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clickitty clack!

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Scott Cutrer, Sep 22, 2001.


  1. Scott Cutrer

    Scott Cutrer Guest

    Aug 21, 2000
    Richmond, VA
    OK, I am tired of this. I have been playing for over 15 years and have recently discovered a problem in my technique that was not there before. When I play finger style, I get a clacking sound on the neck when my fingers are on two adjacent strings. EX. if my (left hand) firts finger is on the f on the d string(3rd fret) and my 3rd finger is on the d on the a string(5th fret), I get a loud clacking sound when my picking finger hits the a string after I have hit the d string. It is the raking Jacoish kind of style that I have used on Fender basses for years. Now I thought it was just my Stingray 5, so I sold it, but it is also on both G&Ls and now the Modulus Q6. This has never been a problem before. I have allways had low action and no finger noise, but now it sounds as though I am playing too hard. Could it be the strings? I notice it much less when there are Ken Smith Rockmasters on my G&L than when I had DR's on them!?!? Any advice appreciated.
    Scott
     
  2. Funny I have had this problem as well. I also reduced the problem with Ken Smith strings, but not with the RockMasters. I was a real hard player and playing lighter helps but I am wondering if it is because your Fenders had non-active pickups and your newer basses are active. I noticed that hotter pickups grab a lot more noise. It could be a set up thing but it may be the active pickups. On another note I know that when I play my RIC 4001 I have to be more gentle because the pickups tend to grab alot of finger noise.
    Good Luck.
     
  3. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    On passive basses, you almost have to use rest strokes to get that driving, percussive sound. But with active basses - especially high end ones - you can get that same basic sound by using free strokes and eliminate a lot of the superfluous noise at the same time. Learning the technique will seem difficult at first, but once you get it, you'll be able to play with a lot more fluidity not only at high tempos, but also even when you want to dig in more. Good luck.
     
  4. Scott Cutrer

    Scott Cutrer Guest

    Aug 21, 2000
    Richmond, VA
    OK, I'll bite, what are rest strokes and free strokes? You mean after 15 years of playing I don't know everything. I'm shocked;>). Well this is good coming from an upright player Chris. I have been plaing more upright lately and I thought I was just playing to hard, so maybe you have some more insght on this?
    Scott
     
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Upright RH technique and BG RH technique have very little in common, so I'm speaking as a BG player here.

    "Rest Strokes" are the kind of stroke where your Right hand fingers come to rest briefly on the next lowest adjacent string after playing (i.e. - when you play a note on the 1st string, your finger strikes the 2nd string).

    "Free Strokes" are the kind of strokes where your finger touches only the string that it is actually playing, and the arc of the stroke is such that it passes over the next string instead of striking it. To accomplish this, the Right hand should be in a more "straight up" position over the strings rather than slanted. This works on both active and passive basses, but is more effective on active basses since they are already a good deal "hotter" sounding and produce enough "thump" on their own.

    The mechanics of why free strokes produce less noise are pretty simple when you think of it: With rest strokes, the string doesn't vibrate parallel to the fretboard since there is some downward pull involved in the stroke...therefore, if you pull even a tiny amount harder than the setup of your bass will allow, the string is more likely to touch the frets as it vibrates. With free strokes, the string is pulled only from side to side, so that it vibrates parallel to the fretboard, and therefore doesn't buzz or rattle.

    Hope this helps.

    DURRL
     
  6. Scott Cutrer

    Scott Cutrer Guest

    Aug 21, 2000
    Richmond, VA
    Yep, thanks Chris. Good info, but I agree, that is gonna be a trick switching my RH BG tech after so long. But I have already started using the Free Strokes, I am gonna have to work on being able to maintaining the ability to dig in with the free stroke tech. I noticed that on his Bass Day 97 video, Oteil Burbridge is using the free stroke method on his Modulus Q6. Hmmmmmmm. Guess I have to start practicing again. Dang it!

    Thanks Chris, that is good stuff.
    Scott:D
     
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    HOT CUTTHROAT,

    Glad to help out. If you haven't spent a lot of time with these, a suggestion: starting out, they're easier to play over the fingerboard than over the bridge. If you start with an "over the fingerboard" technique and then gradually move back toward the bridge to get to the ultimate sound you want, it gives your hand a chance to get used to the new wrist position gradually.

    DURRL
     
  8. Scott Cutrer

    Scott Cutrer Guest

    Aug 21, 2000
    Richmond, VA
    I'll give it a shot, but it is like learning to play left handed after 15 years of being a "bridge digger"!