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classic guitar technique for the bass?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by harley_ou812, May 29, 2005.

  1. I am just starting to study somew classical guitar and was wondering if anyone has explored those techniques on bass.. Like thumb playing E string index A string middle d string and ring G string. I know i9t isnt alwas ractlicle but I was wondering if anyone explored those options.
  2. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    I was finger picking a standard acoustic guitar today and wondering if I should consider using the technique on the bass (like you said - thumb plucks E, etc...).

    Kind of odd, because I played acoustic guitar for years before taking up the bass, yet have never given much thought to using classical technique (or my homegrown version of classical technique) on the bass.

    Seems like it would be worth a shot. I'm sure there are others who know a lot more about this than me.

    And hey, Jared, I'm a Keller also. Nearly all of my ancestors came from what's now northwest Germany - fairly close to the Netherlands.

    Chris Keller
  3. It seems like there could be some times where the technique could be very viable

    As far as I know all my ancestors on both sides of my family have been German descent but I am not sure where in Germany.
  4. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
  5. I'm downloading that movie now. I'm always up for having my mind blown.

    I've been using a modified classical technique for a few weeks now. Someone here mentioned it (I don't remember who), so I gave it a try, and I liked it.

    This is actually my second try at it. The first time was right after I got my bass. I was playing a lot of classical guitar at the time, so my nails were long, and a classical style was the only way I could pluck the strings. It was a little twangy. Eventually I broke all four nails, gave in and kept them short, and adopted a standard technique.

    Now I'm at it again, but without the nails. I like it a lot. It helps cut down on string noises since I don't generally bring my finger to rest on the next one, and using my thumb makes string skipping a breeze.

    I've found that it's important to use as little of the fingertip as possible to catch the string. Digging in will make things messy. A ramp could help with that, but so does practice. I don't use a ramp.

    It's also really important to lay your thumb across the lower strings to mute them. You don't have to do it constantly, but a lot of the time it is a big help.

    I haven't found it helpful to assign a finger to each string. That's no surprise, since classical guitar technique doesn't do it either.

    Give it a try, you may find that it works great for you.
  6. I sorta use it, since I spent years playing classical guitar, but there are differences. Much more rest stroke action with the bass, much less free stroke. But it does help with using the thumb for plucking, which is occasionally useful.
  7. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    Lee Sklar.....the intro to "You're so vein" by Carley Simon
  8. I use my thumb and index finger to alternate strings or to pluck certain bar chords. It gives a ringy tone and sustain.
    Steve Harris does this quite a bit on some of the old stuff. Check out:

    To Tame a Land
    Still Life

    You can practice using three fingers on "Remember Tomorrow", even though he doesn't use that technique on that song.
  9. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    I started to do it immediately after picking up guitar as a second instrument. It not only felt very natural, but also because you do it much closer to the fingerboard, provided some interesting tonal options as well. I still use standard 2 finger plenty, but that's usually in grooving/jamming/rock situations, whereas almost all of my solo playing is done with the kind of classical technique. It's much easier to play 3 and 4 note chord voicings on bass this way, and you can shift seamlessly into double thumbing, artificial harmonics, and tapping from there.

    Also, because of urb_munki's posts here and in the recordings forums, I've also spent a significant amount of time practicing Matt Garrison picking technique, which I guess is a kind of classical-guitar-on-bass-times-1000 method. I'm pretty sure that's what the link was earlier in the thread, to one of his videos, but I haven't checked.

    For sheer versatility, I greatly reccomend this technique. You can break out into a lot of different directions, transitioning seamlessly and with an excellent tonal palette before you.

    PS: Also, if your hands are really tired, switching to this technique for a while will help immensely, ESPECIALLY if you've been playing DB for a while. Because the muscle groups being used are different, and/or are being used in different ways, you get rest for the regular ones so you can come back to standard technique/DB later. I find this incredibly useful for longer shows.

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