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Playing Tips? Semi-Experienced Bassist

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by DunciRunci, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. DunciRunci


    Feb 17, 2013
    Hey, I am a bassist who has been playing 3 years and am in my 2nd year of studying music in college under bass, the college I go to is one of the best in the UK for music and I can play most styles and have a small amount of knowledge in theory and playing compared to most people, but I have a big problem with my speed with my fingers and with a pick.

    When I try to play with great speed I get fatigued and also when I am playing constantly for long periods of time with speed I start getting inaccurate with my picking and my wrist gets cramp or I start to run out of speed, I was hoping that somebody could perhaps help me with this, tips, exercises, anything because it hinders me when/if I want to play metal.

    P.S. I think I may have quite bad circulation as speed is just something you pick up overtime and the first thing most people learn, but I feel unusual as I can't do it as well as most bassists who have playing as long as me, im not saying im like a turtle I just need help getting faster, so any exercises that anybody have picked up, my note striking hand is fine with speed btw. Thanks :)

    Dan x
  2. I've had some of the same cramping. It's in your picking hand, right? I figure it comes from gripping the pick so intensely. I solved this issue by solving another. I was looking for a solution to switching between pick and tap style. I started using a thumb pick, which doesn't need to be held so firmly. I had to shave the pick down as it stuck out way to far for smooth picking.
  3. I'm guessing you're not over 50. :)

    'cuz I'm over 50 and can relate to your challenges! :eek:

    So your neck hand is more the issue than your strike hand?

    As you know, stamina takes time to build up. Do you know anyone at the college, in town, etc., who is into speed (I'm not)? You might find they have had similar challenges. My guess is that it takes a lot of time to build up the stamina to sustain longer speed metal runs.

    Play your speed, then slow down and play something else. Then speed, then something else. Rinse and repeat.

    Keep searching for that technique for you! And don't overdo it!

  4. dagovna659


    Mar 2, 2011
    New Jersey
    hi,my advice is for finger-speed on your picking hand (it worked for me when i was young but 50+now). I noticed when playing fast passages its clearer if you play closer toward the bridge(use a lighter touch). As far as stamina I use to use plain old rubber-bands on my index-middle finger. It offers a slight resistance that in time you can build up your stamina. I use to play a lot of Jean-Luc-Ponty in the early 80's. Listen to this song by Narrada Michael Walden (I Should've Loved you) Learn-it,play it while watching tv and you'll definately build speed and endurance, it helped me. Good luck
  5. sammyp


    Aug 20, 2010
    NB, Canada
    Keep practicing! but take heart .....most bass gigs don't require shred bass .....in all honesty, they just don't .....make some fleet fingered octave work .....
  6. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Incorporate some rests into your bass line, to give your hands a breather so they can "recharge."
  7. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Seems to me Dan that your tutors should have this problem covered and if not...why?
    I am intrigued as to why you are studying bass at college level and this problem has not been addressed.
    It is a simple one to resolve for anyone that works with you.
  8. DunciRunci


    Feb 17, 2013
    Thankyou very much everyone for your replies, I will try them all out because they are all actually really good idea's I never thought of! :) I am 18 by the way, but the reason I found it more strange is because my neck hand is way faster than my picking haha. But cheers! I was trying a technique called going up the major scale in 3rd's to help me out with speed switching between strings, thankyou all :)
    And also my tutors have been focusing more on Jazz, Motown, Blues and will not allow any bassist to use a pick in any situation, but at times I do find it more comfortable for playing fast walking bass lines, they also avoid playing any constant note bass line like what rock has so they never really spoke about it as much but they did tell me individually that the speed will come over time

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