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Pick hand drifting to the far left.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Metalbasspro, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. Metalbasspro


    Feb 9, 2009
    WA state
    New band I am working with plays some really fast stuff. Having just come back into playing my pick hand is not quite up for the speeds.

    My pick keeps drifting to the far left as far as right before or on the fret board.

    Seems if I keep it center I run out of stream.

    Why is this happening? Should I care? :bassist:
  2. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012
    If it feels more confortable that way, don't see why care about it
  3. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    If you're trying to play fast, that's counterproductive. :scowl:

    You want to hit the string closer to the bridge where there's more tension for quicker response. ;)
  4. SunnBass

    SunnBass All these blankets saved my life.

    Aug 31, 2010
    Columbia, Mo
  5. Stone Soup

    Stone Soup

    Dec 3, 2012
    What thickness is the pick you're using? How hard are you gripping the pick? Both of these could affect your ability to pick faster passages for extended periods.
  6. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    Although it is generally true that you can play faster where there is less vibrational movement of the string, which is near the bridge, I would argue that this is a short-term solution for greater speed in your case. If you keep migrating to near the edge of the fingerboard, this is where you naturally want to play, so it might be best to work on where you naturally gravitate. In the long run, it's likely that you'll be able to play the tempos you need to play more cleanly and more comfortably (hence longevity) where you naturally like to play in contrast to the generally-accepted location where faster = easier. I would also add that this is a great argument for bridge/pickup covers. Anchor your wrist on either/or and then don't move.

    But there are limitations. Just how fast is fast? Give us 16ths at a metronome setting for context.
  7. Metalbasspro


    Feb 9, 2009
    WA state
    Go to this site http://alonetone.com/northernskulls/tracks and click on Endless Ruin and the fast part that I have trouble with is at 1:25 at the change.

    If I was playing just the root notes fast that would be easy but I am playing an ascending scale C, D, E, F, G, A, B sharp to C then D, E, F sharp, G, A, B, C sharp to D. using A, D and G strings with a connecting descending run. All in the span of 1:25 to 1:58 I believe and picking 4 notes out on each change in the scale.

    That is black metal fast.

    I use heavy gage picks same shape as the large Fender picks but I think I got the ones I am using from Musicians Friend and they are house picks or their own MF brand or something.

    Ah just found the package, Clayton's Friendly Picks Rounded Triangle 1.52.. celluloid picks. I like em a lot.
  8. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Simple issue to work out, do you move your hand or does the bass move?
    Either way if you move the bass to the left (assuming you are right handed) then you will have the bass in the position you migrate to already set, so you play constantly in the same string area, when finished you can move the bass back.

    Many players re-set or change positions when playing parts, so you learn to do the same. Just remember a bass hangs on you and can be moved either left or right, the neck angle can be parallel or more up-right etc.. Check out the links

    Your Pick


    Why pick one...

    Whousedtoplay likes this.
  9. Rickengeezer


    Feb 25, 2005
    Central Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Steve Clayton Accessories
    A couple of ideas--

    1. I love the Clayton acetyls, which is what you are probably using. I personally think the "snap" of the lighter ones (like .80mm) creates better speed than the really stiff, heavy ones.

    2. Not to stereotype (okay, so maybe it is), but "black metal fast" might include, as an image thing, a bassist wearing their instrument somewhere around their knees. You might try shortening up that strap a notch or two and see if the natural picking spot changes, just as a function of arm angle.

    3. I have this habit of anchoring my ring finger of my picking hand against the G-string, and beginning most pick runs with an UPstroke rather than a downstroke (I am not completely weird in this respect, watch Will Lee playing with a pick as an example). The "recoil" provided by the G-string, combined with gravity, makes for a very quick up/down tandem attack.

    I'm pretty sure I could pick along to that song of yours, although I'd have more issues with my LH. I'd also have a very tired RH pretty quickly if you do that all night!
  10. Metalbasspro


    Feb 9, 2009
    WA state
    As my wrist gets tired my hand just starts moving over. Because I start missing notes I found I miss less as I move over to the left but it seems funny to me. Maybe as I regain stamina it won't do that so much.

