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Interesting right hand problem

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by agcarver, Sep 14, 2004.

  1. agcarver


    Sep 14, 2004
    Hi all, great forum! I'm a guitarist of 12 year switching to bass because I've always thought it looks interesting, challenging, and the demand for bassists around here is pretty high. Anyhow, this is the 3rd time I've tried this, and I want to do it right, I'm getting some personal instruction and taking my time. The last 2 I just wimped out and used a pick when playing. I have a problem with my right arm where the muscles are always contracted, and thus are a bit weaker, and slower to react. I think i can overcome it because I can strum and pick on my guitar pretty well after so many years becasue its all muscle memory. Anyone have any good reccomendations about exercises specifically for strengthening and muscle memory? :bassist:
  2. Ozzyman


    Jul 21, 2004
    err... this may sound dumb, but
    Play a G Major scale in all positions (3 notes per string on all strings)
    and then play F major or whatever. Drill those over and get faster and faster...
    It'll get your fingers warmed up and faster. (use strict alternation; it'll help in the long run)
    learn a ****load of songs.
  3. Ozzyman


    Jul 21, 2004
    oh btw learn early Metallica (aka Cliff Burton era) songs... they aren't too hard.
  4. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ozzyman's right on the scale thing. Drill them up and down the neck, it'll give you strength, endurance, and accuracy on the left hand. Try it with different scales and patterns (not just up and down 123456787654321) so you don't get too incredibly bored.
  5. agcarver


    Sep 14, 2004
    Thanks for the info guys, I'll give some of that stuff a try!
  6. oh...and don't play to the point of pain. If you begin to feel fatigued or uncomfortable,take a small break and eat some taco bell *shrug* g'luck.
  7. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Well, you recognize the problem (excessive contraction), so the key really is to relax and to use a minimum amount of motion to achieve decent contact with the string. There's a lot to cover in going from plectrum to fingerstyle playing, but for starters, it helps a lot not to overbend your RH wrist and to move your fingers primarily from the first joint (where the finger meets the hand). Keep the RH fingers slightly curled, but relaxed, and pluck using the tip of the finger. You shouldn't have to move your wrist much, if at all, when playing fingerstyle. That's the biggest difference, IME, between plectrum and fingerstyle playing.
  8. agcarver


    Sep 14, 2004
    Thanks, one major difference I'm noticing is that its better to have a light touch with bass, then be a heavy hitter all the time, makes for easier dynamic changes.