hammer on 3rd to 5th fret on E string

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by gkella, Aug 16, 2017.

  1. I am trying learn Whipping Post. The intro to the song requires you to stretch between the G and the A note on the E string.
    I find it quite a stretch for my first and third finger and my pinky just doesn't have the same strength.
    Any tips on this, advice or experience with this?
    Thanks Glen
  2. brianmharrison


    Oct 11, 2007
    Not familiar with the song, but get a bit more reach, on the back of the neck shift your thumb toward the body of the bass (test this without a bass by moving your thumb towards the center of your hand) and make sure your wrist is straight
    HolmeBass likes this.
  3. viper4000


    Aug 17, 2010
    Use your pinky and ring finger together. Most call this the 124 method.
  4. Just work on using your pinky. You have to make the same motion on the A string for the end of the riff anyway. Unless your action is way too high it really shouldn't be a problem.
  5. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    It's real easy in DGCF tuning on a short scale :p
    ThePresident777 likes this.
  6. I just tried the 124 method
    that was a train wreck!!!!!
    Moving the thumb towards the body of the bass made a bit of a difference.
    The pinky seems the best option for me.
    Thanks for your suggestions.
    HolmeBass likes this.
  7. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    Don't just use the strength of the 4th finger alone. Use all of your fingers together, the strength of your entire hand, or at least the 3rd and 4th fingers working together.

    The usual disclaimers: make sure your bass is properly set up with low action, you are using a comfortable set of strings, and your amp is turned up loud.
  8. My bass is recent
    My bass is recently purchased and definitely needs the action adjusted
    Has the stock strings on it.
    Maybe not the thread for asking about strings but, what the heck...I have a new Fender Jazz Bass..is there a string recommendation?
  9. songwriter21

    songwriter21 I have an obsession for wood. The musical kind. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    The first few years, my pinky was weak, too. What did I do? I literally forced myself to drill patterns with my picky, over and over and over again, for hours. Ever since then, I haven't been able to play without it. I had to, once, when I sliced open my pinky at work. That royally sucked. It wasn't easy to use my third finger for all of that stretching, and the first show with the bandaged finger actually gave me a headache, and not from the aching injured finger, but from the over-stretching going all the way from my hand, to my arm, then my head.
    superheavyfunk and viper4000 like this.
  10. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    I recommend to change the strings first, and then get the bass set up second. Reason being, if you get it set up first, then change to a different brand or gauge of strings, you might have to get it set up again with the new strings.

    I personally use and recommend Thomastik Infeld (TI) Jazz Flat strings. Easy to perform hammer on and pull offs with these strings, due to their low tension.

    PS don't forget there are two places to play that A. You can play it at the 5th fret of the E string, or you can play it as an open A string. It won't sound exactly the same, but it is good to have multiple options.
    HolmeBass likes this.
  11. InhumanResource

    InhumanResource Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2012
    Bucks County, PA
    It sounds like you might just need a little more time to practice making that stretch. Unless you have an injury or VERY small hands that reach should be reasonable.

    How do you hold the neck? Do you keep your thumb in the center or do you hold it kind of like a baseball bat?
    Lownote38 and MrDOS like this.
  12. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    You'll get as many recommendations as there are bass players. And what you end up using will depend on your tastes and playing technique.

    General rule of thumb: for softer, lower tension, more flexible roundwouds get a set with round rather than hex cores. For flats, there's nothing looser and softer feeling than a set of TI Jazz Flats. However they're expensive. And if you like playing with a very low action or a heavier touch (i.e. you like to really dig in), they may be too loose and cause a lot of clank and buzz.

    Also don't be afraid of a lighter gauge set. There's a myth that to get a heavy or deep sound you need to use a heavy gauge string set. That's simply not true.

    If you drop an email over at bassstringsonline.com and let them know what you're looking to do, they can make some good recommendations for what you should try. TB members also get a discount there. TB member @SLaPiNFuNK runs the shop. He's a good resource for all things bass string.
    Rich Fiscus, HolmeBass and gkella like this.
  13. Wolfenstein666


    Dec 19, 2014
    I'd learn to do with both fingers 1, 3 and fingers 1,4. Strengthen your pinky and extend your reach. What comes right after that (I don't know the song) would dictate which fingering I use.
  14. BassFishingInAmerica


    Jul 24, 2014
    I would not be able to play that intro without my pinky. This may be a crazy idea, but if you have an octave pedal, you could play it at the 12/10th fret A string (still using the pinky), just until you develop the strength, then transpose to the 5/3rd fret. The bottom line is you need to practice with the 4th finger. There are too many instances where it will help you. Practice up on the higher frets first.
  15. Forget the hammer on, just play the open A instead. Problem solved.
  16. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Pretty much that exactly.
    Make sure the instrument is set up properly for you and keep doing it until you can do it.
  17. My thumb is fairly centered.
    I did make a small adjustment today, cantering it a bit more as per suggestion earlier in this thread.
    It di make a small difference.
    InhumanResource likes this.
  18. Plectrum72

    Plectrum72 Supporting Member

    I'd also recommend practicing that opening riff at half speed for about 5 minutes 3-5 times a day to build strength/muscle memory. Start speeding it up over a the course of a week or two until you can play it about 10% faster than the album (my drummer tends to get excited on this one and start it off just a hair fast before settling into the proper tempo at the verse).
  19. I always played it finger 1 and 3 hammers.
    I'd be willing to bet it's not your finger technique.
    I'd suggest counting the tune properly as it will really help you get the lick right.
    It's 11/4 time by the way, it takes practice to play in odd time signatures.

    Love the song, including a great Zappa rendition, way back when.
    Plectrum72 likes this.
  20. Josh Kneisel

    Josh Kneisel

    Jun 17, 2016
    keep using your pinky until it has more strength

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