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Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Achilles LS, Dec 25, 2003.

  1. Suppose you're playing on the G string and is about to do a descending pattern/scale/anything, You're about to change strings, from the G string to the D string. The final note on the G string is played with your index finger. Do you play the next note on the D string with your index finger that played the last note, to economize a move, or alternate your fingers no matter what?

    My teacher said that it's a such basic mistake, and everybody - even most pro players - do it and don't alternate you fingers on pizzicato all the time. I have noticed it also.

    I spent some time working on it and now I always alternate my fingers, after years making that mistake.

    Do you think it's the right way to play or you just don't mind not to alternate your fingering when jumping from a higher string to a lower string?
  2. I don't think it's a mistake to use your index finger to hit the first note on the d string with your index after having hit the last note with your index finger as well on the g string as you are still muting the string, playing the next note perfectly audible, and setting yourself up better for the descending pattern/scale/anything.

    The other thing I would like to bring up, whether it be a slang term or not, is how would you describe a downward sweeping technique where you are taught to use one finger to sweep between 2-4 strings if you are playing something descending from the g to a lower string? It would seem very odd that this technique would be taught if it were not efficient.

    My two cents on this is that whether or not it is a proper technique, it has been accepted by many bassist even most pro players as you say because of the efficiency of doing so, and should be regarded as a proper way of playing the bass, which really all it comes down to, or rather all it should come down to is how you feel comfortable playing the bass. If you can do it while completely alternating your fingers, or if you save yourself the hassle of always switching fingers for relief, it's entirely up to you.
    For example, there is one song that I play with my band, where, during an acoustic part I do a kind of walking bass line, which then rests on C for a whole note, followed by 3 16th notes octaves of C which I pick with my middle finger all three times as to replicate the same note and maintain an even tone.
  3. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    It's not a mistake if you know what you're doing and are comfortable with it. Don't be a technique nazi.
  4. christoph h.

    christoph h.

    Mar 26, 2001
    while it's not "proper form" there are certain good uses for it. it starts to be "bad" when it becomes your only way/method of changing strings when going "down".

    in his instructional video john patitucci does it all the time.
  5. bplayerofdoom


    Aug 6, 2002
    the only alternating i find tricky and is a good thing of not getting into a bad habit of not doing (which i did which made it become tricky) is rememberbering to alternate while asending strings e to a to d to g. I got lazy doing that in slower songs and it totally screwed me up later when i went back to faster songs.