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Is it considered bad technique to clank?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by BusyFingers, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. I had a teacher when I was young tell me clank is bad and that I should therefore switch to a pick. I'm glad I ignored that advice and learned to control it and use it when I want it, and not use it when I don't.
  2. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    If intentional then no, if not then yes.....embrace it or ditch it.
  3. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016
    This is an interesting observation which leads me to another question: Where does clank come from? Is it purely a product of right hand fervor, or could the left hand eliminate it if possible?
  4. IconBasser

    IconBasser Scuba Viking Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2007
    Alta Loma, California
    Brass, usually.
  5. Sixgunn


    Jun 6, 2012
    Colorado Springs
    I don't wait 30 minutes after eating, to go swimming.
    I don't know if it's "clank" or not but I do incorporate a certain degree of percussive playing in my "style". I play a lot of different genres in my band and I do feel it is fitting in most of them. John Entwistle and Ryan Martinie's percussive playing are kind of what I'm talking about. I quite like it.
    Sartori likes this.
  6. enricogaletta


    May 21, 2011
    Completely agree with this one, everything that you can't control is a bad habit that influences your playing.
    It's like strings sustain noise, or like when players use a lot of ghost notes, not because is the groove or the music scenario that requires it but, because they need a "tempo support" to their playing, something is missing and, what will happen if they have to play the exactly same line without ghost notes? That's the real challenge.
    If you need more help please let me know.
  7. lowfreqgeek

    lowfreqgeek Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    Albuquerque, NM
    Endorsing Artist: Regenerate Guitar Works, Honey Badger Pickups, Westone Audio
    If it sounds good and right for the music, and it's consistent, then it's fine. If it sounds bad or inappropriate for the music, or is inconsistent, then no. Basically, if you can do it on purpose at will, then it's just another tool like a pick, slapping, etc. If you can't control it, then it's not good technique.
    btmpancake and Sartori like this.
  8. Unless you are Steve Harris, I think it is.
  9. St_G


    Jan 22, 2013
    Memphis, TN
    I hated clank when I was younger. Now I sometimes like it.
  10. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    Just another tool in the toolbox, and as with all tools use the one that is appropriate for the specific task at hand.
    Sartori likes this.
  11. MCS4


    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    My opinion is that the only thing you need to consider is whether the song sounds better with the clank or without. Whether or not a theoretical bassist in the audience will think poorly of you is not a big deal.

    The exception, of course, is if you are a hired gun and the bandleader doesn't want the clank, then you might have to back off even if you think it sounds right.
    Sartori likes this.
  12. BigEarl

    BigEarl Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2003
    Austin, TX
    Technically, I don't think Squire was a clanker, he played with a pick and a biamp setup with distortion. Now Geddy? That dude is a Clankasaurus Rex!
  13. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    One of THE best responses I've ever read on TB, and I've been here a LONG time! :D

    Well done. (*polite and quiet golf clap*)
  14. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone Banned

    Feb 23, 2011
    As already said, if you need your bass to sound clanky it is not only good technique, but also kind of mandatory to make it clank.

    If you want a clean tone without any clank noises, it would be a result of bad technique or a bad setup.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2017
  15. NealBass

    NealBass Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2014
    I play Rickenbackers and they can be pretty clanky. My observations:
    The neck pickup height is important on this bass, as the pickup cover is steel and is close to the fingerboard, where the string vibrates a lot. If the string hits the pickup cover, the clank can hurt your ears. That's what I call 'pickup clank'. Setup plays a big part in 'clank management'.
    Then, there's 'fret clank'. It's less harsh and more controllable. I've found that certain spots on the necks of my basses are more and less sensitive to 'fret clank'. My Fireglo Rick action is set up low, because I like a bit of 'fret buzz' (as did Chris Squire, I think). The E string - 6th fret on my Fireglo Rick is notoriously sensitive to 'fret clank'. My Mapleglo Rick is setup with higher action, so I can play it on the same spot with the same force and get no fret clank. After a while, I've gotten to know where on the fingerboard to back off and where I can dig in harder. I don't really think about it, it's just instinct, now. I prefer 'buzz' to 'clank' and enjoy blending the two, which makes a kind of 'rattle', lol. It's hard to describe, but I know it when it makes me smile. :) Like all things in music, I guess it's all a matter of personal taste. It's a nice feeling to get it the way that you want it, though.
    Just my 2¢.
    Sartori likes this.