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Reaching for the G String

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Bass2x, Aug 24, 2005.

  1. Bass2x


    Jul 25, 2005
    Talkin' finger bass here...
    Used to play with a pick, now trying to get comfortable with finger style. I like the new feel better but I have noticed a a major tradeoff - playing the G string. I anchor my thumb on the pickup and don't have a problem with the other strings, but when reaching for the G, I tend to fumble a note or two during a run. Tried floating w/o the anchor but it's not the answer for me. Anyone else have this problem? Find a cure?
  2. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    I hate to be trite, but...
    Just try doing string-skipping exercises... annything you can come up with that will make you jump over to the G string and back. Maybe "disco octaves" up and down. Use a metronome and work on maintaining an even attack and volume as well as steady time.
    Also, I've never liked the idea of anchoring my right hand anywhere. Your hand has more flexibility and tends to be more relaxed when you float, in my experience.
    And, I find it kind of silly when someone reviews a bass and rejects it because there isn't a good place to anchor the thumb. If you can get used to floating, this isn't an issue, and it makes more instruments available to you.
  3. Bass2x


    Jul 25, 2005
    Man asking directions: "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?"
    Answer: "Practice, practice, practice."

    I hear ya... know a good excercise to learn what a floating thumb style should feel like? Or, how to move from an anchored thumb finger style to an unanchored one (is floating less powerful)? Thanks.
  4. Malodorous


    May 19, 2005
    Try anchoring your thumb on the A string, maybe even E if you have no problem playing on D and staying on the pickup.
  5. d2daniel


    Aug 23, 2005
    Yea I had the same problem when I started out a couple months ago. But now, with LOTS OF PRACTICE i can do the stretch to that string without relizing. Also, it is good to get used to playing without anchoring because I love playing a music man and it only has a very thin hummbucker.

    PS - there was a famouse woman bassist that every time she played on a diffrent string she would move to the string abouve it to anchor.
  6. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Play a wide six string for a while, after that a four string will be no stretch at all. :D
  7. travatron4000


    Dec 27, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Again practice. I dont know where you strap your bass but if its kinda high or you're sitting, you could anchor your hand with your forarm on the lower bout of the bass. Swithing your anchor to the E might help too. Or the edge of the fingerboard though that doesnt help if you want the near the pup or birdge sound.
  8. MCT


    Apr 11, 2005
    When I first switched to fingerstyle I used to anchore from string to string, until I was trying to play more like Rob Trujillo, then I noticed that problem, but I practiced one song over and over again, so I could rid myself of that problem, and that song was Punk by The book, by anti-flag because there a little fast run that goes across the G, D, and A strings. It gave the speed and the precision I needed at the time, so yeah my answer is practice practicceeeeeeee
  9. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    I don't know about an exercise, buy I can suggest a posture. Try this. Start out with your arm draped over the bass, which should be at about the height it is when you're sitting down with it. Now relax your plucking hand; your thumb should be just hanging "parallel" to your other fingers, and just above the E string. Now press the outer side of your thumb into the bass, as though you're trying to push the bass into your chest. This is about as much anchoring as I ever do, except for occasionally resting my thumb on a string when I'm playing a different one. I always found that when I really firmly anchored my thumb, so that it got pulled away from my hand, it created way too much tension and limited my mobility. More and more, I've been trying to let my thumb just hang, as described above, without even touching *anything* except my hand. I believe I first saw Alphonso Johnson doing that.
    At first, you might feel that anchoring gives more power, but it just takes... (oh no, here it comes again)... practice.
    Good luck!
  10. Nirvana4ever


    Aug 2, 2005
    I usually move my hand and rest my thumb somewhere else that is more comfortable to reach for higher strings. I also agree that you must practice playing like this, but it is not as annoying as it sounds. If your heart is truly set to bass, practice should come easily. Rock on. :bassist:
  11. Bass2x


    Jul 25, 2005
    I may have stumbled onto a cure ... I was experimenting with slaps and pops and found it was more comfortable to raise the bass up higher above my waist to play this way. After a couple days practice I found that the G string is not nearly as difficult to control when back playing finger style. Maybe the combination of moving around slappin' and poppin' (no thumb anchor) and positioning the bass higher helped. I still anchor my thumb on the pickup, but it's a little more flexible enabling me to reach the G string with some consistancy - in fact, both hands are more flexible now.

    I do think, however, that anchoring is more powerful than floating.
  12. travatron4000


    Dec 27, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Its all about where the bass is. if your bass was below your waist before that was the problem. If you look at any of the bassists that make you go wow none of them have their basses really low.
  13. It's good to know I'm not alone here. I posted a similar question two weeks ago. TB'ers suggested that I anchor on the A sting when playing the G. I've been working on it a little, but just practice in general seems to be doing the trick. I still can't get off of that pickup!! They also told me to check my strap length. If the bass hangs too low you'll exaggerate your reach.

    Good luck.
  14. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    If you are starting fingerstyle technique I would seriously change the anchoring of the thumb. When playing ADG strings try anchoring your finger or E or A. Besides the advantage of reducing distance across strings it will help you mute and get a nice clean sound. Muting becomes ultra important when recording and when playing in horribe sounding rooms.
  15. Bass2x


    Jul 25, 2005
    Another contributing factor may be the pickup height. I recently performed a complete setup on my G&L and raised the pickup height. It may be too close to the G string, preventing a good strong finger pluck. I'll try lowering the pup to get more meat under the string. Thanks for all the recommendations - gradually solving my problem.