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I think I'll try this whole 'finger style' thing all the kids are talking about.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by JesseVMT, Oct 17, 2016.

  1. JesseVMT


    Apr 8, 2016
    Seriously though,

    I'm a 90+% a pick player. My finger style is weak in comparison, but my pick game is strong (I like to think.)

    With fingers I have a tough time with muted ghost notes. Same with more of a funky style, I can do it with my pick but fingers I have trouble.

    Any songs or anything to help with this new finger style craze happening nowadays?
  2. Screw 'em.

    Stick with the pick!!
  3. JesseVMT


    Apr 8, 2016
    Haha. That's what I've been doing for years!
    Kenova likes this.
  4. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Start with simple songs that you already know, or scales - anything with which you are familiar. Even with one note repeating. Work on alternating your index and middle finger, so that the volume and tempo are consistent.
  5. JesseVMT


    Apr 8, 2016
    I guess it's a matter of anything else. Start slow... It just feels so odd
    fourtet102 likes this.
  6. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Having fingerstyle along with pick playing gives you more sonic options. Both are tools.
    PsyDocHill, tink9975, P-oddz and 10 others like this.
  7. corndog

    corndog Supporting Member

    Yup, no need to start with new songs, just loose the picks and relearn the songs you know. I find some super simple baselines played with a pick quite difficult with the fingers.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2016
    JCooper, spaz21387 and dgrizzly like this.
  8. MVE


    Aug 8, 2010
    Scott Divine has a great video on alternating finger excercise. I'll try to find it and post a link.
    Arion, xXColaXx, MaxHeadroom and 2 others like this.
  9. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    +6dB Dan, Gaolee and JesseVMT like this.
  10. alltomorrowsparties


    Oct 18, 2014
    Make sure you're hitting the strings with the pads of your fingers and not the tips, basically aim your hand/fingers so they're pointed towards the ground and "walk" or "rake" up the strings. I started with pick as well and am still faster/cleaner with one, but that little advice helped me a ton. Start with learning slower songs (that's mostly what I use fingers for anyway)
    JesseVMT likes this.
  11. Chicory Blue

    Chicory Blue Secretly Queen of the Moon Supporting Member

    On any other forum that title would make laugh.

    ... I may have laughed anyway.

    SirMjac28 and JesseVMT like this.
  12. bonin in the boneyard

    bonin in the boneyard Supporting Member

    I would start with pieces that don't move from string to string much.
  13. ak56

    ak56 Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2015
    Carnation, Wa
    I've been thinking about trying that finger-style fad as well. I've been a thumb:thumbsup: player for decades, and occasionally use a pick, but I think it's time to catch up with the times and add finger style as well.
    Amedee and JesseVMT like this.
  14. Wolfenstein666


    Dec 19, 2014
    Good luck man, I fully support trying it out. I've exclusively a finger style player but I've been messing around with a pick a bit just so I know how to do it if I ever decided to play like that.

    There's quite a few different ways to play but it boils down to what you're most comfortable with. I use floating thumb, seems to get the job done.
    PsyDocHill likes this.
  15. Kragnorak


    Sep 20, 2008
    Finger player (primarily) here, and I'm not sure I understand that one. If I'm going for a meaty sound I pluck with the pads, but if I want a sharper attack closer to a pick then I make sure the fingertip and the fingernail are striking simultaneously.

    What you do want to do is maximize finger strength/efficiency. So you don't want your wrist in a weak position. You should ideally be arching it a bit, and then you can hover your main knuckle joint over the main string you are picking.

    I usually describe the attack itself as pulling through the string. One reason that people new to fingerstyle have a hard time is that they curl the fingers too much, and try to pull up on the string which doesn't do much except get you tangled up.
  16. Play the same thing you normally would play and just practice nothing you can't master if you put in the time and effort.
  17. ThePresident777


    Oct 6, 2013
    Both hands are the mute. Think of it as all the strings start off muted. Put both your bear paws on the strings. Then you release only the strings that you want to sound while keeping the rest muted. The fretting hand mutes the higher strings. The plucking hand mutes the lower strings. This has to be coordinated. Even though you are plucking only some of the strings, they all ring out in sympathy, especially at the frets that sound harmonics easily. So, to get started, you might want to stay away from the 5th and 7th frets so you can experience some success. Otherwise, you might think it's hopeless. Then you try to transfer that success to the more challenging frets.

    The plucking hand thumb is a mute. Lean it back into the string so it works right. It has to be in firmly enough to mute but not so heavy that you have trouble moving it. You have to vary the force you use depeding on the circumstance so you don't want a lead footed thumb, or other fingers for that matter. They're more like pumps than boat anchors or nails. It has to deliver force quickly but not get stuck there, attack and release.

    Also, you can pluck with three fingers for triplets. But, Steve Harris only does it with two fingers. Jack Bruce, Geddy Lee, and James Jamersson play(ed) mostly with one finger and used two or three for quick runs. Billy Sheehan has a plucking technique that is very much like drum paradiddles. So the choice is yours.

    You might want to try different strings and keep another bass set up for this. Maybe a lower tension string if your hands are sore for too long. Or a higher tension string if you find that your plucking hand has to keep chasing the strings, often under shooting or over shooting the strings. Or pluck closer to the bridge for more tension, closer to the neck for less. You have two things to sort out here, the tension and the tone. They are opposite each other on the strings. A new set of strings can fix that, or electronics.

    As for the neck, it has to be substantial enough that you have something to grab, to pump against, without pinching all your joints and muscles together but not so large that you can't get around.

    That's how I do it, for better or worse.

    As for songs, anything slow in a style you like.

    Notice how straight Adam Nitti keeps his plucking hand thumb, and his pinky and ring finger curled over the strings, how light and agile his hands seem. It's all circumstantial, many different techniques. You might be comfortable with a very heavy handed approach but it can't be so sticky or so stiff that it can't move around. I would suggest trying a very slow heavy handed approach and a very light fast approach so you get used to changing to circumstances. It should become subtle, agile, controllable, with practice and appropriate gear. OK, I've blabbed enough.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2016
  18. pbass2


    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    You can certainly play your same songs you play now with a pick with your fingers to get your chops up, but I'm assuming those songs sound good with a pick, so why not learn some new stuff that's better suited to fingerstyle? For example, reggae is a great genre for getting your fingerstyle happening with fairly simple parts (though they're often deceptively simple). Reggae bass needs to be very consistent--lots of opportunities with it to finesse note length, the tone coming from your hands, subtle phrasing, etc. Of course lots of soul/RnB is great too. Try learning some Jamerson lines!
    jasonmatthews and JesseVMT like this.
  19. birminghambass

    birminghambass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    Birmingham, AL
    Best method: use a severed finger held like a pick. Your technique won't change but the tone will. Contact your local morgue or wire manufacturing plant, they'll each have a nice stock to choose from. You're welcome.
  20. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I use a pick for certain things, but once I got my finger style dialed in, I found that I had a much wider range of timbre and tighter control of my tone.

    I recommend playing along with any song you enjoy jamming out to.
    JCooper likes this.

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