does anyone play with three fingers?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by MuNkEy, Feb 2, 2001.

  1. MuNkEy


    Jul 4, 2000
    utica, ny
    i have been trying to train myself to play with three fingers on my right hand for a while but i cant seem to do it. does anyone that does this have any tips or exercises for me?
  2. Hey Munkey, I try, and can play with three fingers only
    slowly, and if I concentrate really hard, but, I must agree
    with you it is hard.

    Mike J.
  3. I don't have a strict right-hand style (I play very similarly to Gary Willis--three fingers, very light touch, and over the bridge pickup), but I found that I could integrate my ring finger after about a month of practice.
  4. Yea, I play with 3 fingers. All I can say is, when you tap your fingers on the table, do you use all 5? Well if you can do that, why can't you use 3? Just apply the same concept to plucking the bass, and you're almost there! Just practice! Another way is to tape 2 of your fingers together, making you use (ex) your 1+2 fingers taped and your ring finger free, this helps.
  5. Steve Bailey has a video(sorry not sure which one)that covers a technique that he learned from a classical guitar teacher, it makes a lot of sense to me but it is not easy!
  6. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i play with index-middle-ring and thumb, like classical guitarists. in fact, i do some classical pieces on my 7 string basses.
  7. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    I use three, and sometimes try to use four. It takes practice. You just have to make a conscious effort to use all the fingers you want - very much the same way I brought in my pinky finger on the left hand. The technique is refered to as raking (well, if you use all four), and it's not so hard to train your hands. What I found was that I was so comfortable using two fingers, I never ventured outside the boundaries. You just need to concentrate on putting that extra finger in there.
  8. I believe I can incorporate my ring finger into my right hand technique if I need to. One of my first lessons with my teacher consisted of a short discussion about fingers vs pick and number of fingers. I then proceeded to fiddle around with 3 fingers, somehow under the general impression that "you should only use 2 fingers!" But to be honest, I don't even know where I got that impression, seeing as I had never picked up a bass before in my life, and I had never seen any footage of a bassist anywhere.
    Anyhoo, I tried out using 3 fingers on my right hand and found my ring finger to be amazingly stronger than I had expected, and was able to pluck the string with just about the same amount of force as my other 2 fingers every time. I think it'd be nice to play some songs where I can show off my 3-finger technique, but I can only get triplets done competently with 3 fingers, and can't get 16th notes, as well as barely passing 8th notes depending on how many bpm I'm going.
    Oh well...was that useful? :D
  9. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    There's a method called "Hanging Ten" which forces you to use all of your fingers because you duct-tape weaker ones to the stronger ones you would normally favor. And it worked GREAT for me. ZOOOOOOOM! That instruction plus a load of other stuff is at Just click on the "instruction" link and you'll see "Hanging Ten" listed,
  10. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    That would be his fretless bass video. I remember that since I have seen Bass Tips Vid where his first sentence is "I know you bought fretless bass vid but let's look at right hand technique first." I think his video was called just "Fretless Bass" or something similar.

    About training 3rd finger, just use your middle finger with 3rd finger instead of usual index and middle.
  11. snyderz


    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    I play mostly thumb and double thumb, due to an injury a couple years ago to right index and middle finger.
  12. Dave Castelo

    Dave Castelo

    Apr 19, 2000
    till recently i couldn´t play with three fingers...
    what i did was starting playing fast triplets for some songs (like the solo in Nature Boy by Primus)...then it got like a tic with this triplets...I mean...I used them almost anywhere in the fretboard and sometimes with no reason (that´s a good thing) after 2 months my third finger had independence and agility.

    BTW: those triplets were like Ring-middle-index one after

    then I saw an Entwistle video on his page and after that i was very excited I put Rage against the machine CD and tried his fingerings (failed jaja) but i was playing with three fingers and i was very i´m adapting all my previous songs that i have learned to a three finger playing...guess i havce a long road ahead but at least i know i can.

    ok i´m almost a year of starting playing and i love it
  13. hanging 10 is a great article.. worked for me

    I've actually noticed that I've settled into playing with mostly my first and third fingers.. it's kind've weird

    I still use my middle finger, but definitely not as much as the other two
  14. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Why nobody mention the astounding three finger technique of Maestro Billy Sheehan? this is one of the reasons because i feel that he's the only virtuoso who can't be imitated unless you born again.:)
  15. Erlendur Már

    Erlendur Már

    May 24, 2000
    I play with three fingers (at least sometimes..)
    You should try to play with uindex and middle finger like John Myung does sometimes..He does that in his video
  16. Deicide666


    May 1, 2000
    Use all 4. Just start off really slowly and built it up. Somebody mentioned tapping your fingers on the table, which is what i did for about a month or two to get it down. At that point the faster stuff which you would usually use a pick for becomes easier and the trick beomes doing techincal parts with all 3 or 4. The hardest finger is the pinky. Just abuse it for a few weeks and it'll fall in line.
  17. Jay


    Oct 19, 2000
    Bidwell, OH
    One time I was playing and suddenly realized that I had been using my ring finger unnoticed for the whole song! It was great, I just sort of subconsciously worked it in there without even worrying about it. No luck with the pinky though, I don't need it for what I play anyway. Peace.
  18. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    I was forced into using my ring finger a few weeks ago, when a nasty little cut on my middle finger made it hard to play. After being a bit shaky to begin with, I managed to cope fine with it. I don't really use it, but it's good to know I can use that finger if I have to.
  19. phil_chew


    Mar 22, 2000
    If you consider the thumb a finger, then yes I do play with three fingers. I use my thumb, index and middle finger, kinda like a classical guitarist. I notice that Sting plays this way too, although he's much better at it.