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Electric & Acoustic Fingering

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Mikhail, Oct 8, 2019.


  1. Mikhail

    Mikhail

    Jul 18, 2006
    I recently picked up Mel Bay’s “Learn To Play Bluegrass Bass” by Earl Gately, primarily to strengthen my reading skills and my understanding of Root/Five movements & connecting chords. This to go along with Ed Friedland’s “Building Walking Bass Lines”. Gately’s book is geared toward acoustic bass; the left-hand fingerings are a little different from “one finger-one fret” electric bass fingerings. With the thought of picking up an EUB someday, would I be well served to adapt the acoustic fingerings & position studies to the way I currently play electric “Fender” bass? Thanks for any feedback.
     
  2. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    "acoustic" / 124 fingering instead of 1FPF/1234
    is quiet common for electric bass guitar, especially in the lower frets.
    neither technique is "correct"
    use what lets you play comfortably & accurately for your situation.
     
    Max Bogosity and Mikhail like this.
  3. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Indeed! I have very short fingers and should probably play a short scale bass, but I've always preferred a 34" scale. My dad was a upright player and I adopted a sort of 123 technique based on the 124. I can't do the finger per fret technique unless I'm above the 12th fret. The last time I was above the 12th fret was, I think, 1982.
     
    Malcolm35 likes this.
  4. Malcolm35

    Malcolm35

    Aug 7, 2018
    I play OFPF, however, something wonderful happened along the way. My fingers started deciding which one would get the next fret. It just kinda happened and I was glad to let the fingers take over.

    OFPF was designed for electric 6 string and the other was designed for double bass. Why? Because they are played different.

    Start with the one that is the most comfortable, and change if you have to.

    My advise if you can get to the right fret before the music goes off and leaves you, I'm not going to tell that you broke either pattern.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
  5. No. They are very different instruments. Technique does not transfer from one to the other. Really, the only things they have in common, are bass clef, and fourths tuning.

    Learn to play the electric you have now.
    If you get an upright, then learn to play it.
     
    BassChuck likes this.
  6. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe

    Jul 8, 2008
    Connecticut
    Upright bass technique doesn't translate well to electric bass guitar. I agree that use what works on electric bass guitar, but the fingering for URB is what it is because of the anatomy of the hand, and to depart from it, intentionally, is to almost guarantee a short URB career.
     
  7. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    If we narrow our discussion from the general "URB technique" to the specific "124 fingering", does that assertion hold true?
    because my experience (and that of more successful players ) is that 124 fingering works just dandy in many cases.
     
    SteveCS likes this.
  8. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe

    Jul 8, 2008
    Connecticut
    Hmmm ... my thoughts were straight, but my wording was back-azzwards. It should read "Electric bass guitar technique doesn't translate well to URB".

    124 is Simandl technique, and is proper for URB. Trying to play one finger per fret style on the URB is a recipe for hand injury.
     
    mambo4 likes this.
  9. micguy

    micguy

    May 17, 2011
    Trying to play one finger per fret on electric is, for many folks, also a recipe for hand injury. I have huge hands, and I don't play that way. Partly because it's not ergonomic, even for me, partly because of all the double stops I play, which can't be done with one finger per fret.
     
    Max Bogosity likes this.
  10. jthisdell

    jthisdell Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    I also have short fingers, bought an EUB about five years ago and adapted my left hand technique to work on it. Even with the 1,2,4 technique I still had to open my hand a bit and stretch more on EUB. Going through this made me tend to shift just a tad (on both), that is moving my hand up and down the fret board (or fingerboard) just a small amount, really just bending my wrist a bit and not being so rigid. I still play BG 1,2,3,4 but my left hand is a lot more fluid. (I play a 34" Fender P and a 42" NST NX4.)

    I think adapting your left hand to 1,2,4 on BG would be counter productive, you would be making your hand cover less territory instead of more and closing your hand up instead of opening it up more. IMHO this is the opposite of what one should be trying to achieve. Just my 2 cents.

    The best technique exercise for me was to join a gypsy jazz trio with two excellent guitarists on EUB. Made me work both hands like hell and forced my brain to move much faster.
     
  11. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    One of my biggest revelations about left had technique
    was realizing that I was allowed to move my left hand
    even when staying "in one position"
    no crime in sliding my entire hand up to reach a note.
    as long is it does not compromise what comes next
     
    Max Bogosity, SteveCS and jthisdell like this.
  12. Malcolm35

    Malcolm35

    Aug 7, 2018
    Ditto ^. Know what works, but, do not be afraid to experiment. We start out living in "the box", because the old guys told us to start there, but, there is nothing keeping us from going outside the box if it helps the music we are playing.

    That and $2.68 will get you a cup of coffee in most places where musicians hang out.
     

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