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Playing open strings

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by fearceol, Mar 20, 2009.


  1. fearceol

    fearceol

    Nov 14, 2006
    Ireland
    I know this has been discussed here before and it seems everyone has different opinions on it. A previous teacher advised me against playing open strings, which generally I have done. My current teacher advises the opposite. I am still a comparative novice to bass. I know it's my call to decide, but would like some opinions as to how you would play this blues number. It's a fast blues shuffle in C. For the F chord I have been playing F (4th string) then going to the 5th fret for the A, before playing C on the 3rd string. I'd just like to know how many of you would play it this way and how many would opt for playing the open 3rd string. For this song at least, I'm going to go with the open string as it's a lot easier physically at a fast tempo.
     
  2. allexcosta

    allexcosta

    Apr 7, 2004
    You'll be glad you kept using open strings when/if you pickup a fretless or double bass.
     
  3. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    About the only time a play open strings is the exact scenario you are describing - that is playing up the scale from a F to an A, or Bb to D....etc (from the root of course).

    The other would be when I'm doing root-fifth-octave country/rockabilly lines in A or D.

    I find the fingering/patterns for playing certain runs are just hardwired into my head. I've tried playing open strings for some of the more common rockabilly and blues patterns, but it usually screws up my fingering because it's not how I learned.

    Now that I started playing an upright I'm trying to break that habit.
     
  4. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Probably both your teachers are right depending on their experiences.

    I used to play a lot of country and tried to never learn a song using open strings since there seems to be a an unwritten rule that the singer is *never* allowed to sing the song in the same key as the original recording. So if you learn to rely on the open string, you are in trouble.

    However, if I know the key will not change, I will use open strings.
     

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