Double Finger Technique

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by tiredman9, Aug 28, 2005.

  1. tiredman9


    Aug 15, 2005
    New York
    Does anyone here use the technique where you place both your index and middle finger together and pull across the strings (the same way you usually do just with the fingers togethe)? Ive been trying it recently and it gives me a pretty beefy tone but its hard to play fast
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Yeah, a lot of blues guys will do that when they're swinging quarter notes. It's the rule of string engagement, where the more string you pull, the thicker and louder the note will sound. That's why upright players use the sides of their fingers instead of the tips. Probably not as necessary to do it on an electric bass with all the advances in amplification over the last 40 years, but still fun.
  3. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

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

    Now that you mention, I've never found a difference playing an upright like that. I know that there are many variables involved when plucking a string for getting a certain tone, but for me they are where you pluck (close to the bridge or close to the neck), the plucking direction (downward, like pushing the string towards the fingerboard -which ,unlike the bass guitar, sounds horrible in a DB to me- or upward, like when popping) and how hard you do it. That "side of the finger" thing has never worked for me. Maybe I'm missing something?
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Yeah, I think you are. Don't know what it is, but when I use the side of my finger to play upright it always sounds better than just the tip.
  5. pauljacksonfan


    Jun 14, 2005
    I usually use both techniques when playing upright. The side of the finger gives a beefy tone suitable for comping while my tips give me a clearer treblier sound suitable for lead lines up in the higher register. Works for me.
  6. When you use the sides of your fingers, or both, two things happen. One, you tend to get more power, because you are using the weight (or muscles on electric) of your arm, or even just the muscles of two fingers in combination, and wrist rather than just one finger. The two finger technique applies better to electric because using the sides of the fingers is uncomfertable and doesn't get you the same effects as on upright (when the weight of your entire arm gives you more power). Two, the larger width that is plucking the string means that more of the higher partials (the other frequences vibrating simultaniously along with the fundimental note, which create the "tone.") of the vibration are knocked out (this is one reason why a pick sounds so much more "punchy"; its narrower width leaves more of the higher partials intact). The combination gives a louder sound and also puts more emphasis on the lower partials, creating a "beefer" sound.