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Just got my bass!

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Poop-Loops, Mar 19, 2006.


  1. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    Just got my SX bass today and started fiddling around with it. I want to fingerpick it, and I can't for the life of me figure out how. I saw some of the more known bass players fingerpicking and they are soooo fast, but even playing 1 note for me is for some reason really hard. I know it's a lot of practice, but I have no idea where to begin.

    Which muscles do you use to pluck the strings and at what angle? Like, does only your second knuckle bend, or does your first knuckle (closest to palm) bend also when you pluck?

    Is it anything at all like classical guitar? (Not that I know classical guitar, just that it's easier to find resources for learning it)

    Yes, I did do a search and it helped, but the information wasn't detailed enough for a total n00b like me. I will be getting lessons soon, but I want to play NOW!! :D

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    So NOBODY here knows how to play a bass guitar? Gotcha.

    :crying:
     
  3. MajesticFrog

    MajesticFrog

    Feb 22, 2006
    NC
    I think the confusion is just what you seem to mean by 'fingerpicking'. Do you mean fingerstyle? Or do you mean playing using many fingers like a classical guitarist?

    For fingerstyle, as I shall call it, people generally use their index and middle fingers. The technique is simple, you sort of 'walk' your fingers across the notes. When you play a note, you push your finger across the string and have it resting on the string below it at the end of the motion. So, if you wanted to play an open A string, for example, you would take your index finger, push it across the string so that the string makes noise (think how a pick does it), and then have it stop, or rest, on the E string.

    To play the next note, you would do the same thing with your middle finger, while at the same time moving your index finger up and out of the way, preparing for the 3rd note. Etc....

    Does that make sense? Is that what you wanted?
     
  4. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    Yes, that's what I meant. Thank you.

    That's kind of what I was trying to do, but I don't know what angle to hold my hand at, and how far away from the guitar. Is there a magic spot that will just feel right after a while? Or is it like everything else with the guitar in that it's something you have to get used to?
     
  5. Most of the time, players will anchor their thumb on one of the pickups to give leverage. As far as the angle, my fingers form approximately a 40-60 degree angle with the string, elevation wise.

    As for the angle of my fingers in relation to the strings, they are parallel with the pickups.


    I hope this helps :D
     
  6. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    Thanks. I think I have an idea of what to do now.
     
  7. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    I got another question, actually. Do you guys float your forearm, or do you rest it on the guitar and just move it forwards or back when you need to?
     
  8. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    I'm really sorry for bumping this so much, but it turns out I don't have a handle on this, like I thought I did.

    I bought my amp today, and now I am hearing that I get a inconsistent tone when plucking the strings with my fingers (index, middle, ring). Not just between the 3 fingers, but like sometimes the tone will be punchy, sometimes deep, even with the same finger. Is this something that will sort itself out with practice, or am I doing something wrong?
     
  9. Skel

    Skel

    Jun 19, 2005
    Boulder, Colorado
    Are you brand new to bass guitar, or can you play with a pick? I think the first thing you need to do is to set your expectations for finger style playing. This is just my opinion, but don't expect to be able to play very well for at least 6 months. One thing I had to learn, and I play with just 2 fingers: Look up the definition of the word "pluck" - seriously. You need to think about reaching underneath the string, grabbing it with your finger, and pulling it up towards you, and away from the body of the bass. Again, my opinion - figure out how to do that and don't worry about where your elbows are, how it sounds, why you aren't really fast in 10 minutes, just keep doing that over and over and over again for about 6 months.

    Skel
     
  10. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    I can "play" with a pick, but I can't play with a pick...

    I don't expect to get good fast, but I do NOT want to develop bad habits. I want to do it right the first time, instead of spending 6 months dinking around, then realizing that I've been doing it wrong the whole time. I thought pulling the string away from the body was a "pop"?
     
