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Fretting hand trouble

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by blitzu, Aug 22, 2000.

  1. blitzu


    Aug 19, 2000
    Hi guys and Girls

    I have been Toying with the Bass for about a year and a half, doing at least 30 minutes a day practice I have a problem with my Fretting hand i Seem to hit the string about Halfway between the tip and the first join of my finger instead of the tip, Is there any exercises you people recomend for becoming for accurate ?
  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Keep your fingers arched and your thumb behind the neck so that together they form a "C". Only the tips of your fingers should be pressing the strings, and only the pad of your thumb should be touching the back of the neck; the rest of your left hand should have no contact with the instrument. Keep the bass angled so that you are able to stop notes at the first fret without having to bend your left hand wrist too much.

    I know there are a lot of other left-hand positions in use; however, the one described above prevents injury, and facilitates fast shifts.
  3. blitzu


    Aug 19, 2000
    Thanks for that , It does feel alot more comfortable and less Stressfull on my hands :)
  4. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    While I fret a guitar on the tips of my fingers I'm more on the pads with the bass. I find it easier to mute strings this way and my playing doesn't suffer at all from this technique. I agree with the thumb position except when I'm doing slides. The moral of the story is you have to do what works for YOU and is comfortable while not sacrificing playability. My $.02

  5. Hmmm...when I first came here I heard people talking about that technique mentioned by Chris. I tried it...and it didn't seem to work for me. I might have bad fretting hand technique, I dunno. But it works for me, I feel no pain, and I can do some pretty fast stuff, if that helps at all... :D
  6. DeepPunch


    Jul 7, 2000
    I've been playing bass again for the last 9 months, and would like some opinions on the left hand half of the speed equation.

    I have found that I'm tending to play just a little back from my fingertip (maybe a quarter of the way from the tip to the first joint). There sems to be a constant compromise between the speed I can play the notes I want and damping the other strings I don't want to ring out.

    I know, I know... practice practice practice, but I'd like to know I'm doing it right so that I don't have unlearn bad habits.

    Thanks, Larry
  7. I tried this technique as you described and found that, when pedalling on the low E and B strings, that all those other strings rattled away in a very annoying fashion. ;)

  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I tend to agree that musing is probably better done with right hand and mostly use my thumb for the lower strings and then whichever finger is available. I know some people prefer lefthand muting, but I've never got on with this and so would say that Christopher's point is good advice. But obviously don't forget the muting!
  9. Bruce,

    I see your point regarding picking hand muting, and this is the technique I use when playing higher strings.

    The only problem I encounter is, when playing the lower strings on a 5 string (plucking with index and middle), or especially a six, there just aren't enough fingers left to go around for muting the higher strings. Plus, the position of my picking hand while playing low strings doesn't accomodate pinky and ring fingers even reaching the higher strings. Therefore, fretting hand muting becomes necessary. I guess in my moment of sarcasm this is what I was trying to say!

    Perhaps JT can enlighten us as to muting techniques for 7 string doubleneck... ;)

  10. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    I have to agree with Stingray5 here. If I'm playing a note on the E string there's no way for me to mute the G with my right hand. If don't mute it with my fretting hand it's ring city for me. If I wanted to pluck it with my thumb then I could do it but that's not my style.

  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I tend to play on the lower strings with my thumb, so my thumb is always either muting the B and E or playing notes on these strings. So I never have a problem with higher strings ringing.
  12. Bryan_G


    Apr 28, 2000
    Austin, Texas
    I have found that playing around on a guitar, will help you with "lazy fingers", since the strings are smaller it seems that if you don't just use the tips of your fingers you end up playing something other than what you intended to play.

  13. DeepPunch


    Jul 7, 2000
    My experience is the opposite. If I just use the tips of my fingers, the strings I'm not playing don't get muted. (Especially the G and D if I'm on the B or E)

    I'm still learning and don't want to unlearn deeply engrained bad habits. So if there is a muting technique I need to be observing let me know.
  14. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I was taught to play bass by a teacher who played double bass in a symphony orchestra and electric bass in a rock band. He told me to use more of the pads of my fingers. One summer on vacation I took classes from a teacher whose specialty was classical guitar, but he taught bass also. He told me to fret with the very tips of my fingers. I found that to be very uncomfortable, especially on the E and B strings.

    So when I saw my other teacher again, I asked him about it, and he said absolutely not...use more of the fatty pad and not the finger tip like a guitarist. He told me you get better tone fretting with more of the finger.

    I honestly don't know if there is a true "right" way. For me it has to be the comfortable way. However the person who wrote the original thread said something about fretting halfway to the first knuckle! I tend to think fretting like that would inhibit speed and agility.

    Jason Oldsted
  15. DeepPunch


    Jul 7, 2000
    In an earlier post I (in part) wrote, "I'm tending to play just a little back from my fingertip (maybe a quarter of the way from the tip to the first joint)."

    I believe this IS the "fatty pad" your teacher mentioned. Gee, I might be doing something right. :D

  16. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Addendum: if sympathetic ringing is a problem on higher strings, ie. the strings skinnier than the one your playing, you can relax the arch in your LH fingers so that they contact the offending strings just enough to stop the ringing. If sympathetic ringing occurs on lower strings, the ringing can be stopped capably using your RH thumb and/or apoyando/rest strokes. If sympathetic ringing is *still* a problem, you have too many strings :)

  17. Xeo


    Aug 21, 2000
    I used to get that horrible ringing / rattling sound when fretting with the tips of my fingers, but when I got my four string professionally set up for me, it was gone forever.
  18. theJello


    Apr 12, 2000
    I dont see how you could possibly effectivly mute with just the right hand. I think it has to be a dual effort from both hands. As far as playing on the finger tips. I think this is slightly over rated. I agree to an extent but you have to have your fingers somewhat flattened to mute higher strings. Especially your index considering that one is almost always in contact with strings. At least with me to mute the higher strings. I guess the more I think about it, im playing pretty much on the tips except for my index.
    Thats just what works for me though.

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