fretting == playing a note??

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by goodweather, May 28, 2007.

  1. goodweather


    May 22, 2007
    Hi everyone,

    I'm learning from the Hal Leonard method book, and have come across what must be a very basic question:

    When I press down a string towards the fingerboard with my left hand (I do so only slightly above the fret I want to play), I can hear that note briefly before I actually hit that string with the plucking fingers in my right hand. Just the string touching the fret "plays" that note. How do I avoid this?

    Lately I've been trying to only fret at the exact same time as I pluck with the right hand; is that the solution? Or is there something else to this?

    (I guess this is a technique problem, and has not to do with the setup of the bass. Am I wrong?)

    Thanks for any advice

  2. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    I wouldn't say it's the string touching the fret that causes the vibration. It's the string bending over the fret stopping the vibration at that spot.

    What you're hearing is a technique called "hammering on".
    What you need to do is get used to resting your finger on the string, then pushing it down, as opposed to having your fingers fly whichever way, and hammering into the string.
    Economy of Motion.

    When I play, I pluck and fret at the same time.
    I'm at college for bass, and my teachers haven't said anything, so I assume it's right!
  3. trasser


    Dec 13, 2005
    Do you know how to play in "positions"? If not, you should leran it.
    As an answer to your question - yes, dont fret the note before plucking - when not playing, just touch the string lightly over the fret where your next note will be, so that you mute it, this way you are ready to fret that note simultaneously with your plucking
  4. goodweather


    May 22, 2007
    Hi Mark and Trasser,

    Thank you for the clarification. Yep, the book I am following teaches how to play in positions (currently working on 1st and 2nd).

    So I will try to first rest my finger on the string and only fret it at the same I pluck.


  5. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Very interesting subject, here..

    You're figuring something out that I was always fascinated with. In one answer you were told that what you're hearing is a 'hammer-on' - yes, but what if you just go-ahead and play the whole bass like that?

    Then it's called 'tap-style' or fretboard tapping or 'touch style guitar'. You're right were I was a few years ago: I noticed that it's best to fret the note at exactly the same time as I pluck it. ..So to practice I tried just playing scales - then parts of songs - 'hammered' like this.

    Y'feel kind of funny with nothing to do with that extra hand (maybe make devil-horns with it, while playing a Metal song with the other?). Hey - you could tap with that one too!

    Now we're talking about 'two handed fretboard tapping', or 'touch-style guitar'.

    Think about it, Man - it's changing my life.

  6. goodweather


    May 22, 2007
    Hi Mark

    I focused on getting this right and I can tell that the note is being played the moment the string hits the fret (and not before). If I have the bass perfectly still, calmly place a finger on a string and then push it down gently (no plucking, right hand is still) the note will be heard.

    No matter how delicately I fret, that early note is still there. The only solution seems to be to synchronize fretting and plucking.

    Joe: I'll give that a try! : )

  7. Yes, you just need to work on left-right hand synchronisation. It's a very important thing, mainly it will make a difference between sounding sloppy and "focused", it's a major factor in your tone. Listen to Pastorius to hear someone who can really nail this.

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