How important is it to fret with your tips vs. pads....

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by magnusdeus123, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. I manage to fret with the pads of my index and little finger when using them and for my middle and ring finger , with the tips . I dont even understand when taking into consideration all things like wrist angle, finger width and all that, how your gonna be able to manage fretting from your tips all the time .

    Also using the pad of the index finger I can manage to mute the high strings when going onto a lower string (D->A) and use thumb muting to mute the upper strings.....How exactly do you implement muting of higher strings without that.....
  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    You really understand the benefit of using tips when you play a fretless. Tone gets better focused and playing in tune is easier.
    It's the same on fretted but to a lesser degree.
    You can still mute when using the tips.
  3. KsToaDangr


    Apr 17, 2007
    Columbia, SC
    I know it's not proper technique and all, but I've been playing with the pads of my fingers for something like 12 years now, and as long as I'm playing a fretted bass, it's never been a problem.
  4. Me too. Been playing nearly 40 years and have never worried about using exclusively the tips of my fingers.

    I would say trying to use the tips only is unecessary and perhaps even poor technique. YMMV but watch any bass player, fretted, fretless, or upright. Tips only?

    I play fretted, fretless, and upright.
  5. MrBorisSpider

    MrBorisSpider Inactive

    May 8, 2008
    I use the pads when barring a string (i.e root-low 5th) but otherwise I use tips where I can. However, on my fretted bass, it's easier to mute when lightly resting your palm on the strings as facillitated by barre-positions.
  6. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    Tips also gives you better reach & dexterity, aside from the intonation benefits. If you arch your fingers (like a pianist), you can play more notes without shifting positions. Something to consider.
  7. onlyclave


    Oct 28, 2005
    Playing with the tips of your fingers gives you the greatest amount of force available to stop a note because your fingertips are directly opposing your thumb. For a fretless bass it's a requirement for good intonation but for any stringed instrument it improves your tone. Playing flat fingered is indicative of other sloppy technique that is being compensated for.
  8. I really think, for myself at least and for virtually every player I watch, it is a blend of each.

    Like so many other "rules" about playing: they are a general guide only. And as so often happens, the ones who make their own rules end up setting new standards emulated down the line.

    Remember?: Jamerson was a one finger player.
  9. MrBorisSpider

    MrBorisSpider Inactive

    May 8, 2008
    And we all know how horrible he was... :bag:
  10. Well I go with the hybrid like I mentioned in the OP .

    Index,pinky = flat
    Middle,Ring = Tip

    Dunno how much 'tone' or 'playability' I'm compromising there . But tiping it off on my little finger is just impossible .

    P.S. : When I say 'pad' I mean like just a bit below the tip , not like complete flat out .
  11. Timbo


    Jun 14, 2004

    This is the answer. Using the tips of your fingers requires your arch your hand making a C shape. This makes for much easier movement around the finger board. The tips aren't the main issue, it's the C-cup that they help facilitate.
  12. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    Mmmhhhh C cup.
  13. Ditto for me and for the vast majority of players, I bet.
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    The problem with that is we aren't Jamerson. What worked for him probably won't work for you or me.
  15. See if it's just that much , then I'm kinda wondering whether I'm in ok territory, because I achieve that C shape easily . The only thing I'm doing is that I'm fretting with pads , but my thumb is still in the center of the back of the neck . So if thats it , then I should be fine . My Thumb is rarely in a position directly hanging over the neck .
  16. Just J

    Just J Guest

    Jul 27, 2007
    I got back and forth. If I'm doing fast runs I usually use the tips, other stuff the pads or a combo of both.
  17. Monkeygroover


    Jan 5, 2008
    They sound a litle different so i think most lot of it all depends on style, sound and what you wanna play. I've always used them both, it comes kinda natural now, depending on what I'm hearing.
    Anyone thought of trying the same with your right hand?
    Hit them hard at the bridge pick up, playing Jaco style with your (hardened) tips, or play over the neck pick up with you pads and make this warm deep sound... and all sounds in between...
    I think it's always good to work on your soundpallet and dynamics. I fact every technique that anyone ever played with is usable to a certain extend...
    Grts, MG
  18. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    IMO – it turns out there are no absolutes in bass playing. When I first started out, the beginning bass book I was working out of gave several “rules” that they said will “get you started” and work for “most” of your bass playing. These things were things like – finger per fret, thumb on the back of the neck, playing on the finger tips, alternating two fingers on your right hand. My old teacher pointed out during one of my first lessons with him (I was not brand new to bass) that he had spent many years trying to always be on his finger tips as much as humanly possible, and he had just recently discovered that in certain situations there are advantages to laying the fingers “a bit flatter”. The trick is knowing when and why to employ this technique. I have found as I advance a bit that most of those “rules” for beginners do hold true “most” of the time – the trick, IMO, is to know when to break the rules. YMMV.
  19. For me it's a blend. Mostly tips though. Whatever's comfortable. I agree in that there are no absolutes. For the left hand I use everything from one per fret extended to holding the neck like a baseball bat. On the right hand it's two alternating, sometimes three and sometimes I rake strings and all sorts of shenanigans.
    Double thumbing though, I can't do (can't do a good upstroke).
    Sorry i went a bit off topic there heheh.:help:
  20. Timbo


    Jun 14, 2004
    It also depends how far down your finger you mean by the pad. If you're using the pad, lets say half way down your first joint, I can't really see how you're fingers can be arched unless they are being arched underneath the board. Remember, you want your fingers to be pretty much over the board. This will help dexterity and help 'em jump around when you need them too.

    I can see how you're fingers can be somewhat arched on the G string, but as soon as I move towards the D up my fingers flatten out and lose that arch. Pic 1 is using the pads and you can see how the fingers flatten out versus the second where I'm more on the tips and the fingers are much more arched. Please excuse the terrible wrist angles I was just trying to get the picture taken.

    (new pics taken during the day-time! Woohoo!)



    Oh and look you can see my purdy upright peaking in the background.