all the time - (I use two fingers) it sounds cool - until I screw it up :D - but even then, what's the point really - I just do it cause it's silly!

    There are many many tools in existence that are completely unneccessary. They get left in the tool box until they go rusty and are unusable.
     
  9. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I see what you mean Howard... I have been in a band or two that required that kind of speed (yes they were metal bands ;) ) and I did try the songs using both fingers and pick (I have used both fingers and pick since I started out) and the pick sound just didn't "fit" as well.

    Again, though, for me using a pick isn't about needing speed so much as tone. I don't have a compressor so I suppose your idea might work, but I've always found that when playing with a pick I get a bit of extra midrangy "bite" that isn't always wanted.

    There are several highly skilled metal bassists that only use fingers - Steve DiGiorgio, Alex Webster, Eric Langlois and Steve Harris, to name just a few. Listening to their stuff, you can tell (that is, when they aren't buried in the mix) that they aren't using picks.

    I agree that learning to play very fast isn't something that should be sought after unless it's necessary (ie, audition for metal band ;) ). Speed is a by-product of technique, not an end in itself. To that end, I wouldn't call it a "fancy technique" per se - just "technique".
     
  10. ConU

    ConU

    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    What!?!?:eek: :eek:
    When!?!?:eek: :eek:
     
  11. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    When you play with shred-happy guitarists and blast-beat drummers...

    True though, there wouldn't be too many other applications, unless you dig playing "Cherokee" - which I can't pull off!
     
  12. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    yeah, totally. a pick would give a different sound for sure... but like you said the difference beneath two super loud distorted guitars is probably neglegable?

    I've used fingers since i started out - I ahve used a pick on numerous occaisions, but i just dont like them in general - i have written lines that worked better with a pick and they definitley have a place. just not my preference i guess. a palm mute and a finger nail often has much the same effect i find.

    Yeah, agreed, I was being silly.. "these new fangled ways" type thing!

    Three fingers though is all very well, but as you said, not really neccessary unless you are going for speed... and it's far easier to get a consistant sound using two :)

    great for triplet accents tho has to be said.
     
  13. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Well, sometimes... run a search on some of the guys I mentioned in my earlier post. Or if you like you can PM me and I'll tell you which recordings to check out if you are interested. On the ones where the bass is audible (which is the fault of the mix and not the bass player), it's fairly easy to tell the difference.
     
  14. ConU

    ConU

    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    I play Cherokee,quarter note =240:D not too many 16ths though:eek: 8ths are fun enough:bassist:
     
  15. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
  16. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I thought Cherokee was at 300! Mind you, I don't think I could do it at 240 either... I can't think that fast! The 16ths, at least, were always set lines, so thinking was not necessary!
     
  17. Totally agree with Thrash Jazz here, though I don't think using 3 fingers is necessary for everyone.

    Started developing my 3 fingered r.h. technique 3 years ago, haven't regretted for a moment the time and effort I've put in.

    Speaking of Steve DiGiorgio, he's got got some of his mp3's on his website up for download which may serve as a good showcase of what the technique is capable of.

    Here it is.

    Also, Joe, you might wanna check out his article re: 3 finger r.h. technique, which is

    here.
     
  18. Cherokee? You guys talking about the tune Vic Wooten covers on his 'What Did He say?'? Sounds like 300 bpm alright...
     
  19. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    that guy is playing metal right?!

    someone advise which track has a good example of this technique cause I dont have time (or desire!) to sit through 20 metal tracks to hear it!
    no offense intended, in case that offends anyone!

    I really want to hear a tasteful example of what can be achieve using 3 finger technique over 2. Something that isn't just basically superfast playing.

    I do use three fingers, just not for playing straight 8ths or 16ths cause I'm not in a metal band and I dont need, or more importantly, want to, to play at 9000bpm :D

    Q: Would be harder to use three fingers if you were doing a root-octave pattern in 16th notes?

    I'm not saying the thread starter might regret learning 3 finger technique, just that there are much more musical things to practice, especially given that none of us really have enough time to practice as it is!