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Question for you fellow 3 fingerstylers

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by BrandonBass, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. BrandonBass


    May 29, 2006
    Do u still follow the strict alternating patterns when you are slow parts which can be played with just 1 finger?

    At first it seem no sense to alternate when you can just play it w 1 finger for a more even tone but wouldn't it build into your muscle memory and then confuse you when u speed things up??
  2. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012
    Never notice. I just play the song.
  3. I usually only alternate on faster stuff. For me, three fingers is only called for for parts that I'd have trouble playing with one or two fingers. I don't see the need to use all three when the part can easily be played with fewer.
  4. Slade N

    Slade N Supporting Member

    May 28, 2005
    portland, or
    its a good to alternate your pattern depending on the tune/part 1, 2 or 3 fingers and or thumb
    some parts will feel better with one fingering over the others...some songs/parts will work better with one finger, some two, some three
    other fingering patterns will be more of a challenge...take those challenges and work with them, it will help you to be versatile

    if you practice all of them youll have of them in your muscle memory
  5. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    I find it difficult to anything strictly. If I've gotta play a long string of very steady 8ths or 16ths (like a Tower of Power or punk tune) I will go to fairly rigid R-M-I as matter of hand preservation. If there is no potential fatigue involved, I might play a whole tune with 1 finger to get a very consistent sound or different feel.
  6. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    i'm using the thumb and ring finger for muting, sometimes the thumb for popping

    slow stuff thumping with just the middle finger
  7. Koji_Sunioj


    Feb 16, 2013
    when i first started with the 3 finger plucking, i did notice when i was strumming just a single note and yes, i did alternate that as well just because. it did feel weird especially when the dexterity is still being built and not all there, but once i really got it down i never think about how many fingers im using on any even part, no matter how slow or fast.
  8. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    This. I practiced the 3 finger technique to the point where it's second nature. I'm able to play the fast stuff with three fingers and as slower parts happen, my brain makes the connection an adjusts my technique accordingly.

    The key is to practice it till it becomes part of you.
  9. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Sort of missing the point of the alternation.....if you stop alternating you break the flow, so if any music has stops or rests that allows the flow to be broken then it does not matter if strict alternation is being used or not.
    What matters is being comfortable with the playing the strong beat, sure you should be able to play the beat on any finger, but that depends on the demands of the music you are playing.

    If you are comfortable playing music with even divisions, but sycopated, then the strong beat will alternate fingers, not your fingers alternating strong beats.
    So say your line has three quater notes and a rest then then beat will alternate between fingers depending on which particular three finger (or two finger) movement you use.

    So long as you an feel the beat (so its a mental skill of sorts rather than aphysical one) and use what ever finger to relate to it then that is what matters when playing live, but in practice use the strict alternation and teach the brain to keep out of it......most players when learning rhythmic playing are tripping over what they thinking not what they are playing.......because the brain cotrols the fingers and you play what you think.
    It is important to practice using the skill......not so much use it live.
    If you have to think about what your fingers are doing you have the wrong mind set for playing live, but the right mind set for practice.

    Eventually the habit of what you practice become what you play all the time.... it just happens, but it takes time, it does not happen over night, so do not give up on it or you will never realise the full potential it has to offer....its a leap of faith that doing the correct practice will pay off in the long run.:)
  10. Usually when going slow i switch to 2 or 1 finger, but if i start to get tired i start doing some plucks with the ring finger. And a lot of times i alternate index and ring.
  11. +1.

    I use 3-finger for faster parts and then probably only 1 or 2 during slow parts. I don't notice it anymore tho.
  12. thewildest


    May 25, 2011
    Hi there: I've started playing bass 2 years ago, after a lifetime on my guitar and Warr guitar (tapping 12 instrument beast). The good thing to pick up an instrument so "late" in my life was to know the music and choose the way I wanted to develop my technique before I laid my fingers on my first bass. I did a lot of research, and thought I would try a the 3 (or 4) finger technique, and go for a 6 string bass. I did not choose Matt Garrison approach, but more a classic guitar approach where the fingers take "pizzicato" position when you have to repeat notes placed in parallel with the strings or an open position when you have to play/arpeggiate chords or do multi-string licks.

    My fastest way to operate my fingers was at first with the sequence Ring-mid-index. I spent some time trying to stick to it, whenever I was (for example) going up/down the scale. While I could really go pretty fast, I found it to be very limiting whenever I wanted to play more complex patterns. It seems the fingers require some specific sequencing when you change your patters, to follow some natural position. Your brain resolves this by trying to get to the next move economizing as much movement as possible, without you actually thinking much of it.

    Instead of sticking to an unnatural sequence, I started playing/warming up with RMI/IMR/IRM/MRI...etc... any sequence possible, for a few minutes. In my case, this helped me train certain passages that my motor skills needed training. I also spent some time on complex patters to allow my plucking hand to find and resolve several challenges. So far it has been working.

    So, I would recommend not to stick to an specific sequence, other than to train your muscles/brain to know it. Once it does, jump to the next motor challenge. I has worked for me, I am pretty happy with the results. After playing something sometimes I repeat it slowing down to the point I can see my plucking hand finger sequence, and it is whatever .... no apparent logic I can decode, just pure brain/natural logic solving.

  13. I use ring and pointer during wide string-skipping. Ring-middle-pointer for gallops.
  14. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I usually reserve the third finger for 16ths and triplets. Anything up through straight eighths I'll usually just use the first two fingers, as they're a little more consistent in tone.

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