1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Improving technical skill

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by dave120, Aug 7, 2005.

  1. dave120


    Jun 27, 2005
    Central Florida
    Hey guys,

    I seem to have hit a little bit of a "wall" in practicing. I'm just not sure what the best ways are to continue improving my abilities. I can learn almost any bass line to a song that I try to learn, and am getting reasonably familiar with scales so I can play around and improvise ok. I just don't know if I should just keep playing scales or what in order to tighten up the fingers a little more and get rid of the little bit of "slop" in my playing. What are the best ways that you all have found? I assume it's not playing stuff I already know over and over. Should I try and learn some really hard stuff, or stick to exercises? I play in a moderate to hard rock band and so the stuff I play for that isn't TOO difficult...in fact it's rather easy. I just get bored practicing the same things over and over, but I figure that may really be the only way to keep improving is to keep working up the speed ont he fingers and what not. Any tips on the best ways to practice?
  2. brothertupelo

    brothertupelo Guest

    Aug 7, 2005
    i actually spend the majority of my playing on improvisation and invention, which improves my technique, as well as challenging myself and occasionally delighting myself with new musical ideas. plus, i'm generally making noise i like.
  3. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    I recently found that strict alternation of the right hand fingers cleaned up the "sloppy" stuff that you're talking about. I used to rake all the time and thought that I was doing a great job with it. Then, I participated in a couple of raking vs. alternating threads.

    I decided to give strict alternation a whirl. I spent my warm-up time doing SA on one-octave major scales. I did this for one week. Then for the second week, I did two-octave major scales with SA.

    I have to tell you, it made a HUGE difference. It felt strange at first, but now everything sounds so clean.

    If you rake, that's cool. Give SA a try. What's the worst that could happen?

  4. dave120


    Jun 27, 2005
    Central Florida
    Well, I was referring more to sloppiness with my left hand more than my right. My plucking technique is getting pretty good and I use a pick about half the time too. I recently started improving my alternate picking also and that's going well. I found that making sure your plucking fingernails are trimmed makes a big difference (assuming you're not using your nails to pluck that is).

    I'm finding that my pinky finger seems to have a hard time getting stronger and so it's hard to use it which I think is restricting me a little bit when I need to do long reaches. I mainly need to improve the dexterity of my left hand I think. I know my brother does scale things with his guitar to practice getting faster so I'm guessing the same type of thing would apply to me.
  5. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    This could have something to do with playing position. What kind of stretches are you doing with your pinky? Can you give me an example?

  6. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    Just to change things a bit, grab a metronome and see how fast you can do scales. then increase it by 10%. see if you can reach 400 bpm. BTW, this won't necessarily improve your skill, its just a fun thing to do.

    Can you play Money by Pink Floyd with all the chord progressions? That's a great song to work on your fretting technique.
  7. I think if you can get your technique to a point where you don't have to think about it and just play is obviously ideal - playing 'music' as opposed to conciously playing a given technique is obviously the ideal - a ton of practice should sort that out...that'a about it really.

  8. christoph h.

    christoph h.

    Mar 26, 2001
    there are lots of stuff you can do... you only talk about fingerstyle, so i leave other stuff out.

    a) have you really worked with your scales in and out, beyond playing from "root to octave and back"? did you play it up and down the neck? a good idea is to start on the lowest note available on the bass in the scale you're working on and use
    3 notes per string. say in c-major, start on (4-string) low E,
    do E F G, then A B C on the A string... etc.
    then after doing that go to the next note -> F on the E string and
    do the same.

    also, have you tried playing in sequences? or intervals?
    take a look at all the lessons at http://www.adamnitti.com/lessons.shtml

    that is A LOT of really helpful stuff you can work on, that will help improve more than just your fingers.
  9. dave120


    Jun 27, 2005
    Central Florida
    Mainly just when I have to reach across 4 frets on the lower ones that are wide. Or just when I'm playing something faster and can't move my other fingers that fast.

    I actually practiced with my pinky a lot yesterday and it seems to be working a little better for me now, I guess I just have to use it more often to get it to be more useful.

    Thanks for the tips guys, I'm checking some of that stuff out now