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Digging in too hard?

Discussion in 'Ask Todd Johnson [Archived]' started by elpelotero, Aug 23, 2007.


  1. elpelotero

    elpelotero

    Jun 16, 2006
    I've been trying to apply the floating thumb for the past month or so, but I'm having trouble descending on the strings. (In fact, descending has always been my problem).

    I've always had a problem with plucking the strings too hard when I used to anchor on the pickup, partially because I like the aggressive tone I get.

    Even though I am hitting the strings softer, I am still hooking my fingers in too much. Are there any exercises to remedy this?
     
  2. Todd Johnson

    Todd Johnson

    Sep 27, 2005
    Anthem, AZ
    Hi Elpelotero,

    This is a hard one for me to answer without seeing you play....

    Realize you're "supposed" to be using a "rest stroke"....that means your finger should follow through and touch or "rest" on the string below it. For example if you're playing on the G string then your RH fingers should follow through and touch the D string....make sense.

    Also, be sure that you're using what I call the "heel of your fingertips".....it's the "meaty" part of the fingertip....not next to the fingernail.....

    This is hard for me to fix by typing......I could show you in person in 2 minutes.....

    If you haven't done so, I would highly recommend you pick up my "Technique Builders" DVD......all of this is covered in detail on the DVD.

    I hope this helps.......

    Let me know how things go.....
     
  3. elpelotero

    elpelotero

    Jun 16, 2006
    how much of the "meat" is supposed to hit though? Suppose you divide that small little joint into fourths. Where should I hit? the first 1/4, second 1/4..? Right now I'm hitting square in the middle of that little joint, which is fine for slow stuff, but not for fast.
     
  4. Todd Johnson

    Todd Johnson

    Sep 27, 2005
    Anthem, AZ
    If I'm understanding you correctly...........

    It sounds to me like you need to get MUCH closer to the "fingertip".

    Again, these things are hard to fix by typing.......

    In person, it takes 20 seconds...... The "Technique Builders" DVD also covers this.......sorry, but I don't have a "free-clip" for that at this point......

    I hope this helps.......

    Play slow!!;)
     
  5. elpelotero

    elpelotero

    Jun 16, 2006
    it helps enough. I'll get the dvd when I have some extra cash. thanks!
     
  6. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    When I first saw the floating thumb demonstrated by the illustrious Steve Lawson, I resisted. I was proud of the sound I got digging in with an anchored thumb and figured there was no way to duplicate it with the floater.

    After experimenting a bit (and working with Todd's technique DVD), I found that I could get an equally fat sound using floating thumb. I still anchor for some things (like fast 16th note funk). A side benefit of floating is that you are now totally free to pluck anywhere you want, on any string, without having to change your angle or velocity of attack. This leads to more consistency and gives a broader range of colors. I haven't mastered the floating thumb yet, but it is starting to make me feel more like a "bass artist" than a "bass craftsman," if that makes any sense.
     
  7. Todd Johnson

    Todd Johnson

    Sep 27, 2005
    Anthem, AZ
    Hi Winston,

    Way to go my friend!! I'm proud of you......

    I'm glad that Steve Lawson and I could help you towards your goal......
     
  8. spindizzy

    spindizzy

    Apr 12, 2004
    Michigan
    A big FT thumbs up to winston!

    [​IMG]

    Spin
     
  9. Todd Johnson

    Todd Johnson

    Sep 27, 2005
    Anthem, AZ
    SPIN!!!!!

    BRILLIANT!!! I LOVE IT......I'm stealing this for further use!! Ha!! You made my day.

    We need to hang one of these days!!

    Your friend and fan,
     
  10. spindizzy

    spindizzy

    Apr 12, 2004
    Michigan
    It is yours by all means. It just represents that shared passion that we both have for a technique that serves us well.

    As for our chance to hang, nothing would be more pleasent for me at this time in my life than to spend it with folks I have come to appreciate, admire and most important like very much. Strange how an opinion like this can be formed with only a set of forum posts to define it. I have read your forum (often a fly on many walls) and seen the hundred ways we are alike and the ways that we are different.

    I live a bit vicariously through you as I record only, seldom play in public, stopped teaching in the seventies and ply a completely different trade in the daytime (I am a one man strategic think tank for a major telecom company). I think though that you would be surprized at how I have managed to keep up all these years and I assure you that we would have quite a jam if we got together.

    I am so glad you like the good ship FT.

    Spin
     
  11. Todd,
    This is a great tedchnique!
    It just solved my muting issues.

    In 1970 I lived in Orange County and took drum lessons from Murry Spivak. His approach to drum technique was similar to yours for bass. Take advantage of what the body already offers.

    You are blessed that you can help so many, so much.
    It must feel great.

    Gratefully,
    Todd Canedy
     

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