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picking with 3 fingers

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by ikickuintheballs, Mar 21, 2001.

  1. what are the advantages of doing this? what are some good excercises to accomplish this? I've been trying this now and then to make triplets easier lol. :D any help will be great. Thanks ahead of time!
  2. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    the advantages are that you dont work each finger as much and that you can do certain types of lines much easier, particularly triplets or wierd stop-n-start riffs.

    The only way to improve at it its to consiously make an effort to use three fingers. At first it will seem awkward but keep doing it anyway. Eventually it will be easier for you.
  3. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    This may sound weird, but my buddy wanted to do some three finger playing, but he found his ring finger to be incredibly weak. So, when he practiced, he taped his ring finger to his middle finger in order to get the muscle used to the rigors of bass playing. Then he untaped it, and claiming it was stronger, started going at it three finger style. I don't think I would recommend that.

    My only advice would be to find a finger order and stick with it, such as 1-2-3 or 3-2-1 and whatnot.
  4. Sounds good to me. Time to go to the woodshed =)
  5. When I was starting out I wanted to play with 3 fingers and I did various taping methods (was inspired by this article http://www.harmony-central.com/Bass/Articles/Hanging_Ten/ ). It works. :)

    I found the finger independance excersizes on that page to be applicable to my fretting hand too. I remember sitting around in class last year doing all sorts of weird finger movements :D . I definitely think they paid off.
  6. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Another satisfied "Hanging Ten" user. It got me to use my pinky finger. IMO, the author has slanted the lessons towards absolute beginners, not a bad thing. But you may find it goes too slow for you if you've played for a while and you stick to it religiously.
  7. sampsonite


    Aug 27, 2000
    Sound like fun to pick with three fingers and rickbass1 you actually pick with your pinky??? I have really weak pinkies and i even have trouble using it on the frets. Is there an exercise to work out that finger or just get it to work better?
  8. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Ok, apparantly my friend's idea wasn't so out of whack. Never mind what I said earlier and just do it.
  9. I don't have enough meat on my pinky finger to get a good sound picking with it. :(
  10. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    I once pulled the tendon off the bone in my middle finger, so I was forced to pick with my ring finger. After a while I got used to it. I can probably now pick with my pointer finger and ring finger as well as I can with my pointer and middle. Triplets are easiest (I think) when you go: Ring finger, middle finger, pointer finger.

    Hope that helps...
  11. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    That's why I cited that "Hanging Ten" regimen that steamboat put up. I started it in January and when there's a quick horizontal pattern, (one reason I went to a 5 string), that runs across the strings it comes in real handy. Say a pattern runs up to the G string and then descends down towards the E/B. Well, that pinky can grab the higher, ending notes on the G, or it can sneak under and begin on the D as you descend

    I've been able to use it for a long time, but I was just to lazy to work at it until I read "Hanging Ten." Then again, I've been playing a few decades so I guess I should have some agility. That's not to brag...hell, I should be way better than I am.

    Try holding your plucking hand out with the fingers extended. Then, bend your little fingerdown and back towards you. Your third finger wants to follow it probably, doesn't it? Well, the finger independence that "Hanging Ten" works on can change that.
  12. Fishbrain


    Dec 8, 2000
    England, Liverpool
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Bass and Amp
    I was only playing with two fingers then I found that Hanging Ten site and found changing to three fingers was suprisingly easy, maybe because I used to play trumpet?

    But I tried to use my pinkie but it wouldn't work. I can use it fretting, just not picking. It hurts the end of my pinkie when picking and it is too short, so any help there would be appreciated.
  13. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Injecting your pinkie with Viagra? ;)

    Seriously, I imagine Jeff Berlin has encountered students in a similar situation. You could use his forum, since he probably knows nearly all there is to know about technique. As for the hurting the end of your pinkie...remember when you first started using roundwounds.....?
  14. BaroqueBass


    Jul 8, 2000
    Salem, OR
    The problem I have with using 3+4 fingers on the right hand is that each finger has it's own sound/tone. Your pointer and middle finger basically sound the same, but the ring and pinky sound drastically lighter.
  15. Fishbrain


    Dec 8, 2000
    England, Liverpool
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Bass and Amp

    me newbie
  16. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    In that, roundwound strings are harder on your fingers and take you to a new level of finger callouses, (i.e., no more pain). The pinky on my plucking hand is almost as tough as the index finger.
  17. hmm, interesting.. i use all four frettin' fingers all the time. Right hand: i play 99% of the time with my walking fingers... i use my thumb if i want warmer sound or a chord and I can use my ring finger if need be... but it's soft as sh*te and blisters in seconds!

    as for the right hand pinky... i use it to mute the strings from time to time...

    Mudvaynes bassist is apprently a bit of genius with his right hand (i used to be, but I've grown up bit!)... article about him in bassplayer this month... gonna have to check him out.
  18. sampsonite


    Aug 27, 2000
    ok how about the pinky on fretting? i am rather new and my pinky doesn't really work well with me yet. but i do like the viagra injection idea. what are some exercises targetted specifically for the pinky in fretting?
  19. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    sampson - Having your pinky fretting well is essential to playing.

    Take a look at the lessons and exercises at www.activebass.com . They have some dexterity drills.

    Another one is to simply run up each string using each fretting finger in succession, (e.g., index on first fret, G string, after plucking the open string, then use each finger in succession up to 4th fret and move entire hand up to keep going the same way at the 5th fret, (index finger starting over again at the 5th). Go all the way up to the 12th fret and back down. Do it on all four strings until you can keep the notes coming smoothly and swiftly. Boring, but effective.
  20. i use my thumb index and second finger. it was a technique used by this abe guy on an instructional video and i stuck with it.

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