Right Hand - 2 finger technique: Raking or Alternating?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Mohawk Freak, Nov 19, 2005.

  1. Mohawk Freak

    Mohawk Freak

    Mar 8, 2002
    I have found some similarly themed threads but nothing that addresses this particular issue.

    A friend of mine who is a skilled classical/spanish guitarist recently asked myself and another bassist about out right hand technique and suggested the technique that he uses would make us much faster.

    He suggested that using 2 fingers alternately (fig 1) at all times would allow for faster articulate playing than raking when moving down from higher strings to lower strings (fig 2).

    To try and clarify, here are a couple of diagrams of playing triplets. The "1" and "2" relate to first and second finger OF THE RIGHT HAND.

    Fig 1 - This is what he was suggesting.

    G ---------212-----------
    D ------121---121--------
    A ---212---------212-----
    E 121---------------121--

    Fig 2 - This is what I am doing.

    G ---------212-----------
    D ------121---212--------
    A ---212---------212-----
    E 121---------------212--

    The second method feels more natural to me, as the finger is already sitting on the lower string in position, but I am constantly trying to improve my technique. I am a very competant palyer and it would take a lot of work to re-learn my instinctive right-hand technique. I obviously don't want to do this if it's not going to ultimately be of benefit.

    Just to clarify, I'm not interested in three, four, five or more finger technique at the moment! Just the first two fingers of the right hand. Obvioustly clear articulation of each note is of primary importance and I would not like to sacrifice this for the sake of speed.

    What is your opinion? Who uses either or both of those techniques? Have you found either to have more potential?

    Answers on a postcard! :D
  2. Earthday

    Earthday Guest

    Sep 22, 2005
    New Hampshire
    I began as a raker, but after seeing all the topics on raking vs SA, I decided I'd give SA a try. Now that I've worked with it enough to where it is antural to me, I feel it is a much better option than raking. There's just something about raking where you cant trust your right hand sometimes. SA is very coherant.

    Of course, if you got really good at raking these aren't issues, but regardless I find SA more appealing, with rakes here and there when it would be stupid to do anything but.
  3. Mohawk Freak

    Mohawk Freak

    Mar 8, 2002
    Cheers for the reply mate. I've not come across the term SA before (I used to spend al my time in the effects forum when I had GAS). I'll have another search in this forum using that to see if I can find any topics closer to what I want.

    Merci! :D
  4. forty-two

    forty-two Guest

    Jan 3, 2005
    Saint John, NB, CA
    I think Adam Nitti said it best


    Best to practice 1-2 alternation and 2-1 so your fingers can play in any order you want instead of relying on one way.
  5. Blunt

    Blunt Guest

    Nov 28, 2004
    Newcastle, Australia
    Without a doubt alternate picking gives you more control over lines at a faster tempo such as unison runs and fast solo sections. That I think has been firmly established. But don't get too hung up about it. If you are still producing quality music and it works it works.
    The technicians will say that AP is better the realists will say I do what I do. Old habits are also hard to break. So to all the rakers it does not mean you are a lesser bass player.
  6. Mohawk Freak

    Mohawk Freak

    Mar 8, 2002
    Any thanks good sirs! I've just been searching the forums and have found more raking vs. SA threads now. A big thanks to forty-two for bothering to copy that quotation.

    I'm pretty happy that I can now find all I need to come to a conclusion myself now that I know the terms I'm looking for.

    Case closed! :D
  7. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    This is a topic that has been covered over and over again. I actually switched from raking to SA as a result of these threads. It didn't take very long to switch from raking to SA. I spent a few weeks practicing major scales in one-octave, and then two-octaves. I also practiced sequencing patterns through major scales. It cleaned up my technique. Adam Nitti has lessons on his website about SA, and Michael Manring also talks favorably about SA. Raking is not evil; however, SA serves me better.

  8. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Reviewer: Bass Player Magazine
    JimmyM taught me that raking is only way to play. He used to smack my fingers with a rolling pin if I tried to alternate when descending. He told me that if I didn't rake all the time, Jaco's ghost would cry.

    And then he said my fretless playing needed more mwah.