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Is this normal for fingerstyle?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by PhantomApex, May 29, 2012.

  1. PhantomApex


    May 9, 2012
    When I'm playing on the E string, particularly whilst playing very fast, I slap my fingers against the bass.. making an audible click sound. I find it much easier to play fast this way.
    When I'm playing on any other string I will let my finger continue on to silently hit on the string above it but since there are none above the E I just let them hit the body.. I hope I'm explaining myself properly..
  2. Emilym80


    Sep 15, 2011
    It's normal, but not very good techique. I would try to avoid doing it.
  3. I pretty much do that too, but instead hit the pick-ups, since I usually play over them.

    And just for reference, when discussing strings, describe them from higher to lower in regards to pitch not placement (IE. G is the highest string, and E is the lowest. E is below A, etc.). Not that it really matters, and I don't care, but that's how they're usually described.
  4. I'm curious, as I just kind of reworked my RH technique, and this very thing got worked into it. What's not very good about it?
  5. Only works on Musicman basses.
  6. john_g

    john_g Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    This. Not to slag anyone for their style but I always associated that clickety clack as someone who is a beginner or someone with sloppy technique. Yes I know some big names have clacked (Steve Harris for example), but I always aimed for a tighter style.
  7. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    Mat - try to get your fingers going perpendicular into the strings more so than slapping your fingers down onto them. Also, use a lighter touch, your doing all the volume work, your amp should be doing all the volume work.

    And OP, yes it is normal in people with sloppy technique, which is a lot of players. Nothing wrong with it, as long as your fine with it. Period.
  8. PhantomApex


    May 9, 2012
    Alright thanks for the info. I'm a beginner so I should probably refrain from getting into the habit of it.
  9. Thanks Diabolus. I pretty much do play perpendicular on the other strings. I rest my thumb against the lower strings and when I follow through and touch the lower string, I hit it just with the tip. the only reason why I hit the pickups on the E string is because my thumb is now resting on the pickup and the angle of my attack is different, but I should change this. I do hate hitting the strings so they clack against the fingerboard, especially on the E string LOL
  10. Emilym80


    Sep 15, 2011
    The reason it's preferable not to do this is because it's often not very accurate and makes it harder to play neatly. I would try using the whole of my fingertip instead of just the very tip... if that makes sense. Having said that, lots of the most famous rock bassists seem to do it (Geddy Lee, Steve Harris etc) so it's not all that uncommon.
  11. the wako kid

    the wako kid

    May 11, 2011
    I do it all the time,it's easier than trying to stop your finger from hitting the body,and hitting the body doesn't make any noise anyway,so why does it matter?
  12. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    23 ft below sea level
    :D How about buying a five-string? :D
  13. You will drive studio engineers nuts too. I have to work really hard to get a clean tone without any transient noise while recording. Sometimes I dig in too hard, probably from playing in loud rock bands, with loud drummers. It can become habit forming.
    But aggressive plucking technique is almost standard for metal. So, it's subjective, depends on the sound you're after.
  14. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    It isn't good technique if that's what your asking. Lower your action instead or play near the bridge pup. Instant clack.
  15. tk4207


    Sep 25, 2010
    I consider myself to be pretty advanced in the technique department, and even I click and clack when the song calls for it. For example, when I'm playing rock or metal I pound the hell out of my strings, because I like the aggressive sound it provides. Obviously this sound isn't appropriate in other styles. Ultimately, if it sounds good, go for it and don't worry about technique unless it's hindering you from achieving the sound and style you're looking for.
  16. curlyback


    Nov 5, 2007
    Check how Alex webster of Cannibal corpse plays. Click is a part of his signature sound. But i won't do that for ballads or R&B. So Im trying to cover both.
  17. When I play really hard in my rock band, particularly 8ths or 16ths, I'll do this on purpose, hitting extra hard on the downbeat for emphasis.
  18. In fact, I'll raise my whole wrist and slap downward using my plucking finger almost like a hammer, but go through the string as opposed to slapping it. I seem to recall Geezer Butler saying he did something very similar.
  19. fourstringburn

    fourstringburn Supporting Member

    Jun 30, 2009
    New Mexico
    Bad habits start early and are hard to break...is there a right way or a wrong way? perhaps.

    To be only able to play that way when playing on the E string I would say is bad technique. Me personally I keep my right hand in a ball shape ( arched over like I'm holding a tennis ball and keep my thumb anchored down and ready to mute adjacent strings when necessary,)

    As others have said, when your going for a certain types of dynamics in what your playing then something like that would be intentional and part of your playing techniques in your arsenal of sounds. That's cool!

    But I say you need to work on playing on the E string as evenly as you do the other strings.You will have more note articulation and a more bottom heavy tone by doing so along with a more consistent attack across all strings.

    Watch other bassists and study there right hand technique.

    Here is a vid of an '80's shred band with one of the genres most amazing bass player and notice how his right hand technique is consistent across all the strings.

  20. Tupac


    May 5, 2011

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