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RH finger alternation during string skipping

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by suicas, Mar 26, 2004.

  1. suicas


    Mar 12, 2004
    I've read quite a bit about alternating right hand fingers while plucking the strings, and most of what I've read deals with playing notes on the same string.

    I was wondering if anyone could give advice or tips on good practice in situations such as playing the following:

    Playing with 2 fingers, would you play:
    Strictly alternating:
    i m i m i m

    Alternating then repeating:
    i m i i m i

    1 finger per string:
    i m m i m m

    Similarly, how would you play the following with 3 fingers:

    One finger per string to start with, followed by alternating? I.e.:
    i a m i m a i m a etc.

    Just started playing, so I'm trying to avoid getting into any bad habits early on :)
  2. interesting to analyse my own playing to see how I play things like this-

    don't know if it's the right way, but I find it most comfortable to play this, with 2 fingers,

    i m i i m i

    which means breaking from strict alternation to use the index twice in succession to cross to the E string.

    I was thinking of how Steve Harris plays the fast alternating octave phrases in "Flash of the blade" (Powerslave album)

    eighth notes at 220bpm-plus;


    -and finding it easiest to play it with three fingers,

    i r m i i r m i

    or with two fingers,

    i m i m i m i m
  3. jellybassbeans

    jellybassbeans Guest

    Mar 19, 2004
    "I was wondering if anyone could give advice or tips on good practice in situations such as playing the following:

    Hi there - I've done quite a bit of work on string crossing exercises, and I also found that strict alternation in this case to be too cumbersome. I also found that using i m m was a more workable solution.

    I would practice this by playing the RH pattern for a minute or so, then up the metronome a notch or 2 and play the reverse, which would be:

    E----3-3-----3-3---- using m i i

    Then, notch the metronome up a bit again and play the 1st pattern, and so on a bit faster each time and switching patterns each set.

    To keep the left hand amused, and so's to keep from using the same fingers during this whole process, I would use the following notes for one set:

    E---3-----3-------- (2nd finger)

    and for the other set:

    G----------4-----(3rd or 4th finger)
    D--2-------------(1st finger)

    always using RH i on the low string, and m on the higher strings.

    I hope I wrote the tab right and it's not too confusing. I'm not really familiar with tab...anyway, I hope that's of use to you.
    Peace - jbb
  4. Funkateer


    Jul 5, 2002
    Los Gatos, CA
    I've pondered this exact same lick too. Since I used to play classical guitar, this is one of the rare occasions when I break out the RH ring finger, so I can go i-m-a. My ex bass teacher had an interesting alternate suggestion which was to play it i m i and then rake across a killed A string to the E string using i. The combo killed A/note on E has a nice thick sound.
  5. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    I would play that i-m-m, I find that to be the easiest way... it's probably just a bad habit. :)

  6. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    I would not repeat that, but invert it first and then repeat:

    i m i i m i / m i m m i

    Now you don't have to skip strings with one and the same finger.
    Also, practice this by beginning on the m too.
  7. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    I recommend playing the Billy Sheehan system.

    r m i, because the natural movement is to drum your fingers rolling from pinky to index, not the other way around. I do raking though when moving down to the next string.

    So it's r m m i r m i r m i etc.
  8. suicas


    Mar 12, 2004
    Thanks everyone, I've found the tips given very useful.

    I'm still trying out variations in technique listed to see which feels the most natural/comfortable.

    I'm finding that my fingers tire out faster if I don't alternate them so much, so I'm currently practicing i m i / m i m mostly.
  9. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    If you can get a hold of the current bass guitar magazine (I think it says 'display until 4/16') I think it's the one put out by guitar world, it has Nikki Sixx on the cover - anyway, there is a column by John Paul Jones and it's about this very topic. He basically says what the guys in this thread have said - playing what feels natural is more important than strict alternation. He gives some tips and exercises to practice it with (sections of old Zep tunes) Might be worth a look.
  10. you could also use your thumb. When i picked up my bass and tried to play this strictly alternating mimimi is what I did naturally
  11. maxy


    Jun 24, 2004
    I was sim. stuck. I am tring to get to strict alteration but i was wondering doesnt non-strict alternating slow down speed. For ex. related to raking...i do ...
    e arp f arp
    i m i i i m i i
    Now we are using i very much and for similar to pattern to follow like the f maj arpegio(from e) we would be slowing down big time right??? Help.
  12. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    For speed wouldn't you try to alternate everything you could? imimimimimimimim everything possible? Reason being if I wanted to play fast how fast could I play i m i m m m i i i m i i RH technique compared to playing the same lick imimimimimim I fell I do that much faster. I think of my fingers as drum sticks playing a fast roll rlrlrlrlrlrl. How fast could I play something with one hand rrrrrrrrr compared to both playing hands rlrlrlrlrlrl? Much faster with both hands, do I play everything like this imimimim, heck no? My question is should we try to alternate imimimim 100% of the time thoeretically speaking?

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