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Meat or Tips?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by nbsipics, Dec 9, 2016.

  1. nbsipics

    nbsipics Boredom is Dangerous Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 8, 2016
    As a young lad I read Rufus Reid's "The Evolving Bassist". One important technique he stressed is that players should use as much of the "meat" of the side of the plucking fingers as possible vs just the tips. For control, volume, and tone. And he said this was important for electric bass as well as double bass.

    So forever I play mostly with the meat. And switch to tips when it makes sense ( or when I would otherwise butcher a fast riff by tyring to "use the meat" ).

    So how many of you guys and gals like meat vs tips?
    JCooper likes this.
  2. We had a post asking this same question awhile back and I answered tips, as that is what I was taught years ago when I was learning rhythm guitar and just took for granted that is what I did on the bass. However, after posting that I started paying attention to what I actually did and I do use more meat with the bass.

    I also use the major scale box pattern as my 3NPS, however I find, now days, that I'll use whatever finger gets the job done. I found that I'll use only the index finger if I'm pounding roots, and the ring and little finger seem to decide on their own which will "get" the note.

    I like to think this is one of those learn it the right way and then flow into using whichever finger can get there faster... Instead of sloppy fingering. :rollno:
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2016
    nbsipics and JCooper like this.
  3. rufus.K

    rufus.K Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2015
    I don't pay attention , I will going foreword .
  4. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016
    There is a difference in tone, for sure, but I'm not quite ready to focus on that as I'm still mastering the floating thumb. Lemme get my thumb straight first.
    JCooper likes this.
  5. superheavyfunk

    superheavyfunk 音楽は人生だ

    Mar 11, 2013
    Just the tip, baby. Just the tip.
    nbsipics likes this.
  6. JCooper

    JCooper Shen Qi Jing He Yi

    Oct 21, 2009
    Good question…
    I am trying to train myself to pay attention to the angle of my 'finger strike', as I strive to find a way to graze the string parallel to the pickup 'face' and top of the bass, instead of an old habit of striking 'down', or towards the bass and fretboard…I was getting more 'clank' than I wanted. This has made me aware of using the tips more often, but actually seems to allow me better control of meat or tips, I find it's easier to subtly shift between the two as needed by the song.
    (Yikes, this isn't as easy to describe as I had imagined.. )
    and yeah, the floating thumb is good for me to work on as well!
  7. BassChuck

    BassChuck Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    You really should be comfortable with both. They have different tones and, as such, are usable depending on the musical situation. This concept along with plucking placement (near bridge or neck) give you a good bit of tone control quickly and without moving a knob.
    Spin Doctor, JCooper and nbsipics like this.
  8. This is the key...

    Lately, I'm finding that more and more bassists are coming up to me after a gig and asking what my amp settings are. They seem a bit surprised to find that everything is set flat for the most part, depending on the room. Then I tell them the vast majority of your tone comes from your fingers.

    Not surprisingly, I got the idea form a guy who's tone I was admiring and he said I should work on getting different tones by being aware of my attack and moving my plucking hand around between the pickups.
    Atshen likes this.
  9. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I go back and forth from meat to tips. Of course, I also use picks, thumb, and have been known to hit strings with drumsticks as well.

    I pretty much dime the tone knob on my P basses and use my fingers to achieve different tones. Usually when going for "that" sound, I use the meat of the side of my thumb (unless the passage is too fast for that). Try this. Hold your thumb as if a pick were in your hand and then use the side of the thumb instead of a pick. All the hit of pick playing with a mellower attack and tone.
  10. Farseer

    Farseer Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2014
    Parker, Colorado
    I vary between meat and tips depending on the situation. I am FINALLY getting used to the floating thumb. My question is how many of you use fingernails?
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    Primary TB Assistant

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