Right Hand Finger Quickness

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by PIZZAcato, Feb 15, 2006.

  1. Trying to build up my right hands quickness (runs and the alike) but it seems that i hit a glass ceiling and that i have to get really warmed up to go super fast. Any tips, tricks, techniques in finger training or your methods is appreciated. Thanks.
  2. Charles Shores

    Charles Shores Commercial User

    Jul 26, 2005
    Charlotte, NC
    Owner: Guitar Barre
    Have you tried 2 fingers? I thought it was a no-no til I got Ray Brown's bass method.

  3. Yes I've always used two fingers and then i wrap my thumb around the part of the fingerboard I'm using to semi-anchor it. Im really looking to look for finger training here. Thanks again.
  4. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    I am not a jazz player, I am orchestral, but perhaps I can give you some food for thought.

    Usually we forget that the type of movement needed for fast playing is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT than the one for slow movement.

    Take for example walking and running. When you walk you are not as flexible, you clearly shift the weight from right to left, you tread with the whole sole of the shoe. When you run all those things change.

    Typically musicians try to just go "one notch at a time" with the metronome and they don't really explore how the fast movement will differ from the slow one.

    Just guessing, perhaps your wrist will not move with every pizz, only for string changes. Your fingers will not sink into the string so much. You won't get as much flesh contact. The quality of the sound will not be as good and deep, but with the right placement you might sound nicely crips. But like I said, I am no jazzer.
  5. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I've learned that folks seem to have a natural speed and there isn't a whole lot that you can do to change it. Once you've cleared up anything that you're doing horribly wrong, of course. I have students that come in for their second lesson and can smoke me as far as right hand speed.

    What I've done to combat the thing is to figure out how to play what I need to play in such a way that I'm using a lot of string crossing, slurs and hammer-ons to fill what my right hand won't give me. I can play bop-type lines at almost double the speed that I can finger them with my right hand only. My brain works pretty fast, though, and have practiced my p's and q's for years which helps out a lot :)
  6. I used to fall into this trap of wrapping my thumb around/under the fingerboard to anchor but I noticed a drastic improvement in right hand control once I worked this out. I find that having the inside of the thumb (at the first joint) anchored on the side of the board, rather than the back, gives better leverage and allows for you to get the fat part of your finger on the string. It also enables the fingers to move more freely. I believe this is commonly accepted teaching, but you do what works for you man!

    Best of luck.
  7. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I tend to plant my thumb on the E string or on the edge of the board a la Slab which gives me more relaxed control and speed than hooking around the board -- less power, too.
  8. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    Do you have a treatise about the right hand like the one you have about left hand fingering?
  9. I'm the oposite. Some times I have to cut slurs that take more than 3-4 notes to get faster. It's just me though. My finger training just comes from a metranome slowly speeding up. Doubt if that's any help.
  10. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Naw, although I do tend to make students take some time to get an even tone out of both fingers.

    Well, let me add to that...

    For two-finger technique: When playing consecutive notes on the same string or ascending, always alternate. When descending strings, the last note on the higher string and the next note on the lower string are played with the same finger. This is common knowledge, though, idnit?
  11. Michael Glynn

    Michael Glynn

    Feb 25, 2004
    +1. Let you left hand do some of the work. Don't think of this as cheating, either. In my experience plucking every single note with the right hand can make for a dull sound. Listen to horn players--do they tongue every single note? Judicious use of slurs can really improve (IMHO) the feel and swing of a solo. Again, listening to horn players can really help give you an idea of when to slur and when to pluck.
  12. jazzbassnerd


    Aug 26, 2002
    I've always thought this and still, in general, use this "technique." But I have had two things tell me that always alternating is better.

    1) The Jaco Electric bass instructional video. I know that upright isn't electric, but as far as walking or soloing goes, those of us that double probably keep the same right hand patterns.

    2) A brief lesson with Eric Revis. He told me to practice the chromatic scale always alternating fingers even over string crossings to get the sound to be really even. He said it was something Dave Holland taught him.

    I'm sure that no one sticks to either of these "techniques" as much as one sticks to how they believe in fingerings, that's why I only call it a technique in quotes.

    IMHO, if you are getting the sound, tone quality and facility that you want from you're right hand, it is most likely just.

    Just my .02
  13. Kam


    Feb 12, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN

    That's a good point. I've been listening to a bunch of Christian McBride lately and he tends to do alot of hammer-ons and slurs for "flurry" effect.

    As far as Anchoring or hooking the thumb under the fingerboard? I've never done it, but I would imagine it creates a serious lack of hand agility, especially on the G-String. I'm a member of the thumb gently resting on the side of the fingerboard "slab." I would also suggest playing around with where on the string you're right hand is, I find I am usually at the end of the fingerboard when walking, and for soloing I pull up a little bit to get more growl and better "traction." Of course that also depends on the amplification situation. Wow, alot to think about!
  14. Ya this is alot! Im now using the six string electric bass style i use, which is move my thumb around a bit and not anchor it as much. When I do anchor its on the A or E and not that much.
    And further I'm intrested with the use of hammer-ons. I use them yeah, but i dont know how effectively. How do you guys use them for solos?
    Anyone use them to add some mood to the walking line???
  15. Check out how Ron Carter uses them for solos and walking lines. I love the stuff that he does.

  16. rob f johnson

    rob f johnson

    Nov 15, 2005
    nelson bc
    Try using the tips of your fingers almost like plucking an electric instead of the side of your fingers. this seems to help Me pull of quicker passages. my .02
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I got to my local Jazz club and watch great DB players every week and this is exactly what I've noticed - so as the tempos get faster they are actually moving about less and using 'stealth' rather than out and out speed...:)

    (As an aside - I think the approach Ray outlines, also gives 'character' to DB solos and lines - so for somebody coming from BG, this approach sounds like a DB, rather than somebody just playing what they would have on BG ...? )

    The only exception I've seen to this was NHOP - whose right hand 4 finger technique was amazing to watch, but I'm not sure it would be a good recommendation as a road to go down...?
  18. jmpiwonka


    Jun 11, 2002
    or if your strings are high enough you can pluck the string as it comes towards the bass side and then pluck it again as it moves back to the treble side. so you pluck it with the bottom of your finger and the top of your finger.......
  19. tzadik


    Jan 6, 2005
    You might want to experiment with the angle of your hand. The more perpendicular you are to the strings, the more you'll have access too. Not great for when you need a layer of phat, but if you need to run, run at a 90 degree angle and get where you're going.

    For me, sometimes I just have to warm up to it. Sometimes I just can;t do super fast stuff on the first few turnes. I agree with those who said let the left hand do a little work, especially when you;re not fully warmed up. Open stirngs too.

    I am going to make one more recommendation that will probably get me laughed at, but it helped my right hand a ton: play electric bass. Play either fast punk/rock music (yep, you heard me) or if you can't stand that, just drill yourself on playing eighth notes of sixteenth notes with a timer and a metronome.