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Great bassists who strictly alternate

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by serggusak, Mar 31, 2021.

  1. serggusak


    Jun 26, 2019
    It looks to me that in all the videos I saw the famous bass players rake all the time. Are you aware of any famous bassists who strictly alternate/alternated?

    Also, all of them seem to rest their thumb on E/pickup. Some of them mute with 3 and 4, like Jacco Pastorius or Nate Watts. But the rest do not seem to worry too much about muting A. Are there any greats that play with anchor thumb or floating thumb?
  2. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    In what rule book does it say raking isn't allowed? IMO the rake is a valid and effective technique.

    99.9% of A list players I've seen don't use floating thumb. The moveable anchor (moving your thumb between the pickup, 4th string and even 3rd string) that most use is just as effective as floating thumb and there is no technical reason that one is better than the other. You have to anchor your hand somewhere. On Floating thumb you anchoring from your shoulder. IMO it's far easier, accurate and effective to anchor closer to the action, and for most of us, that is our thumb.

    At the end of the day these techniques are a preference, so don't worry what others do, chose which works for you.
    DrMole and Semi Actuated like this.
  3. After learning floating thumb I leaned to play 4-finger technique (Thumb IMR). I really love it!! It works great for me.

    I was put onto that by an Abe Laboriel online lesson. I don’t know anybody else that uses that technique.

    PS. I still rake and sometimes play anchored thumb esp for rock songs. So what. Just do what works for you.
    chris_b likes this.
  4. serggusak


    Jun 26, 2019
    Some people advocate for strict alternating. I thought that strict alternative plucking would work better for me because it is more consistent and stuck to it religiously for 2 years, but I am still struggling with some fast lines that require jumping back and forth between strings because my second finger on the upper string and the first on the bottom string feel very awkward and I have to twist my wrist a lot and play with the sides of my fingers to compensate for the difference in the length of the fingers. So now I want to try raking.

    I am playing floating thumb usually because it came to me naturally as the most comfortable position. I anchor it if it is a simple groove.

    But my original question was about the legends. Are you aware of any well-known bassists who strictly alternate and do not rake.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2021
  5. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    That's like asking "Are you aware of any well-known violinists who strictly bow and do not play pizzicato?" The answer is All Of Them...until the music requires that they play pizzicato. Then they either play pizz, or they get fired from the gig and that probably prevents them from becoming "well-known"

    Likewise for bassists: No player worth their salt is going to be 100% dogmatically self-limited to a single articulation technique, because there's no way to execute anything but a very restricted subset of all possible musics with such a narrow approach to execution.
    DrMole, Picton, SteveCS and 4 others like this.
  6. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    I wholeheartedly agree to this! Don’t be dogmatic about technique. Practice it all intensely and then decide what works for you and sounds the best. There are so many ways to hit the strings. Same goes for the placing of the right hand thumb or pick vs fingers.
    SteveCS likes this.
  7. Picton


    Aug 16, 2017
    Reading, MA
    Not to be dismissive, but I doubt you'd become a "legend" if you weren't able to master many different techniques and use all of them where appropriate.
  8. WrapRough


    Jan 26, 2021
    Flea slaps "wrong", Jameson played with one finger etc etc, Rocco only really used index and middle to fret... The runner Michael Johnson ran "wrong". No one cares about your technique if you're good enough :)
    Billyzoom, zie and DrMole like this.
  9. Primary

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    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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