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playing it the "right" way

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Fliptrique, Jun 11, 2004.

  1. Fliptrique


    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses, Taurus Amplification
    Most of us think, that there is no "right" way of playing bass, and the technique that is most natural and comfortable to you, is probably the best one. I doesn`t matter how you play it, if you like what you hear. Right? WRONG!

    I`m curretly in the third year of my adventure with bass playing. I didn`t had a terrible-rock star technique, my hands were ok. At least i thought so.

    But after I`ve bought my 6 string bass, wich quality is way ahead anything I`ve owned before, things started to change. The sloppines of my technique was really evident, so after a lot of talking, searching at talkbass, I`ve started to do few simple excersizes.
    First one was playing at bpm 40. At beggining I had problems with playing straight 16th notes wit the metronome beeping quarter notes. After just a few months(and i haven`t been doing this 6 hours a day, either...), I`m able to play every song I know reasonably tight at bpm 40 with only two beeps(half note...), and straight 16 notes with only one beep (whole note).
    Second one was some simple spider excersizes. We all know them. Simple stuff? "I can play this, no sweat....". Yeah, right... after first hour of playing them i felt like playing yyz at bpm 200 all night long.
    The third one was that i began to think alot about the economy of motion, eliminatig unnecessary movement etc. etc. My right hand position relative to the fingerboard doesn`t really change at all, no matter what and where I play. That`s a really big change in my technique and was probably the most difficult thing.

    The result is, after just six moths of playing with the "correct" technique, my playing didn`t just simply got better. 6 moths ago I didn`t even try to play yyz, it was way beyond my chops could allow.
    Right now, I can`t play it flawlessly up to tempo (that damn 32 note at the beggining;), but it`s getting really close.

    Do yourself a favour, TRY to play it the correct way for a just a few moths. All I know is, that awarness of my technique and economy of motion is the most important thing I`ve learnt about bass playing, next to the knowledge, that playing behind the beat is sometimes the best thing a bass player can do. I really wish somebody told me all of that three years ago.
  2. ironmaidenisgod


    May 20, 2004
    Well now you know :D .

    Very enlightening anyway.
  3. There is a right way, and the right way is the way that makes the sound come out of your guitar the way you want it.

    As anything that is opinion oriented, expressing yourself on an instrument is whatever you wish to project. I play rock, and hell if I'm going to have my bass hiked up under my chin, which would be a much more "proper" way of wearing the bass. Just the same, a jazz guy would be silly to have his bass around his waist.

    I also play with a pick. I've always done it, I prefer the tone, I'm more consistent. I'm happy with it, it's the way I play. I've been playing like that longer than a lot of the people who tell me it's "wrong" have been alive.

    I, personally, have no use for a 6 string bass, and perhaps "proper" technique would be more in order if I were to play a 6 string bass.

    It also would depend on what you're playing, and who you're trying to impress :) .

    If you've discovered that "proper" technique greatly enhances your playing style and they way you wish to sound, you've found the "right" technique.
  4. There is no right way, but there are lots of wrong ways, resulting in bad things like fatigue and injury. Different things are wrong for different folks, like the Golden Boy said, and your mileage may vary.
  5. I-Love-Ratm


    Feb 24, 2003
    So true. In my opinion good technique is a tiny factor in what makes a good bassist
  6. I don't deny that part of my decision to wear my bass low is based on image. Most anything you do is based upon the image you wish to project. Your haircut (or lack thereof), your choice in clothing (or lack thereof), the model of bass you play, the manner in which you conduct yourself, the people you associate with... the list is endless.

    About 5 years ago or so, I was having a lot of problems related to an old back injury, so I started playing around with different strap lengths to see if a shorter strap would alleviate some of the strain on my back. I gave it a few weeks at different lengths, in a sincere attempt to find something that worked better for me. In the end I settled right around where I started.

