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Light Touch

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by gleventhal, Jun 28, 2012.


  1. gleventhal

    gleventhal

    Nov 30, 2011
    I am sure I could search this out, but I have some specific stuff I want to discuss.. I am hearing more and more bass players who I admire saying they use a light touch.. I don't.

    I tried it a bit yesterday, and I find resting my hand on the neck pickup of a J bass (which is what I do 90 percent of the time), I get a lot of overtones and string noise without the fundamental tone. I had the amp up loud and I tried playing lightly, but I could not get the right sound. What is the secret to getting the fundamental to ring out louder using a light touch? I have my action perfect, and I really don't want to change it. I would say it is medium low action, but not like some people, whose bass buzzes if you dont play with a light touch. Is super low action a requirement?

    Thoughts?
     
  2. gleventhal

    gleventhal

    Nov 30, 2011
    Also, what happens when you slap? If you have the volume way up and are playing light fingerstyle, if you have to slap in the same tune, are you slapping lightly too? I would think you NEED low action to be able to slap lightly and get the proper tone.
     
  3. I find using a light touch works best with active basses so you can boost the bass control as needed to emphasize the fundamental and lower harmonics.

    As far as slapping, yeah, low action is the way to go with a lighter touch. If you want to slap with a heavier hand, a volume pedal or compressor can even the volume out between finger-style and slap.
     
  4. fearceol

    fearceol

    Nov 14, 2006
    Ireland
    To help mute unwanted string noise and overtones you could check out the floating thumb technique (see link below).

    Try experimenting with the EQ for the "right" sound.


     
  5. gleventhal

    gleventhal

    Nov 30, 2011
    Trying to learn a light touch in addition to changing where I anchor my thumb is a little more than I can work with right now. I am just looking to get more dynamics and speed in my right hand approach. My right hand holds me back a bit I think. I am actually a lefty but I play righty.
     
  6. fearceol

    fearceol

    Nov 14, 2006
    Ireland
    Speed comes with practicing slowly and deliberately, then upping the tempo gradually.

    With regards the light touch, it is a case of trying to break the habit of digging in too much. Try to be concious of how hard you are playing. Put aside five minutes during your practice session and just pluck the strings lightly. You dont even have to fret.
     

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