Rest-strokes, jaco, etc.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by jzucker, Mar 17, 2005.

  1. jzucker


    Feb 3, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    Hey guys,

    I'm relatively new to bass but have been playing and teaching jazz guitar for 25-30 years. I have a book out called "Sheets of Sound for Guitar" the plug but I just want folks to know I'm not a beginner.

    On guitar, when I want to play fingerstyle (no nails) I alternate thumb,index,thumb,middle, etc. I use free-strokes for this technique and I can play relatively fast. For example, I can play 8ths at 300 bpm on guitar using this technique.

    Anyway, I've been using a similar technique on the bass as opposed to strictly playing index,middle with rest strokes like most folks. At first, I thought the rest strokes made for a stronger groove but now that I've been playing around with the technique on bass for a while I think I'm getting just as good a feel. For example, playing jaco's groove from "Come-on Come over" or "Speak like a Child" feels really good with this technique.

    The other advantage is that I can use the heel of my right hand to mute the strings.

    Just wondering if anyone else plays like this without using rest strokes and using a pseudo-classical-guitar technique on bass?
  2. I've read posts that you have made on other sites, usenet, etc, so I know that you are hardly a beginner. :) The fingerstyle technique that you are describing is similar to the way Matt Garrison plays. Here's an excerpt from and interview with Garrison:

    Your four-finger solo technique now seems to be your standard technique in all situations, and you’re using it more musically in uptempo solos, instead of as an effect.

    Right—I’ve even been using the technique for two-note grooves. It’s something I adapted from Gary Willis’s three-finger approach, and I honed it during my stints with Zawinul and John McLaughlin. I play a downward thumb pluck and upward plucks with my right-hand index, middle, and ring finger, which are curled underneath; then I mute with the side of my thumb and my left hand. It started as a “flurry” effect before my brain caught up to it, but I always had Art Tatum’s virtuosic flourishes in mind. It’s not so much the Coltrane/Pharoah Sanders/Stanley Clarke sheets-of-sound concept, where they’re screaming on their instruments from their soul. For me it’s not about the volume or the amount of notes coming out; it’s about the intent and the intensity. I want to be able to “scream” over changes.
  3. jzucker


    Feb 3, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    Matt's a great player. He's playing on a Herbie Hancock DVD I have. I saw his technique but couldn't quite figure out if he was using rest-strokes or not.

    Thanks for the info. I had almost forgotten about him...