Pinky Position--Is This A Problem?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by LimpChunk9, May 5, 2004.

  1. LimpChunk9


    May 8, 2001
    Bronx, NY
    First off, I've been playing bass for over three years. However, I've generally played only using a pic. These last few months I've been expanding my horizons and decided it was time to put the pic down and play solely with my hands.

    My bass has four strings, and P-style and J-style pick ups. I use the floating thumb technique. But I'm unsure if the position of my pinky is well. If my thumb is on the pick-up and I'm playing on the E string, I keep my picky floating off the bass itself. But when I go to play the A string, I tend to keep my thumb on the pick-up and move my pinky to the E string so that I can play A clearly and keep E muted. If I want to play the D string, I move my thumb to E and my pinky to A. And finally, when I want to play G, I move my thumb to A and my pinky to D. If I've got to drop to A, D, or G for a few notes, I keep my thumb on the pick-up and then place the pinky on E. Soundwise, there are no problems. The thumb keeps my hand able to move and my pinky keeps the string it's on dead.

    There is no pain in my hand or wrist, only in my forearm at times but that's because of my low dexterity. Is there a problem with my position? Will it become a detriment to my ability to play? Please comment on my situation.
  2. You might look into adjusting the strap and position of the bass on your body.
    I started with the Bass low near my waist and gradualy moved it up till it felt most comfortable for my hands to reach what I wanted to play.
    I'm still learning so I tend to mute with my left and pretty much leave my thumb on the pickup on my Jazz bass all the time.
  3. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    It seems like this is a good approach and a wise use of the plucking-hand pinky.

    I don't see how it could ever be a problem - unless you have trouble getting it off a particular string in time to pluck the string (you'd then be mistakenly muting the string that you want to ring).

    I've actually tried using the approach you describe, but my pinky is uncooperative. It actually does nothing useful whatsoever - just floats above the strings.

    So it sounds like you're ahead of me.

    Good luck to you.
  4. seequeue


    Feb 13, 2004
    do you use rest strokes? that would eliminate the need for your pinky to be on the string behind what you're playing. When i use floating thumb, for example on the g string, i put my thumb on the a string (while muting the e string as well), and when i pluck the g string i use a rest stroke which mutes the d string
  5. Personally, I do whatever's comfortable. I tend to have my ring finger and pinky tucked into the palm of my hand with my index and middle fingers plucking, but sometimes my pinky ends up resting on the bridge side of the pickup (does that make sense to anyone other than me?)
    Either way, I don't feel any detrimental effects on my playing when I do this, so I just assume that nothing's wrong.

    The way I see it, if your body isn't telling you that something's wrong, there probably isn't too much wrong.