Free strokes vs Rest strokes

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by proc83, Feb 4, 2005.

  1. proc83


    Jan 18, 2005
    I've been trying to "convert" myself to rest strokes for a while now (because that's the correct way, right?) It has been really difficult, it seems the extra motions of constantly having to hit the lower string are slowing me down dramatically, creating a lot of extra noise, and generally just frustrating me to the point where I feel like putting the bass away and not touching it for a month. Is there some trick to it or something? How can you use rest strokes without hearing a little "thud" when you hit the lower string? Any tips would be greatly appreciated, this is really frustrating me.. :crying:
  2. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    There is no "correct" way, grasshopper!

    What resources have you been using to learn? Presumably not face to face lessons (one or two of those might help) but what have you got in the way of books, videos, etc. That might provide a point of contact for someone to suggest some ideas.

  3. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    Yes, there's a slight thud when the plucking finger impacts the string above it, but that's inaudible when performing.

    1. Play with a light touch.

    2. Use your fingertips, rather than the pads, to pluck.

    3. When the plucking finger impacts the string above it, only the fingertip (and maybe a bit of the pad) should come into contact with that string.

    4. When playing fast, the finger's impact with the string above it should last for only an instant - providing only a little bump in your finger's motion as it progresses through its cycle of motion.

    Keep working. Rest strokes and a floating-thumb approach really cleaned up my playing about a year ago.
  4. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Absolutely true for me, too. I used to keep my thumb nailed to one favorite spot on the bass. I didn't even know what "rest strokes" were. But I had a few lessons with a Nashville pro who showed me the floating thumb technique and the rest stroke technique. What a difference both made!

    The floating thumb really helped with the chronic ringing string problem I had and the rest stroke was a big help, especially with the five string bass.

    It did take a while to develop fluency with each technique, but now I don't know how I ever played any other way.

    That said, I think one has to find what works best for oneself. Of course, that does require experimentation and willingness to try new tecniques, but an equal willingness to discard what doesn't prove fruitful in your particular case.
  5. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Yes-yes! Float that thumb!

    I don't even understand how to DO a not-rest-stroke - I'd have to see someone do a 'free stroke' to even really get it. I mean I s'pose I can picture it, but it doesn't look like bass-playing, really. My fingers are right on top of the string-above by the time the pluck is released anyway - I can hardly avoid not stopping against it.

    There are a few parts I do where I need to sound like a 1, and then a 5 on the next string below while still leaving the first ring; I have to be real careful, and it's quite awkward. If I can, I'll even fret the 'other' fifth way back down on the second string over, so I can do a rest stroke for both - it's heck on the fretting hand, but it feels better to me than trying to pull 'out' on the string to avoid hitting the next one up, and stopping it from ringing.