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My odd technique

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by dinghy, Jul 21, 2007.


  1. dinghy

    dinghy

    May 27, 2007
    Saratoga, CA
    I haven't seen any bassists besides me play this way, but this is what I do when I play:

    [​IMG]

    I put my fingers as such on the strings and leave them there, and pluck each string with the finger that's on it. It's much more natural for me to do it this way as opposed to the normal way with the two fingers alternating. My brain just can't do it right. My question is, will this technique limit me, and should I try harder with the normal fingerstyle technique? I know if I ever want to play 5+ strings I'll have to use a different technique, but I don't know that I ever will play a 5 or up.
     
  2. wdinc01

    wdinc01

    Nov 19, 2005
    Jacksonville, FL
    I'll tell you that it's always good to know many different techniques. However, you might be able to get some crazy basslines like that.
     
  3. keep going with that way of playing and i'm sure you'll do plenty of good things but if you ever want to paly fast on one string then it will hold you back.

    learn that and learn the "normal" way of aplying but keep going with both!
     
  4. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    That definately has its advantages, especially when playing octaves and stuff. But like Junkie said, you can't really play on one string that way.
     
  5. HaVIC5

    HaVIC5

    Aug 22, 2003
    Brooklyn, NYC
    That way is kind of similar to Gary Willis' technique, but his is developed so playing on one string isn't a problem either. I'd suggest checking out his instructional videos on youtube.
     
  6. owensea777

    owensea777 Banned

    Jun 16, 2007
    If you want to play two quick notes on the G string (heh, the G string), do you move your index finger to play the second note? If you do move the index (and if you do other similar things for the rest of your strings), than your technique is ok. Or are you able to move your middle finger fast enough to pull the move off? That would be very difficult for me.
     
  7. tkozal

    tkozal

    Feb 16, 2006
    New York City
    keep at it...I started doing this awhile back, not all the time...came in great to play chords on a 5 string strung E-C. I just shift over one string...

    although my third finger is on the bottom, the g string, not on the A where you are
     
  8. jweiss

    jweiss Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2007
    Park City, Utah
    It's hard to get consistent tone when doing that.

    Suggest saving that for when you get to learning to play chords and in the meantime work hard on the standard fingerstyle approach (index, middle). If you practice it long enough it will eventually be second nature.
     
  9. dinghy

    dinghy

    May 27, 2007
    Saratoga, CA
    It's actually the opposite for me. When I use two fingers, one plucks harder than the other, and it's hard for me to control.
     
  10. jweiss

    jweiss Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2007
    Park City, Utah
    With your technique, the variation in tone comes from at least two major sources: the differences between your fingers (size, calluses) and the way the muscles control them (especially between the thumb and the other fingers), and the different locations between the bridge and the neck that must be used to accommodate the distance between your fingers. For instance, look at where your index finger and ringer finger are located relative to each other in the photos.

    Cheers,

    jeff
     
  11. dinghy

    dinghy

    May 27, 2007
    Saratoga, CA
    True, but the 2 inch difference(at most) doesn't make a huge difference when I play right up close to the neck(I usually do, in the picture my fingers are closer to the bridge than normal) because it requires less force to get the same amount of volume. And while it is true that my thumb makes the E string more beefy than the rest, I think it's ok, because it's the E string. The rest of my fingers sound pretty much the same though.
     
  12. jweiss

    jweiss Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2007
    Park City, Utah
    In the long run it is much easier to equalize the sound that your index and middle finger make on the string than say your thumb and your ring finger.

    You will eventually want to play all over between the neck and the bridge. For instance, near the neck the strings are floppy and the tone is warm and muffled, which makes fast, clear playing difficult. Near the bridge you get a brighter sound and the strings don't flop around as much. Both locations have their advantages and disadvantages.

    Since you are just learning, I'd strongly suggest taking the time now to learn traditional fingerstyle technique now. You can revisit the multi-finger technique in a few years after you have the tried-and-true fingerstyle technique mastered.

    Cheers,

    Jeff

    (Started playing June, 1983 :) )
     
  13. dinghy

    dinghy

    May 27, 2007
    Saratoga, CA
    Well........ ok. I guess I'll give it a shot. Just feels awkward to play that way... :meh:

    Another problem I have with regular fingerstyle is muting the strings. Whenever I try regular I have to stop a few notes in because the rest of the strings are all still vibrating. How do you mute them?
     
  14. jweiss

    jweiss Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2007
    Park City, Utah
    It depends on where I am playing as to how I mute. There are many ways to do it though. If I'm playing on the E string most of my muting is done with the fingers on the left hand - specifically the underside of whatever finger I'm using to fret a note (or the pinky). It becomes natural after a while. If I'm playing on the A, D or G strings I mute the B and E (and A) with my thumb using the floating thumb technique:

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=230685

    A good way to practice muting (and to work on stretching, speed and fingerstyle technique) is to just run notes across all the strings slowly back and forth, working to mute the strings that aren't being played using the techniques above (or some alternate). Just play something like this (on a four string):

    E - 1,2,3,4
    A - 1,2,3,4
    D - 1,2,3,4
    G - 1,2,3,4
    G - 4,3,2,1
    D - 4,3,2,1
    A - 4,3,2,1
    E - 4,3,2,1

    where "1,2,3,4" are the numbers of four increasing fret locations on a string. Start SLOW, use a metronome and work on your muting. Try it in a few positions - perhaps start somewhere easy like your index "1" finger positioned above the 7th fret on the E string. This is also a great warmup exercise.

    Force yourself to alternate index - middle finger between EVERY note. Don't "rake" back across the strings with the same finger.

    When you can do this consistently with muting you will be well on your way to both having your muting dialed in and a proper fingerstyle technique in place.

    Cheers,

    Jeff
     
  15. Sneckumhaw

    Sneckumhaw

    Apr 26, 2006
    Earth
    Mmmm... maybe a pick is just what the doctor ordered for you?
     
  16. dinghy

    dinghy

    May 27, 2007
    Saratoga, CA
    Ew, picks sound wrong.

    jweiss I've been trying and it's really, really, really hard. I can't fret while I'm using regular fingerstyle at all, and whenever I try I find myself doubling my index or middle finger. I just can't play anything and alternate fingers at the same time. Meanwhile I still can't mute at the same time, and all the strings are ringing.

    :mad:
     
  17. jweiss

    jweiss Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2007
    Park City, Utah
    You can start off playing the open strings to take the left hand out of the equation. Just play four notes on the E string and then move to the A, etc., with no fretting of note, down and then back up the strings. Use a finger on your left hand to mute the A, D and G strings on the way down and your thumb to mute the E and A strings on your way up. It is important to go a slow as you need to make it happen, but use a metronome - It will keep you in time and help you monitor your progress as you speed up.

    If that turns out to be too hard, just work on one string at a time to get your fingerstyle going.

    Like everything it takes practice, but you WILL get it if you keep trying!
     
  18. Sneckumhaw

    Sneckumhaw

    Apr 26, 2006
    Earth
    Try not to use the word "ew" to describe how almost half of bass guitarists choose to play.
     
  19. dinghy

    dinghy

    May 27, 2007
    Saratoga, CA
    Why, do I have to like the way it sounds? Just my opinion...
     
  20. jweiss

    jweiss Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2007
    Park City, Utah
    Wow, I didn't realize there were that many bassists who used to be guitarists!

    :p j/k
     

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