1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Good exercises to do with only open strings?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Matthew_84, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
    A few days ago I injured my left (fretting hand), and I think it's going to be out of commission for a few weeks.

    Today I finally picked up a bass and worked on my right-hand (plucking) technique, but really just focused on playing 16ths with either a 2-finger, 3-finger, and a 4-finger technique.

    It was good for an hour or so, but got pretty tedious after that.

    Any good, musical exercises I can do using only the open strings of a 4-string bass?

    Are there any songs I can play the root of using only open strings? Cake's - "I Love You Madly" just came to mind as it is an A to E progression. Any other ideas?

  2. MontzterMash

    MontzterMash Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2010
    Right hand tapping?
  3. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    You can always play a blues in A. But really only A...
  4. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    D works too ;)
  5. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    You can also re-tune to whatever 4 notes you want (within reason) :) . Sorry to hear about your injury, good luck!
  6. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
    Thanks everyone. I'll try some Blues. I don't think it's so much fun without using chord tones, chromatics or whatever, but it'll give me something to play to... I believe SRV has a well-known tune in A... The title escapes now. Anyone else know of a blues tune in D or A, or maybe a jazz song with only a ii-V-I in G?

    I also thought of doing some rhythm exercises. I'm going to look now for possible drum rudiments.
  7. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    Matthew, is your left hand completely out commission? If you can manage use of your pinky, this would be a great time to explore the world of harmonics, particularly those tricky, between-note harmonics. No fretting required.
  8. Groove Master

    Groove Master

    Apr 22, 2011
    Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101
    Improve your alternate fingers technique by playing open strings up and down.
  9. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
    Thanks John, that is a great idea. I slipped on some ice and sprained my wrist pretty badly. The doc thinks it'll heal up fine, but I'm being extra careful with it. So no fretting, but yeah, harmonics should be ok. Thanks!
  10. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    practice controlling the duration of your notes and varying the dynamics using only your right hand.
  11. spz8


    Jan 19, 2009
    Glen Cove, NY
    Floating thumb and right hand damping techniques. Tie a scrunchy around the neck, and practice right hand slap and pop.
  12. Practice your string-crossings. Take your open E and A strings: in 8ths (or 16ths) play:
    E E E E & repeat
    E E E A & repeat
    E E A E & repeat
    E A E E ...
    A E E E ...
    E E A A
    E A A E
    A A E E
    E A E A
    E A A A

    and so on and so on. Then, start on the A string and do the same permutations descending to E. Now, take all that and move it to the other strings. Now do all the permutations in triplets. Then dotted-eight & sixteenths. Then sixteenths/dotted-eighth.

    Start slow and work up to as fast as you can.
  13. How's your picking technique (assuming you would ever need it)? Open strings are a great way to increase right-hand speed, dynamics, and accuracy with a pick.
  14. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Try taking whatever you've been playing with traditional two-finger technique and do it with different fingers. I've found that when I want to improve my three-finger technique, it helps to try to play standard two-finger parts with my middle and ring fingers, rather than my index and middle fingers, to build up dexterity in my ring finger.
  15. Awesome Sauce

    Awesome Sauce Already tired tomorrow

    Dec 21, 2011
    NW Chicago 'burbs
    Right hand cross-string muting exercises. Be able to hop from open string to open string without any of the others- including the one you just left- ringing. And I'm not talking about palm muting, or even the Floating Thumb, per se.

  16. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    Check out the Rufus Reid book - he has a 20-some page etude all open strings, to learn how to read complex rhythms (and for DB players, to drive you crazy trying to learn how to bow)....