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right hand exercises advice?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by sterlingray34, Sep 11, 2019.

  1. sterlingray34


    Jun 17, 2019
    I noticed that my right hand 'technique' has become quite sloppy recently, while i was mainly focusing on arpeggios and scales etc in my practise...

    (i am learning via online courses, so i don't have a teacher giving me direct comments)

    do you have any exercises for the right hand, you can recommend? i am thinking about right hand precision, groove, rhythm etc

    thanks ;-)
  2. DrThumpenstein

    DrThumpenstein Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2015
    St Louis, MO
    If you can find a good teacher, you will make more efficient progress. You are already working at becoming a better player. The old saying that "Practice makes perfect" only works if you practice good technique. "Practice makes permanent" is more accurate, and a little instruction can go a long way in making your practice more effective.
    lfmn16 likes this.
  3. Malcolm35


    Aug 7, 2018
    Yep, time for knee to knee instructions.
    DrThumpenstein likes this.
  4. DrewinHouston

    DrewinHouston Not currently practicing Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2009
    Houston Heights, Texas
    Disclosure: I am not a great bass player
    I switched from guitar to bass in 1981, and my first challenge was to learn to play with my fingers. I found scales and arpeggios to be very helpful, but you have to be committed to proper right hand technique, and make sure you're alternating, getting even volume, using a rest stroke, etc. For speed, I used Wipeout as an exercise.

    If I had it to do over, I would have gotten a teacher right away. I played a couple of years before I went to lessons, and built some bad habits.
  5. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Can you be a little more specific on how the problems manifest themselves, or how the music is affected. For example, sustaining tempo, inconsistent attack/tone/dynamics, excessive finger noise or fret clank, fluffed, missed or dead notes, 'random' mixing of alternating/raking, etc. Each may need to be addressed in different ways, or there might be a common factor...
    Nashrakh likes this.
  6. sterlingray34


    Jun 17, 2019
    yes. i noticed issues with "sustaining tempo", but mainly "inconsistent attack/tone/dynamics". different attack/tone between lower and higher strings, (which i assume has to do with not enough hand movement), and inconsistent tone with different picking fingers.
  7. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Do you read standard notation or would you need exercises in TAB?
  8. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    slow down.
    play exercises a slow as needed to get an even tone/attack/dynamics
    use a metronome and write down the tempo where this happens comfortably
    repeat daily, and watch that number increase over time.
    jefkritz, lfmn16 and sterlingray34 like this.
  9. AFRO


    Aug 29, 2010
    A knee to knee teacher is almost always the best policy (sans for those not so talented teachers)
    but I like these videos for helping out.
    This opened my eyes wide, and helped me out personally a ton. you may need to look up the other 3 videos this is a good start IMO
    This guy has some tasty speed bits on his channel too IMO

    Good Luck
    sterlingray34 likes this.
  10. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    This might be of help. If not, check out his list of free technique lessons.

    Improve Your Alternate Two Finger Picking - TalkingBass
    sterlingray34 likes this.
  11. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    Play one note, alternating fingers. Do that until the tone, tempo and attack evens out and you get the speed up where you want it to be. Then, start doing the same thing, but moving across strings (changing strings IOW) as you do so, until tone, tempo and attack evens out. Then, start skipping over strings, doing the same. Up and down.

    Finally, do all the above starting on any plucking finger first, as you change strings. This teaches you, for example, to break the habit of always starting to play a phrase, or a string, with your index finger.

    It sounds simple, but it will take some time. By the end, you'll be able to play River People (itself a good exercise for right hand) with ease. :thumbsup:
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019 at 2:16 AM
    sterlingray34 likes this.
  12. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Quite a bit going on then. Uneven attack/tone/dynamics can be a difficult one to get your head around. We are told over and over to aim for fingering consistency, yet music doesn't work that way, and nor does the bass. Think about how you address each string. If you anchor your thumb on the pickup, the angle of attack of your fingers will change as you cross strings, leading to a change in tone and attack. Rest and free strokes have a different tone. The speed with which you move your fingertip and the degree to which it strokes over or pulls on the string will make a difference, and the same movement, ie the same energy/speed/weight, used on lighter thinner strings will create more attack, volume and overtones compared to a thicker string. All of these things need to be considered when developing and maintaining technique. This is why exercises should be played slowly and deliberately, focussing on the reason(s) for doing the exercise in the first place.

    IME the ability to play at high tempo comes from having practiced slowly and deliberately every aspect of technique. One of the most important, but most overlooked, aspects is synchronisation between LH and RH. That speed test above is a bit of a joke, really. Playing a million notes per second is easy if it's the same note - I bet his left hand can't move that quickly. I posted a little exercise here...

    Relearning RH technique

    ...that aims to develop synchronisation and independence between the left and right hands. It is designed to be played as legato as possible. See how the downbeat alternates between right hand i/m every measure, and also falls on different left hand fingers as you move through. The tab is important as it uses different LH for the same notes in the second half. Not as easy as it looks.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019 at 7:29 AM
    sterlingray34 likes this.
  13. sterlingray34


    Jun 17, 2019
    thanks guys, as usual i got some really valuable input from you.

    I totally agree with the 'slow down' approach! I will do exercises slowly and focus on consistent tone/attack, especially when changing between strings (while have the thumb anchored, or floating).

    i particularly like the idea of keeping a record of the (hopefully increasing) speed at which i can play comfortably while keeping consistent tone ;)
  14. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    I’d also suggest lightening up on your note attack and playing pressure. A heavier touch requires more muscle. And that can slow you down and make your volume inconsistent and boomy on certain strings. And it can also start making your hand acquire more physical strength than it needs to play. So, much like an overly musclebound athlete, it can slow you down and interfere with developing finesse in your motions. You want your hand’s physique to resemble that of a distance runner. Think LSD - long, slow, distance training. Not a weight lifter who does heavy duty interval strength training.

    Not to say there isn’t a place for more forceful playing and digging in. But I found it’s better to at least start out with a lighter touch and let your amp do the heavy lifting as far as volume goes until you get your touch dynamics consistent and your rhythm steady and rock solid. Once you’ve got that taken care of you can then decide how much you want to let your hand play harder and more forcefully.

    One thing I’ve found helpful for developing better rhythm is to practice against a delay pedal. Set a delay interval and then play against what the pedal echos back. A drum machine set to various basic beats and speeds also works well. It’s a little more interesting and real world sounding than a simple metronome. But even a metronome app on your smartphone is better than nothing.

    Last, if you possibly can, record yourself practicing and give it a critical listen afterwards. Since you don’t have a teacher you won’t be getting the important feedback an instructor would give. But a recording is almost as good because all you need to do is listen rather than listen and play. Listening to a playback of yourself will make it far easier for you to identify where improvement is needed and where you should be focusing your efforts.

    Luck! :thumbsup:
    sterlingray34 and AFRO like this.

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