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Finger Speed....

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by LifeSpitter, Apr 9, 2002.

  1. LifeSpitter

    LifeSpitter Guest

    Apr 6, 2002
    Bass Heaven
    how can i increase finger speed or do i need to start using three fingers?

    I mean, i alter my fingers and i dont rake, but my speed isnt what a want it to be.

    Any pointers?
  2. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Finger speed is tricky. Some people just never seem to develop enough speed. There are some things you can do to help, however.

    First, practice. Make sure you pluck each note evenly. Uneven plucking can make you sound sloppy and slow you down, or at least give the perception of slow playing.

    Second, lower your action and play with a lighter touch. Let your amp do the work. You shouldn't need to fight against the strings.

    Third, you can develop tricks that make you sound faster than you are by altering rhythms.

    Fourth, be patient with yourself.

    Fifth, many players do use alternative plucking techniques, such as three or four fingers, or even up-and-down plucking (as opposed to just the "up"motion).
  3. Force yourself to play Rush's Prime Mover. That did it for me... about 3 million times through, and I could do it!
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    • Minimize and optimize your finger movements. When you hold them too far away from the strings, they have to travel longer to fret or pick a note -> slower.
    • A light touch. Playing too hard will slow down your fingers.
  5. A big "AMEN" to everything RAM and JMX have wisely said.

    Economy of motion is essential. What feels natural isn't the always speediest by any stretch of the imagination.

    Let your amp do the work. The less hard your fingers are attacking those strings, the quicker they can get around.

    Lighter gauge strings may not give you precisely the sound you want. But it's like lifting weights or distance running - you start out with less resistance and work your way up as you build up strength and stamina.

    Your pinky fingers???? - They're not there just to type on your keyboard. Put `em to work!!! We're talking "finger independence." Here's a little test. Put you hand down on a desk with your fingers spread out. Can you lift just your index and pinky fingers, or your middle two fingers, or any fingers that you choose??? That's finger independence and it takes practice.

    Don't practice just for the sake of speed. Sheer speed is a dead end. Practice music that challenges your finger postioning but is pleasing to play. The speed will come naturally because you can't play what you like the way you like until your fingers develop more speed. Seeing how fast you can rip of a three-note pump get boring real quick.
  6. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    If you ever want an exercise in humility, watch Billy Sheehan play. He has very little physical movement of the fingers on either hand. It's astounding how he co-ordinates the movements of all his fingers to get where he wants to be. I think what you want is better control more than speed.
  7. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I agree with rickbass and gweimer - speed is a by-product of technique, not an end to be pursued in itself.
  8. PolkaHero

    PolkaHero Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2002

    Never heard of this song; What album is this from?
  9. beermonkey


    Sep 26, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    "Prime Mover" is on "Hold Your Fire".

    I actually worked on my speed/endurance for a long time with another Rush tune oddly enough. For me, it was "Animate". Animate is almost all 16th notes for 5 minutes; and at a fairly healthy clip. I want to say the tempo is somewhere in the neighborhood of 110 bmp... I don't have the song or a metronome with me though, so like, I could be off and stuff.
  10. geshel

    geshel Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2001
    1. Relax - this means your face, your back, your shoulders, your elbows, your butt muscles - it *all* can affect how fast you play. Not to mention make you tired and sore! :)

    2. let your fingers curl naturally - so the tips are more or less perpendicular to the strings, and they're all that have to move. I used to keep my fingers straight, which took extra unnecessary effort, and also meant that the whole finger had to move. Especially the first finger.

    Here's a hint: if the muscles on the top of your forearm, back near the elbow, are getting tired, then you're probably trying to keep your fingers too straight. Used to be where I'd crap out every time (couldn't even make it through Synchronicity without that happening).
  11. PolkaHero

    PolkaHero Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2002

    Checked this track out; I didn't think it's that much of a "finger-buster". Also heard "Animate" and while Geddy's playing a lot of 16ths he's staying pretty much on the same pitch.

    I've got a better suggestion: "Circumstances" from the album "Hemispheres". Geddy is all over the place on this tune! Good string-crossing practice and left-hand work as well as right-hand dexterity issues.
  12. Yeah it's mostly the riff at the beginning and the bass solo-sort of riff.

    Circumstances is a blast, I LOVE that song.

  13. dace


    Dec 25, 2000
    sydney, australia
    ***?!? up-and-down plucking?!?

    how would the down stroke work? would it be kinda like flamenco-style strumming except for a single string?
  14. FunkFlo-Mofo


    Jun 22, 2001
    Playing old Metallica songs really helped my speed. Damgae Inc. is real fast--so is Disposable Heroes and Battery. Once you have finger independace down for oyur right hand, those songs are a great speed exercise.
  15. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Don't forget your other hand. Using hammer-ons and pull-offs can create an illusion of greater speed - it's one part of the 'control' skills other people have mentioned.

    For example, one of Victor Wooten's signature techniques is something he calls 'open hammer pluck' ... because you slap an open string, hammer on a note and then pluck a third note.

  16. LifeSpitter

    LifeSpitter Guest

    Apr 6, 2002
    Bass Heaven
    blah.....i know all that open hammer pluck mess, i can do that.

    What im talkin about is just a technique to gain speed, raw speed in my fingers. Are there any exercises,...i can do hammer ons and pull offs well too,...but thanks for the input so far.

    any one else wiht a solution?
  17. speaking from personal experience...

    i play two fingered, using all 5 (yes 5) on the fretboard.
    after i became as fast as possible with my two fingers, i tried adding the third. oddly enough, it was already strong. i don't know how to explain this, but if you try to add the third, don't stress about it. odds are you already have some of the coordination and strength to get going quickly on it.
  18. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    If you're talking about right-hand speed, just keep practicing and follow the advice above.

    If you're talking about left hand speed, try economizing your movements and use a lower action. Follow the advice from above.

    There's no magical solution or secret to playing fast.
  19. Well, IME, maybe benzedrine or reds is a "solution"....for about 6 months, tops.

    The you start having conversations with faces on cereal boxes.
  20. practice "poundcake" by Van Halen:p

    not that fast, but it's a good "exercise" song- especially getting all the fills as on the live "right here, right now" version.

    other continuous 16ths workout songs-
    "Parallel universe" by RHCP
    "Duchess" by The Stranglers

    "Alexander the great" by Iron Maiden (middle part)
    "Elephant gun" by Dave Lee Roth.
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