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Question on plucking technique ("Last Dance" by Donna Summer)

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Radio60, Dec 4, 2018.

  1. Radio60


    Nov 11, 2017
    I've been working on the bassline for "Last Dance" by Donna Summer. I can play it at reduced tempo, but have a problem with my right hand (plucking) technique.

    Please refer to the red notes in the three measures shown below, which are the 5-th, octave, 5-th and root of the chords. The left hand (fret) fingering is shown: ring (3), pinky (4), ring (3) and index (1).

    My plucking technique for the four red notes is to pluck the first with my index (i) finger, the second with my middle (m) finger, and then rake the last two notes with my middle (m) finger. (Strings plucked in order A,D,A,E.) This has an economy of motion that works for me at normal tempo (112 bpm), but while practicing at lower tempos, I have poor control over note length, often playing these notes too fast.

    QUESTION: Is this a good plucking technique and I should practice it more, or is there another one that's better for this arrangement of notes?

    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
  2. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    I would play those red notes i-m-i-m (1-2-1-2). Raking interrupts the right hand rhythmic engine, IME. Economy of motion should not take priority over, for example, good timing.
  3. It could be played several ways fine. I’d play this using raking.... but I’ve put a lot of time and effort into that technique over many years from playing DB.

    Learn to control your raking over a wide tempo range. Slow it down to 1/4 speed and gradually increase it. Work on left hand muting from the start. Add in hammer-ons and pull-offs too to eventually develop lightning fast riffs and fills.
    eJake likes this.
  4. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    You are doing it correct. Raking with the middle finger like you do is the most convenient and fastest way. So nothing wrong there. Just learn to control the rake in various tempo and try to really feel every string attack without rushing the rakes.

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