How’s my technique?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by heavyfunkmachin, Jan 7, 2022.

  1. heavyfunkmachin


    Jan 21, 2005
    So, as a new year resolution I’ve decided to clean up my act technique wise, and I wanted to ask out loud for a favour… can you watch me play un this video and share any feedback?

    I hope it does not sound selfish, but I know there are wonderful players and teachers here, so would really appreciate an honest opinion about it!

    I’m literally noodling in the video, to be as absent minded as possible as I’m trying to record how I play when I don’t think about it in order to pinpoint what can be improved… I THINK I could benefit from a lighter touch, and perhaps I’m not using my pinky as much as I should (I had tendinitis in the left hand years ago and perhaps I’m unconsciously protecting it?) anyway… WHAT DO YOU THINK? (Thanks in advance for your time!)

  2. Sounds good! There is some "clack" when you are playing heavier, it's a personal preference but I tend to play light enough to avoid that sound. You could probably adjust your action, too, but lightening up the right hand is easier and will help out in the long run.

    How loud is your amp turned up? It sounds like you are a bit quiet and using your fingers to dig in and make the bass loud enough. An easy adjustment is to turn your amp/bass up louder and then compensate by plucking softer.

    When you are improvising your fills what's your approach to note selection? Are you thinking in modes, chords, fretboard shapes, or just exploring the fretboard?
    JeezyMcNuggles likes this.
  3. heavyfunkmachin


    Jan 21, 2005
    the amp is fairly loud, I think the clank is my own fault due to a caveman-like right hand… I did recently switched to lighter strings, but I think I could benefit from lighter left and right hand pressure…

    As for note choice, in this case I just play some pre-existing bass lines… but I guess I just think of scale shapes when improvising, nothing fancy… I could also improve on it, be more melodic and less root-based and simplistic (I’m feeling somewhat ape-ish over my playing after seeing my self recorded!)
  4. We all have stuff to work on, there's no shame in that at all. The people who don't think they have anything left to learn are the ones who need to put the MOST work in! I hate listening to my own recordings but they also shine a spotlight on where I need to put the work in, which is a healthy thing. My teacher once said "The moment you find something you suck at is a wonderful moment to be celebrated. It gives you a clear path on how to get better."

    You already sound good, but to smooth things out I agree that a lighter touch will help. Experiment with the absolute minimum amount of pressure your right hand needs in order to produce a sound and you can find the sweet spot where you get a clean tone without the clank.

    Just so we're even, here's a clip of me playing at a solo gig from a few years back. I have lots to work on, too!

    J_Bass and heavyfunkmachin like this.
  5. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    There are certainly some basic technical problems going on. @JonathanPDX has already noted a heavy and clanky. This is not a problem in itself if that is the sound you want - I use a similar sound myself from time to time. But I do think perhaps it is, on occasion, more happy accident than delibetate musical decision. That is to say you don't seem to be fully in control of it. Ine way to lighten up and improve control would be to try a floating thumb technique in your right hand. But I think the main one is timing, or more specifically, synchronisation. In the faster passages your left and right hands are out of sync, which is causing dead notes (right hand plays before left is ready) and/or unintended grace notes (left hand frets early and makes a hammer-on quickly followed by a right hand pluck). Synchronisation is essential for building speed and fluemcy. It also helps with note definition and tonal consistency. Once you have consistency you can get variation under control. I don't know what exercises or studies you use, but pick one. Play it once just hammering the notes with your left hand. Again with just the right playing the rhythm on a single note. Then bring the two hands together, and try to focus purely on synchronisation...
    heavyfunkmachin and JonathanPDX like this.
  6. Looks like you may be plucking more under string[pulling] than on top; that could cause what others are hearing.

    Like one other here said that could be useful at times but should not be main style
    heavyfunkmachin likes this.
  7. HardNHeavy


    Apr 17, 2014
    nothing wrong with the playing that i see..sounds like an upright bass more than an electric imo Lot's of click n clacking going on..
    heavyfunkmachin likes this.
  8. heavyfunkmachin


    Jan 21, 2005
    Thanks for the feedback, really useful, I really appreciate you took the time to listen and comment!!

