Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Playing

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Fretless Friday, Feb 1, 2001.


  1. I searched and searched, and read and read, and still couldn't find anything really decisive.


    My first experience with music was piano (Gr. 12 Conservatory), then I went on to various other instruments (guitar, trumpet, violin) before finding my voice in the electric bass.

    I've never had any musical training except for the piano, which has given me a good foundation in theory, but as for technique, I've been very much on my own. Especially with bass, where there's so many different ways to play.

    Anchored thumb, floating thumb, pick, two-finger, three-finger, four-finger (no jokes please!), soft touch, heavy handed....the list goes on and on, with proponants of every style.

    I have tried to be flexible with my style, and generally find I use whichever technique will give me the sound in my head.

    I've been playing bass for about 13 years now, and the thing I've always had the most trouble with is playing fluidly. Naturally. I've seen some on this board call it tension, but thats only part of it.

    Any suggestions on improving toward a more fluid style?

    Apologies if this has been asked before.

    FF.
     
  2. Well are you playing with a pick? I've always found it hard to makes lines be fluid and swingy without using my fingers.
     
  3. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    I agree. The sounds I hear in my head are almost impossible to replicate on my bass with a pick. I find playing with 2 fingers, anchoring my thumb on the pick-up, and playing gently gives a fluid sound. That's me though. I also, sometimes, anchor my finger on the E or A string if playing on the D and G. Also, make sure to breathe alot, so your finger muscles can get air. I laughed when I was first told this but its true. Also count in your head the rythms. Just my 2 cents though.
     
  4. Sorry for the delay getting back to this.

    No, I don't play with a pick. Even when I played guitar I didn't use a pick. My teacher (my uncle, president of the guitar society of canada) would have beat my *ss if I had, so I've never used a pick. Can't even hold one.

    I just find sometimes I am battling the bass to make the sounds I want, and I would rather the bass just worked with me. I know its not a limitation of the instrument, or a technical limitation on my part. I probably just need to relax.

    FF.
     
  5. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    This may sound odd, but don't forget to breathe...
    A friend of mine pointed out to me that I used to hold my breath when I played a fast run. And really, towards the end of a run, when you run out of oxygen, you kinda play that way, tense and hurried...Trying to get this under control really helped me...
     
  6. That doesn't sound odd at all. I think its just a practice issue. I've been concentrating on fluid playing and its becomming alot better.

    Thanks for the imput though. I appreciate it.

    FF