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Get rid of my index and ring finger please.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Vomicamonster, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. Vomicamonster


    Feb 6, 2017
    I know my fretboard. I know my scales. I know my modes and shapes. I can even give history on some of these musical things.

    But when I'm playing, jamming, feeling creative, tooling around, etc. my fretting hand ALWAYS defaults to using only my index and ring finger. They're the strongest two, the fastest, but I always end up with some kind of minor/pentatonic esq feel. It's been too difficult of a habit to break.

    Anyone have any tricks or techniques to help break this?
  2. ba55i5t


    May 24, 2006
    Start with triads, then sevenths. That being said, pentatonics are great for grooving, why not take a solo?
  3. Most people I know who do this, don’t do it because of a fingering habit—they do it because of a sole reliance on pentatonic scales for creativity.

    If you know your scales in multiple octaves, then use them to improvise with too. And double bonus points for expanding your use of chromatics to get from one note to the next—it’s not just for jazz anymore.
    BMGecko and IamGroot like this.
  4. FrenchBassQC

    FrenchBassQC Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Gatineau QC CA
    Exercises, that's all I can recommend. Try the Aeolian mode up and down using the fingers 1, 3, 4 going up and 4, 2, 1 going down and change the second round to 1, 2, 4, going up and 4, 3, 1 down and swap as you wish when you'll feel you can play freely with what ever combination...
  5. IamGroot


    Jan 18, 2018
    Get Jaco's electric bass method and lock yourself in a room for a month. Use the indicated fongering. A lot of Jaco s material sounds dated, but his technique is dead on.
  6. ak56

    ak56 Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2015
    Carnation, Wa
    Go to the gym. Smash your index finger between two dumbbells. You won't want to use it for a while after that.

    Don't ask me how I know.
    BMGecko, Lobster11 and fretlessguy like this.
  7. Jamerson's chromatic exercise.
    mambo4 and IamGroot like this.
  8. IamGroot


    Jan 18, 2018
    Look at Django Reinhardt playing some time. He was left with a badly scarred left hand as a result of a fire and played mostly with the i and m.
  9. Force yourself to play on one string only. Then you /have/ to do something different.
    charlie monroe likes this.
  10. vindibona1


    Apr 18, 2015
    As a music educator and professional ski instructor I've had to get students to modify their approach. Bass guitar is a piece of cake compared to skiing or better yet, trumpet playing. What I've learned is that you don't break bad habits, you over-write them with good ones. The farther off from good technique a student is, it is usually easier to correct with good technique. Your problem is habitual, so you need to just develop another habit that will eventually be stronger than the current one. It takes time and patience and perseverance.

    First thing... At this time, while performing, just do what you do. Practice, is going to require strict discipline. You need a clear mind to perform well. There is enough time you'll spend with it in the practice room and eventually new technique will take over in performances. Hopefully you read music.

    What you might do is start by taking music you're playing and write out the fingering; sort of like tab, but with fingers instead of string/fret. Begin playing whatever you're playing with glacier-like slowness. Make every action perfect. If you can't do it perfectly as you've mapped out, go even slower until you can mentally manage what you're doing. DO NOT PRACTICE MISTAKES! If you make a mistake three times, slow it even more. If you just aren't getting it at any speed, put the bass down for a while and come back later. It will take several thousand perfect repetitions until the proper movements start to print on the part of the brain that executes movements automatically. You need to create a plan with the music/exercises you play that uses those fingers that you now habitually avoid. Your goal needs to be fingers two and four to become your strength, not your weakness. Again, it is important to go super slowly so that you can consciously move your hands. Remember that these new movements must coordinate perfectly with your plucking hand, so going slowly is the only way not to make minute mistakes that are often glosses over with speed. Speed will come on its own.

    As an additional note, once you begin to become confident in your new and improved technique there may (or will) come a time when your fingers get confused and you don't know if you're using the old or new technique. When that happens, stop and regroup cerebrally to make sure you stay with the new stuff. Eventually you'll get to the point where you'll have to consciously think about how to do it the wrong (old) way. At that point you can look back and smile.

    Good luck.
  11. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011

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