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Exercise sticky

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Pacman, Aug 12, 2007.

  1. elchamo2OO8


    Jan 4, 2010
    First I exercise my body, then I press on a tennis or baseball ball for 30 seconds as hard as I can. Moving to the bass I start with my plucking hand:




    Then fretting hand:

    G-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-18-17-16-15-14-13-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1- on all strings
    I M R P I M R P I M R P P R M I P R M I

    G-4-3-2-1-5-4-3-2-6-5-4-3 until the end of the fretboard and on all strings
    P R M I P R M I P R M I

    A--10--------11----9--------11-------------- and on and on
    I M R P


    D---11---------10-----10---------9----- and on and on
    P R M I
  2. Slammyapple


    Nov 23, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    Two-finger string skipping w/ alternate plucking.

    With LH, barre harmonic at 5th or 7th fret. Or 12th. Whatever.

    Start at 40 bpm and work up slowly.

    Quarter notes
    E--1-----1----1-----1----1----- ...

    E-----2---------------------- ...

    E-----2----------------------- ...

    E------------------2---------- ...

    Eighth notes

    Etc. starting on each string...


    *For descending, practice both strict alternating and raking with resting finger -- ex.:




    E--1/2/1/2-----------1/2/1/2-----------1/2/1/2-----------1/2/1/2----------1/2/1/2------------ ...

    Etc. starting on each string...

    Even at very slow tempo, focus on smooth motion and even accents. Try alternating starting with 2 where it works.

    Along with building muscle memory, this helps a lot with finding a natural RH position and getting into floating thumb, since the wrist and lower arm aren't jumping all over the place.
  3. I found one Scale exercise posted by Pacman incredibly useful for many reasons:
    1. MAkes me finally memorize notes on my fretboard
    2. Fingering paths (i`m finding tricky - at least for now :))
    3. At the same time you practice all scales u can think of..it depends on you what scale you want to practice.
    Here is a copy of Pacman`s post:
    Ps. yes i know it sounds complicated when you will start reading it...but just grab your guitar and you will get it fast :) At the moment im fascinated by this exercise!!
    Thanks a lot for this and many other advices :)
    Ok again here is Pacman`s exercise:

    Pacman's sure-fire scale practice method


    I’d like to share with you the method I believe is the best way to not only practice scales, but to learn the fingerboard of your bass, and really start getting your ears together. This is the method taught to me by my teacher and I want to share it with all of you. This method applies to all electric basses, regardless of the number of strings. For the examples, however, we’ll use the 4-string configuration. Additionally, all examples will be in the key of C major, but it is very important to practice these exercises in all keys once you’ve gotten the concept down.

    One of the problems I think many people run into with scales is that they practice them from root to root. That is, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 and then maybe 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1. While this is a perfectly acceptable way to learn and practice scales, it’s not a) practical or b) musical. I say practice your scales from the lowest note on your bass to the highest. Let’s begin with C major. I’ll spell out a C major scale and show the note “function” or number beneath:

    C 1
    D 2
    E 3
    F 4
    G 5
    A 6
    B 7
    C 8(1)

    So in C, the lowest available note in the 4-string is the open E string, which we can see is the 3rd of the scale. Start with the E and play E (the 3rd) F (the 4th) and G (the 5th) on the E string. Continuing the C major scale on the next string, play A (the 6th) B (the 7th) and C (the root). Still going up, play the open D (the 2nd) E (the 3rd) and F (the 4th). On the G-string play G (the 5th) A (the 6th) and B (the 7th). Come back down the scale the same way. I find that it helps if you say or sing the note function (number) as you play it. This gets the sound of each note in your head. It’s far more important to understand what the 3rd of a major scale sounds like, for instance, than to recognize an E when you hear it.

    The second “box” will start with the lowest F on the 4 string. Continuing in C major, you’d play F, G, and A on the E string, B, C, and D on the A string, E, F, and G on the D string and A, B and C on the G-string. Remember to sing or say the scale numbers to really get the sound of the harmony in your head.

