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Question on finger playing

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Warlord786, Nov 27, 2003.

  1. Warlord786


    Nov 22, 2003
    Alright I just got my bass, and have played a total of like 2 hours. Ive learned a few song riffs and stuff. I know some people play with a pick and others play with fingers. Well ive been trying both. But when I play with "fingers" ive been using my thumb downward on the string, heh I think thats wrong. Am I supposed to use my index finger and strum upward? If so, do you know what will help me get used to that, because it feels really weird, and its hard playing like that. Also I havent been able to go fast with my finger or string. What would you reccomend that would help this.
  2. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    I guess for most beginners, playing with a pick is easier. You have the perhaps unnatural finger movement plus the fact that bass strings feel thick and heavy in the beginning. I started with a pick, then I abandoned it for some reason I can't remember. Of course it was difficult in the beginning, but as with all things, if you just keep at it you will learn.

    And a teacher would accelerate that learning process!

    You can play whatever way feels comfortable and sounds good (everyone played with the downward thumb motion in the early days of electric bass) - but today's mainstream fingerstyle technique is played that way because it is flexible and fast. I'd say if you only put some effort in learning that, you definitely won't regret it a year from now!
  3. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    When playing fingerstyle, the normal thing to do is to use your pointer and middle fingers, and alternating, pluck the string upwards with them. It is challenging at first to alternate, so when i first started, i mostly used my middle finger, but that gets too slow after a while, so as soon as you are comfortable with a riff, do it alternating, slow at first, and then gradually speeding up.
  4. BertBert


    Nov 9, 2002
    When you get around to trying out both the pointer and index fingers, two things I'd suggest for practice:

    1. Get a metronome
    2. Set the metronome on something slow (60-80 bpm) and play just an quarter- or eighth-note pattern on an open string over and over again in time to the beat.

    Very boring but crucial for establishing that inner clock that all bass players need to keep a groove steady, plus it helps you learn to coordinate your two fingers and get consistent tone no matter which one of the two you pick with.

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