    I wear my bass not too low or high.
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I believe your hand gravitates to the neck because it's easier to play there. Carol Kaye says as much when she discusses her style. The strings are loosest there and put the least strain on your hand. You can use lighter strings and have more range of ease of playing farther down if you'd rather, but for using a pick, it's important to be able to keep holding the pick without your hand cramping up, so you should stay closer to the neck. You'll be able to play just as fast there IMHO.
  12. Metalbasspro


    Feb 9, 2009
    WA state
    I am re visiting this old thread having run across it looking for another. If I am rehearsed the hand drift is not a problem. I want to tell you guys something funny about this. A month or more ago I found a local drummer on Craig's list and I heard his sound cloud page of him playing some off spring songs. I know a load of them so asked him of he wanted to play some for kicks just bass and drums. He mentioned he had some guitar players who also jam the songs. I was like sure. I also made sure to mention I was just looking to jam. He's early 20's and I am 46 so it's not like I was asking him to marry me. I sent him two video files of me playing and in it there was drift by my pick hand. I'll just reprint him comments here and keep in mind he was all up for a jam until he saw my playing.

    <<Honestly it is because of a couple reasons, starting with your technique. You are picking on the fret board, you should be down by the pickups somewhere. Also I am assuming you can't read music (tabs don't count). Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner man. You do some decent work and your left hand looks pretty good, but your picking is almost embarrassing. Your tempo is good and it sounds decent but you need to work on your technique.
    Another reason is I am moving in a little bit to Oregon. One more thing, yes you are older, (which is ok) but all the more reason your technique should be better.
    I'm no bassist but I know a thing or two about technique on guitar, piano, mallets, and bass. You would sound much fuller if you picked lower by the pickups.
    These are my personal opinions. About all other drummers in this valley probably wouldn't notice your technique or care if you are able to read music, so I can only speak for myself.

    Best of luck to you>>

    He had a valid point about my picking from the two videos I just thought it was small minded of him to judge a book by two pages ya know? I appreciated his honest feed back and told him so. I was not bent but slightly flabbergasted that this small issue would throw a jam deal down the tubes when I doubt there are even any other bass players in my area who know any offspring. I also thought it funny he mentioned technique when the song I first approached him about playing was Keep wen Separated. It requires some technique to get it right or to get it to sound like Greg K makes it sound. I call the technique "controlled Sloppiness". When I looked on youtube of bass covers I could not find anyone playing it with the right technique, correct notes sure but not technique or tone. I loaded up this video to show the drummer as a week prior I mentioned I was working on getting a video on youtube but he just never replied. That's my local music scene.

  13. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    There are so many things wrong about this it's hard to know where to start, but let's try here: Why in the world does a drummer care give a rat's behind about your technique, much less make it the basis for choosing not to jam with you? If "Your tempo is good and it sounds decent," what difference does it make to him how you do it? This just doesn't make any sense to me.

    Apart from that, I don't see anything in this video about your picking technique that is "almost embarrassing." I'm sure there are teachers who might offer some suggestions for minor improvements, as would be the case for almost anybody's technique, but it looks pretty good to me. I also have to question his knowledge if he thinks that you "would sound much fuller if you picked lower by the pickups." You get the "fullest" sound picking near the neck; the tone will get thinner, not fuller, if you move toward the bridge.

    And why does he assume that you don't read music? And again, why would that matter anyway if you're just talking about jamming?
  14. Metalbasspro


    Feb 9, 2009
    WA state
    I don't know how he knew I don't read music but he was right. Statistically however I think it was a safe bet. I actually went and looked up the definition of technique and saw that it's basically anything you do to get to an end result. In the case of the picking he saw that he based his opinions off of I used the necessary technique to get the desired results so in a technical sense I had good technique. I did not want to use that to counter his points however so I kept it to myself. Never met the guy in person so it would be strange to think he had some other motive for slagging my playing but you never know. People are strange sometimes.
  15. We can get a lot of different sounds from the bass depending on where we pick. If we limit ourselves to just one position then we are only extracting a limited tonal palette from the instrument. Watch expressive players like Jaco and you'll see a lot of variation in right hand position.
    Lobster11 likes this.

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