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How do you play octaves..

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Suckbird, May 26, 2005.


  1. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    Sweden
    I'm working on my strict alternation and i found out that i get som problems when i do octaves, let's say you this riff:

    G||----------------7---7-------------|---||
    D||------7---7-----------------7---7-|---||
    A||------------5-5---5---5-5---------|---||
    E||--5-5---5-----------------5---5---|---||

    it feels abit weird to play the low notes with my middle finger and the high with my index, am i the only one with this problem?
     
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Are you talking about your fretting hand, or your plucking hand?
     
  3. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    Sweden
    the plucking hand.
     
  4. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    I never alternate between my index and middle when playing octaves-unless it's a really slow song, it's just just not at all efficient to switch back and forth between them for octave. I either use index for the low note and middle for high or my thumb for low and index and middle for high.
     
  5. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    I usualy use index for the low and middle for the high.
     
  6. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Yeah, me too.

    Nowhere is it written that you have to alternate always and everywhere. I learned alternation from playing classical guitar, but even in that setting, the main value is in scalar or somewhat scalar passages and mutiple notes on a single string. It's not used for arpeggios, and it's not always practical when you're skipping strings.
     
  7. CJK84

    CJK84

    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    I use index for the low pitch and middle for the octave.

    It can get a little more complicated when you aren't simply alternating between the two octaves.

    For example, it's more difficult to play an 8th on the low pitch followed by two 16ths on the octave (like on chorus of the disco hit YMCA) so you'd have to adjust then.
     
  8. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    I alternate if it isn't super fast. Pretty much go with what feels most natural.

    But with a little time with the nome you can get pretty good results alternating.
     
  9. jadesmar

    jadesmar

    Feb 17, 2003
    Ottawa, ON
    FWIW: I would probably skip-string rake, as such:
    Code:
    G||----------------7---7-------------|---||
    D||------7---7-----------------7---7-|---||
    A||------------5-5---5---5-5---------|---||
    E||--5-5---5-----------------5---5---|---||
         i m i i m-i m i i m-i m m i m i 
    I suppose it depends on the feel, this looks like 5/8 5/8 6/8. And hence, I would pluck it as such.
     
  10. Bassist4Life

    Bassist4Life

    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    If the tempo is really fast, you could use a hammer-on for the higher pitch. After you hammer-on, release slightly while still touching the string to mute it. This will allow your fingers to play quickly on the lower pitches. I just tried it out with fantastic results. It may take a little practice to balance the attack of the lower fingered pitches and higher hammer-on pitches. Try it.

    Good Luck!
    Joe

    PS. For the YMCA disco thing, I use my thumb for the lower 8th note pitches, and the index/middle for the two 16th note higher pitches. You have to use a very light touch on the strings. It's just another technique to put in your tool box for those special sticky situations.
     
  11. same here
     
  12. Judge2003

    Judge2003

    Mar 26, 2005
    PS. For the YMCA disco thing, I use my thumb for the lower 8th note pitches, and the index/middle for the two 16th note higher pitches. You have to use a very light touch on the strings. It's just another technique to put in your tool box for those special sticky situations

    I tried doing this (I saw a blondie video for atomic and her bassist did this) but it slows me down... I developed this kinda odd technique when teaching myself "Do you think I'm Sexy" by Rod Stewart

    |---77--77--|
    |-----------|
    |-5---5-----|
    |-----------|
    --i-im-i-im---

    I deaden the D string and bring my index back with my middle just incase I am to hit it
     
  13. Petary791

    Petary791

    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    Depends on how fast the song is for me. If it's slow, i'll use my thumb and a finger (whichever is more convienent) but if it's faster ill use my pointer and middle finger.
     
  14. That is what I usually do as well. Sometimes I use my index and ring finger for the low notes and my middle for the octave. That is what I feel comfortable doing when I play anyway.
     
  15. jadesmar

    jadesmar

    Feb 17, 2003
    Ottawa, ON
    Here's an interesting RH practice for the skip-rake I was referring to. It can be quite fast and accurate and once you know which beats you wish to accent, useful.

    Code:
    -----------------
    ---7---7---7---7-
    -----------------
    -5---5---5---5---
     i m m i i m m i 
     
  16. Good way to learn straight octaves is to play Iron Maidens "fear of the dark" (the non-distorted bit int he beginning and the end). That was one of the first things I learned to play on the bass.