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Disadvantages to playing with 3 fingers

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Joshuadriller, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. Joshuadriller


    Apr 30, 2011
    Kansas City
    Has anyone come across any problems with the 3 finger technique?
  2. Groove Master

    Groove Master

    Apr 22, 2011
    Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101
    Yep, the tone. None of the 3 fingers has the same tone or sound which to me is a big problem.
  3. Joshuadriller


    Apr 30, 2011
    Kansas City
    Do you normally play with a pick??
  4. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    This isn't going to end well.
  5. Dominic DeCosa

    Dominic DeCosa Habitual Line-Stepper Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 9, 2008
    Vero Beach, Florida
    DiCosimo Audio
    I like it for fast triplet runs. It takes practice to get the same sound from all 3 fingers.
  6. Actium


    Jan 15, 2011
    Seemslike a valid question given the context.
  7. Joshuadriller


    Apr 30, 2011
    Kansas City
    That's what I thought too.. I've got nothing against playing with a pick. it's not for me, but I know some guys who can make playing with a pick sound really cool.
  8. One disadvantage to playing with 3 fingers: Your fingers will want to play triplets instead of quarter, eighth, or sixteenths.

    And I have to agree with the different sound thing, that's why for some parts I play with one finger. A bass line sounds totally different to my ears depending on which finger I start on.
  9. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    It allows me to play about 100 times faster and cleaner than most of my local bassists.
  10. 3 finger hasn't really made me play a whole lot faster...because my left hand is still trying to catch up! :D:meh::(:scowl::ninja:
  11. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    I always play 3 fingers and it didn't make me faster either. However I only found advantages.
    If you have an injured finger you can leave it at rest.
    Less tiring on the fingers.
    Easily adaptable. You can play 1-2-3-2 or 1-2-3 depending on the rhythm you play.
    To play 3 fingers you need to spread them a bit, which raises the forearm and gives me a naturally comfy position, without stress on my wrist.
    It develops independance of fingers, so that switching to picking when needed is easy.
    When you want strict unity in your tone, nothing prevents playing with one finger only.
  12. Skitch it!

    Skitch it!

    Sep 6, 2010
    String crossing can be trickier, constant 16th's can sound more like triplets because of the articulation, my last pad is slightly softer than the idex and mid too. Triplets without too much string crossing involved is a lot faster with 3 ime. I tend to stick to the index and mid and bring in the ring when I need it for certain stuff, but depending on what I'm playing I'll use whatever sounds best.
  13. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Fair point and I agree on the difference on tone, but that my opinion is a desirable point to have in a bass sound, or it can just sound like a computer or sequenced tone, so for me never ever found any draw backs because I have the choice to use that characteristic to 'colour' my playing. The point to me is the the 1 or the strong beat really sounds the same so as to identify the beat, the rest is nuance and character of a players style.:)
  14. HaVIC5


    Aug 22, 2003
    Brooklyn, NYC
    I found that lack of consistency of tone and articulation was the main factor which caused me to drop 3 finger technique. I felt like I was never really in control of the sound as much as I would have liked. Now, I end up playing with one finger most of the time for that reason - I get a much more even sound.
  15. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Hey Adam, have you noticed any real loss of function when playing?
    Some of your music is quite intricate so does it hold up with just using the one finger?
  16. HaVIC5


    Aug 22, 2003
    Brooklyn, NYC
    Wel, stuff that's complicated I play with two fingers when I need to, of course, and I guess for a lot of my own personal music that's most of the time. However, in "real" situations where I've been hired to hold it down for others, one finger all the way.

    Here's my latest video on it.

    Bass Lesson - Playing With One Finger - YouTube
  17. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    I'm a 3 finger guy, but in certain recording situations I'll back down to one if nothing particularly difficult is required - it does give you a very consistent sound and level.

    Jamerson didn't do too bad with one.
  18. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    I would advise you all to watch this. He addresses it.
  19. Psycho


    Jun 24, 2008
    Lack of fingers to help mute and anchor.

    You could use the pinkie, but that's a bit unwieldy in my experience.
  20. I have a related question: who here plays, two-finger style, with the index and ring finger instead of the index and middle fingers? Is there any difference in tone, more even or less even? How about playability with those fingers? After all, they are closer to each other in length.


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