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Playing octaves

Discussion in 'Ask Michael Dimin' started by fleetwood, Jun 7, 2002.


  1. fleetwood

    fleetwood

    Aug 29, 2001
    Swansea UK
    Mike
    Do you have advice on the best way to play octave quavers etc. The type of thing you get in "My Life" or "It's Raining Men"
     
  2. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    There are a number of ways to approach such an exercise: chormatically, within a scale or in a particular mode. Start slowly to develop consistency in your rhythm and accuracy in your note articulation. Use the different fingering possibilities for octaves (2 frets over, 2 strings up OR 3 frets down, 3 strings up). Mix and match them within the exercise. Try playing the exercise in 1 position as much as possible and change positions ONLY when all notes are exhausted in that position. Ty moving positions for each note. The key here is to be able to be versatile with the fingerings and have the knowledge of the fretboard so you can reach any note at any time in any position.

    hope this helps
    Mike
     
  3. fleetwood

    fleetwood

    Aug 29, 2001
    Swansea UK
    Thanks for yor reply Mike.
    I usually play two frets up, two strings over. I always play finger style and use my floating thumb to damp with but I seem to have great difficulty damping the two strings on octaves as I'm plucking each string with alternate fingers. Remember, we are playing quavers - anything slower doesn't seem to be a problem. What about my fingerboard hand? Should I lift my fingers from the strings or not?
    I'm sure this is one of the worst bass playing situations there is.
     
  4. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Assuming you've got a run of playing the same root / octave pair, moving to the next set of notes is a lower priority than playing them cleanly without wearing yourself out.

    With the fretting hand, I'd normally adopt the "two frets up, two strings over" approach mentioned. I'd be playing the root with my first finger and the octave with my little finger, keeping the hand close together and as relaxed as possible. By squeezing the string a little as you play it but otherwise relaxing the hand, you accomplish muting of unwanted strings with little effort.

    With the plucking hand, I'd normally adopt one of two approaches. I'd either be playing with thumb and first finger - not slap style, more like guitar fingerstyle. This lets me use the palm of the hand to assist with string damping. Alternatively, I've found that alternating the first and THIRD fingers works very well when repeating the same wide string crossing again and again. There I'd be using the floating thumb technique to damp the lower strings and relying on the fretting hand to damp the rest.

    And that's how I'd do it...;)

    Wulf
     
  5. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Wulf has some good ideas. The use of the THIRD finger for the higher notes is a trademark of Gary Willis' style. I mute the strings with my left hand, by lifting the finger off slightly until the note stops vibrating. With eighth notes it can be a bit tricky, practice slowly and buiild up the speed. Really take your time with the practice. Master the art of muting (either left hand or right hand) before you try difficult lines.

    Mike
     
  6. fleetwood

    fleetwood

    Aug 29, 2001
    Swansea UK
    Thanks for all that you guys.
    I really felt the need to be pointed towards the correct technique. It's now down to working at it.
     
  7. bassin4him

    bassin4him

    Apr 29, 2002
    Tulsa, OK
    Hate to sound so ignorant, but what are quavers?
     
  8. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Quavers are eighth notes