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fretting technique

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Trod, Jul 13, 2005.

  1. I am reading Joel DiBartolo's Serious Electric Bass Book and the technique he says to use is this.
    Always keep your fingers down in playing postion on the fretboard. for instance in the first position near the headstock if you are fretting a G# on the E string with your pinkie you should hold down all your other fingers on the frets behind the pinkie so index finger on F, middle finger on F# and ring finger on G while you are holding the G# withth e pinkie.
    I find this a little uncomfortable and I have to turn my wrist quite sharp to do this. It's not a problem higher up the fretboard.
    Does anyone here use this technique?
  2. Not me. Doesnt that defeat the purpose of using all 4 fingers if you're only using your pinky finger to fret the note? I agree with keeping the other fingers in position over the frets, but I see no benefit in actually pressing the strings down unless you want to play that note.
  3. Thanks for replaying, see I am not sure I am understaing what he means by saying "keep them in playing position".
  4. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY

    The fingering that the author is using is borrowed from Double Bassists. You can find it in the Simandl Method. For example:
    On the E string:

    1st Finger plays F (1st fret)
    2nd Finger plays F# (2nd fret)
    3rd & 4th Fingers go down to play G (3rd fret)

    This is one fingering method. It is used on the Double Bass because the scale of the string in much longer than electric bass. Your question doesn't really speak to fingering method though; but I just wanted to clear up any confusion.

    The author is saying that while you are playing a G with your pinky (4th finger), all of your other fingers are also pressing the string down. In classical training this is called "block fingering". It sounds like the author is/was primarily a double bassist (that's not a bad thing).

    By pressing down all fingers, you are assisting your 3rd and 4th fingers. Also, if you are going from a G to an F#, your finger is already down and ready. All you need to do is lift your 3rd and 4th finger slightly to get to the F#.

    Please let me know if this was clear or if you need further clarification.

  5. Thanks for the reply Joe, I find that in order to maintain the one finger per fret in the first postion of the bass , I feel alot of tension in my hand and my wrist angle is very sharp which I was told to avoid. I really only feel comfortable with a stretch of about 5 inches from pinky to index finger which isnt enough to cover the first 4 frets. after that it dosent feel very comfortable. Of course I am a beginner so that might have alot to do with it. I dont have large fingers or hands.
  6. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    I might be able to help you out. I was not aware that you are a beginner. Congrats! Welcome to the bass world. :D

    I'm not sure how high or low you wear your bass, but that is going to have a huge impact on your technique. A few beginner bass students I started came to their first lesson wearing their bass very low. Their bass was almost hanging down to their knees. I told them that they would have to sacrifice looking cool for better technique. I'm not suggesting that you wear your bass that low, but if you do, you might want to raise it up a bit. ;)

    Adam Nitti has an amazing website with great lessons for beginners. You should take the time to look at the pictures and read what he has to say. Adam is a monster bassist. If you have ever been to Victor Wooten's Summer Bass Camp website, you'd see Adam there.

    Oh yea; I forgot something, you hand size isn't going to put you at a disadvantage. Steve Bailey (amazing 6 string fretless player) has tiny hands. He gets around his bass with ease. So don't worry about that.


    Go to this page and spend a lot of time on the first 4 lessons. Let me know if it helps you out. There is enough information and work in those 4 lessons to keep you busy for weeks (months if you don't have a lot of practice time). Lesson 4 ties everything together. Lesson 4 has musical examples in standard notation. If you don't know how to read music, now is the perfect time to start. :D


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