1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Right Hand Speed

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by bill_90125, Dec 14, 2006.

  1. bill_90125


    Feb 22, 2005
    I'm looking to develop greater right hand speed and was wondering if anyone has exercises or workouts in particular that address that problem. Obviously there's scales and arpeggios, which I do, but I'd like to find a workout that's more focused on the goal. Thanks.
  2. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    Well on EB I have a pretty fast right hand but on URB . . . not so fast. There's more distance to cover.

    My teacher had me doing right hand exercises where I would alternate the two fingers and keeping them at about a 90 degree angle to the fb would exagerate the movement, kicking each finger out as the other plucked. He described it like a storm trooper marching (sort of stiff legged or like a Radio City Rockett but not quite as high). It sure does tire your fingers out quickly.

    I'm still not that fast on URB but then again not everyone is a sprinter.
  3. Macher


    Aug 29, 2006
    I think the key to get good speed with the right hand is to find the right angle. Try to find the angle where your two fingers look like the are the same lenght on the string when they are stretched. For me its about 45 degrees.
  4. jazzbass72


    Jun 26, 2003
    New York, NY
    Yup... that's what Dave Santoro had me working on while attending Berklee. He mentioned he got that from studying with Dave Holland in the 70's.

  5. pnchad


    Nov 3, 2005
    Book "the Evolving Bassist" (I think) has a great beginning several pages of open string exercises, crossing raking, etc.

    They are great for intonation if you play them arco and excellent for developing speed if played pizz especially if it is the 'distance' thing us doublers have to deal with.:rolleyes:
  6. bill_90125


    Feb 22, 2005
    Thanks guys. Particularly the comments about angle. I'm going to take a look at that.
  7. John Goldsby

    John Goldsby Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2003
    Bassist @ WDR Big Band Cologne, Columnist — BassMagazine.com, Conservatorium Maastricht, NL
    When I studied with Dave Holland in the eighties, that was one of the books that he had me working through. The whole book is just the A on the D string, and the E on the G string with pages and pages of string crossing exercises. Your neighbors will love this.

    John Goldsby
  8. Ale


    Jul 5, 2006
    Endorsing Artist: IGiG Cases
    IMO , RH teqniqúe is all about first finding out what feels comfortable for you , theres a lot of different teqniques and handplacing , try them all.
    When finding what is comfortable , work a lot with different patterns and different rythms that feels unusual and strange playing , this way your hand will get used to any situation.
    Do things slow , very slow and raise the tempo while analyzing your teqnique.
    Good luck !
  9. Kam


    Feb 12, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN


    My teacher has me working on this at the moment.
  10. svenbass


    Dec 12, 2002
    Great thread, I'll be checking out the Zimmerman book!
    What I've been using for years is Ted Reed's 'Syncopation' drum book. Over the years I've come up with a zillion little concoctions, but I've found even playing open strings (one string per measure EADG, then repeat going GDAE) allows one to focus on time, right hand technique, string crossing and tone all in one exercise. I always use a metronome and play everything at various tempos, pizz and arco. 10 minutes a day of this is easy to add to your routine, and very effective. From there it's fun to make up little melodies and left hand exercises. All of my students use it - I usually have them pat out the rhythm and internalize it before picking up the bass.
  11. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    For me it's more about "RH speed vs. tone". While it doesn't bother me when others do it, when I play I don't care for the upright (90 degree) finger position in the RH as it seems to achieve speed at the expense of tone. I've found that more RH speed can be had in the normal ("Ray Brown") plucking position if the focus is shifted to using the big muscle groups to control the accented notes in a line and letting the energy generated from the motion of the shoulder, arm and wrist carry through the less accented notes. This can be done in groups of 2, 3, and 4 (8th, triplet, 16th), and helps generate speed in short to medium length bursts without too much tiring of the mechanism.

    This summer, I have plans to start working on a three finger technique from the "nearly parallel" RH position for faster passages. I've played with it for a bit and think it can be workable, but it's a lot of muscle memory to program.
  12. christ andronis

    christ andronis

    Nov 14, 2001
    Does anyone here advocate or use a "hammer-on" type of technique common to electric bass playing? In other words, finger two or three notes with the left hand while actually only plucking one with the right. I do it occasionally. The only trouble I have is getting the sound from note to note to be consistent, but it's getting better. I have physical problems with my right hand and I find it alleviates a lot of the stress placed on it by trying to finger fast(er) passages.
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I use hammers a lot in certain situations. For me, the trick is to use the entire left shoulder/arm/wrist apparatus to generate enough force to let the second (and third) notes speak. What i find most tricky is the descending "pull-off" aspect of this, which requires a lot more patience and practice.
  14. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    One of my teachers was a big advocate of using a metronome to help build speed. He would have me choose something to play... scales, arps, etude, licks, etc. and start the metronome at a reasonable tempo to execute that particular exercise accurately. As an example... We'd start at 80bpm, then we would ramp it up 10bpm every pass. When I reached my 'top speed' he would have me record it in a practice journal. He was a big fan of that too. The fun thing is that then he'd have me drop it back down to the starting tempo (80bpm). It is tough to get used to playing something fast and then slow in succession. A great skill to have though. M-->
  15. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Re: "hammering"...two guys come immediately to mind. First, Ron Carter uses it a lot, moreso in his later work, to great effect. Second, the best for me is Red Mitchell, whose use of hammering and slurring was so smooth, I often forget that it's a bass that I'm listening to. He often sounds more like a horn player or a singer.

