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Need some very basic advice

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Wes, Feb 11, 2006.

  1. Wes


    Jun 18, 2005
    Hey guys, I've been playing bass for about 6 months now with a pick, and I have a pretty good left hand technique (I use all four fingers, have my thumb on the back of the neck, etc.) and I've now decided to start playing with my fingers.

    So today for the first time ever I've tried playing with my fingers, now here comes the very basic advice I need. I have a two J style pickup bass and when I use the one closest to the bridge I get on fine, but when I use the one closer to the neck I find it more uncomfortable and harder to hit the lowest string because the pickup is actually thinner. So I should just use the one closest to the bridge? Or should I be getting used to the one closer to the neck even though it's uncomfortable now?

    Also, should I learn with two fingers or three? What would be your advice?

    Thanks in advance, especially seeing as you probably all think these are basic questions.
  2. Zachass

    Zachass Peavey Partizan

    Ideally you'll want to be able to play on both pickups because of the greater tonal varieties that offers. Just keep playing, it was tough for me to play on the back pickup when I first started learning, but as you right hand develops it'll become easier to play on either one.
  3. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard Commercial User

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Black Dog Bass Works
    It's good that you are eager to learn fingerstyle technique because it will make you a more versatile player. I know it may seem uncomfortable now, but it's worth it.
    Plucking the strings near, and even over the fingerboard will give a much fuller, warmer sound than plucking near the bridge. I anchor my thumb over the neck pickup most of the time on a J bass without much problem. I may sometimes rest the side of the thumb directly on the body to hit the E string, but mostly it's on the pickup. Yes, even though it doesn't feel right you should just get used to it and find something comfortable that gives the tone you want.
    I've been playing for many years and only use two fingers, but start with one and go from there. There are different two finger techniques regarding how the fingers alternate when changing strings. I just do what feels right, :bag: but if your intention is to play really fast you should start off right so you don't develop bad habits.

    Rembember that a big part of the sound of your bass is in your fingers!! Use them wisely.:cool:

    Good luck
  4. Volk


    Dec 18, 2005
    South Jersey
    I'd try and start with three, and if you don't like it or find it too tough go to two, then pick up three later if you really want to. I play with three, but it's really a matter of preference.
  5. Wes


    Jun 18, 2005
    Ok thanks guys you've helped me on everything I asked for.

    I did want to learn with a pick and then fingers like I have done, because I figured it would be easier to learn with my fingers if my fretting hand was well trained.

    I'm going to just use the two and go onto the three when I feel more comfortable.

    Cheers again, guys!
  6. Lowner


    May 14, 2005
    Over Here
    I have been playing bass for a year and found using 2 fingers works best for me. It seems the easiet and feels the most comfortable to me.
  7. Variety works for me, if it feels right do it. I use one, two, three fingers, pick, strum or slap, whatever fits into what your playing. If it fits and sounds good - thats what matters.
  8. Tuvoe


    Oct 29, 2005
    The only thing I would advise you not to do is play finger style with only one finger. It's bad technique, and there are no real advantages to doing it. Just remember to alternate, but do what feels right to you. I you think of it as walking, you're going to throw yourself off if you try to take two steps with your left foot, it's the same with finger picking.

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