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Problem playing with fingers

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Skystriker, Aug 21, 2000.

  1. Skystriker


    Aug 2, 2000
    Hi, I have been playing bass off and on for about 6 years.I play really well with a pick and get really good tone.I have tried on several occasions to start playing with just fingers but it always sounds like total crap. Terrible tone,
    very muddy sound like im not getting a good firm hit on the strings like I do with a pick.What am I doing wrong?


  2. nanook


    Feb 9, 2000
    What is muddy to some people is round to others. What is sterile to some is crisp to others.

    It all depends on what you want to hear and what your style of music calls for.

    The pick style is fine, don't worry about it.
  3. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    David, I'll bet that you are a pretty decent guitar player or you were taught bass or influenced by a guitar player.
    The only reason I don't usually use a pick on bass is called attack and decay in a note. Using a pick makes the attack appear right on the leading edge of the note. Using the pad of your finger levels the note out. It's the same as a finger picker hitting a note accidently with a fingernail. I really don't see a problem with using a felt pick. I finger pick only but I'd probably be faster with a pick. After all, Ive never heard anyone tremolo a bass line.

    Bottom line, whatever floats your boat. I've seen fantastic players play both ways.
  4. Deicide666


    May 1, 2000
    Never heard tremolo with fingers? Come listen to me play. Listen to old Morbid angel, plenty of finger-tremolo action.
  5. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    I'd love to hear you play. Your profile doesn't have your location. Where could I hear you?

    About the tremolo thing. I didn't say it couldn't be done, just that I've never heard it done. :)
  6. Deicide666


    May 1, 2000
    Hehehe... I've only been playing for like a year and a half, and I didnt want to come off like I was all good. However I can tremolo with my fingers :D I'll e-mail a wav of it so u can hear. Thanks dude, now I'm one step closer to being a big rockstar :). hehehe...
  7. Deicide666


    May 1, 2000
    Oops...I need your email address dude. Thanks again!
  8. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    D666: My addy is in my profile, but that would make an interesting thread. Why not share it with all of us? Why not start a new topic? Sounds like you're progressing great after only 18 months. Keep it up.
  9. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Skystriker, have you taken note of where your fingers are picking? If you are near the fretboard, you will have a much fatter sound, maybe fatter than you like. If your use your fingers closer to the bridge, your sound will be thinner with quicker decay between notes. Next time you play your bass, check yourself to see if you are picking closer to the fretboard causing that muddiness.
    Jason Oldsted
  10. Deicide666


    May 1, 2000
    Oh thats a good idea. But how would I post a sound file on here? Sorry, im not real good with this message board thing. Oh yeah, the thing on your profile doesnt list your address, just lets me send mail (no attachments). Well I might just be an idiot but I cant figure it out. Thanks a lot dude, good to know theres cool people here.
  11. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    what exactly do you mean by "tremolo a bass line?" there are various sections of some of our songs where i am playing (fingerstyle) on the order of 15-18 notes per second for a sustained period, but it doesn't sound like tremolo, at least not when i do it. :D

    there's a thing that billy sheehan used to do, like on a few of the old talas songs and the beginning of "addicted to that rush" where he is hammering on and tapping on the same fret - on addicted to that rush he's hammering-on from the 12th fret to the 14th fret of the G string (A) and tapping the A also on the same fret and then the C 4 frets above, which sounded like a tremolo. is that what you mean?
  12. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    oh, and to answer the poster's question, don't feel bad - i've played for over 15 years and i still can't play with a pick properly. :D
  13. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    John, I repeat:
    "About the tremolo thing. I didn't say it couldn't be done, just that I've never heard it done. "

    John, I Used the term tremolo to describe a term that I'm more familiar with as a mandolin technique where the strings are struck on the downstroke and the upstroke very rapidly. Almost like drawing a note out on a fiddle. This is just MY OPINION though.

    Besides, trying to emulate your technique is totally unreal for me. I doubt that I could even hold one of your many stringed Conks up for a full set much less play it.:)

    I'm beginning to think I'm the last picker left that CAN'T tremolo on a bass. I've been playing practically all my life and can't. D666 has been playing 18 months and he can.
    Oh well, maybe I've become obsolete. Anyone out there need a kazoo player? I can tremolo the heck out of one. :) :)

    By the way, John, hows the CD project coming along? Let us know when they're ready. I'll be one of your first customers.
  14. On a stringed instrument, tremolo is rapid, short movements with the bow.

    Trills are rapid hammer-on/hammer-offs with the fretting hand while the bow is drawn in a long, full manner.

  15. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i've got about 2 songs worth of fretless to re-record, and then the guitarists have some guitar and a few solos to do. we also have some vocals to do. i will keep everybody posted.

    i've been working on our website, trying to redo it - it's pretty dated right now, hopefully will have a new one up in a couple of days. we should be announcing everything there.
  16. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    doh, i meant the C 3 frets above, not c#. duh. sorry.
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I can do this and it seems very easy to me, but when I've talked about this to teachers/tutors, they say you should practice everything with alternate fingers. Whereas I find that I can actually play faster on some things with up and down strokes of the same finger. I have used this in the past to get a "mandolin-like" technique going - especially on the higher strings in the upper register. Like on a 6-string, getting a classical guitar sound for solos.

    To address the original poster - I think that probably one lesson with a decent bass teacher would do more for this problem than anything we can write here. You just need somebody to look at your finger technique to see what's going wrong - without seeing what you're doing it's almost impossible to comment in a positive way.
  18. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    "oh, ok, cool thanks, i was just curious. i know of some guys who play with up and down strokes with their fingers, i've never been able to do that, and i was wondering if that was what you meant."

    I also use an up and down stroke quite often. Like Bruce, I find that I can use just one finger to play some bass lines much faster this way. Is it "proper" technique? It works for me, so I intend to keep doing that way.....:)
  19. hachi kid

    hachi kid

    Jun 2, 2008
    Pelham, AL
    you ever get this solved?

  20. MHT75

    MHT75 Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2010
    Best advice you could get for your particular problem.

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