    I feel I have gotten and still get what I want out of playing. I don't look at my bastardized technique as a detriment to myself, I've never had to look find a band, and I can only think of one audition that I didn't "pass." I'm not saying I'm an "excellent player" or bragging about "mad skillz" or anything. I'm decent at what I do. Sure, I'd like to be able to to things better. For the most part I'm happy with where I'm at. :)
  7. I think it's good to want to improve your technique, although I wouldn't go so far as to say the right and wrong way. BTW the 3 years it took you to decide to do this is fast in my book. It took me about ten. I really like your idea about wasted movements; eliminating those will definately step up your speed. Just remember to keep feeling those notes and don't turn into a speed machine without style. Besides, we wouldn't want you to show up an old timer hhhhhmmmmm? :D
  8. Zirc


    May 13, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Everything has to do with image whether you like it or not. People never stop judging.

    Also the reason I wear my bass lower than the chest is because it's more comfortable to ME.
  9. Lefty Punk Bass hit it right on the head. You always judge, and people are always judging you.

    I'm not trying to bust on you, just pointing this out...

    If you didn't care what people thought about it, your equipment wouldn't be you signature.

    Not that that's a bad thing, you're proud of your stuff and what you take pride in is a reflection on you.
  10. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    The third one was that i began to think alot about the economy of motion, eliminating unnecessary movement etc. etc. My right hand position relative to the fingerboard doesn`t really change at all, no matter what and where I play.

    Could you elaborate on this? It seems counterproductive, taking away palm muting, forced harmonics, playing nearer the neck or the bridge, and lots of other useful (to me) techniques. Perhaps I'm misreading what you're advocating?
  11. pontz


    Oct 31, 2003
    So Fliptrick,

    What are some of the bad habits that you changed to the "right way" of playing? I'm curious because I too have some porr techniques that I'd like to correct.

  12. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Of everything you wrote, it's this that I have the most problem with. Right hand position has more to do with tone than any knob on your bass, and can drastically alter your sound. Keeping your hand in a consistant position when you want your sound to remain constant is a good thing, but keeping in the same position just to keep it there is pointless.

    To me, economy of motion has more to do with the left hand. Only letting the fingers up high enough to just clear the string when they're not fretting - that's where the concept pays off for me.
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think this is going to be very difficult to quantify and even more difficult to put right - via this forum! :meh:

    However - a few minutes with a decent teacher looking at what you are doing, might well correct poor technique very easily, that might be almost impossible to even identify, just by talking about it on a forum like this.

    People say they can't afford lessons - but can you afford to play for years with poor techniques and hold yourself back or even cause yourself strains/injury - just for the sake of a little time spent with a decent teacher? :meh:
  14. Fliptrique


    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses, Taurus Amplification
    yep, of course, i meant the left hand, sorry - my right hand is all over the place, i have all of those 3-way acitve onboard eq stuff, but it`s pretty much usless durning a song, and i get MUCH better results with just a balance blend and right hand positioning and playing with different angles, parts of my fingers.... as i think of it, i just use my eq only to cut high mids, when a acoustic, "woody" tone is requied.
  15. danshee

    danshee Banned

    May 28, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois

    Everybody has thier own thing. It works for them. I think that fliptrique is just evolving as a bassist in his own direction. For what he is doing, he needs more right/left hand efficiency. So, good for him. But for Sid Vicious, he stinks at bass, and that worked for him, so no evolution needed in right/left hand efficiency, just punked out riffs.
  16. danshee

    danshee Banned

    May 28, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois

    Aside from my above post, Bruce makes an exellent point regardless of music genre.
  17. pontz


    Oct 31, 2003

    I agree 100% about the teacher. I take lessons here and there and every time I advance tremendously. But I also wasn't looking for anyone to fix my playing, but just wondering what were some of the things that worked for Fliptrick.

    My problem is I know how to play the right way, but due to lack of practicing the right way, my hands default to the wrong, but comfortable way.

  18. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Quick point on Goldenboy's decision to play with his strap low -- when I've experimented with pick playing, I found it incredibly difficult to play with my strap at the length where I slapped and played fingerstyle (with the upper horn on a traditional shaped body between my man-boobs). I had to lower the bass until it was at my waist until I could get a satisfactory mix of consistent sound, good tone, and speed/ease of playing. It was just much more comfortable like that when playing with a pick. *shrug* Just my 2 cents on that.
  19. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Or rather - mimed to backing tracks, fell about on stage, took heroin and died young....:meh: