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Playing Hard

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Anti_Social, Nov 28, 2003.

  1. Anti_Social

    Anti_Social Guest

    Nov 4, 2003
    I tend to play very hard on my bass. I mean, not just strumming heavily, I mean sometimes it looks like I'm attempting to kill my bass. Okay, maybe not that bad, but I still play quite heavier than anyone else I've met (and ironically, have never broken a string in 3 years.)

    Now, is there anyone else here that plays heavily? I'm wondering this, because I tend to get a lot of 'clickyness' when I play (ie- strings hitting frets) It's okay sometimes, but I'd rather not hear it at all if I have to, and I don't want to turn down the treble a lot, because I like to hear definition between notes. If anyone has a workaround (besides just turning up the volume and player softer), feel free to let me know. Otherwise, the clickyness shall continue.
  2. BertBert


    Nov 9, 2002
    You might be playing a different style of music than I usually do (funk/blues/gospel) so my advice may not apply. But here it is anyway.

    A while back I had a real problem with breaking G-strings [*insert stupid joke here*] because of my REALLY aggressive right-hand fingerpicking and popping. (I'm right-handed, btw.) I mean, I was going through a couple a month and it was getting expensive. I can't speak to "clickiness" but it was influencing my sound somewhat, not sure if the positives (brighter sound) outweighed the negatives (inconsistent tone from top vs. other strings).

    Basic idea -- I had to learn not to overplay. Let the amp to the work; concentrate on getting a good solid tone rather than a really hard attack. I set up a little mirror in my practice room and worked on my right-hand position. I think it's helped my sound tremendously, plus now I am playing more cleanly and getting more consistent tone. Also when I played really hard, I'd tend to play with the tips of my fingers rather than the fat part, so now I don't get as sore or blistered after a gig. Not being so aggressive lets me get MORE aggressive in terms of getting deeper into the groove.

    So I really suggest backing off a little and letting the amp and effects get the sound you want.
  3. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    This has been my main issue for quite some time and I am STILL in the process of correcting it. BertBert has some great points in his post above, especially with respect to playing in front of a mirror. I have tried that and it really forces me to concentrate on my plucking technique because I'm able to actually see what I'm doing.

    For the most part, I've resolved this issue, but I still find myself digging in too much at times. I also find that certain basses/pickups are more sensitive to hard playing and are more likely to be "clicky".
  4. INTP


    Nov 28, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    I play like that sometimes, but it's at chosen moments, like in an energetic part of a blues "grinder". It certainly wouldn't work in a pop ballad. Try practicing some different styles and see what comes out.

    If you're playing like that all the time, you're more likely to have problems with your hand later.

    As for adjusting the levels, try setting the volume on the instrument and the input levels higher, then control the volume with the output. I find that when I turn down the volume on the bass, it suppresses the attack more than just adjusting the output volume would. Then you may be less likely to play harder to make up for it.
  5. i play hard. my bass is falling apart and so is my amp and so is my body.
  6. sunburstbasser


    Oct 18, 2003
    Great sounds can come out of playing hard, but you have to be willing to pay a price. I would suggest using a pick, a thick one, it'll reduce clankiness a lot. Put it down when you slap or do something like that, but it can help. I don't know of other bassists who play that hard, but SRV played guitar that way, and so did Son House. If you aren't in physical pain in your wrist after a practice with your band, then don't try to play harder until it hurts. Try a pick, at least for a while, you might like the sound too.
  7. WhatOtto


    Dec 10, 2003
    Portland, OR.
    I had the same problem with the clicking. I tried all sort of things to make it stop. Like you I like having the treble, but with that the clicking is worse. For a while I tried to play softer, but sometimes when I am really into the song, the clicking comes back. BTW I play Hardcore Punk Rock so that doesnt help either. I tried to play with a pick, but I did not like the attack, plus I could play faster without the pick. So after messing around with my amp I finally got it dailed in. It didnt help that I play a G&L with hot as hell pickups...
  8. What type of strings are you using? I found my P-Bass w/maple fret board to be pretty clickety clackity until I switched from stainless steel to nickel plated strings.

    I actually like the zing of the stainless strings on the P-Bass tho. I just roll off the treble to the point where the clickyness mellows out, but I can still get some good treble if I pluck up near the bridge.
  9. WhatOtto


    Dec 10, 2003
    Portland, OR.
    what do you reccomend as far as nickel plated strings?
  10. I personally like D'addario slow-wounds. They are a bit stiff due to the hex-core but they thump well and feel smooth. DR sunbeams are a bit more flexible and sound/feel good as well.

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