How would 3fingers increase my speed?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Suckbird, Apr 13, 2005.

  1. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    I can play scales up and down at the speed of 150-160bpm and i wonder if 3fingers really would make me that much faster to justify the time spending on learning it.

    How did 3fingers increase your speed?

    By the way, my goal is to do atleast 180bpm, so i can do fast 16th triplets... :rolleyes:
  2. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    It may not increase your speed at all. The fastest finger players I've heard on either bass or guitar (ever heard a top-flight flamenco guitarist?) tend to use two fingers in alternation.

    This is not meant to discourage you or to say you shouldn't try it, it's just a caveat that going to three fingers is not guaranteed to be The Answer.
  3. Cliff Burton used four and he was dead set awsome, however he didnt need them, i can play some of his solo's with two fingers.

    I find that the third finger for me is a bit weird, ive been training with it for a year now, but i still cant do what i can do with two fingers with three fingers.
  4. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium

    I practised it for a couple of months, and I don't feel it really pays off. I'm still faster with 2 fingers then with 3, so why bother?
  5. Kheos


    Aug 12, 2002
    why not bother?
    every trick in your bag is a trick in your bag you can use when needed, or if you wanted to
  6. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    I like using three fingers, I feel it gives me more control over my lines and the way I play. I've never felt the need to go back to two fingers so far. Three-finger technique can be a bitch on bridge pickups that are installed very close to the bridge, though.
  7. seanlava


    Apr 14, 2005
    Check out this month's issue of Bass Guitar magazine. The cover artist is Billy Sheehan, who has the fastest right hand out there. He breaks down his 3 finger plucking technique in the article.
  8. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    Cliff Burton / Metallica is not exactly "Three fingerstyle for beginners" :)

    I started with a slow simple song in my band's repetoire. ('
    Cocaine' by Eric Clapton). I gradually started to use my ring finger to pluck almost everthing. As it had never been exposed to this kind of work before I got beginner blisters and muscle development pain.

    Gradually it got up to speed and I can play with three fingers.

    That said, you really don't need three fingers as you can play with awesome speed with two. I think I am faster on two fingers as there are less co-ordination issues.
  9. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    Okay, it seems that i would do better practicing with 2fingers than 3fingers, i think i'm already relative fast in my right hand and i have only played for one year so maybe i'm in the range i want to be in a couple of years...
  10. Mel Monihan

    Mel Monihan

    Mar 30, 2004
    I had a guitar teacher in college that told me that the fastest picking is actually done with 1 finger. He had a classical backround, and I posed the same question to him about the two finger vs. three finger technique.
    I recently saw a piece on T.V on the artist series ,that featured Segovia playing a classical piece, and on all of the fastest parts, he was playing with one finger.
    I didn't believe it either until I saw it.
  11. deep-down-round


    Apr 12, 2005
    I'm actually training with my third finger now because i find that playing octaves get a little tough for me. Well, to be honest it's a chore, i'm already used to using two fingers so there was actually no point for me using 3.

    Unless you are like a solo artist then maybe i'll work but for basic basslines and support, two fingers does the job real well. Look at Jaco, he used two fingers ... =) ...
  12. ((ZASDER))


    Feb 26, 2005
    Buffalo NY
    I just start playing....about 5 months ago

    I started with 2 fingers having a crazy hard time to get them up to at least normal alternating and such not.

    About a week ago I started with 3 just working on my ring finger....and I gained alot of speed Im happy with it

    The most I did was started out slow trying to get my patterns of fingers right then eveyrday increase arent going to just pick up your bass and shred. Takes time to gain speed...just like losing weight...gotta start slow.
  13. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Can't say for sure about Segovia, as I never saw him close enough, but in regard to the majority of good classical and flamenco players, your teacher was wrong. Alternating index and middle is how it's generally done.
  14. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    the three finger technique is for a more even attack , [consistency]because your first finger and ring finger are more evenly matched in length than the 1rst and 2nd finger.
  15. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    I've been just struggling with three-finger for nearly a year now, and I definately think it's worth it! I really don't think of an advantage being continuous speed, but for the rock music that I've been playing in a three-piece band, three-fingered TRIPLETS are very powerful. I use them often now, but I'm still a little awkward at it!

