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I don't use my pinky in certain ways

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by zeppfan90, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. zeppfan90


    Mar 27, 2013
    I only use my pinky to reach across the fretboard. Say from the 2nd fret to the 5th fret. I also use it to get octaves that are in the same position. But I hear/see all the time bassist using their pinky to go two frets higher. (1st finger 2nd fret, pinky 4th fret) But I have always found this extremely uncomfortable. I have practiced it a lot but it is still just awkard to me. Is this really a bad thing?
  2. Hi there,

    The two most popular ways to finger the bass guitar are:

    1-2-3-4 fingering (1 finger per fret with "span" of 4 frets)
    1-2-4 fingering (span of 3 frets)

    I personally am capable of both systems (having practiced both extensively) but I prefer the 1-2-4 fingering (1st finger 2nd fret, pinky 4th fret for example). I find this system to be more comfortable and ergonomic.

    You should use whichever system is more comfortable for you and/or that your teacher is teaching you (assuming you trust your teacher).
  3. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    Most recommendations I've seen in the past few years for 1-2-4 fingering are to be applied when using frets 1 thru 5. Then 1-2-3-4 further up the neck as the frets get closer together. I think 1-2-3-4 all over the board is more of an old school way of being taught. 1-2-4 is especially handy for people with smaller hands. I've not been playing for years and years, but that's the impression I get from lots of reading.

    Personally, I feel pretty comfy using the 1-2-3-4 even in the lower frets. It took a few months to get my pinky up to strength and speed, but it seems really natural now ... Though I will use the 1-2-4 on occasion as it is slightly less fatiguing.

    I'm sure it's ideal to be able to do both with ease. As long as you are able to get your hand where you need it for the next (set of) note(s), I don't think there is one right way for everybody.