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finger style technique

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by cossie, Aug 2, 2005.

  1. cossie


    Apr 29, 2005

    I was wondering how "much" of your fingers you folks play with? i know this sounds odd, but let me explain...

    i was watching Metallica's "Some Kind Of Monster" DVD (which is a fantastic piece of work) and i noticed in the Cliff Burton (R.I.P, even in death he keeps giving something new to bass players!) footage he seemed to play moving on the lower half of this fingers (from the middle joint (is that a knuckle too?) to the fingernail) and not using the entire finger at all (from the knuckle down).

    it seemed to be the same for the girl that gets to jam with the band at the open auditions, she really nailed it.

    i started trying this myself, and i've found i can play a lot faster with half the effort.

    my style used to be pretty physical and i'd really dig into the strings, i suppose it would be a similar style to Flea. i used to occasionally get pains in my knuckles, but i thought it was just a weak finger thing.

    does anyone else have this sort of minimalist style?

    and not to deviate from the thread topic but its a shame they didn't show more of the bass player auditions with Twiggy etc.
  2. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    I play almost exclusively finger-style - three-finger - and I'm pretty-much spidering it with my whole finger. I tend to hit the string at an angle that pushes it down toward the fretboard, so when I play hard, it sounds something similar to a popped note because of fret-rattle.

    I should really work on the option of actuating the string in more of an up-and-down motion, moving parallel with the fretboard. This would give me smoother tone, and more dynamics-before-clatter. It sounds to me like this style you're talking about would tend to initialize the string movement at an angle more parallel to the pickups and fretboard. Sound right?

  3. seanlava


    Apr 14, 2005
    check out billy sheehan's first instructional video. He demonstrates this technique, and it really contributes to his blinding speed.
  4. rashbeep


    Jul 15, 2005
    Toronto, ON
    isnt his first instructional video only about talking about his bass??
  5. seanlava


    Apr 14, 2005
    not really. He does talk a bit about his gear, and how his famous P-bass evolved over the years, but most of the video is about his right hand technique, his left hand fingerboard approach, and two hand tapping technique. Very enlightening.
  6. What is the title of his first instructional video?
  7. seanlava


    Apr 14, 2005
    The first one is titled "Billy Sheehan On Bass". The second video, "Billy Sheehan's Bass Secrets" deals more with the process of writing bass lines, and locking in with a drummer.
  8. djcruse


    Jun 3, 2002
    Norwood, MA
    Sure, lots of folks. In fact, anyone who wants to play light and fast virtually NEEDS to approach the instrument this way.

    Watch somone like Victor Wooten play. I'm not a fan of his music, but there's no denying he's got serious abilities. He hardly looks like he's working. Why? Because of the type of approach outlined above.