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Hard Attack style= pain?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by LowEnder2112, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. okay, so I attack the strings. i try to go for the Geddy sound, without the nail method, so i use 2-3 fingers but i attack the strings from higher up and swing down really hard to get a really growly, cutting tone. so i have massive calass of course, but what i noticed is that if i practice hard one day, the next 1-2 days will still hurt from before when i try to play. lately my bands been getting gigs more often and I imagine pain in the fingers constantly might cause problems. i've tried putting adhesive tape on my fingers, but eventually it peels off and gets sticky on the finger/ string. Is there anyway to help stop the pain? or is it normal for it to hurt alot for the first couple of years? (ive been playing like this for about 8 months)
  2. PocketGroove82


    Oct 18, 2006
    If I were you I would try to find the least amount of right hand attack needed to produce the sound you are after. Cranking the amp and using the lightest touch possible is so much better than killing yourself, trying to fight guitars night after night. I'm sure you can find a balance, after all, Geddy is 4 times your age and he can gig nights on end.
  3. Try plucking along a vertical plane, not horizontal and into the bass, but vertical. Your fingers shouldn't make contact with the string below it. You'll use your thumb for muting the strings below.

    Very few people do this. Janek, Tony Grey, Matt G... I've just adopted it. The sound is so much more clear and focused. But 'tis a pain until you've got the hang of it.
  4. is it ever possible to eventually grow enough calass to not feel the pain as much? :/
  5. It takes a while, but I'm like you, first thing I tried to do when I picked up bass was learn some Rush, and that Geddy Lee technique killed my hands for a while, but you'll eventually refine your technique to where you can get that sound without that aggressive playing. The main thing to do is make sure you have low action, new strings, and just a little bit of drive to get you that meaty crunchy bright tone that you crave!
  6. like my geddy with a sansamp driver? :D
  7. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    Yes, playing with a lighter touch (and the amp volume increased to compensate) will give you a clearer, smoother and more gradually decaying tone.

    But if Geddy Lee's aggressive sound is the tone you want (and Geddy does pluck very hard) then you simply need to build up strength and tolerance in your plucking hand.

    For me, I started with that type of tone because as a kid I had a bass for two months while I saved up money for an amp. I had to pluck hard just to hear myself. I've since lightened my attack and just dug in really hard when I wanted that sound, but it is just a matter of toughening up your fingers.

    BTW, it's spelled callous.
  8. BackwaterBass


    Feb 18, 2008
    Yeah you can't get any dynamics if you're beating the thing as hard as you can to get a sound. Turn up so that a very light attack is all that you need to hear it for normal parts, and use the heavy attack for parts when you really want it to cut through.

    Geddy had the good fortune to find a band that didnt mind him turning the bass up louder than the guitar. Lucky bastard. :crying:
  9. nsmar4211


    Nov 11, 2007
    My hardest callous is on the finger that blistered up badly from me trying to play and hear myself (not realizing how hard I was plucking). Once it healed..... tough finger! So don't pop any blisters.......count them as your friend :). I aslo found out if I played within 30 minutes of my hands being in water (shower or whatever) it wore off my callouses so make sure your hands are dry!
  10. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    If you plan to play hard constantly, that is the price you will pay.
    If you want the pain to stop, try not to play too hard 100% of the time, or If you do you've got to get your hands more conditioned (No pain=no gain).

    :eek::eek::eek: Tape your fingers?! Don't be a pud:p ( well,unless you cut your fingers:( ). Thats no way to do it, c'mon,man up!
  11. Lon86


    Jan 21, 2008
    Venice, CA
    I have been playing like that for over 25 years...

    My fingers aren't calloused, just padded now...and I play HARD sometimes...

    You must be doing something wrong.

    Think of your fingers like the hammers of a piano, only you strike through...it is not a strike and a pull.

    The harder you hit the more complex the tone.

    And try lowering your pickup and raising your action.

    Hope this helps.
  12. Lon86


    Jan 21, 2008
    Venice, CA
    """For me, I started with that type of tone because as a kid I had a bass for two months while I saved up money for an amp. I had to pluck hard just to hear myself. I've since lightened my attack and just dug in really hard when I wanted that sound, but it is just a matter of toughening up your fingers."""

    I found a brother!!!

    I saved all summer to by a ric 4003...blew all my money so I could'nt afford an amp.

    I played hard so I could hear it, and I played constantly.

    Finally plugged in, and had the baddest bass tone in the area.

    It really is in the fingers...I sound like me through any amp or bass I play.

    Other people play my rig and can't figure out what I am doing to get my tone...:cool:

    I have been blamed of sabbotaging (sp) people 'cause they don't sound the same when they sit in...LOL

    Ancient Chinese secret...
  13. mutedeity


    Aug 27, 2007
    As far as I am concerned your problem is all to do with time and practice. I don't think lowering action and pickups will fix the problem to be honest. It's pretty common for a newer player, or even someone who plays infrequently to have this problem.

    Let's say, for example you were to run around a track one day out of the blue after never having really run seriously before in your life. What is going to happen? You might run fast at first but quickly you are going to realise that you can't do it for very long and at the end you are tired and you might get blisters on your feet from your shoes. The next few days you will be sore from the work your muscles had to do. Say you wait a week and go and do the same thing without doing any other running or training. You are going to have the same result. Now changing your shoes and running on a softer surface might be more comfortable, as might running a different way or less agressively. On the other hand you won't achieve the same results. In order to run fast and on any surface you need to condition your body over time and with consistent repetition.

    I'm sure you get the analogy, but it is exactly the same for your hands when playing. As long as you are using correct technical application that aviods repetitive stress injury you should be able to build up strength and also control of your dynamic approach.

    What you need to do is adopt a practice regime where you are practicing drills and technical exercises along with any theory based practice that you do every day. The thing you probably need to change, I am guessing is that you need to focus on consistent daily practice rather than doing the occasional big practice where you end up getting blisters and sore hands. Over time this will increase your stamina and strength which in turn will not only mean that you can play hard without getting sore, but you will have much more control over how hard you play.

    Amp settings and so on will always be a factor in how you ultimately sound, but as far as you getting sore hands from playing it comes down to technique and really nothing else.

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