How do you play your chords?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Basho, Jul 10, 2003.

  1. One finger (raked)

    10 vote(s)
  2. Thumb

    2 vote(s)
  3. Pick

    12 vote(s)
  4. Multiple fingers

    58 vote(s)
  5. Other

    13 vote(s)
  6. I don't play chords

    7 vote(s)
  1. Basho

    Basho Guest

    I was just wondering how you all play chords on your bass? Those that do... I usually rake my finger across them downwards... like I was playing fingerstyle, I just hit more than one string in succession.
  2. Melf


    Mar 20, 2003
    Starkville, MS
    I put my thumb and index together like I'm holding a pick and strum with the sides of them.
  3. If it's a doublestop, then I'll pluck both strings with my index and middle finger at the same time. If it's a three note chord then I'll again pluck with my index and middle finger, but use my thumb for the bottom note at the same time too. If that makes sense :meh:
  4. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Multiple fingers (and that includes the thumb). There are lots of ways to play chords - plucking, slapping, tapping, raking, etc - and I'll pull out whatever seems to suit the sort of sound I'm after.

    Flexiblity - that's what my approach is all about.

  5. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    What wulf said.
  6. I strum with my middle fingernail or fingerpick with thumb/index/middle.
  7. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    I tap them. This permits wide voicings and thereby avoids mud.
  8. NioeZero


    Sep 2, 2001
    Wulf said it best, but I'd like to add a technique I've been toying around with.

    I play a four string, and I use four note chords quite a bit in my band's music. I try to utilize an open string in every chord, it seems to keep things a little less cluttered. Omitting the 5th usually helps too.


    E: 7
    A: 5
    D: 0
    G: 7

    E: 12
    A: 0
    D: 11
    G: 11

    But anyway, getting to the technique, I fret a four note chord and slap the strings with the palm of my hand. Obviously, your hand needs to bounce back to avoid muting the strings and choking the chord. Sounds good through a delay, you can some pretty clean polyrhythmic mayhem going on.
  9. word


    Jul 14, 2003
    well, i play a 4 string in drop D and i use a pick. i play faster music, so if im only using the two lightest strings, then i just strum it with a pick gently to avoid "mud" as someone previously posted. as of late ive really been getting into using my thumb and middle finder to pluck the two strings simultaneously. it sounds nice. if i ever play a 3 sting chord, it usually resembles a power chord like on guitar.
  10. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    All of the above.
  11. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    Reviewer: Bass Player Magazine
    Depends on the type of sound I want; I'm similar to wulf, JMX and the like in that I'll use most of those methods. I seldom do a standard rake though; I'll thrust all of my fingers outward in a flamenco-like strum if I'm doing looser music that requires a three-or-more note chord, but my usual tendancy is it pluck each string with a separate finger so I can have more control over the notes in the chord.
  12. I dont know exactly what its called, by I use the same technique Les Claypool uses for chords. For doublestops I pluck both stings at the same time with my index and middle fingers.
  13. stuie86


    May 9, 2003
    mckinney, tx
  14. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Word on that!
    Also, different techniques can give you a different feel and timing. Putting your thumb and index together like a pick works well for a "strumming" type of feel, whereas tapping won't. Thumb and fingers work well if you want to do some alternating bass on a 2/4 bluegrass groove, but it would be harder to get that feel if you omit the thumb.
  15. I play chords a lot using a unique right-hand technique:

    1. Slap two adjacent strings

    2. Arpeggiate 2 note chord by slapping the root and plucking the high note (11ths are nice), letting both notes ring.

    3. Arpeggiate 3 note chord as above, but pluck the high notes with index and middle fingers in a smooth rolling motion (7th and 11th), letting all notes ring

    4. Slap a bass note, then simultaneously pluck two higher notes with index and middle finger (usually 5th and octave), letting all the notes ring.

    5. Triplet: open-hammer-pluck, a la Wooten, letting both notes ring

    6. Classical technique: pinch two or three notes

    7. Harmonics: grab a couple of harmonics, then slap the bass note

    It's fun to "slide" into a chord ... play the bass note, slide up or down, then play the high notes, letting the bass note ring.

    Fun stuff!
  16. (whoops ... I meant 10ths, not 11ths)
  17. aristotle chang

    aristotle chang

    May 25, 2003
    i like to mainly use the same index and thumb technique melf mentioned, but i also like to pluck each string with a different finger, and sometimes i also use my thumb in a sort of upside-down hitch hiker position when i play two note chords on the lower two strings.
  18. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    If they're above the fifteenth fret, I tap 'em. The heel on my bass is a major pain in the arse, so I can't get too high without losing accuracy -- the only time I usually go up there with my left is the intro to Aeroplane. I'd never tried raking before until I read this thread -- neat sound, but I prefer to do it in an upstroke, as my fingernail clacks and I like gentler sound of a chord. Otherwise I use my thumb and fingers.
  19. Bullett138


    Apr 17, 2003
    Kansas City
    pick, but the only time i ever really use chords is above the 12th fret with a good amount of distortion because my guitarist is so terrible I have to solo for him.
  20. I either rake them, or strum them, like making a fist and opening it.