    I've been playing The Bass for about two years. During the twenty years previous, I played flat-top acoustic in a very casual 'bass-line plus strums' kind of way for family and friends.

    I think strong, masterful three-fingered triplets are going to turn out to be a powerful and distinctive part of the rock style that I end up developing!

    I usually spend about 15-or-so minutes of each personal practice working on them; then there's the band gigs, where I use them in quite a few songs.

    One song I can think of right off-the-bat is Can't Explain, by The Who. the original record features a very straight, simple, almost stacatto bass line, but I try to make it sound more like Entwistle's more busy stuff - like "dum dum duppa-dum dum, duppa-dum dum duppa-dum!", instead of the "daht. daah-dit. dahp. daah-dit." of the original.

  16. Just a quick addition, I have a tip for you to not only train that finger a bit, but get a bit of exposure, someone once told me this and it worked.

    I wasn't looking to play with three fingers all the time, but just sometimes throw the ring finger in there to make some riffs a little easier. Anyway, I used to use just two fingers, thumb on the pickup and my ring and pinky curled in a sort of half fist, no pressure, but out of the way.
    Anyhoo, I was told just to use two fingers but keep all FOUR straight and over the strings, before long i noticed that riffs where becoming easier for me, especially paster ones that involved triplets. I had no idea why, whenever i concentrated on my right hand, it would become harder.

    During band one day, my drummer said after a near perfect rendition of Whiplash, that my fingers where going nuts, I asked him what i was doing, and he said that I was playing with three fingers. Not consistently but especially during the solo riff and occasionally during the verses. I was very proud. Like I said, I dont realluy play with three, but i occasionally (and subconciously) throw an extra finger in, it helped me alot.

    But remember, Each to their own. It worked for me, I hope it helps you too!
  17. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Subconcious?! Sheesh - I have to 'put a gun to my ring finger' to get that thing into action!

  18. if your interested in going very fast, three fingers might help you out. its very handy doing triplets if you can roll your wrist a little bit, i do that all the time. but what might make it easier to use 3 fingers is to keep your wrist in a constant slight motion, rolling back and forth. pluck with your ring, then middle, then index, then middle again and go back to the ring. this way you can play very fast with the downbeat always on the same finger, if that makes sense to you? to practice it, play some lines you know using your ring finger rather than your middle finger. then add in the middle finger between each pluck and think of it like a roll motion. when you get good at that, you can use your pinkie finger too first, so you can do extremely fast triplets like "pinkie ring middle" then "index middle ring" accenting the pinkie and index. i think billy sheehan did that in a video i saw but i was paying more attention to his fret hand. hes amazing, hope that helped a little bit. keep rockin
  19. redfenderj


    Aug 12, 2004
    If you want to see how three fingered technique can increase your speed, check out the bass solo on The Dance of Eternity. Dreamtheater, Scenes from a memory. Mind blowing. I would give up a leg to play with that three fingered technique.
  20. Mel Monihan

    Mel Monihan

    Mar 30, 2004
    Richard, I only said "the fastest" I did not say that is the way that my teacher told me to play.Most players do use thumb, index and middle fingers to play, and some use the ring finger also.The FASTEST movement is one finger.
    Can you play as fast as Victor Wootens double thumb playing on his video?That is the principle, some players do it with the index finger instead of the thumb.That is all I said, I am not advocating playing with one finger, I certainly do not.
    I have seen Alexis Sklarevski (musicians institute) do a flamenco style strum using his thumb, index, and middle finger on a roll that went -thumb, middle,index,thumb,ring,then repeat, that was pretty impressive and smooth.
    You might want to check out his video "The Slap Bass Program" for some alternative ideas on how to approach the instrument, and certainly Abraham Laboriel's "New Bass Concepts" for some more interesting approaches to to playing with all 5 fingers, and other techniques that are extraordinary.