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Playing after 15 frets - what do you play with your bass?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by gusrb5, Jun 8, 2020.


  1. gusrb5

    gusrb5

    Apr 12, 2013
    South Korea
    I have a BB bass and I found it is hard to play freely after 15 frets because of its design.
    But as a beginner I have no problems right now, but am curious about what people actually play after 15 frets. What do you play with your bass - Solos? Or chords?
     
    Ellery likes this.
  2. rufus.K

    rufus.K Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2015
    SoCal
    I use the whole neck.
     
  3. Can you describe the problem, exactly? Is it your thumb bumping up against the heel block?

    A lot of players work around this problem by respositioning their thumb, when they play in the higher frets. For example have a look at bassist Peter Hook of New Order. When he is playing this song "Ceremony" at the 15th fret, you can see how he moves his thumb around from the back of the neck to the side of the neck. Then when he plays lower notes around the 8th fret, his thumb moves back around into a more standard position.

     
    dmt, Vytor and gusrb5 like this.
  4. bassdude51

    bassdude51 "You never even called me by my name." Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    After the 15th fret.............I try my best to NEVER go any higher. And really, 1st through 9th fret about 95% of my playing. I chose to play bass for low notes not high notes.

    Solos? Chords? Go play guitar!
     
    Pdaddy1978, Rilence, Chris76 and 13 others like this.
  5. gusrb5

    gusrb5

    Apr 12, 2013
    South Korea
    I mean after 15 frets I cannot reach my hands like a normal playing situation, so my hands are moving like a 45 degree angle towards my right hand. I think my body is restricting it. I can press a little bit of chords made of 2~3 notes but I cannot play like a normal way. When I sit, I spread my legs as wide as my shoulders and sit my bass at my lap as natural as I can. Surely I can play 15+@ frets with no problem "when I stand up". Oh, I can reach a jazz bass's high position with no problem but I cannot do with my bass. Mine is Yamaha BB435.
     

    Attached Files:

    CatOnTheBass likes this.
  6. gusrb5

    gusrb5

    Apr 12, 2013
    South Korea
    Okay. That kitten is ADORABLE!!!
     
    rufus.K and johnnynitro like this.
  7. Here's another excellent "high on the neck" bassist, Simon Gallup of The Cure.

    When the bass joins in at 3:07, notice how 1) he repositions his thumb when he moves higher up the neck; 2) he avoids using his 4th (pinky) finger when he plays higher up the neck.

     
    Real Soon, Spectrum, jchrisk1 and 2 others like this.
  8. Sursonique

    Sursonique

    May 17, 2020
    This (check out how Deaky positions his hand to play that high up the neck, takes a bit of practice but that position helps A LOT to play there)

     
  9. gusrb5

    gusrb5

    Apr 12, 2013
    South Korea
    Yes! I can play it without my left pinky. Using my left pinky at higher position is not easy. I mean, it is not "impossible" to do(I said "play freely"!) it but my left hand goes 45 degree angle so it is bit challenging for me. I'm teaching it my own with a metronome and youtube so I had no idea whether I was doing it wrong or not. And as you saw, I have a really small hands(think about your smartphone and mine are smaller than that) so it is not the easiest way to play like normal. But I can adapt myself to it! hehe ;)
    And thank you for giving me some nice ideas about techniques. I'm trying it and feels like it is a good way.
     
  10. gusrb5

    gusrb5

    Apr 12, 2013
    South Korea
    20200609_024605[1].jpg
     
  11. Sursonique

    Sursonique

    May 17, 2020
    Yes, you're quite near, the thumb anchors to almost the neck body joint, and you incline your fingers on the fretting hands on an angle to reach better. Your elbow anchrors on the waist because of the angle too.

    (excuse my awful nailpolish lol)

    20200608_150331.jpg
     
  12. gusrb5

    gusrb5

    Apr 12, 2013
    South Korea
    Now I can understand the structure of it. Thank you!!
     
    Sursonique likes this.
  13. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Is it possible your subconscious inner bassist is manipulating your nervous system to keep you from spending too much time up there?
    Try thumping for a few minutes only on the 1-7 positions and then jump for a couple accents, say an octave up, then jump back to the pocket. See if that feels better.
    There's no cash above the hash.
     
    Joebone, factory presets and teh-slb like this.
  14. micguy

    micguy

    May 17, 2011
    I play in churches, and often have 2 electrics, 2 acoustics, keys, and tracks in the mix along with me. There's no way that me playing up there with all of them (and a half dozen vocalists) helps the band sound better.

    Frets above the 15th exist so you have something to bounce the strings off of when you want a clanky, grindy sound. They help saved the frets you do use to play notes on from excessive wear.
     
    swarfrat and Max Bogosity like this.
  15. staurosjohn

    staurosjohn Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2010
    Nottingham, MD
    Quite a few RHCP & Crack The Sky (among others) tunes I’ve played deffo require above the 15th fret- no probs... never really thought about it... I guess I just ‘do it’! :bassist:
     
    johnnynitro likes this.
  16. fishdreams

    fishdreams Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing: Arkham Vacuum Tube Amplification and and Martin Keith Guitars
    I love playing up high. Theres a clarity there that can be very useful, for playing melodies or bebop like material, for example

    Also, for synth bass type parts where you'd use an octaver- those sound typically way better by switching on your octaver, and transposing your standard 'first 9 frets' patterns above the 12th fret.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2020
  17. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Suspended Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    It doesn't matter, everything above the 5th fret is just for show anyway. :D
     
  18. I play in the up there with my thumb off the back of the neck, similar to "thumb position" on upright.

    I mostly use that area for composing, but do for solos also.
     
    Artman, Shrubber and gebass6 like this.
  19. Some super melodic stuff.
     
    Artman, HolmeBass and thetragichero like this.
  20. sawzalot

    sawzalot Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    I don't spend a lot of time up there, but sometimes I do. Over the years I've developed a left hand technique where my thumb will slide down and the side of my thumb rests against the G-string side of the neck. It provides some stability for the left hand without a big stretch around a heel block. Using that technique I get as high up the neck as I want, though again I spend 95% of my time playing lower.
     
    jchrisk1 likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Mar 1, 2021

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