1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
     
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Alternate fingering

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by RotoRick, Jul 25, 2012.


  1. RotoRick

    RotoRick

    Jul 20, 2012
    I am just getting back into playing and am a real rookie, so i have a question on fingering. I have always been taught the one finger per fret deal, but one teacher online was saying that thats fine if you need to cover 4 frets, but if you don't use your pinky where you would usually use you ring finger.

    Especially on the frets closer to the nut where they are wider and cause more stretching and pain. Is this correct ? I just don't want to get in the habit of this and mess me up when I need all 4 frets.

    They claim this is a new method taught to new students, maybe you guys could explain it to me, but I don't want to turn into a 3 finger bass player, as I see alot of guitar players that turn out that way, works for some songs but would be near impossible on others.
     
  2. Any fingering technique that doesn't cause injury is OK.

    The fingering style you describe is very similar to how you are taught to play upright.

    But don't get hung up on doing any one technique exclusively - especially if it causes pain. OFPF = AOK as is using the "three finger" technique.

    Finally, the obligatory statement, "Find a good bass teacher".
     
  3. The four finger thing is correct. It helps and make things more smooth. Besides, the stretching and pain for a beginning on those lower frets are natural. I remember when I started playing I couldn't play "Money" by Pink Floyd. As you practice more the stretching pain will leave.
    Practice your chromatic scales to practice that "one finger per fret" thing. And go up and down the neck doing that. It helps warming up your hands and relieves the stretching pain.
     
  4. fearceol

    fearceol

    Nov 14, 2006
    Ireland
    Sorry, but I disagree with this. There is no such thing as "natural" pain, and it is fool hardy to play through it in the hope that it will go away. Pain is the body's way of saying that something is wrong. Playing the bass should never involve pain. If it does, stop, and investigate the reason and correct.

    As for OFPF, it can be too much of a stretch on the lower frets, for some people.

    OP : here is a clip that explains about the OFPF and when it is OK to use it.


     
  5. Jazzkuma

    Jazzkuma

    Sep 12, 2008
    The 3 finger technique comes from the upright bass. If you use three fingers (index middle and pinky) it will feel more natural because thats the way the hand is when in resting position (closer than one per fret).
    You learn both, you don't just learn 3 finger or 4 finger exclusively. Once you have both under your hands you will unconsciously (without thinking) switch from one to the other when you find it necessary.
    Most of the time I am playing 3 fingers if its a slower/mid tempo tune, it moves in 4ths (the song/tune does not call for 3rd/6th). I usually switch to one finger per fret at around the 9th fret, when the tune is faster or when i play a solo.
    Most western songs/tunes move in 4ths, so the 3 finger technique causes no problems. upright bass players have been playing this way for years and it has worked in any style of music.
     
  6. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I also disagree. 1234 when needed, otherwise relax and just go 124, with the ring finger following along with the pinky.

    Also, don't wear your bass too low. And if you feel any discomfort while fingering, try a different angle or different fingering.

    Hey, I've been at it for 49 years.
     
  7. Jazzkuma

    Jazzkuma

    Sep 12, 2008

    thats interesting, I have the ring stay right next to the middle finger when i switch to 124... i guess cuz i come from upright.
     
  8. B.I.N.G.O.
    :bassist:
     
  9. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    There are a few techniques to mix up on various positions on the fretboard, each has there own plus and minus points, so try and use the plus points and leave the minus points alone. Here are some of the main ones and may a way they can be melded into one technique.

    One finger one fret;

    it is a balanced use of the hand and fingers ( that use is way deeper than just in playing bass ),
    it covers the tuning chromatically so the next note is on the next fret, either to the left or right of the fingers, on the next string above or below.
    Minus points;
    The strain on small hands to span the frets and play safe.
    Certain positions on the E string force the wrist to bend a bit excessively.

    124 or Simandl;

    Great all over the neck,
    A good balance if the little and ring finger stay together to act as one.
    Great for playing down below the 7th fret as the frets get wider.
    Minus points;
    Lack of dexterity
    Certain positions on the E string force the wrist to bend a bit excessively.

    Next finger next note;

    Great above the 12 fret
    Balance use of all four fingers again
    The choice to use it with one finger one fret in an instant.
    minus points;
    Strain on the hand and wrist if the spans get to large below the 9th fret.
    Certain positions on the E string force the wrist to bend a bit excessively.

    So if we take all the plus points and leave the minus ones we have a number of techniques to use across the whole neck.
    The fact is that the 124 Simandl just seems to lack dexterity over the others, some say think speed as well.
    But the need for speed and dexterity in that lower area of the bass is not essential, the pitch/timbre of the note does not travel fast as a frequency or wave form, so fast notes can produce overtones that " spill over each other, so clarity becomes an issue.
    Any movement is divided by three, so assume we had to play over an chromatic octave then the hand moves four times, as opposed to three times for one finger one fret ( but 3 divides in to those 12 notes as does 4 divide into 12 )
    One finger one fret works great in the 5th fret to 12 fret and beyond, it is dexterous, the notes can be played faster because the pitch/timbre is higher. Standard bass with four strings means the ability to play cross string runs as one finger one string. Above the 12th fret, chord shapes and tones fall under the fingers, as do the notes.
    But above that 12 fret the notes also fall under next finger next note even better.

    So a player could incorporate a technique that uses 124 Simandl in the lower reaches of playing, one finger one fret, in the middle are and above, or use next finger next note in the higher areas and combine it with one finger one fret when required.

    So it does not have to be any one idea and stick to it, you can use what you want and ignore the rest, like I said take the good that applies to you and leave the bad.:)
     

Share This Page