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Can I play the way I feel is comfortable for myself?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Travisx2112, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. Okay, this is a STUPID question I know, but lately I've been wondering about my fretting hand and all this. I've taken advice from people who say to use my fingers, and sometimes it works bloody wonders for me. I thank you guys a lot for help with that, really! However, a lot of the time I...uh...I dont feel comfortable doing it and I love the sound I get out of my basses the way I play, and I can still play the music the way its 1: supposed to sound, or 2: the way I want it to. People seem to like my playing either way, but I'm worried about not being taken seriously in a real band situation or something because I don't play the same as everyone else, even though it works for me. Does me not using all of my fingers all of the time, save for when I feel I need to make me a bad player?
  2. MyUsernameHere

    MyUsernameHere ?????????????

    Nov 3, 2007
    Lexington KY
    Man, if you can get away with playing with your feet or by head butting the fretboard go for it. The circus pays pretty well from what I hear.
  3. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    Play the way that works best for you. Don't worry about what everybody else thinks.
  4. Nick Kay

    Nick Kay

    Jul 26, 2007
    Toronto, Ontario
    Being comfortable with a technique is a matter of practicing with it. Play however you wish, but as you said, using all of your fingers will do wonders for you.
  5. WookieeForLife


    Sep 30, 2008
    Famous players have their own style. Why can't you?
  6. limit6


    Dec 5, 2007
    Philly, PA
    Larry Graham started doing that one thing with his thumb, I forget what it's called. Some sort of technique that's common place now. And Wooten started doing that other weird thing with his thumb, and some other players started fretting the bass with their fingers on their rhythm hand. Players like this are known as idiots today, and the people who play like everyone else really shine above the rest while players who use unorthodox technique never go anywhere and are never remembered. Play like everyone else, and you will surely go down in history books!

    Hahaha, do what you do, man. No one has the same hands, the same bass, the the same groove, the same anything. If you were only born with three fingers and played a bass, you'd need to switch the game plan up a little bit. There are technique guidelines; nothing is sealed in stone.
  7. Oric


    Feb 19, 2008
    Georgetown, Kentucky
    yep, if you're comfortable and you get it out sounding fine, go ahead. I use my thumb to fret the E string a lot when I play, and I don't have issues with it.
  8. jconary


    May 18, 2008
    Germantown, MD
    James Jamerson used only his index finger and did alright.
  9. Cool then, yeah, I'm going to keep grooving my own way then! :)
  10. rarbass


    Jul 3, 2008

    Sometimes, the way you're "supposed" to play is either for ergonomic reasons or because, once you're used to it, it paves the path for new possibilities. But in most cases, it's better to continue playing the way you're most comfortable, as you'll develop ways of doing whatever you need to do.

    Some key players who don't play the way they're "supposed to" are Stanley Clarke, Victor Wooten, and Marcus Miller. (if you read the article in the Bass Player magazine in which SMV was featured, Stanley will say it somewhere in there that he has bad habits and Victor and Marcus have inherited them as well).

    I believe you should play however is most comfortable, just like you should play the bass that's most comfortable, etc...
  11. OliverH


    Aug 2, 2008
    Here's another point of view. Maybe it is uncomfortable for you simply because you haven't put enough time into practicing in the "correct" way. Playing an instrument well is never easy, and you shouldn't discount how much hard work is necessary to acquire good technique. Most of the time, bad habits are picked up simply because it is easier to play with bad technique.
  12. uethanian


    Mar 11, 2007
    do w/e u want, until it holds u back. often enough, technique has to be changed or refined to overcome an obstacle (technically difficult music, tone, groove...). but if it works for what you're doing, keep on doing it.
  13. ihassiphilus


    Sep 30, 2008
    Do not hook your thumb over the fretboard. That's just a sign of hands which haven't developed the proper strength. It will slow you down later. Keep your thumb behind on the neck. You can use it as a pivot for your pinky to stretch up to three or more frets away. You don't have to constantly shift and can play more and faster that way.

    I'd reccomend not using the one-finger-per-fret method, however. Play your octaves, ninths etc with that pinky. Less stress on your hands. Play primarily one, two and interchange the third and fourth fingers as needed.

    Good technique will make you a better player. It's pretty rare when you see someone who was sloppy like Stanley Clarke be that good. 9 times out of ten, a good player will have solid technqiue.
  14. I primarily use my ring, index and pinky fingers for fretting, and I will occasionally throw in a middle as I see fit, and I am really working on the whole thumb thing, although it creeps up sometimes, but whatever, it works and its rarely over the board.
  15. Just don't hurt yourself.
  16. REAPER52


    Aug 17, 2008
    I an so glad you posted this.. very good . I am 56 years old and never picked up an instrument have not a clue- -- 3 weeks now and i can read tabs and play a few songs - i believe the fret hand posisition is probably important to a degree. but some deviation is ok. to do it like the BOOK is very uncomfortable --but getting easier as i go. BUT I SURE AM HAVING FUN,, all my life i watched the bass player in the bands where ever i was , and thought i didnt have any musical ability- wow i wasted all those years,,, its fun - thats what i missed out on.......some people are just naturally gifted - i am not - but i am having a good time and it has been very good for mentally....OLd Man got a little grove left in him.........
  17. Slax


    Nov 5, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    The way I see it, if it isn't going to lead to problems down the road physically, keep at it until you feel you need to change. Bad technique may not be bad technique unless it leaves you in pain after playing. (And sometimes not right away...)
  18. yawmwen


    May 19, 2008
    Bad habits are extremely hard to change. You want to have good technique and get rid of bad habits before they hold you back, since a lot of the time when you get to that point then breaking the bad habit is nearly impossible without going back to square one.

    However, not everything they teach you in the book is the best way to do it. Everyone's hand is different and most of the stuff like a 1-finger-per-fret rule is more a guideline since it allows you to stay in one position for longer in most cases(play a major triad and major scale using 3 fingers and then try it with 4, with 3 you have to shift all over the place but with 4 you don't need to shift at all), and you can gain speed, however using the pinky causes a lot more stress on your hand, for this technique I say to only use the pinky if it allows you to avoid shifting completely, otherwise use your first 3 fingers.

    I would say to be as economical as possible, but even then there are bad habits that can form, and usually you don't know until it is too late. It really is a crapshoot, since a bad habit usually doesn't slow you down until later when you become more advanced. The only advice I can really tell you is to consult an instructor on technique.
  19. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    I wouldn't stress out over 124 vs 1234 left hand fingering, most experienced players switch back n forth as needed. It's not an 'either-or' thing.

    While some techniques are uncomfortable because they are unfamiliar, and only practice and time will improve them, it is possible to do serious injury to yourself with bad technique, especially over time. And bad habits are by definition hard to break.

    A lesson with an experienced teacher can help identify which things are simply unfarmiliar and which are potentially dangerous.
  20. Willy2911


    Sep 11, 2008
    OC California
    Hey I Play a little strange too - think it might be the Jagger... Hiccupp...???

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