    The third “box” starts on the low G. G, A, and B on the E string. C, D and E on the A string. F, G and A on the D. B, C and D on the G-string. Continue moving these “boxes” up the neck in this manner. I generally practice this up one octave from where I started and then come back down again. If you do this, you’ll notice patterns emerge (hint: there are only 3. Ever. No matter what.)

    You can (and should) practice any and all scales and modes in this fashion. My suggestion is that once you’ve gotten this concept down you practice all your “C” scales and modes on one day, the next day all of your “C#” scales. Then your “D” scales, etc, etc. If you practice in this manner, your knowledge of keys will grow equally and even the tough keys won’t bother you.
  4. phatplat


    Dec 21, 2011
    I just did the first one. I am going to have to practice the practice. It really helped me use my pinky. I tend to use the ring and middle fingers more than anything else. Thanks.
  5. wishface


    Jan 27, 2012
    Not that I'm any kind of expert but the mainstay of what i've practised has been scales going up thorugh the modes across the neck. So start on the 3 fret E string (g). Play the major scale then descend down A dorian, up B Phrygian, down C Lydian, up D Mixolydian, down E aeolian, up F#/Gb Locrian.
    Hopefully those are the correct mode names and I haven't embarassed myself.
    Play this pattern straight, then go up/down thirds, then fifths (i used to try fourths but got lazy), then sixths, then arpeggios (so, starting with G major scale: G-B-D-E-C-A-B-D-F#-G-E-C- and so forth).

    Whether i'm any good at this, or whether this is a worthwhile practice I do not know. If someone can tell me how to improve that then i'd be grateful.
  6. guyshocks


    Apr 5, 2011
    Does anyone know of any techniques that could minutely improve your bass playing, but have nothing to do with bass? For example, do push ups help? Weight lifting? That little squeezy hand thing people use?
  7. caeman

    caeman The Root Master

    Sep 17, 2008
    I play other instruments.

    Between the fiddle, harmonica, keys, drums and guitar, I find that I gain insight into melody structures that can be useful on bass. It is helping to train my ears.
  8. guyshocks


    Apr 5, 2011
    I'm also doing guitar, piano, and drums at the moment, but I'm still fatiguing easily (not regularly a bass player, but enjoy playing it frequently), and I have to record in a month (lost bass player). Just trying to do everything I can to gain that strength.
  9. caeman

    caeman The Root Master

    Sep 17, 2008
    I don't like exercising much, but I like to be active. I have taken up playing vintage base ball -- no gloves. That should toughen up my hands quick.
  10. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Cali Intergalactic Mind Space - always on the edge
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    And also may give you broken or jammed fingers and other palm injuries/deep bruises.

    IME, that should be the last sport a musician should participate in.
  11. Hulktopus


    Aug 22, 2012
    Mansfield, TX
    Most of the non-bass techniques I use have something to do with music theory. There are zero physical exercises that I do for finger strength. My suggestion is: find an online trainer (musictheory.net is a great place to start) and learn to sight-read (if you can't already). I think this will be more valuable to you than physical exercises. If you're already familiar with theory, that site is a great refresher. Plus, you can customize your own exercises!!

    I find that tapping in time along with a metronome/drummer/favorite song helps a lot, especially when you CAN'T play your bass (for whatever reason). Tap your fingers, one per hand at a time, on the back of your steering wheel while driving. Alternatively, you can tap your foot. Try to stay in-time with the beat of the drums or even with the bass-line if you're familiar with it. It may seem simple and silly, but it's worth the time it takes (especially when multi-tasking). This will improve your rhythm more than your actual bass playing, and you're "practicing without practicing."

