Hey doublers!

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by pete27408, May 8, 2005.

  1. pete27408


    Feb 22, 2005
    When I play DB (jazz) I usually use the pointer finger for most of the walking lines. Do ya'll do the same on electric? I currently alternate but I've heard some good players say otherwise.
    Thanx, Pete
  2. dex68

    dex68 Guest

    May 5, 2005
    I never play walking lines on electric. Do you?
    That aside, I think you get to make up the rules here. If you can be more swinging with one finger, if it is possible to be "swinging" on bass guitar, do it that way, I say.
  3. Istar


    Apr 5, 2005
    Antwerp, Belgium
    A REAL Electric Bass ??
    Do They make those ? ;)
  4. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I assume you're speaking of a slab...

    My technique for each is completely independent. I tend to use one finger for URB, generally supported by the middle finger. For electric, use use 2, or as many as three or four depending on my needs.
  5. pete27408


    Feb 22, 2005
    Oh yes, the slab or el slabo in Spanish! A REAL electric bass? I'm trying to imagine what you mean ISTAR. Maybe you're talking about Billy the singing bass- that requires batteries. I'm pretty comfortable using 2 fingers. I'm looking for someone to tell me I'm right so I don't have to change my technique. :)
  6. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    I always found it extremely awkward to play a walking line on EBG with one finger. Two is the only way to go, for me...

    Of course on DB, one finger is plenty for walking.
  7. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    I've tried to reproduce my one-finger URB approach on slab, and it always seems awkward.
    But supposedly James Jamerson only ever used one finger--"the Hook"--when playing EBG. Not that he played many walking lines, but what a groove...
  8. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    It took me all the way to Tbeers post to figure out that you were talking about your RH technique, not your left. Doh!! :rollno:

    I was trying to figure out how/why you'd only be using your left pointer :confused:

    Anyway, to try to answer your question -

    In my electric-only band I play blues/rock and regularly use three RH fingers (and sometimes even my thumb and pinky, depending on the circumstances). I do walk some, but not most.

    My regular acoustic-only DB Jazz-Blues gig requires a lot of walking, and I use just the RH pointer, with occasional help from the RH middle finger on fast passages or skips.

    My occasional doubling gig is Latin-Jazz, so there's a lot of ostinato riffs - if they're sparse I play 'em on DB, and the fast tricky ones I play on Slab. If a song gets called when there's no time to change instruments I sometimes have to walk on the Electric, or 'feel the burn' on the DB.

    While I'm perfectly happy using multiple fingers across the string on Slab, I can't seem to master that NHOP thing on DB. Truth be told I don't want to either - using the full meat of the finger(s) on DB feels natural and sounds *so* much better I'll be sticking with that, thank you very much :bassist:
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Sometimes I'll use only one finger to walk on electric bass. It all depends how fast the line is, though. On a moderate tempo, one finger is more than enough and two just slow you down. I'll also do the ol' string engagement trick and use two fingers together as one to get more meat on the string. It results in a fatter sound. I learned that by watching Joey Spampinato of NRBQ.

    But on upright, where I'm a beginner, I will sometimes use two fingers separately because I'm used to it on electric and have a bit of a hard time making the stretches between strings with one finger and playing in time.
  10. Istar


    Apr 5, 2005
    Antwerp, Belgium
    If a richer sound is what your after then why not use your thumb. It gives you a much fatter sound and I’ve seen plenty of great bass players use it. But even my teacher who is also an establish slab player ,and makes me gape in awe every time he plays, uses it sometimes if he has to play a walking bass line on his slab.

    But then again, the best thing to do is buy a real bass. ;)
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I do use my thumb on rare occasions, but compared to my fingers it feels a bit awkward and I'm not nearly as fast with the thumb as the fingers. I once saw Barbara Mandrell play an electric bass walking line with her thumb and she was darn good at it. I was quite impressed.

    And BTW, what's this "real bass" stuff? Whatever bass I play is real, whether it's my upright or my electric basses. I know it's kind of cute to say "real bass" in a forum full of upright players, and it's probably done as a joke, but if you ever hear someone like Dave LaRue or Victor Wooten play electric bass, it's about as real as it gets. I don't know, I just think terms like that cause musical snobbery, and quite frankly, this forum has way too much musical snobbery already.
  12. Istar


    Apr 5, 2005
    Antwerp, Belgium
    He Jimmy, sorry if I offended you that was really not my intension, It was meant as a joke of course. And if it helps know that I play electric bass as well, but for me an electric just hasn’t got the feel that a Double bass does have. But that of course is a personal preference.

    Anyway good luck on your technique hunt, hope you find what works best for you. :)
  13. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Hey, I should apologize for the heavy hand. I'm not usually that way...I've heard that for years from others, but unfortunately I chose you to single out.

    To be honest, maybe it's because I fear I'm turning into one of those snobs. At gigs where I double, I can't wait to put down the electric and pick up the upright. I hardly touch the electrics at home and always play the upright when I practice at home. And yes, I'm starting to see why people call uprights "real bass." It's doggone amazing!

    As for technique, I'm going to end up a two-finger upright player for most things. I'm used to it, I get a good sound with it, and it's easier to play fast. So I think my search has ended.

    Anyhow, sorry bout blowing steam in your direction.
  14. Istar


    Apr 5, 2005
    Antwerp, Belgium
    Hey no problem, sorry If I made you think I was dissing ja.
  15. pacojastorius

    pacojastorius Guest

    May 21, 2005
    i think the main problem is which one to practise on today! anyone know the answer to that????
  16. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    On EB, for a fat even-sounding slow groove I like to stick with the first finger. Hard to get the two fingers to sound alike, if you really listen. Sometimes I'll use a thumb and mute the strings with the right palm. Fat & Dark. Check out Will Lee when he walks, he chokes/mutes the strings with the left hand and moves up and down the neck in that fashion to get a quasi-upright sound. One of the few EB players to get a big sound with an upright sized pizz technique.