    @SteveCS - I’m a bit puzzled by your comment on synchronisation, to be honest! I assumed I had it more or less worked out, and the bit that frustrates me more is that I can’t really hear it clearly, so it’s harder for me to identify it an fix it!! Quite a pickle… I’ll do my best to focus on this, but I’m on the fence about it as I can’t hear the issue clearly myself yet! :(

    @NEBADON2000 - I think the clank has been over represented in the video a bit due to low tension strings (fixed now!) plus mobile mic picking up a lot of treble… but it’s there, I think mostly due to excessive force on the right hand, I’m not pulling strings, but ramming them down against the frets a bit… I’m going to practice a lighter touch… I have to find a way to actually do it with the band at loud songs, as in the past I found I could do “clean” when quietly practicing scales, but it all went out the window at loud rock settings… hence me trying to noodle as absent minded as possible in the video, trying to capture that “live” playing approach.

    @HardNHeavy - thanks for the kind words! It’s been a humbling experience so far! Regarding the upright comment, Funny enough I’ve been chasing a more “uprightish” tone for a while (foam, flat wounds, stronger attack…) and it might have leaked more than I wanted into my “normal” playing!

    again thanks for the comments, it’s hard sometimes to judge oneself the areas that require attention!
    HardNHeavy and NEBADON2000 like this.
  9. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Don't get me wrong - It's not everywhere; rather just some instances where there are drop-outs in the faster sections (e.g. 0:32-0:37) where the notes felt 'weak' which spoiled the shape and drive of the line. Listening again, it could be actual hammer-ons and pull-offs that don't have the instant attack (absence of clank?) of your plucked notes - it is hard to tell. But it wasn't a huge criticism, just an observation. :thumbsup:

    Perhaps if you do develop a lighter right-hand touch, maybe also see about getting a biit more power into the hammers and pulls just to even things up a bit. Again I would recommend checking out the floating thumb approach. Then let your amp do the heavy lifting.

    heavyfunkmachin likes this.
  10. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    N.B. I'm not a teacher, I'm not a wonderful player.
    I don't have any issues with that "clank" that did upset some of our knowledgeable forum members.
    You are using your Pinky more than Jonathan - a very serious bass player.
    (I could not even watch Jonathan's video because of his total "disrespect"(LOL!) for Pinky - just closed my eyes and listened to a his beautiful and melodious "noodling.")
    Jonathan is a very advanced bass player.

    Just "noodling" (in my humble opinion) gives me almost nothing.
    Overall, your left hand would benefit from having more flexibility.
    Your right hand - your use of just two fingers - needs stricter rules of the "two-finger alternating(!) picking."
    In short.
    Each moment of your "noodling" from the video could be taken apart and used as a teaching tool, but...
    It's a long story between you and your "teacher."
    And I'm not a "teacher."

    P.S. I would use a Metronome for noodling. I would try to incorporate more pronounced elements of Staccato and Legato (and Dynamics, and notes' lengths, etc...) in any "noodling."
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2022
    AGCurry, SteveCS and heavyfunkmachin like this.
  11. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013

    I'd like you to check your right/picking hand fingers (without any thinking/focusing on it) while you are playing Little Richard's - Tutti Frutti or Lucille.
    On a "paper"/transcription it's easy, just a two-finger alternation, but...
    At the end of that riff, I tend to "rake."

  12. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    I was wondering about the left hand fingering while playing "Lucille".
    Let's just accept that it's in C major.
    (Only the first measure in C.)

    I've stopped with six combinations of the left hand fingering schemes.
    N.B. The last - F - fingering method is about playing E one octave lower.

  13. I’d try to slide your right hand over the rear pickup and strike more softly. Also try when plucking to brush the string with your plucking finger instead of pulling so hard before the string releases

    edit: as soon as I resumed the video you moved your hand to the rear and struck more softly and your tone instantly evened out. Looks like you are starting to head in the right direction on your own. Also your action seems a little high
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