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Anyone use Chuck Rainey's 1 finger back & forth plucking technique?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by winston, Oct 25, 2003.

  1. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    East Bay, CA
    Like the title says... I remember reading about this in one of Chuck's bass method books about 15 yrs. ago. I tried it for a day or two and forgot about it. Recently I bought the "Electric Bass Guitar" book, a compilation of Guitar Player and Bass Player articles from the 70's and 80's and I rediscovered it.

    It's pretty simple-use one of your plucking-hand fingers like a pick by going back and forth with the fingertip. I've tried index, middle and ring and I'm finding middle works best for me. The trick is to only move your finger as much as is necessary to get a good sound and to get a similar tone from both sides of the finger-obviously the nail gives a clickier sound.

    I'm really excited about expanding my right-hand technique--I'm good with two fingers and pretty dangerous (if I may say so myself) with a pick. It's funny, my obsession with practicing the double bass in the last few months is starting to spill over to BG. I've been checking out Victor Wooten's double thumbing and I'm eager to learn more about Gary Willis's 3 finger concept. Fun stuff!
  2. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Yeah I do it all the time, Oteil Burbridge does this a lot too, if I remember correctly, he does it with 4 fingers, but I could be wrong.

    It's a neat trick to make it sound like you are playing A LOT faster than you actually are, once you can get the biting sound of the nail out of the way.

    Which can be tricky, but not impossible.

    I've often considered putting some thing over my finger nail, a piece of rubber, or cloth or something to reduce the nail noise, and make it easier to deal with(similar to how vic and others put hair ties around their bass necks)

    It's a neat technique, I like it a bunch, very similar to the double thumb technique.
  3. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Use this all the time when ending songs...you know, that long "In-Concert" ending with the bass droning while the drummer is flailing.
  4. I use this a lot when playing speed metal. No. Seriously.
  5. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    That's a technique? I thought it was a lack of technique. I used to do it before I developed enough speed with 2 fingers, but it's really just faking it. Didn't know so many high-profile guys don't really have the chops...
  6. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    East Bay, CA
    Yeah, it's a technique, one of many I use including slapping, tapping, plucking, strumming, and picking. There are many things to consider when playing music besides speed--taste, tone, expression, and emotion come to mind!

    Chuck Rainey is one of the grooviest, tastiest players I've heard. He happens to be one of the most high-profile session bassists of the last 30+ years, AND he's got chops to spare...
  7. DW


    Jun 22, 2000
    James Jamerson used his index finger only. Jerry Scheff still does. You can't seriously accuse either of them of faking it or lacking chops. They helped write the book on technique.

    There's no such thing as an invalid technique. Use whatever works for you to get you the tone you want.
  8. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Back to Rainey's 'back/forth plucking technique'-

    I don't have to say where else this can be practiced...ya know, you don't always have to have yer bass in your hands to practice.

  9. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    I've done that for years. Long before I heard Chuck promoting it.

    I do it near the neck, very lightly to almost nothing at all, very fast, no nail. I use it to aproximate Moog Bass Pedals.

    I've gotten' it fast and smooth enough to where you can't really hear the strokes, just the low rumble.
  10. I use this techinque alot too.
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Yes I was surprised that anybody hadn't used this technique for the sort of thing Jim mentions at least ! :meh:
  12. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Rainey was yapping about this technique in the '70s...he used to have a monthly column in Guitar Player mag called "In The Woodshed".
    I was disappointed when his column stopped running; it would be nice, IMO, if Bass Player would resurrect some of Rainey's old lessons.
    I think he called slap/pop-
    "Wood Chopping".

    BTW, I think I also have this where you don't "really hear the strokes"...the low rumble thing occurs for ending tunes as I mentioned above.
    Some crazy stuff occurs if you move the fretting hand in a rapid, shaking motion on 1 string...& no, I'm not paying particular attention for what notes I'm 'playing'. At this point, it's all about being sonic.
  13. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    Yeah, I know he was talking about it in the 70s, I just caught it, for the first time, from him on an instructional tape from a few years ago. No revelation.

    I also use it as a bass pedal fade in to start a set, a song, or a show. It depends on the situation. I've got the touch to the point that I can just get my finger going and seemlessly fade it in or out.:bassist:
  14. Papersen


    Mar 22, 2002
    I`ve seen Chuck Rainey applying that technique in the Star Licks "Right Hand Technique" video.
    It`s quite interesting to see many players using their right hands in different ways.
    Chuck plays that way very fluidly.

    On the other hand I`ve been using a downstroke technique with my nails on the G string (sort of "kicking" the string with 3 fingers).

    It`s an alternative to plucking the strings (easier to me). The only problem is that I regularly have a sensitive pain at the joint of my nail and finger.
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