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Beginner left-hand fingering question

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Mushroo, Feb 16, 2013.


  1. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Hi there, long time bass guitarist, beginner upright player. Small hands.

    Is it considered "bad technique" or "good technique" to finger a half-step 1-4 (index-pinky) in the lower positions?

    For example a simple G-C progression: G-B-D, C-E-G

    It "feels right" to finger this: 4-1-0, 4-1-0

    Would it be preferable to finger this:
    2-1-0, 2-1-0
    or
    4-2-0, 4-2-0
    or
    something else?

    (assume it's just vamping over this pattern for a while, no shifts are necessary, and the primary goal is to avoid the left hand cramping up)

    (edit) I should also add that I am using "proper" 1-2-4 and 1-3-4 fingerings for more complicated passages; I am specifically inquiring here about simpler passages where a reach of 2 half-steps/semi-tones is not required. Looked through the sticky threads but an answer didn't pop out at me, hope someone can steer me in the right direction.
     
  2. contrabart

    contrabart

    Mar 19, 2010
    4-1-0 is considered "bad technique". 2-1-0 and 4-2-0 are both good. Which one is best depends on what else you're playing. In the key of C 4-2-0 would be the more obvious, because of the (note) f in the scale. In the key of G 2-1-0 is more obvious, because of the f#. When vamping, if alternating helps to avoid cramp, do that.
    Personally I've never been a fan of using four fingers, the classical 1-2-4 works better for me. But that's just me, I know good bass players that do use 4 fingers. If it works for you, stick with it. However, if you have small hands, it might end up working against you, and you could end up with injuries.
     
  3. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Thanks contrabart for the quick response! I just spent 20 minutes working with the 4-2-0 and 2-1-0 fingerings you suggest. I think I will get the hang of this. :)

    To clarify: I am not using 1-2-3-4 fingering; I'm primarily using 1-2-4 but I also experiment a bit with 1-3-4 because I know there are some excellent players who prefer it. I am a primarily 1-2-4 player on bass guitar, too, although I'm perfectly comfortable with 1-2-3-4 on the slab for the few songs that require it. (My hands are small but they're not THAT small!)
     
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    You need to look at Chris Fitzgerald's videos on LH technique - there are threads around here on these.
     

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