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Jamerson Hook

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by bluesdogblues, Apr 5, 2014.

  1. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    Fad perhaps, but today, years since first time learning JJ basslines, I'm trying to do it just one finger, just like him.
    I'd like to read some opinion, please:

    1. How JJ did his 'hook' picking technique?
    *Index Finger - Vertically Straight or diagonally (point to the pots) ?
    *Thumb - Rest on strings or free float? if rest, was it only on the E or on other strings too variously?

    2. My hand tired easily try this one finger picking esp the muscle just below elbow :D Will this technique easier to cause muscle injury than the usual index-middle picking technique ?

    3. Tone wise, I prefer my middle finger than my index finger, maybe because of my index finger size is thin, and my middle finger size is fatter, so it gives fatter sound. But it'll be funny to view from the audience, like a 'F.U' pointing to them LOL. Does anybody who try Jamerson'qs technique ever feel the same (about the tone :d ) ?

  2. dannster


    Aug 20, 2000
  3. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    Thanks, I've watch that channel since months ago, great channel on YT, great guy.

    It might answer my first question above..

    But maybe I should emphasize my second and third question more please
  4. jamerson came from a db background.....those guys would probably know ...
  5. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    Sure, but I'm also sure that many 'bg guys' would also not less know about the topic :)
  6. loucook


    Sep 23, 2011

    See Jamerson at 1:23, again at 2:23.
    It appears he picked with first finger, anchored second and third fingers on the pickup cover, and used the thumb to mute the strings above the one he was picking.
  7. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    That's correct.

    I play those lines the same way, only way to really nail the feel. But I don't use the covers, and can't get comfortable using them as a rest. He had much longer fingers, just doesn't work for me.

    I can't imagine using your middle finger giving you the same stability, though.
  8. jamerson's use of the p/u cover as anchor is well documented .....

    some db players tend to be critical of those who use anything other than the one finger technique....
  9. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    I sometimes play with one finger without even realizing that I'm doing it. I was doing it long before I ever saw Jamerson play. I never really thought about it until a drummer I was playing with remarked that I was playing like Jamerson.
  10. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    When we speak about 'somebody who came from double bass background', his/her way to plays on the bass 'guitar' later...
    actually, there are various way of them.

    Ok, here are 'quick pick' of what the famous double bass player does/did on the electric bass later in their career:
    James Jamerson : One finger (index), floating thumb.
    Then we got.. Steve Swallow : flat pick.
    Now I just saw.. Esperanza Spalding : Alternating fingers (Index & Middle), anchored thumb on pickup edge.

    So, I mean, I don't see only one way of double bass player when they play electric bass.

    Anyway thanks for all the input above. Appreciate it. :)
  11. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    In any case Igor played perpendicular to the strings and not diagonal to them as most DB players do.
  12. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    I play DB and electric. One technique that I've find that is useful for both is to use both middle and index fingers locked together side by side. It's common to do this on upright in two ways - using the side of your index finger to "pull" the string (similar to one finger style, but IMO having both together gives a bigger sound. The other method (and the one that works well for me on electric also) is index and middle finger side by side (ie, like they are super-glued together), and plucking the strings with the tips of both fingers (90 degrees to the strings). Gives a big, fat sound. I use this on upright to bet the most volume.

    These may or may not work for you, but thought I'd pass along...
  13. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    thanks One Drop, I try that
    thanks bherman, I'll give them a try.

    FTTB, I can pass "For Once In My Life" with one finger and floating thumb now... Big improvement for me after 10 days..LOL

    BTW I still don't understand how (approx.) was JJ's one finger play his 'upbeat swing 16th dead note' (I don't know the better term for this,..but with alternate fingering technique, I usually do this with my middle finger before my index finger play the 'normal sounding' note at the down beat).
    Was it play with the same index finger movement as for the 'sounding' note...or by 'flick' the string from inside to the forward ala Chuck Rainey?

    What do you guys think?