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Any reason not to play w/ 3 fingers on right hand?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by joejet, Aug 29, 2003.

  1. joejet


    May 1, 2003
    A few days ago I was at the local bank - and the "bank lady" (what's that in English?) typed w/ four fingers on each hand with no problem and with extreme economy of motion, time-saving as well, needless to say. That's when I thought to myself: I'm cheating myself! Playing only with two fingers, when at least one perfectly useable finger (thumb excluded) is available. It's like having multiple settings on a hairdryer, still using the low setting all the time even when you're in a hurry.

    Same day I tried my old Grip Master, which I haven't really used since I bought it, only to realize that my left hand pingy was stronger and more endurable than my right hand ring finger. It just seems so stupid.

    With that in mind, I've been practicing like never before the last couple of days, plugged an unplugged, just going 3-2-1 in various combinations up and down the fretboard, and altready now I feel the slow, but so far steady progress! Playing scales w/ 3 fingers almost seems natural to me already, and when I'm thinking one week back, when I was still a dedicated, strictly 2-finger guy I just can't believe what I've missed until now.

    So to you 2-finger players - it's not too late, seriously consider goíng the step furhter - it's hard work, but rewarding! Or so it feels by now...
  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Playing 3 finger is nice, just stay the hell away from the grip master.
    THis torture tool is only good to ruin your playing.
    Whoever came with this concept was an idiot.
    Speed and accurate playing come from lights touch and velocity, not muscular strength.
  3. CS Bass

    CS Bass

    Feb 18, 2003
    The only reason not to use it, is that it has never been truly needed in any real band situation.
  4. Says who?
  5. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
  6. Yeah and until someone started playing with two fingers there had never been a reason to play with two. Do whatever is comfortable for you.
  7. Three fingers works well, two does too, four is more and one is fun. I'm a poet, just nobody else knows it.

    I don't follow a lot of history of bass playing, just play what I play or what other people around me play. I'd lean towards Wrong Robot's assessment but its a generalisation, it all depends on what you want to be playing. I don't play a lot of speed, so I can generally make do with just the two fingers.

    I do play with three fingers a lot but not for its speed, just cause they're there to use so I'll put them to work (7:30am practises have my fingers feeling retarded and confused for about the first 30min, so I just settle with the one finger for a while).

    One thing that I like to do is a triple-rake sorta thing, just rake the fingers across, kinda sounds cool, I like it.

    Each to their own is what I'm getting at, Jamerson just had the Hook and it worked quite nicely for him (understated). I can play with four if I try hard enough, does that make me four times the bass player Jamerson was? I wish... If you get something fresh and useful outta three fingers good for you but its not essential, its just one way of putting your groove down.

    Josh D
  8. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I come from the 2-finger camp because frankly, I can play just as fast with 2 fingers as I can with 3, and I play cleaner and more evenly with 2.

    but there is no reason why not to use as many fingers as you want.
  9. QUOTE]A few days ago I was at the local bank - and the "bank lady" (what's that in English?)[/QUOTE]

    If your question was one of really wanting to know what "bank lady" would be in English, in our part of the world, we say "cashier" or "teller". But, "bank lady" would be well understood. In fact, I've even heard people around here say "bank lady".
  10. yoshi


    Jul 12, 2002
    England, London
    3 finger technique is pretty useful, especially in metal. EG: check out spirit crsusher by death, try it with 2 fingers then 3 and say which ones 'best' for the situation.

    By the way, here's and article on 4 finger playing: http://www.harmony-central.com/Bass/Articles/Hanging_Ten/
  11. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    The only reason I can think of would be if you believe that whole "don't use your ring finger" theory, which I think was taught by Carol Kaye, which says you shouldn't use that finger because of its weakness that could possibly injure you, or something like that.

    I don't really play with three fingers often because I can't hold a steady 1-2-1-2 rhythm when using all three; inevitably, one finger gets a little ahead of another. Also, my ring finger has a much thicker pad on the fingertip that gives it a much thumpier tone than my other fingers. It's helpful when I want that tone, but when I do I only use my ring finger to pluck with, not using the other two.
  12. joejet


    May 1, 2003
    That's an interesting point - and my only reason to use the grip master. Simply to build up a certain amount of strength before going into more technical things. However, the ring and pingy on your left hand were weak once as well, and they end up being rather strong after a while, so I should be possible, but I can feel that I should be very careful in this first phase of 3-finger playing.
  13. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    Actually, that line of thinking doesn't even want you to use the ring finger on your fretting hand-just index, middle, and pinky, let alone the right hand. I don't agree with it myself.
  14. joejet


    May 1, 2003
    Hmm...didn't quite get that.
  15. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I used to play the three finger thing to emulate the Steve Harris gallop back in the 80's. Now, I pretty much go with two. Honestly the biggest advantage I got from developing my ring finger back in the day is the ability to smoke while I play (if you want to call it an advantage). I can hold my smoke between my index and middle finger while my ring finger plucks away.
  16. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    I meant that the thoery I mentioned includes the fretting hand-as in you shouldn't use the ring finger on your fretting hand.
  17. sicoratboy100


    May 14, 2002
    i agree
  18. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    RE: Three Fingers?
    Two Words: Gary Willis!

    Although I use two (or a pick) for most things,
    "Machine Gun Triplets" are done with three by neccessity (assuming you ever have to play that type of thing).

    Billy Sheehan has been known to use four fingers for really fast plucked (not hammered) stuff.
  19. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    one really neat little trick to make it sound like you are playing really really fast(and I guess in essence you are)

    is to do an upstroke with every downstroke on your 2 fingers. essentially it's just controlled strumming with your fingers, but once you get the finger nail out of the way(it takes a little technique to have the same sound going up as down)

    it's a neat little speed trick...I THINK oteil does this.... with 4 fingers!:eek:
  20. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    Abe Laboriel is "Stupid Scary" with a technique like this, although he uses the nails for a Flamenco like effect.:bassist:

    RE: Your Sig: John Turner does not capitalize anything! :D

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