  11. Skel

    Skel

    Jun 19, 2005
    Boulder, Colorado
    Ok, well that is being smart for sure. Do you have any objection to getting a professional teacher? Also I'm sure there is a multitude of video instruction available. I would be scared to give you advice, because it sounds like you really want to make sure you develop all the correct habits and technique. I don't *like* having to change my technique as I progress, but I am willing to, and have before. As far as learning on TB, you are doing the right thing by asking questions, but it might be hard for people to explain things to you instead of *show* you, like a teacher could, and that might be why you get no responses, because some things are hard to explain, but easy to show you. I still believe if you always start your practice by remembering what the word "pluck" means, and do exactly that with your fingers, the rest of your body and mind will naturally adapt to what your fingers need to be doing.

    Skel
     
  12. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    No, I was in fact planning on getting a teacher eventually. I had one for guitar briefly, but he didn't teach me ANYTHING now that I think of it. No sheet music, no theory, not even proper ways of picking and holding the guitar. I asked him about learning sheet music, he said "guitarists don't really need to know sheet music..." Bye bye...

    I know bass is different and he was probably just an exception, but that's still a bad experience.

    What's a good way to find a teacher? I just went to the local music store and there was a teacher teaching out of there. That whole store kind of gives me a bad vibe...
     
  13. Skel

    Skel

    Jun 19, 2005
    Boulder, Colorado
    Yes, it is. For *me*, I am pulling the string 85 percent up and 15 percent out. If you pulled the string completely up, it would hit the next string - you see? I am just trying to help you develop a habit of not having lazy fingers. They need to go underneath the string with your finger curled just enough to get some of the meat of your finger on the string, and grab it with conviction - you might over do it at first, but do this with conviction and no laziness about it. The finesse will come in time. Imagine there is a round "ring" type key chain on the floor standing on its edge and you need to pick it up with your index finger -that's kind of how you want your finger to be shaped.

    Skel
     
  14. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    That makes sense. I'll start practicing very slowly, then.
     
  15. Jehos

    Jehos

    Mar 22, 2006
    DFW, TX
    The most important thing you should be shooting for is a clean sound. Practice just on open strings--your goal is to get even consistency no matter which finger you're using. You should be able to play louder or softer without the strings smacking into the fingerboard and making a buzzy sound. Don't worry *too* much about your hand angle or anything. Some people play with their thumb anchored on the pickup, others on the edge of the fretboard, others on the string above the one their playing, and others still without it anchored at all. Practice alternating strings while picking quarter-notes. Do different patterns, like E-A-D-G, E-D-A-G, E-G-D-A, etc. By the time you can comfortably and cleanly pick quarter notes at a decent tempo and alternate strings at will, you'll have developed the basis of your own technique that is most comfortable for you.
     
  16. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    When I play with my index, middle, and ring fingers they all give out slightly different tone. Any way to fix this, besides just practicing? Or is it normal?
     
  17. WillBuckingham

    WillBuckingham

    Mar 30, 2005
    Poops Loops. It's great that you're just starting out on bass. While developing your technique, try and strive for the healthiest and most comfortable positions for both hands. If you can keep your right-hand wrist straight while you play, it will save you a lot of pain and worries about arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome injuries. Good luck!
     
  18. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    Yes, I carried this over from typing on keyboards. I do NOT understand that why people like to have their keyboards angled on those supports. =/

    I am having some problems with my left pinky. When I try to fret a string with it, my second knuckle will suddenly flatten out instead of staying bent. Also something I need to get used to to fix it, or something that I need to change in my fretting hand position?
     
  19. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    http://www.wheatdesign.com/bassbook/

    bingo bango bongo. All questions answered and next best thing to a teacher.

    If you do decide on a teacher (highly recommended) try and find an independent. Music stores care more about your money than you. If you do find one, there are some questions that you can ask to ensure that he isn't a bust. If you get a candidate I'll be happy to give you an overview.
     
  20. mchristiano92

    mchristiano92

    Mar 25, 2006
    Wisconsin
    With your problem of fretting with your pinkey and having your ring finger collapse I am fairly new to bass, I have been playing for about 7 months and i still have that problem. The thing is is that bass strings are heavier than guitar and it just takes time for your finger muscles to strengthen up. Just find a teacher. That is all you need.:bassist: :bassist: :bassist: