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plucking hand technique question

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Sturg, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. Sturg

    Sturg Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2013
    how important is the strict use of alternating between the index and middle finger for articulation?? I have just started playing bass and was wondering about it. I just had a lesson and my teacher says I need to practice being VERY diligent about using that one, two finger technique on ALL my exercises being sure to DO IT CORRECTLY WITHOUT COMMITTING A SINGLE ERROR. In order to do this I must practice very slowly and make frequent mistakes. If I don't worry so much about the fingering I can play much easier and get through stuff much quicker. I just practiced for 2 hours on a simple exercise that I could NOT allow myself to be done with because I kept making simple right hand fingering errors. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE WHAT FINGER I USE? IT SOUNDS THE SAME TO ME.
    I listen to a lot of music and want to start playing some tunes...I have a great ear and pick up playing lines easily, but I feel stuck cuz I need to learn how to learn to play "lightly row" with the correct one-two fingers on the right hand. I started playing bass because I heard some great lines in music and I wanted to be able to play them.
    IF HOWEVER I NEED TO GET THE FINGER THING SORTED OUT FIRST, I WILL. I don't want to have bad technique, so if I need to play "mary had a little lamb" for three months until I get the 1212 right hand finger technique sorted out, I WILL DO THAT. Your thoughts please. Thanks.
  2. Playing with two or three fingers is just a method of being more efficient when playing fast notes. To me it's important because I tend to prefer fast playing and using one finger can get tiring.

    Ideally it should sound the same when plucking with two fingers. Let's say I was playing a very fast bassline with two fingers and the bassline sounded like "DA dum DA dum DA dum" instead of "dum-dum-dum-dum" then apparently my technique is bad. So that means I need to work on making sure each finger strikes the string so they sound balanced.

    Using three fingers, sometimes I hear myself playing "DA dum dum DA - dum dum DA dum - dum DA dum dum." That's not so good because there's an unintended emphasis on the wrong notes.

    Basic and boring practice? Yes. Important? Yes. It allows you to have more control and strength in your plucking hand, therefore later you can utilize dynamics in your playing. Instead of pounding away with uneven bass notes and getting tired (or pain) after the first song.
  3. lyla1953


    Jul 18, 2012
    wise to get the fingers working right - your getting ready to learn that the fastest, most efficient way to learn is to take it slow
  4. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Why question your instructor? You are paying someone to tell you what to do. Do what they say. It'll save you a lot of time in the long run.

    For this teacher student thing to work there has to be some trust involved. At this point trust what your instructor says.
  5. Sturg

    Sturg Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2013
    yes, you are right on with this. will do. thank you for setting me straight.
  6. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    +1 to Malcolm's post, but i will add that as well as benefiting you playing in the long run.....that is the long run. Another part of it is you learn a timing skill, not a sounding even skill.
    Making your notes sound even is a secondary skill that develops within practice, as does the timing skill.
    Practicing strict alteration is as much about timing and understanding that you can play a strong beat without changing fingers, so you play smoother, and even, so you do not feel rushed.....everything falls under the fingers so to speak.
    This benefit may not show itself now in what you play, but will be a skill you will come to realise.
    So do not look for improvements, just trust that what you do will have benefits that will show themselves to you when the time is right.
  7. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    In the long run it's not important if you strictly alternate. But if you get good at doing it NOW, it will really benefit your playing. Once you have it down, you can decide whether it's appropriate to each playing situation.
  8. Technotitclan

    Technotitclan Lurking TB from work

    Mar 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY
    What Chung said. I never had an instructor to give me important info like this. The result is now after many years experience playing my two finger technique is still inconsistent and a bit sloppy. Your instructor has given you fantastic advise. He says that you need to use two finger constantly but after he sees that you have perfected it he ill probably tell you that you can start using it at will. Following through with this will leave you with a lifetime of perfect one AND two finger technique.
  9. noagreement


    Oct 12, 2006
    Yo Philly!
    Agree with above - Definitely work hard on the technique now. Right hand technique always seems to get overlooked and only occasionally brought up later in your learning.

    Countless other things will be focused on that will be just as repetitive (and sometimes boring).
  10. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    It sounds the same to YOU. Because you're inexperienced.
    I've listened back to recordings of me as a beginner, when I thought I was good and I sounded awful. Articulation was an issue at the beginning.

    I started playing along with melodies and singers. If you can articulate and play like a vocalist, your playing with soar.