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Fast octaves

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Amitio, Aug 23, 2007.

  1. G|------------|

    Finding it very difficult to play this repeatedly and this occurs a lot im jamiroquai songs which im trying to learn. This is right hand technique.

    Wondering how you go about playing it?

    I use my index for the E string and middle fro the octave up, and for the quick 2 i use middle then index.
  2. that's pretty much what I do. I am pretty fast at it, it's almost a twitch, a controlled twitch.
  3. TeeMartin


    Jul 18, 2006
    Try using your thumb like a fingerstyle guitarist.
  4. xxxtian


    Aug 23, 2007
    use your thumb for the e string and your index and midle for the d string, a´la garrison style, is pretty useful for this kinds of licks, greetings from chile!!
  5. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY

    I play in a disco band and have to use this technique many times a night. Like anything else, it takes some practice to build up speed and smoothness.
  6. chicagodoubler

    chicagodoubler Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2007
    Chicago, that toddling town
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Genz Benz
    Two schools ot thought-

    1. Use an alternative technique, like three finger with thumb.

    2. Improve your standard string crossings.

    I have worked on both, especially for disco, and even disco's stepson, Jamiroquai. To improve standard 2 finger crossings, try turning the tricky bar into an etude. Take the problem spot, and spend 1/2 hour a day running it in octaves up and down the neck with a metronome.

    There are tons of great crossing exercises. I believe there's an old Dave LaRue one floating around somewhere. PM me and I'll see if I can dig it up.
  7. middy


    Mar 14, 2007
    Using the index on the low note and then middle and ring finger on the high seems to have potential....
  8. gearwhine


    Aug 8, 2007
    That's the way to go as far as I'm concerned. Just play it slowly first to get your fingering pattern down. Use a metronome, slow the beat down, and progressively build up to the actual speed. You will be amazed how much clearer you're playing it if you build up from a slow speed. I'm fairly new to bass myself, and that's how I got quicker octaves.
  9. spindizzy


    Apr 12, 2004
    Please simply use the thumb and finger combo as others have suggested. It is IMHO the only way and other attempts to do it with more traditional two and three finger (no thumb) is an inefficient method and should be avoided. Why the purists continue to shy away from (and in some rare cases outright call bad technique) recommending more development of alternate thumb usage is beyond me.

    Of course I should be saying "please by all means use the most inefficient way possible we wouldn't want you offending any of the more traditional players" so that you join them and do not threaten any of the floating thumb/fingerstyle thumb players. Yes...play fast octives with just your index and middle finger...yes that's the way...yessss Smithers!

  10. chicagodoubler

    chicagodoubler Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2007
    Chicago, that toddling town
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Genz Benz
    Funny. Nobody mentioned playign it with a pick, which I feel may be the easiest way to handle your issue.

    Please, no flaming... Try it for a week first.:p

    That gives at least three solutions.

    I recommend trying all three, and using the solution that works for you.

    Regarding using the thumb rather than traditional 1-2, try as you might, you can't run away from octaves forever! Why not learn all three (or more) methods, and have multiple tools in your arsenal?
  11. Tenma4


    Jan 26, 2006
    St. Louis, MO
    Depending on the song, I'll say one of two options.

    1. Using thumb and index is easiest for me.
    2. When using a pick, grab the octave up with middle and/or ring finger.
  12. Well, you could use your thumb if you really must... I personally wouldn't because you get a different tone with your thumb.

    Just go index, then index, middle on the octave up.

    Play softly and turn your volume up, too, that'll make it easier. Just start out as slow as it takes to be completely comfortable.
  13. spindizzy


    Apr 12, 2004
    Again I will clarify and as always this is just opinion nothing more. When I am using my thumb I am not "slapping" but rather using the meat of my thumb just like I use the meat of my fingers to strike the string. Properly done there is little to no difference in tone than using your fingers alone.

    Either Mr. Willis or Mr. Garrison can show you how. In fact you should check with Todd Johnson to see if this is covered in his technique builders DVD. He is the instructor and would be better qualified to comment on things like this.

    But again I reinforce the "don't do it or even try it" folks as they are protecting those in the know from newcommers after our gigs.

    Oh and I forgot this in my last post lest folks get the wrong idea...it's the just kidding emoticon...:D

  14. What are you talking about? Playing that with three fingers (no thumb) is a piece of cake.

    EDIT: Mmmm, I noticed the sarcasm but I wasn't sure what you were saying. Anyway, playing that with three fingers is a piece of cake. Octaves with two consecutive notes on the same string is a textbook example of the three-finger technique goodness.
  15. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    When I use my index and middle fingers to play fast disco octave licks I DON'T alternate. I'll play two 1/16 notes on the low octace with my index finger, then two 1/16 notes on the high octave with my middle finger.

    I can play with my thumb, index and middle if I'm only playing an 1/8 note on the low octave, but can't get the double 1/16 on the low notes with the thumb.
  16. chicagodoubler

    chicagodoubler Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2007
    Chicago, that toddling town
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Genz Benz
    If you guys are having issues with the string crossings still, try working on a Tower of Power song like What is Hip. That jam and the chorus from Come on Come Over will get you ready for 80% of the disco out there.

    People think that Jaco's strong point was RH speed. I agree, but so much of that is the ability to cross strings without flubbing things up!

    Hard work+ good attitude= awesomeness beyond compare.
  17. middy


    Mar 14, 2007
    After working on it for a while, I now have to agree with spindizzy. The thumb, index, middle technique is superior (for me).
  18. Tnavis


    Feb 25, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
    I would play it as M-I-M-I-M. Strict alternation.


    I do it this way because I've practiced this technique for a couple of years. It works well for me. It might not for you. I personally feel that this is the most efficient technique, but your mileage may vary. Do whatever works, just practice it to increase efficiency, tone, and speed.
  19. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I trying use alternate fingering as much as possible it is more efficient. If I am going back and forth on octaves then I will just leave the fingers split with index handling the lower note and middle covering the high note, but if either of those notes repeat then I do jump up and use alternate fingering and return to splits fingers.

    Sixths and octaves are big intervals and take time to play clean and up to tempo. Like I say over and over practice doing it slow and precisely and don't push the tempo faster than you can play it precisely else your practicing being sloppy. So slow it down and gradually bring the metronome up. Rocco 16ths tunes were generally around 110-120 BPM that gets fast for 16th note octaves. Start around 80-90 BPM and stay there until the hand motions become natural and second nature to you. Once that happens then start kicking up the metronome, but don't go faster than you can play clean at that tempo. Keep a practice journal it helps you keep track of things day to day and also when you look back at a week you see you're making progress.
  20. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    OK, I obviously COMPLETELY misunderstood the OP.

    Thumb-index works well for me. :p

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