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Finger drag

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by hoodrow, Apr 11, 2009.

  1. hoodrow


    Mar 7, 2009
    I was practicing just now and my wife told me she could hear my fingers dragging on the strings too much and it really screwed up the flow of what I was playing. I notice I'm doing it a lot myself, especially now that I've moved up to a better amp.

    My bass is literally the hardest bass to restring I've ever seen so I haven't changed/cleaned my strings as often as I should. I've changed the strings (some crappy standard Ernies) once since I bought it five months ago and I play about an hour and a half a day, sometimes more. That said, I often catch my fingers dragging when I'm moving up and down.

    How much of this can I attribute to crap strings and how much to poor technique? Are there any exercises people do to reduce drag? Is there anything I can adjust on my amp or bass to cut back on the noise? Thanks guys!
  2. Flats !

  3. Finger noise with round wound strings is just part of the deal. You can work on being more aware of dragging your fingers on the string -practice just like anything else. In a band setting you won't notice it as much either. But if it really continues to bother you like it does me, try flats. Good luck!
  4. Some of it might have to do with the consistency of the skin on your fingertips. A lot of it has to do with the strings being roundwound. A lot may have to do with your EQ settings as well. The easiest way to solve most of it is to switch to flatwound strings. Otherwise, all you can do is try to minimize the sound via adjusting your technique and your EQ/
  5. Tenma4


    Jan 26, 2006
    St. Louis, MO
    FWIW, I find I get a lot more noise with steels than nickel strings. Also I prefer coated strings as they tend to minimize this noise as well.
  6. zuokinis


    Feb 5, 2009
    London, UK
    GHS Fast Fret String Lubricant helps me abit.
    Also ask your wife to get you some hydrating cream for hands that soaks into the skin fast. Should help aswell i suppose.
    Also read somewhere that washing hands with a regular soap before playing just makes it worse.
  7. ironrat


    Sep 24, 2008
    X10000000000^1000000000000000000 :D
  8. Could be a technique issue too, depending on HOW MUCH of your finger tip you use to pluck the string. I've seen people put half their finger between the strings to play one, and other people barely touch the string at all. So how much of your finger is rubbing against the string can effect how much noise it makes.
  9. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Elixir polywebs cut down on that tremendously, but the tone is not for everyone.

    As far as technique goes, seeing as it is partially a technique problem, you can try lowering your action a bit and make sure your fingers are all the way off the strings before switching positions. Also, rolling off your treble a bit will do wonders.

    It bothers me too, especially with large position jumps where you don't want it to be noticed that your hand is moving 17.6 frets in between phrases.

    Other than all of that, flats flats flats.
  10. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    1st, if you're only playing in the house 1/2 hr. a day, the strings should still be in pretty good shape. How often you change them is a personal preference, but you could go years like that. If you're considering the suggestion here to to switch to flats or nickels then the longer you go with whatever you've got on would be better anyhow.

    2nd, I've been playing a while (and been on talkbass a reeeaal long time) and this is the first time I ever heard of "finger drag". People are assuming you mean finger noise so I'll go with that too. If it's a problem then I personally wouldn't go searching for a solution in different strings. If that did solve your problem it would be like putting a bandaid on it. Whatever you're doing wouldn't really be going away. Seems like you'd be stuck too being able to only play basses strung with flats. :) Most players don't struggle with that so if you do I'd work at getting rid of it within my own technique.

    2 other thoughts I wanna throw out. First that your finger drag might be something you incorporate into your style that could work for you - doesn'thave to be a bad thing. And 2nd, your wife may have made you more focused on your "drag" than you need be. It may be something that might not even be that noticable except for the fact now that you're focusing on it and seeing it as a problem. I wouldn't be surprised if I picked up my bass right now and all of a sudden said, "hey, there's a lot of noise goin on here." When you're playing in a band a lot of that stuff disappears, and what doesn't often enhances what you're doing anyhow. That's my take on all this. I don't think flats is your answer.
  11. Flats, and kill some of the treble.
  12. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    it's a non-issue for anyone but bedroom bass players... how many people here have 'intrusively audible finger drag' when playing with their band?

    oh yeah.... none

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