    There was a cool exercise in a very old issue of Bass Player magazine, written by Marc Johnson. It described what he called "stutter bass" (the article was entitled "Rub Your Tummy, Pat Your Head"). The basic intent of these drills was to build skill in coordinating hammering in the left with carefully chosen hits with the right forefinger, creating interesting rhythmic variations. I think he covers this in his book with Chuck Sher as well. On the accompanying recording, he closes with a lengthy example of this style, and it's pretty astounding in his hands.
  16. neroantico


    Jan 23, 2004
    italy, milan
    Hi bassists,
    First, English is not my lenguage but i hope to let you understand my points.
    I'd really appreciate your suggestions of you experienced musicians.

    I'm a student working with a teacher to develop both jazz and classical understandig for a proper technique and feel.
    I'm now approaching TP through Simandl 2, Murelli method and Petracchi's.
    i'm really interested in developing a good sound.
    My bass is a hibrid 3/4 Gewa, strung with regular flexocore ADG and Stark flexocore E. Flexocore is not bad for pizz. ,maybe without much presence on E string but i 'm trying living with it.
    I do really want to build a proper right hand technique, according my teacher i'm ok but i'm not yet satisfied due to poor endurance and sound in velocity.
    Unluckly i found that the sound producted i like best is when i use 2 united fingers while plucking at 90° or close. I afford to use a 45° especially on DG and almost parallel on A (do you hook somehow or use complete parallel approach on A, if it is not that fast on E i use the Reid's key motion, i strive to use only my arm weight)
    I know i'm picky but, according to Rabbath shape of vibration fuse changes the sound, if this is true i assume the same is when a string is pizz stroke. In order to achieve more homogeneous sound through the strings i should give same meat and direction of pluck.
    I'm a standing player and to me is quite difficult to apply (maybe for misunderstanding ) Mr Fitzgerald's technique of big muscles with RH digging toward the bass centre, should the right fingers touch the fretboard while pizz or is a more parallel fretboard shape pluck using left side finger only, resting at the string below in the afterpluck for GDA?
    Could be that maybe the sound i have in my poor and sick mind is not achivable with flexocore and a gut switch is needed, in that case pizz tech need adjustment due to different tension and height from fretboard?


  17. John Goldsby

    John Goldsby Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2003
    Bassist @ WDR Big Band Cologne, Columnist — BassMagazine.com, Conservatorium Maastricht, NL
    Hi Giovanni,

    I dig your English . . . don't worry about it.

    I like to think of "striking through the string" rather than "pulling the sound out of the string." When you pull, you use the big muscles in your hand/arm/shoulder. When you strike, you also get a big sound, but it comes from the speed with which you move over/through the string. I think a big sound -- and speed -- comes from being able to precisely strike over/through the string. You get a piece of your finger on the string, but you don't hang on the string and pull on it -- that slows you down. I strike through the string with the right hand finger(s) at the 45 degree angle that you talk about, but I don't use a lot of weight on the string -- the weight will slow you down.

    Good luck.
  18. flatback


    May 6, 2004
    Thanks John
    ...and I also dig G's english...its like sight reading coltrane changes for the first time...you get the jist AND it takes you on a trip...
    I've been thinking about this topic for a long time. I'm left handed and trying to develop the right hand to be relaxed AND strong over all the strings is a bear. But I think Youtube is a fantastic resource for this. You can view so many great players, and how they solved the problems and often that can shed some srious light on the subject. For example I have always really dug the way Dave Holland's right hand seems to effortlessly trip from string to string without any seeming resistance from the strings. You can argue til you are blue about tone but there ain't no denying his technique and rhythmic accuracy. I have been trying to retrain my right hand to access some of this effortlessness and I am finding insight in just the approach you suggest. When I took a workshop with Dave he was very open about his approach saying essentially "I don't mind sharing it with you (here is the information), now practice it for a few years with great discipline and focus and musicality and application to musical situations, ...and there you are" In other words, the info is cheap, its the practice that holds value. And I have sure found it to be true.
    Just want to say thanks for all the info (articles, book, posts,etc.) from you too. Your insights are generous and much appreciated.
  19. musicman5string

    musicman5string Banned

    Jan 17, 2006
    When I took some lessons with Dave Holland he did essentially the same thing: "I'll show you what I know gladly, but you'll have to work you ass off for years to master it". Needless to say, I'm still working my ass off on it.

    And +1 to John Goldsby as well; I love his Jazz Bass book.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.