correct right hand technique?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by tm3, Mar 25, 2002.

  1. tm3


    Oct 10, 2001
    north carolina
    i'm hoping to avoid any bad habits here at the begninning ...

    is it best to anchor the thumb on the pickup, or not?

    or, should the thumb be anchored on the strings not being played to mute?

    always alternate picking between index and middle fingers?

    thanks for the tips!
  2. This topic has been discussed before, so try using the search function for more (and most likely, better) information.

    #1. It's up to you wether you want to anchor the thumb on the pickup or not. I do it, so do alot of players and there are also alot of folks that don't. Just try both and figure out which one suits you.

    #2. I didn't really get that question so I'll answer what I think you meant, I think you mean if you always keep the thumb where it's at. Don't do that. I have mine on the pickup when I play the E string, move it to E for when I play the A and so on. There was an article somewhere on this, but I can't find it. Try searching for similar threads here on TB, I think I saw the link for it in one of those.

    #3. Strict alternation is the "norm" for bassplayers. Thing is, there is no such thing as the norm. It's the most widespread technique around. You can use more, or less, though if you only use one finger you better be fast with it and have incredible stamina. This comes from my own experience, try playing a metal song with one finger. You just can't keep up the tempo on all those 16th notes. I use two fingers, it works out great for me. Some people here like to use two fingers and then three for triplets, some always use three and I think there are a couple who use four. Just do what feels right to you.

    Here are a couple of articles on finger method:

    Alternating fingers:

    Using all fingers:
  3. bluepeep


    Mar 19, 2002
    Long Island, NY
    I kind of got used to anchoring the thumb...But, my teacher has told me to allow the thumb to move and to use the side of the thumb for muting.....

    It didn't seem that big of a deal with a 4 string but, I just got a 5 and its a little tougher for me to keep my thumb from being planted...

    According to my teacher.. If you plant your thumb, your not going to get a consistent attack on each string... If you move your entire hand, instead of reaching, you can attack each string the same way and stay consistent.. As well as the fact that it helps in muting a 5 or 6 string bass where on a 4 it may not really matter much.,...
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Another tip for a consistent tone, apart from the floating thumb is to tilt your hand a little to the left. This compensates for the shorter index finger.

    Using a light touch helps to get a good tone and to get speed without tiring out your fingers.

    Pluck with the tip of your fingers, digging in too deep will slow you down too.

    Don't bend your finger to pluck a note. Drag your relaxed finger over the string, the pivot is the joint at your palm. Keep the last part of your finger relaxed, you don't need much strength to play a note.
    I hope I can make it clear enough, it would be much easier with pictures and in German.
  5. tm3


    Oct 10, 2001
    north carolina
    thanks for all the comments, and the references. i'll certainly check them out.

    gunnar, you nailed #2 even though i did not describe it well. i saw a video of a guy playing bass and it looked like he was doing this, which is how i picked up on the idea.

    i did a search before posting, but did not come up with any hits. maybe my terms were not good. i'll try again.

    when i started playing guitar, my instructor really emphasized proper technique so i guess that's why i'm harping on it. is better to look good and play bad than to look bad _and_ play bad! ;-)
  6. tm3


    Oct 10, 2001
    north carolina
    i found some related topics in the "techniques" board.

    i think i'll stick with the thumb anchor. one of the articles said this is more common with rock players (more stable as they jump around the stage -- i can see me doing that :-] ).
  7. Irie01


    Jan 22, 2002
    two words: rest strokes
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