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My Own Style or Just Bad Technique???

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Rumzini, Apr 6, 2004.

  1. Rumzini


    Feb 14, 2004
    Jackson, MI
    I'm coming to the end of my first year playing this thing and I mainly use my index and ring finger to play the strings. I've tried to use my index and middle but the other way seems more natural...amd I gonna run into problems? I'm also abou to ditch the so called band that I'm in and start getting lessons. We at one time had about 17 songs we played...pretty hard stuff...but it seems nobody can make the committment to it anymore...and I just don't see us going anywhere. Anyways...
  2. Try to learn the "right" way to do it, otherwise you end up doing a lot of stuff wrong, and sometimes more difficult ways.

    It's much easier to learn something as new than it is to UNLEARN something bad.

    If it doesn't work for you, do what you do. Nobody can really tell you you're wrong.

    I drag my fretting fingers a lot. Whether it's laziness or whatever, but it tears the hell out of my fingers. I also play with a pick, it's the way I learned- I could hear better- I didn't have an amp. Now it's the way I want to play, its my style. ;)
  3. Ty McNeely

    Ty McNeely

    Mar 27, 2000

    I disagree with this.

    If it were me, I would PRACTICE using all three.

    God gave us 5 fingers on each hand--take advantage of it!!

    If you can use all 3 fingers to play cleanly and in time, it opens up new possibilites for you.
  4. I wouldnt try to unlearn it however I wouls recommend that you learn to play with your index and middle.

    I know that Hohn Myung from Dream Theater uses the way you pick you strings from time to time.
  5. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    Play what works best for you and allows you to play the music you hear in your head. There is no "right" way. I would say the "wrong" way would be the path down to injury but I doubt you will have that problem based on how you describe your playing.
  6. I wrote to try it the "right" way, if it doesn't work, do what works. If it were completely unnatural to you to play as you do now, and after a year you just couldn't get it "right," you'd advocate playing in a way that it's not comfortable and fun? Then why play?

    Everyone has their own individual technique and style, there's no "right" way, but there are "wrong" ways.

    BTW- Jamerson only used his index finger- "the claw."
  7. christoph h.

    christoph h.

    Mar 26, 2001
    isn't it "the hook"?
  8. You're right. I was just reading about a 1959 Les Paul nicknamed "The Claw."

    If you're into that sort of thing:


    Here are two shots of 9-1953, commonly known as Claw. These were sent to me, by its owner, in 1991, when he offered it for sale. He called it Carmelita, because the sunburst was a "caramel" color [these pics were a bit dark]. As it was in Hawaii, it was quickly called the Hawaiin Burst. After I had it a while, I named it Claw, for the claw like flames between the pickups.
    Perhaps I should have kept the Carmelita name.
  9. Rumzini


    Feb 14, 2004
    Jackson, MI
    Well I feel better witht that advice. I tried again tonight at practice to do the index, middle finger combo...it's just not happening on the music we play. I've made an honest effort towards it for a while now...and I'm just gonna go with what works...I do use the middle to do a gallop on the strings though. Anyways...
    Thanks for the input everyone.
  10. DaemonBass


    Mar 29, 2004
    Sacramento, CA
    Hey if you don't run into any problems then I am jealous!!
  11. If you wanna play fast, you have to learn alternate picking with your index and middle finger. There is no right or wrong, but there is smart and stupid:D J/K

    Seriously the index finger is much stronger than the ringfinger, so you should learn using it.....
  12. Rumzini


    Feb 14, 2004
    Jackson, MI

    Yeah...nobody could sound that bad! Ha!
  13. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    BTW Jamerson usually used only his index finger because he came from an upright background.

    He possibly could have been even better (hard to imagine!) had he developed his middle and ring fingers more.


    I suggest making a sustained effort (two weeks maybe) to develop the index finger. It should eventually be quite versatile.

    Try the following: Lay your right hand on a flat surface. Lift only the ring finger. Probably can't lift it too far - I can't.

    Now lift only the index. Probably can lift it higher.

    I don't know the physiology behind this, but there's a greater range of motion with the index - something to think about.
  14. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Yeah,, Gary Willis turned out real bad by not conforming to right hand standards....


    Personally I think index and ring are more matched for each other anyways,, I'm currently running into problems with high speed endurance with my middle finger,, its just too long and gangly!!
  15. Using all three (or more) would probably be better, but maybe you have an advantage over people who just use their index and middle because the index and ring are closer to the same length. When I play with my index and middle, I will sometimes notice that when I pluck with my middle, because it is longer, I am plucking more with the pad of my finger. With the index, I often pluck closer to the tip of the finger. This can produce a slightly different tone depending on what finger you are using and can be incredibly annoying.
  16. DaemonBass


    Mar 29, 2004
    Sacramento, CA
    If you don't know already, you can compensate for the difference of length between your index and middle fingers by either tilting the headstock upwards or anchoring on the "neck" pickup with your thumb and angle your fingers towards the bridge.
  17. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    To a certain extent, there is no right way and wrong way to play bass.

    However, -->you cannot argue with anatomy<--.

    The technique you are using right now is highly unnatural; thus, you are likely to hamper your learning of the instrument, and have to relearn to do things the tried-and-true way.

    For a while I tried to learn how to play three-finger bass. It was too difficult. After a while, I wondered, "why am I doing this?" Now, I play two-finger using the third finger to mute strings. I can play straight 16ths in good rhythm at 306 bpm (Got a Match?, Chick Corea Elektric Band).

    Many of the four and three finger bassists brag that they can go fast. Ask them the following question, "Can you go fast **in rhythm**?" Most of them will blush and walk away.
  18. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Good post mudflaps ...
  19. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Wait, you're saying you can play 20 notes per second with 2 fingers?

    ....maybe you mean 206 or 106 even?

    Bass guitar is all about breaking rules and creating new options, this applies to technique especially - if we played like the old double bassists we wouldn't be using our ring finger to fret notes....
  20. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I think you mean 8th notes at that speed...the main riff in that tune is 8ths.

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