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Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by danqi, Jun 21, 2001.

  1. danqi


    May 21, 2001
    i have not been playing for a very long time (like 2 months or so) and i want to do it all right from the beginning to avoid having troubles later on. i got two fingerstyle questions:
    1) i want to get into using my right hand ring finger in addition to my index and middle fingers when plucking. what is the best way to do that? should i play in a pattern like 123123123 or does that not matter?
    2) do you know any little exercises i could use to improve the speed of my fingers? i tought of things i can to when i am at school having a boring class, etc.

  2. Orco87


    Mar 26, 2000
    Well, lemme tell ya a lil' story.
    After one jam session with my band (I didn't practice for a while so I was kinda goin in fresh) my middle finger got this huge, painful, blister on it. So, like always after a good jammin', I want to practice over stuff learned. So I started using my index and ring finger to play. After the middle finger healed, I used it as normal and the ring finger. It was all awkward at first, but I got the hang of it. So, for fast playing, I do the 123 pattern. When I'm just groovin', I use the ring finger whenever it feels right. Sometimes I'll just use the index and ring. So for me, it just came about by fortune that I started using 3 fingers. The 3 finger thing is good for fast playing.....real good for fast playing, you just have to keep a good head about how many notes you're playing and not get ahead of yourself (it can get slightly confusing at times and you'll end up playing extra notes).
    I guess for practice, you could just do what I did and introduce the ring finger to the line up by just using the index and ring finger every once and a while. Or you can just use all 3 and get the feel of it faster. However you decide. I don't have any "actual" warm ups or anything, so those were my suggestions. Hope they help. :D
  3. Different people use the third finger in different ways:

    Billy Sheehan - actually uses a 4 finger technique and, I believe, actually uses them like so 1234321234321. If you wanted to adopt this approach, you would go 123212321.

    Gary Willis - uses the third finger for crossing string. So, if he were playing a pattern on just the one string (say the E), he would alternative 1 & 2. Then, if he needs to climb a string (up to the A?), he uses the third finger to climb. The idea here being that he can mute the power strings better by using just the right hand. However, for this style, you would really want to wear your bass a little higher and angle your bass closer to 45 degrees so your hand isn't quite parallel with the strings.

    I kind of use a combination of the above. I play fast metal, so I find that alternative all three fingers makes for cleaner 16th note runs. However, it also makes sense to use the third for climbing, as much as possible, as it sounds a lot cleaner.

    So, I guess the answer is "whatever you feel comfortable with"
  4. danqi


    May 21, 2001
    thank you very much

    does anyone know the finger techniques of other famous bassists?
  5. Star Licks produce a video - All Star Bass Series Right Hand Techniques, featuring Nathan East, Larry Graham, Abe Laboriel & others. It's probably worth getting hold of for some inspiration.

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