    If you feel like it's really hard to squeeze with your fretting hand, try relaxing your PICKING shoulder. Letting your picking arm rest a little more on the body will stabilize the neck and you won't have to control it so much with your fretting hand. I used to get sore/tired in my "thumb-meat" (the muscle between your wrist and your thumb) until I tried this. Haven't had a problem since.
  12. G3Mitch


    Feb 8, 2011
    New Zealand
    so, i moved to thicker picks this last week, and as it is, i hit the strings pretty hard. i found myself getting cramps in my right thumb... specifically the space between the knuckles. anyone have any stretches or tips to help avoid this?

    i practice atleast an hour a day, 4-5 days a week not including rehearsals. so i don't think its a case of needing to play more and doesn't seem like a strength thing.

    it's alot more apparent at rehearsals though i must say, which leads me to think it has something to do with needing to relax abit more. but, i can't help getting amped up when playing in a room with a band.

    may just be a case of having to go back to my older pick size, to have a little give.
  13. JoeWPgh


    Dec 21, 2012
    As a one time pro at this, my issue is keeping my fingers somewhat nimble. I use 2 calestenic exorcises. One is pure 4's up and down an octave down each for finger. F B- E- A- up, then A E B F# down, so on and so forth, an octave up and down for each finger. The other is an chromatic octave up and down each individual string in triplets. But as I said, these are mere calistenics, but when you need them, why not?
  14. AllFourths


    Mar 23, 2012
    I practice bass and exercise (general fitness) a lot in general, but I wanted to combine them into an ass-kicking morning routine to do every (or almost every) day. Here's how it goes:

    - Wake up.
    - Lydian in all keys via fifths
    - PLANK
    - Major in all keys via fifths
    - PUSH UPS
    - Mixolydian in all keys via fifths
    - PULL UPS
    - Dorian in all keys via fifths
    - PUSH UPS
    - Minor in all keys via fifths
    - PLANK
    - Phrygian in all keys via fifths
    - Skip locrian, proceed to breakfast.

    Obviously there's a lot of room for variation in here in terms of how you finger every mode, how many octaves you do it in, how many times you repeat one key before moving on to the next, etc. Same goes for reps and length of pull/pushups and planks. I did it for the first time this morning and it took about an hour, as I drill the heck out of each section, no rushing. Feelin' the burn for sure.
  15. bonansinga


    Jan 24, 2013
    Hello Board.

    I'm the new guy. :)

    Been playing since November, after toying around and giving up 20 years ago. I got the bug, hard. And am practicing 6 days a week, for 3 or 4 hours a day (after working all day). Been trying to do the whole thing, songs, scales/modes, finger exercises.

    On the latter, I wanted to say thank you to every author of this thread. There seems to be much wisdom and goodness within. I'm gonna' be a busy guy trying to take in and put this stuff to good use.

    Been having a hard time with the music theory aspect. My bass teacher is pretty good, but I'm being somewhat thick headed in that space.... hoping to find some answers, and get over my block, maybe from other parts of the board here.

    Rock on guys.

    Joe B
  16. Koji_Sunioj


    Feb 16, 2013

    this is my favorite exercise, you can do it on any root note but its for three finger/quad/scale ascending/descending. pretty challenging, but fun. then after you get the hang of it you can make some cool melodies using these progressions.
  17. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    Not sure I'm quite understanding the fingering. Ring/middle/index/middle--visualizing it: shifting positions to make those fingerings, yeah?
  18. Koji_Sunioj


    Feb 16, 2013
    yes, exactly.

    EDIT: and just to make this clear, you can obviously use this on any scale or picking technique. for this i happened to be focusing on notes in a quad format using the RMIM technique.
  19. kiat


    Aug 31, 2010
    Mons, Belgium
    My hands could do with being looser and I have right elbow pains which affects my grip so I kooked around for some good stretching and dexterity exercises specifically without the bass. I knew that amongst whatever I have been comfortable doing, something wasn't right. Tried the lessons from the video "Essential Hand Stretches For Guitarists" and good results do far. Hope it gets you dome benefit too.

  20. arock0627


    Mar 20, 2013
    Lawton, OK
    For your left hand, this song has it. It's "This Is Not an Exit" by Anthrax, retabbed for BEADG (since it's drop C). It's not pretty, especially if you aren't used to 1234 left hand fretting. I've included it as an attachment.

    Attached Files:

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