Funk Fingers?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Stingray5, Jul 20, 2000.

  1. Just wondering if anyone ever got a pair of these from Tony Levin's site.

    If so, do you use them?

    I received a pair some time ago as a gift.

    Haven't used them with my band at all, but it's fun jamming on some of TL's lines like "Steam".
  2. Dude, if you don't use them that often, I'll buy them from you. I have a huge King Crimson fetish.
  3. i'd love to buy them too. if not, where can iu get some?? and about how much do the cost??thanx


    Keep on thumpin

  4. also, can u tell me the lenght, i see on the website that they are sold out for a while so i'm gonna try to make my own thanx smile.gif


    Keep on thumpin

  5. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    I use them on two tunes so far. There was a site which gave good instructions on how to make your own set (even claimed to have improved on the design) but I can't find it right now. If I come across the link, I'll post it.

    I'm at work, so I don't know the exact measurements, but I'd estimate they're probably about 6-7" long, including the part that is carved out to conform to the shape of your finger. I could be wrong though.

    Aha! I found the link:

    Though he doesn't have instructions, as I thought he did, there are a number of close up shots. I don't care for the double straps that he advocates. I prefer the originals, which allow for a little more finger freedom of movement.

    Mark Gollihur
    Bassist, Second Story

    [This message has been edited by sixandeightstringer (edited July 21, 2000).]
  6. Hey 6/8, thanks for your help! I checked out your site and saw a photo of you using the Funk Fingers. Cool!

    And, sorry Analogkid, my Fingers aren't for sale, though I share your excitement over King Crimson. Do you have the Live in Japan video? Whew!
  7. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    Thanks for checking us out.

    For those who want to hear the Funk Fingers in action, the live track "Abducted" on my site (address below) features them pretty predominantly.

    Mark Gollihur
    Bassist, Second Story
  8. Saint


    Mar 2, 2000
    DC - USA
    I bought a pair sometime after seeing Tony use them while on tour with Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe.

    Frankly, though, I have never put in the time to really learn to use them. I tried for a little while, but they just seemed so clunky, heavy and unnatural. I was wasting too much time trying to learn to use them, so I stopped, and just went back to picking when I need a sharper attack. But, I know it's possible to do really great stuff with them after watching Tony zip through alot of Chris Squire's basslines.

    Mark, how long did it take you to get used to these things?
  9. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Mark, how long did it take you to get used to these things?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Actually, since I was determined to use them, only a few practices with the band. If you look at some of the pics on my site of me playing (but not using the FF's,) you'll note that I generally anchor my thumb on the neck pickup. When I put the Funk Fingers on, I simply move my anchor up near the top of the bass. The "Fingers" are simply extensions of my fingers.

    One thing that is important to note is that you really don't need much impact at all - in fact, it sounds better when you don't hit too hard. And another thing that may lead you in the right direction; the action you get off the strings is very much like the thumb when you do slap and pop - you need to bounce off the string so it rings through properly.

    I personally need the sticks to be pretty tightly wrapped around my fingers - if they are loose, you can't get the necessary "bounce" off the strings, and there's a lack of control which makes them really hard to use.

    A good way to build the dexterity for Funk Fingers with less frustration may be this (I played one of the FF songs in my band using this technique before I had the Funk Fingers.)

    For your right hand technique, rather than plucking the strings, try firmly tapping the string at the top of the fretboard, much like the thumb action you'd use in pop'n'slap. Tap sharply with the tip of your finger, not the pad, but the part just under the fingernail. Be sure to anchor most of the whole side of your thumb on the body of the bass - the action should be isolated to the finger, not the wrist or the arm.

    Work some of your more complicated bass lines out playing them in this way -- until you're comfortable with the technique, which should sound similar to thumbing but with considerably more clarity. You will also find that you can tap out harmonics by tapping the fretboard 12 frets (an octave) above the note you are fretting.

    This can actually be a substitute technique for those who don't have a FF set - but the FF method is much more fun and cooler to look at. smile.gif When you get good at that, I would anticipate that stepping up to the Funk Fingers would be less difficult.

    Hope this helps!

    Mark Gollihur
    Bassist, Second Story
    OEW3 likes this.
  10. bassduder

    bassduder Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    Canada, GF-W
    What is this technique made famous by Tony Levin?

    Thanks in advance!
  11. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    They're bassically drumsticks that are modified to fit on your index and middle finger.

    Tony rests his palm on the top of his bass' body and 'drums' the strings.

  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I remember reading that it is pretty easy to make these from an old pair of washing-up rubber gloves and sawn-off broken drumsticks.

    Here's one I made earlier.....:D
  13. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Bruce, you forgot to post the pic ;)
  14. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    ....I am sure Tony will be pleased so many of us are using his FF's! I have been using them for several years now (I have an older pair I got from Tony...with his autograph on them). I use them in all sorts of gigs. Blues, jazz, funk, even country! It is really great to watch the faces of the audience as they try to figure out what is wrong with my right hand fingers! And then, if you meet any of the audience after a set with FF's, they throw all of their attention at your hands! Oddly enough, women are much more curious about these extensions!!
    They are a little tricky to learn. It is good to wear your bass a little lower to allow for the extra length. I have two strap locks on my bass; one for regular playing and one for funk fingers.
    I have found that wearing them and practicing some drum rudiments, such as papadiddles, aids in the coordination.
    They come with the tips dipped in a plastic/rubberized covering which is good, but I have found that applying other coverings (such as the carpet side of velcro, or wrapping soft cloth on the tips, provides different kinds of attacks.
    They are exceptional for chording, by the way....but they do require a lighter touch, some tone tweaking, and, insome cases, rolling back the volume (they really make the notes jump off the bass).
    I am going to tell Tony about this thread, as he is always VERY intrigued by people using his "invention".
    But, for you who don't have them....due to the limits of production (he makes them himself) and his busy schedule, there are no plans to make any more.
    You can try to make some yourself....I have seen some peoplke have don themselves, and some are very good. It helps to scallop out grooves for the fingertips to rest in, cut slots for the velcro attaching straps, and cover the ends (Tony uses the rubber material the dip hammer handles in).
    Hope you all enjoyed the interview with Tony. I had intended to ask him more about FFs, but since they are no longer available, I thought not.
  15. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Here's a pic with Tony in action ( CD cover)

  16. Yvon


    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    I have them, I don't really use them, I've been begging the guy in my band to play steam or big time...didn't work untill now. I have no idea where to use them.

    Before anyone ask...they are not for sale! ;)
  17. I've recently been 'drumming' on the strings with my fingers. You mute a string with the third finger just in front of the bridge, and then tap on it with the other two. You can get all sorts of feels and rythms by changing how long you let the muted string ring before you stop it with other fingers. You can also play quite ridiculously fast, which is good and bad. Tap harder and you get the slap effect too.
  18. Hey max,

    Nice interview with TL! You may want to post an announcement in 'Bassists' or something that it's there. Like many others, I link right to the forums and had no idea the new interview was up. :)

    Also, question for Tony if you do read this discussion and feel inclined to reply: when using the Fingers, how do you maintain the balance between keeping them tight enough that they don't fall off, while still allowing blood flow to your fingertips? My fingers go numb after about 2 minutes!
  19. Impulsee

    Impulsee Guest

    Nov 25, 2002
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    whats his site, i wanna get some. wahts a good song where i can hear them on??~?/

    - w00t
  20. Treena Foster

    Treena Foster Guest

    May 28, 2003
    I'm from Venus.
    Nice interview!