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How hard do you play?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by soundoholic, May 8, 2003.

  1. soft, I am weak....

    32 vote(s)
  2. medium, I like picking the safe options in polls

    65 vote(s)
  3. Hard, I am the hulk!

    68 vote(s)
  1. I recently seriously changed my technique and it helped me out a lot!!! so much that I feel like a different bass player. I used to play softly for everything, but I would have problems driving songs and being tight. Now I play hard, and I now play tight and drive songs. I don't play this way all the time. I am also very dynamic but in general I play hard. So how hard do you play? I am speaking of right(plucking) technique only.
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Light touch is the way to go !! ;)
  3. neptoon

    neptoon Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2000
    Cape Canaveral, FL
    word...let the amp do all the work
  4. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    Light touch is for pussies! :D

    No, seriously, it really depends on the song and the tone you want to get. Sometimes in the same song, I'll pluck hard during the verses or chorus, and softer in the middle section. When I say "hard", I'm not talking about that Fieldy-style "slapping", but actually plucking the strings harder.
  5. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    You should know how to do both and everything in between.

    Lack of dynamics is probably the #1 weakness I see in bands these days.
  6. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    A big word on that. If you need more power, just dig in.

    Besides, playing hard is harder work. A lighter touch lets you play more deliberately, which makes it easier to play what's in your head.
  7. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Work hard play hard :D

    Seriously though, Bruce nailed it.
  8. I agree with that- a light touch may not be the best approach in a rock context with heavy guitars to cut through.
  9. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    A light touch most of the time.

    Sometimes I play a little harder...especially when I am playing a more rocking tune and the guys are playing louder. I forget I have an amp for a bit. :)

    But if I'm really feeling the groove, I play lighter and more deliberate. With a lighter touch, you are able to play faster, more cleanly and your hand/wrist/arm will get less fatigued.

    You want more volume? Turn up your amp, don't play the strings harder...otherwise there won't be any room for dynamics.
  10. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    Yup, imagine playing Iron Maiden tunes with a light touch, or play a nice fretless ballad and playing it hard... Both would suck.
  11. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    A light touch gives you more control and more power(!). Better tone too.

    @ the ombudsman: A light touch doesn't equal weak attack/tone. I can play IM stuff with a light touch w/out sounding like a nerd. On the other hand, you can also let it snap Stanley Clarke-style on a fretless ballad.
  12. I hope you guys don't have one way of playing (hard or soft), because IMO it really really depends on the song and style you are playing...
    Playing hard or with a delicate touch changes the tone of your playing, so that is what i think about while playing...

    So sometimes soft, hard, medium, whatever.

  13. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Of course you need to be able to play with dynamics. But my plucking overall is pretty soft, at least softer than most hard pluckers play. Even when I do Stanley Clarke-style "snapping" [for lack of a better term], I play it pretty softly. The added attack comes more from the way I pluck, than from how hard I pluck - hard to explain.
    Check out Gary Willis when you think you can't "rip" it with a soft touch ;)
  14. :D
    Oh please, it is not that I don't think you can't rip it off, I just don't think you should describe your way of playing with one word "Hard or soft"...

    I would never ever doubt your abilities of playing with a soft touch...;)

  15. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I'd prefer it to say "Soft, I am subtle...." cos that's the one that gets my vote.

  16. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    :p :D
  17. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    This is a subject that is pretty hard to debate in words. We could all sit in a room with a bass in our hands and show each other what we mean with "light" or "hard" touch. Probably we would all agree in the end. I don't think neither approach is bad, as long as it sounds good. But I still wouldn't snap Stanley-style on a country ballad, though! ;)
  18. Light touch. I let the amp do the work.
  19. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    I tend to play pretty hard, I use monster heavy strings (I really do find that heavier tension helps my tone), but I try to keep in mind a general principle of sound that I learned in an acoustics class eons ago. Striking a string (or a drum head, or a piano string, etc.) harder tends to accentuate the midrange. In addition to trying to play dynamically (as opposed to the general approach of highly compressed bass), I hit harder when I want more midrange and mellow out when I want a fuller bodied sound. I also move my right hand all around the playing field instead of just anchoring it in one spot. I spend a lot of time playing up near the neck, but I'll also jump back to the bridge for different sections.
  20. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    This is sarcasm, right? Steve Harris barely touches the strings...


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