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Fast B-string fingerstyle

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Zanzibar Delgado, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. Zanzibar Delgado

    Zanzibar Delgado Supporting Member

    I'm having trouble playing as quickly on the B-string as I can on the rest of the bass (tuned BEADG) because my right-hand fingers have nothing to fall back against and are as a result flailing around in empty space behind the string.

    I'm trying to do a sort of rapid three-finger picking to match a tremolo-picked guitar, and it works well on all of the other strings.

    Any advice would be much appreciated. :)
  2. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    I would suggest trying a technique where you have your wrist more parallel to the body. Your fingers will hit the body instead of a string. I use this method on the 4 string typically.
  3. You could try using a ramp ala Gary Willis and his three finger technique.
  4. jabsys


    Mar 30, 2011
    I struggled with this, my solution was to move my thumb so the fingers hit the pad of my thumb.
  5. Zanzibar Delgado

    Zanzibar Delgado Supporting Member

    I tried this but with the pickup instead of my thumb and it seems to be working better. Still not as fluid as the rest of my strings but it's better.
  6. devilman666


    Apr 23, 2011
    manchester nh
    Funny question what guage strings you play? I ask cause I found as a metal bassist who plays fingers only in a fairly fast tech band that loose "B" strings cause a ton of wasted movement. I fond by going with say a 135 if you tune to B that the extra tension will keep you finger from having suck a large swinge if you will .I tune "AEADG" and play a 145-105-85-65-45 but i als play DR ddt so they have a higher tension even for the normal gauge strings due to the hex core. Just an idea
  7. Toastfuzz


    Jul 20, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    This is typically what I do... I play in a faster rock/metal band in Drop B and for fast riffs along the B string, I'll anchor my hand very close and parallel with the body of the bass, so my fingerpad hits the bass body after it plucks the string. You can get pretty fast 2-finger or 3-finger runs that way.
  8. devilman666


    Apr 23, 2011
    manchester nh
    SORRY about the spelling early morning lol
  9. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    It's partly the physics of the string - more mass, less tension - it's slower to speak - the same thing happens even when you play with a pick. To compound the problem, whatever you're playing though will also have great deal of difficulty reproducing very low notes at high speed.

    I know a metal head doesn't to hear it, but you're probably better off playing half time or up an octave.
  10. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    When I have to do tremolo stuff on B I use a technique more like T-R-M-I or T-M-I where I slap the first note. It give you a nasty accent on the downbeat and once you get the rotation down with your wrist you can play insanely fast and consistently without getting tired. I dial in a sound and use gear that helps this type of slapping sound good though.

    If I just want to do fingerstyle down there I rest my thumb on a pickup. No biggy.
  11. Zanzibar Delgado

    Zanzibar Delgado Supporting Member

    My issue isn't with the thickness/floppiness of the string (.135 DR Sunbeam btw), it's with the lack of anything behind the string to "catch" my fingers, so to speak. I'm almost tempted to get a six with a low F# just for this purpose LOL!

    also, I play fretless and really abhor clacky bass tones. I'm going for a more Sean Malone/Jeroen Thesseling sound.

    Thanks for all the replies so far :)
  12. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    My bass is BEAD tuned and I experienced something similar on the B string. My solution is to play the B closer to the bridge. There it feels a little stiffer. I place my thumb on the edge op the bridge pickup and hit that B with two, somtimes three fingers.
  13. Edgar664


    Mar 12, 2009
  14. Here is a picture of my hand position. Those grooves are from my nails wearing the wood down. I come down through the string so my finger us caught on the body. I also sometimes use the pickups as a ramp

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