How many fingers on the right hand?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by gammeljohan, Oct 31, 2004.

  1. gammeljohan


    Jul 16, 2004
    I've been trying a few pickingtechnics through the years. Started out with two fingers. Then, two years ago I started to play with four fingers (and then I don't mean the slapping).
    Then I tried three fingers, which I found much better. At the time I played indexfinger-longfinger (or what it's called)- ringfinger. But now I have changed to ringfinger-longfinger-indexfinger. I get a different sound from this. But every technic has it pros and cons. I touch other strings easily with the last, but I get a better sound on the intended note.

    How do you guys play? And how do you practice your righthand technics?
    Straight fingers or are they formed like J?
    And how do the pros do it?
    Do you use different technics on different kinds of styles of music?
    It would be really interesting to hear your comments on this one!

  2. screwball


    Jul 25, 2004
    Manchester UK
    I always used to use two fingers for most lines on one string, but when changing from string to string i inadvertantly would use my ring finger, but it wasn't a conscious decision, it just felt more natural. Now i'm learning to play 3-2-1 (ring, middle, index..repeat) and i can see the advantages, but it's going to take me a while to get it sounding really smooth. The thing i'm having trouble with is getting a smooth sound from my ring finger, it just seems to snap through the string, anyone else have this problem? any tips?
  3. Two fingers, with the ring finger coming in for triplets or similar parts, and sometimes to pluck my E string if I'm playing on the D or G with my other two and my thumb wouldn't be quick enough.
  4. Elliott


    Mar 20, 2000
    I play mostly with two fingers, but unlike most players I have seen, I use my index and my ring fingers - they are pretty much the same length so my hand stays squared to the strings. My middle finger is just a tad too long to be of much help, except for triplet kicks or pushes, or really fast runs.

    The pinkie is out to dry by its lonesome; too short! :)

    I also use the thumb on the low strings when I skip strings or am too lazy to move my other fingers for octaves. I used to use a thumbpick along with my fingers, which made the pick very convenient, but I kept losing them.
  5. whiteXcorpse


    Oct 21, 2004
    In my first year of playing I played w/ a pick, but after playing w/ my fingers, bass got really fun and I could feel what I was playing. I played w/ two fingers for about 2 years, and for the past few months I have been playing w/ 3 fingers (3-2-1). It feels like a natural progression.

    It is almost the same in the basses I play. My first bass was a 4 string, then a five string and another five string, and I am seriously considering a six string as my next bass.

  6. I use 2 fingers when playing on one string, and the ring when going between strings. I find that using 2 fingers when playing triplets, or following fast double bass is easier and more accurate than using 3. I initially got alot of my guidance from watching ryknow, and that's what I see him doing alot of the time. Another method I got from him is tapping the strings over the fretts w/ 2 fingers when playing punchy, fast, percussive lines. It makes The notes ring out alot clearer. By tapping I dont mean pressing down on the frets, it's pretty much slapping w/ your pointer and middle finger. This may only be useful when playing metal, but it makes it alot easier to follow double bass, and "sound" like double bass on recordings.
  7. i use 3 fingers (3-2-1) and try and keep them in strict alternation to avoid raking. once you get the hang of it its not really that hard to do groups of four- as the old saying goes, practice makes perfect.
  8. Ozzyman


    Jul 21, 2004
    I do 3 finger strict alternation. But for some reason I use 1-2-3 because it's easier and faster for me. Man i'm wierd.
  9. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    Combinations I use include:

    1 finger plucking, any finger
    1 finger flick, 1st
    1 finger rake, nail side, ascending
    1 finger rake, pad side, descending
    2 finger strum, 1st and 2nd
    2 finger rake, descending
    2 finger plucking #1, 1st and 2nd
    2 finger plucking #2, 1st and 3rd
    3 finger plucking, 3rd, 2nd, 1st
    3 finger rake, descending
    3 finger triplet pop, ascending
    3 finger plucking w/ a 1 finger flick, 3rd 2nd, 1st, 1st flick
  10. Dynna


    Oct 23, 2004
    I do the Gary Willis thing.

