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Does anyone pluck with two fingers?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by zaphod, Jan 28, 2001.

  1. zaphod


    Jan 14, 2001
    This is just something i am wondering about:
    who plucks with both fingers? Is it a skill i should bother learning? And if you don't, how do you manage the really fast parts? Thanks in advance everyone
  2. Dragonlord

    Dragonlord Rocks Around The Glocks

    Aug 30, 2000
    Greece, Europe
    well,how do YOU pluck?

    I use 2 and I am trying to learn how to use 4...but this damn pinkie doesn't seem to want to give me a tone anywhere close to the tone of the rest three fingers:D

    [Edited by Dragonlord on 01-28-2001 at 08:39 PM]
  3. good question, how do you pluck?

    i use 2, and more
  4. I have used two ever since I started playing. Now I'm trying to learn how to use 3, just mainly because I want to in case I ever need to play something really fast.
  5. Two does the trick for me.
  6. I use 2, but can use 3 pretty well. I'd like to learn how to use 4, but ever since I broke my finger my pinky has been a few crucial mm shorter, putting my hand in an awkward position if I try to pluck with it. :)
  7. guapongkev


    Jan 25, 2001
    I use my thumb the most and i also use my other four fingers. I started only using my thumb but it wasn't fast enough so i just tried to use my entire hand. It is fun and but it also gets tireing. Unless you started using your thumb i guess it might be hard to use both it and your fingers.

  8. marko


    Jan 31, 2000
    I started (only 18 months ago) playing with one finger. I did find it limiting though when trying to play the fast bits. I got a good tip from a mate of mine. When watching tv just sit with your guitar and walk your fingers up and down the strings. You'll be surprised how effective this is. You'll soon be playing with the extra finger in no time.
  9. camerondye


    Nov 7, 2000
    I think he means pluck as in Thump-and-Pluck?...
  10. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    I use 2 fingers, sometimes even 3 fingers. I can play faster than any pick user out there. After all, how many picks can a person use at one time. You can use 2 or 3 fingers simultaneously while the other guy can only use 1 pick.
  11. Dragonlord

    Dragonlord Rocks Around The Glocks

    Aug 30, 2000
    Greece, Europe
    Only one finger?Wow,I can't even IMAGINE playing this way...I think it's too limiting,try 2 fingers,anyway it's dead easy if you practise for a while.Just MHO.
  12. zaphod


    Jan 14, 2001
    OK, i have a follow up question..what are you guys playing that you need to use upwards of three plucking fingers....with only using one and SOMETIMES using two (such as rapid string crossovers or whatever) i have been able to play virtually anything i have come across, with some (ok, a lot for some stuff) practice....oh well, thanks all
  13. zaphod


    Jan 14, 2001
    i suppose how i pluck is left over from upright when i would have to do pizz holding a bow (i played a lot of classical, that was all i played until recently, when i got my electric) and really couldn't use two fingers..even though i did use a german bow....
  14. Dragonlord

    Dragonlord Rocks Around The Glocks

    Aug 30, 2000
    Greece, Europe
    Well,first of all it's for speed.Can you play 120 bpm 16th notes with one finger?I know I can't!(actually,I can't even with 2 fingers-yet;))Then,if you want to pluck the E string and then G and then back to E,it is so much easier with two or three fingers...and of course by using 2 or 3 fingers you have much more potential to play for a long time without tiring your fingers-that could even cause you injuries...
    That's all I can think of,maybe there are more reasons to play with 2 or 3...anyway it's up to what you prefer,and if you are happy with one finger,fine with me...just make sure you won't face injuries by playing this way.If you think it's safe,and if you can play whatever you want and it feels comfortable,I say do whatever you like.
  15. White_Knight


    Mar 19, 2000
    I've been playing with two fingers my whole bass playing career. I sometimes use a third to hit a really quick accent note or whatnot, but usually it's just two.

    As for why I use two: one of the things that I've learned the most from my bass teacher is conserving energy. It sounds lazy, but really - you can play for vast ammounts of time by doing stuff like two fingers instead of one on your plucking hand. Combine that with using all four of your fretting fingers and you're saving a lot of motion. So endurance/durability is my main reason. Trust me, it really pays off on long gigs!
  16. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Same here. Fatigue hasn't been an issue for me for years, even on a gig where we had to play 3 1/2 straight with no break.

    Then I see what Gary Willis does with his technique and it is intriguing.
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Actually, although I do tend to use two fingers and thumb nowadays, I tend to agree with you. People often go on around here about speed and how fast can you play and I think - what are they playing! I imagine them sitting around with other bassists having competition sprints - like the 100m for bass! ;)

    In any band I've been, over 20 years, that played "out" - i.e. in public - I have been able to play the whole set comfortably with one finger and there has been nothing fast in it at all. The idea has been about making music that people want to listen to - not impressing them with our athletic prowess!

    Now OK it's fun to play fast and see what you can do, but generally this isn't the sort of thing that people want to listen to in my experience. There are some funk things, where it helps to use two fingers and get the right rhythm - sort of right-hand muting and as others have said, it can conserve energy and mean you're less likely to make mistakes, but as we all know, there have been great bassists like James Jamerson who have gone through their whole successful careers only using one finger - and this is also effectively what those who use a pick - like Carol Kaye and Joe Osborn are doing as well.

    I think the thing is not to get hung up on it and use what you need to make music and not feel that bass playing is a competitive sport, with winners and losers. If people enjoy the music and dance and compliment the band - who cares if it was all fairly simple playing, as long it was "right" for the music?
  18. I use 5 fingers but i'm gonna try and start using 6 or 7 (My left hand) It's going to be hard but it will put a little originality in my playing, I could get so many different tones out of this!
  19. Rockinjc


    Dec 17, 1999
    Hey Bruce, It's not a race? I better put down this power drill with six picks on it then. :)

    I am trying like heck to get that James Jamerson thing with one finger going. Once I am there I intend on bringing the other fingers in when I need. Even though I have played two and three fingers since the seventies, I think one finger can be pretty cool. Last summer I saw the Thunderbirds and they had this guy who just flailed away with his index finger. It looked like he was trying to dig a booger out of the strings. ;)

    I think Stuart Hamm does the two direction finger picking with every finger. ThatÂ’s what somebody told me anyway.

  20. I use thumb, index and middle.

    Can't do the "Shout Dance" without it !!!


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