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I Want You Back - Bad Technique is Best

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by BassAndReeds, Nov 27, 2018.


  1. BassAndReeds

    BassAndReeds SUSPENDED

    Oct 7, 2016
    So I’m learning the bane of my existence for my Top 40 band. Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back”. Specifically, the interlude has killed me for years. However, I think I’m getting it now (I’m certain I’m a better player now thankfully)

    But I’ve kinda realized to play the song, you have to use bass bass technique. Specifically on the fretting hand, one finger per fret. I’m so used to playing 1,3,4 on consecutive frets, but this song doesn’t work that way for me. But using 1,2,3,4 for consecutive frets and the song isn’t so bad.

    Not sure what anyone is supposed to say to that, but discuss if you like.

    ^Right, 1,2,4, like I said (sort of)
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
  2. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    You have it backwards. One finger per fret and 124 are what are taught as good technique.
     
    BassAndReeds likes this.
  3. IMO the ability to use all four fingers independently on frets is important to a bass player.

    As an official old fart, I learned on upright bass in the days when you'd better be able to use each finger on any string. Using them on an electric bass is much easier and requires less pressure. Your third finger won't fall off if you use it occasionally, so I think the OP is doing great!
     
    IamGroot likes this.
  4. I'll answer it this way; Yes learn one finger per fret or 1-2-4 what ever works best for you. However, I think you will find that somewhere down the road the fingers start deciding what finger gets what note. I let them and have not had a problem.

    Major scale box showing scale degree numbers
    and the root note on the 4th string - Using one finger per fret.
    ...Index...Middle..Ring...Little
    G|---2---|-------|---3---|---4---| 1st string
    D|---6---|-------|---7---|---8---|
    A|---3---|---4---|-------|---5---|
    E|-------|---R---|-------|---2---|4th string
    And if you use 1-2-4 fingering, adjust.​

    Course I had to play one finger per fret for several years before the fingers started deciding who would get what. When that happens you no longer have to think about it, it just happens. But you have to put the time in before they start thinking on their own.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2018
  5. BassAndReeds

    BassAndReeds SUSPENDED

    Oct 7, 2016
    yep. 1,2,4. That’s right.
     
  6. If you want to play bass like an upright, use 124. But if you want to play guitar lines, jazz sax lines, or Jaco stuff, 1234 will be more efficient and require less shifting.
     
    generalduncan likes this.
  7. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    1. Shifting is good, not bad. Not something to be avoided. :)
    2. Like most bassists, Jaco used primarily 1-2-4 fingering in the lower positions. If you study his live concert videos, he didn't use his 3rd finger much unless he was up above the 7th or 8th fret position.
    3. If you watch video of the Jackson 5 performing "I Want You Back," the bassist (Jermaine I think?) doesn't use 1234. He uses 124 and shifts position.
     
    1. Shifting is good, not bad. Not something to be avoided. :) Didn't say it was bad. It is less efficient, especially if you are playing fast 16th notes, and presents less intonation issues if you play fretless as you are shifting less.
    2. Like most bassists, Jaco used primarily 1-2-4 fingering in the lower positions. If you study his live concert videos, he didn't use his 3rd finger much unless he was up above the 7th or 8th fret position. I am sure Jaco could do both fingerings, but when he was TEACHING (The Jaco pastorius Method, Book and Video), he taught 1234 in the lower positions in demonstrating scales and arpeggios.
    3. If you watch video of the Jackson 5 performing "I Want You Back," the bassist (Jermaine I think?) doesn't use 1234. He uses 124 and shifts position. Folks will use whatever works for them and lots of folks will use 124. I don't have a problem with that. I played guitar for 30+ years before I picked up a bass and 1234 seems a better choice on the Bass Guitar (but obviously not the Double Bass). Thumbs Carlisle played fast guitar solos with his thumb on the fretboard and that worked for him.
    Edit...I even use a mix of 124 and 1234 on my electric when I am channeling upright players like Ray Brown on my electric. But its more for the feel and phrasing.
     
    Mr_Moo and Mushroo like this.
  8. I stand corrected on Thumbs Carlilse using his thumb. He said in a GP interview that he did, but the video clips I looked at he kept the thumb under the neck.

     
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  9. BassAndReeds

    BassAndReeds SUSPENDED

    Oct 7, 2016
    The specific are I’m talking about is the breakdown bass part. Which can be played in the same box, but it’s faster for me to play:

    1,4,3
    1,4,3
    2,1,4
    2,1,4

    Maybe that’s goodbye technique. But it’s 1 finger per fret. Which I still consider bad technique near the nut. Or at least, should not be used all the time. I don’t teach bass and never will, so if that just works for me and I’m wrong, is what it is.
     
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  10. Great tune to learn in original key, lots of fretted patterns and not many (if any) open notes. The interlude is killer, but you have to slow it down and use your ear to get the notes right. It's a bit counter-intuitive musically, most bass players I hear cover this line aren't even in the ball park.

    I like your approach, I think mine is very similar. I've never believed in hard and fast rules, but consistency is key.
     
    Jason Hollar likes this.
  11. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    Wilton Felder did the record. Felder is primarily a sax player...I would bet he did 1-2-4 with position shifts.
    Please post the video link of the J5/Jermaine. I have seen many canned performances of the J5 doing this tune (and I love them all)...would like to see a live one (I recently streamed what looked/sounded live...at least they had their amps with the cords plugged in). ;)


    FWIW, I have always tried to play finger-per-fret on "IWYB". I have seen many friends/others with technique 'not so clean' play it so much better.
     
    Jason Hollar and Mr_Moo like this.
  12. James Jamerson lines are especially intriguing when you realize he did it with 124.
     
  13. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I've played many of those same songs, and I play mostly 124 also. Sometimes I play 1234 when necessary, but otherwise my hand closes up back to 124. Sure, you have to change positions more often sometimes, but it feels much more relaxed.
     
    IamGroot likes this.
  14. Badwater

    Badwater

    Jan 12, 2017
    I learned bad technique from the beginning. That's the only technique I know and can do.
     

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