Advanced Techniques

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by thrash_jazz, Jan 15, 2002.

  1. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Hi, everybody:

    I was wondering if anyone out there has come up with any unique techniques that they might like to share.
    Is it wild or crazy? Can you get a cool trippy sound by beating your lead guitarist over the head with your amp turned up to 11?
    Whatever... post and let us know!!!
  2. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I thought I'd get the ball rolling by sharing a few neat little ideas I've used:

    - You can get some really dark and weird sounds by sliding a beer bottle, ceramic mug, mic stand, or something like that across the strings. Try fretting some chords or harmonics as you do this. You can change the pitch by moving the "slide" around... just like a lap steel guitar.

    - Tony Levin developed his "funk finger" sticks from playing his bass with drumsticks. Try this - you'll get a sound rather similar to a thumb slap, but with a little more high end to it.

    - I found slapping with my thumb on higher strings to be annoying at one point... You can get a similar sound by pounding the string with your middle and ring fingers held together. To make this even more backwards, try popping the lower strings with your thumb!

    - Simulating an acoustic-bass sound: I saw this one in Bass Player Magazine one time, and I have actually found it quite useful. If you mute the strings with your palm just enough and pluck with your thumb, you can get it to sound like one of those old big-band recordings.

    - Simulating acoustic slap-bass: Well, you aren't going to get the same "big" sound, but it still sounds pretty neat... Alternate slapping the string with your thumb and middle/ring fingers. Use a back-and-forth motion with your wrist to get a good attack going.

    If I can remember (or think of) any more, I'll put 'em up... Please do the same...
  3. But in most music there is no call for "advanced" technique.

  4. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I agree with you in a way, drmike. Most so-called advanced techniques ARE almost completely useless in a band situation. Still, there's tapping, harmonics, and other stuff that people do want to learn in spite of it being inapplicable.
    My idea in starting this thread was hopefully to spread the word about other, less-used techniques (as far as I've seen, anyway) - not to use in a band situation, but on the "because it's there and because I can" principles.
  5. Good distortion-pedal and volume-sliding can make your bass sound somewhat like a contrabass/cello.. i use it a lot during intro's :)

    Slapping with a flanger... woah ! :eek:

    Same with delay.. try slapping with an echo.. :eek:
  6. downstairs


    May 13, 2001
    Pasadena, MD
    use a volume pedla in front of a delay pedal, pluck note with pedal volume off, push pedal foreward, then roll volume off again, sounds cool. this also works with your volume pot, but less effectively.
  7. We play an "open jam" gig every Monday at a local club. Every once in awhile we will have people come up with their poems which they will either try to sing or just recite behind what ever jam we come up with at the time. Last Monday we did one that was in Dmajor. The description for the feel of the jam was "new world surreal." I just got a few effects pedals, one of them being an ebs bassiq envlope filter. I used that along with a chorus pedal, fretless bass and ebow. I actually got some different sounds that I think will be quite useful in the future for some different types of textures in songs.:)
  8. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    The volume swell thing is definitely useful, but be warned: I have damaged the pot from doing this too much (maybe my hardware is just crap).
    If you do volume swells high up on the neck and bend the note, it sounds a like whale songs.

    Also, if you have a sweepable midrange, hit a note and give that pot a turn. Onboard wah-wah!

    I saw a thread somewhere else about sweep picking. This can be done without a pick - try using one finger for each string and "rake" the strings one at a time. The timing is difficult at first, but well worth the effort, as this makes triplets easier in some cases.
  9. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    How about double pops and Entwistle's "typewriter style" with the right hand?

    Also, if your bass's action will allow - fretting a chord with your left hand while you crossover with your right hand and strum behind the fretted notes? (in other words, right hand strums between the fretting fingers and the nut.

    I always got a hellacious sound out of rubbing an edged, iron tool over my stainless steel roundwounds while facing the cab at high volume for feedback. It was known as "The Train Wreck."
  10. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    rickbass, I'm not familiar with "typewriter style", but now I'm curious: How do you do it, and what does it sound like?
  11. Place your right (or plucking hand, whichever one it is) ring finger nearly on the bridge, so it mutes. Drum your 'normal' plucking fingers on the string rapidly, and you can play about four times faster. And it sounds wierd.

    I would never do that in a song, but what the heck.

    Another thing you can do is grab a metal slide and rub it back and forth parallel to the frets on one string only. That note will sustain, and you can slide it around to get melodies. If you use things other than a slide you can get different sounds. If you are very careful, you could do that with the left hand and finger a harmonic with the other, enabling you to play continuous sustain melodies using harmonics. Compression or distortion help a lot there.

    Try an Ebow.

    Try two Ebows at once. :eek:

    Try three... nah, forget it.

    Slack off the G string until it flaps, and then have doing bends. With a very slack string you can bend two octaves quite easily. Playing melodies on the one fret just by varying the bend is fun, but it's not easy keeping in tune.

    There's more, just make up your own stuff. Muck around.
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well....none of these sound either "Advanced" or "Unique". I mean - none of them are that difficult to apply. Plus - I've heard them mentioned many times and they've been around for decades.

    "Advanced" to me , means playing something in difficult time signatures or rhythms, with complex chord structures - but I don't see how a technique can really be advanced, in itself?
  13. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    A good point. By "Advanced" I meant that these are things to try out for those that have already mastered the basics and are looking to add to their sonic arsenal. In retrospect, perhaps the term is a little misleading, but to me it sounded less annoying than "Cool Ways To Make Different Sounds" or the like...
    As far as "unique" goes, of course I didn't invent any of these techniques, but I think that a lot of the ones posted here are not known to most bassists. As I mentioned, they may not be too useful, but definitely fun!
  14. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    Resist playing faster.
  15. BlacksHole


    Mar 22, 2000
    Rockville, MD
    Here's a couple not yet mentioned - try clicking the strings so your fingernail contacts the string pretty hard. Also try making your plucking fingers parallel to the string and use a lighter touch - this can sound very zingy with round wounds. A slower nail scrape can allow for long sustain. Drum your fingers on the strings at about the 15th fret (or less) for a deep percussive thud - similar to the thumb slap sound but much mellower usually.
  16. Ok here's the weird one. I can't remember why i tried it but hey. muting the stings take a coin (i use an Aus 20c) and tap the side against the strings. the sound changes depending on where u hit the strings. if you go further up towards the bridge u can throw out the muting and actually play notes that have a really weird tone. Granted its unpractical but hey, it sounds cool.
  17. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    If you want to slap at light speed, left hand slap is essential. The right hand can't handle all that articulation alone.

    One thing that Vic Wooten seems to do fairly often is to play the higher strings fingerstyle while tapping out basslines with spare fingers on the left. Versatile technique if you need complicated melody articulation and have to lay down a basic bottom end.
  18. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    That's the most advanced technique mentioned in this entire thread.
  19. Here are some cool ideas for bending harmonics:

    Put your left index finger on a fret. Put your right thumb halfway between your finger and the bridge. Using your right finger, pluck the string, getting a harmonic. Then, with your left hand, bend the string up and down, causing a cool harmonic sound.
    Or, if you have an old beater bass, make a harmonic, and apply some pressure to the back of the headstock and listen to the harmonic go down in tone. I would not recommend this. I actually haven't done this. My friend used to do it all the time to the school bass. I guess those are the only things I can come up with for now.
  20. i do that on my neckthrough ( :eek: ) spector with no problems. as long as you dont try to get 3 note bends off it you should be ok....