    1. Play light.
    2. Always have your ring finger on the next string UP so that it's ready to go.
    3. And I mute with my picking hand. NOT my fretting hand. That just means that if I play a note with my index, then my middle comes in right after and mutes it(according to how long I want the note). You completely cut out the fret noise this way. PLUS, if you want to learn to play FAST, just play what you normally play, SLOWLY, but practice making SHORT notes by muting with your right hand. How does it work? Simple. You are preparing to play the next note. The faster you prepare to play it, the faster you will play it. Just relax and don't play anything FAST, just do it SHORT.

    Here are a couple of exercises from the man himself...
  11. I use a traditional two finger pluck method. Sometimes I'll use just my index finger, mostly if i'm playing a repeating eighth note type of line. There's no real reason for this except that it occasionally feels more natrual to play with one finger. My finders are fairly curved when I play and I like to think I have pretty good technique.

    When I do fast triplets going up the strings I often pluck the low string with my thumb, the middle string with my index finger and the top string with my middle finger. I find this to be a much much easier way than trying to use two fingers. I never use my ring or pinky fingers.
  12. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Aurillac, France
    I actually use my 5 fingers, even without slapping.
  13. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    I've been working on rippin' off fast triplet accents with the ring-plus. The way I've been doing it, it sounds pretty raucous and clacky, but I kind of LIKE it.

    My pinky just sits there like a teet on a bull.. on the picking-hand, that is - on the left I use pinky maybe only second to index (it seems to have better dexterity than the ring, except for hammering), so I guess I shouldn't give up on the right pinky.

  14. TOOL460002

    TOOL460002 Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Santa Cruz CA
    Normally- just the usual 2, though i use the ring finger if i want fast triplets, or all that plus another hit on the way up with the back of the pointer for really fast quadruplets.

    still working on my clarity and precision with 3 up 3 down.

    and thumb for double thumbing or whatever you call it.

    BUT- right now i play with a pick due to a shard of glass that got friendly with my middle finger knuckle. i hate picks- personal preference.
  15. AngelCrusher

    AngelCrusher Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2004
    Mesa Boogie, Tech 21, Taylor
    i have always used 3 feels natural and you can play anything that way, but i don't think much about it when i do it.
  16. troll


    Aug 31, 2000
    Chicago area
    Two normally, ring comes in for triplets, or long jumps every now and then. (two strings or more). I finally have the strentgh in it to do that, and use it in place of middle finger if its sore or blistered, which doesn't happen if I play often enough, but there have been down periods.

    Never could get a 1 2 3 2 1 type of thing going to any smoothness, haven't bothered to work on it.

    I've had enough trouble over the last few years getting my left pinky into shape after going to 35" to bother with the right :)

  17. ttZop


    Nov 18, 2004
    most of the time 2 fingers. I use ring for the triplets. somethimes i use thumb on a slower parts (like acoustic guitar).
    for me very interesting right-hand technique is sweeping. I saw than on Billy Sheehan's "bass secrets" but I didn't worked on it till now.
  18. Ozzyman


    Jul 21, 2004
    Man, when I started with 3 fingers, I thought I would never get it. I couldn't get my brain to think with 3 fingers in mind. Then one Christmas when I was 15, I got the Bass Fitness book. I started with the first exercise at 60bpm quarter notes. The next 6 MONTHS! I was working to get to the end of the book. I got there and now I can play the whole book at 160+bpm 16th's. Now my brain doesn't even have to think about three fingers. It's natural to me, and boy, you don't know how good it feels for me to have overcome that roadblock. I never NEEDED to use 3 but it was a choice I made and I'm definately not regretting it.
    The lesson? The Bass Fitness book is probably the best book to use when learning any new right hand technique and anything is possible if you put your mind to it (and 6 months of your life, :bag: )
  19. AngelCrusher

    AngelCrusher Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2004
    Mesa Boogie, Tech 21, Taylor
    i think i got it real quick because I played classical guitar when i was younger. That made 3 finger bass feel great for me...I was young and using it, and I didn't think anyone was until i got into death metal and jazz.
  20. Sometimes I use one (not sure why, but it seems more appropriate to me for certain things), usually 2, 3 only for things I've practiced w/ 3.