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Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by jeebo, Jul 28, 2004.
How does he manage to play so fast his 16th notes in muting technique?
He's really good.
Oh I didn't know that!
HAHA, this thread is awesome.
I bought his instructional video off of Amazon. He uses his left hand to mute the string just below where he has it fretted. Its hard to explain and even harder to master. Get the video (only in VHS), its worth the money!
So his right hand isn't handicapped because of the muting. He plucks with very short strokes, but otherwise he plays pretty normally (with his right hand). The interesting thing that I found from watching his video, was how his hand plucks over the pickup of his P Bass, so more in the middke postition. I always thought that he plucked more toward the bridge like Jaco, because the strings are tighter, and it gives a punchier sound. I've been adopting Rocco's technique, and it waws hard to get used to plucking that far up.
What he does with his left hand is far more unusual. The only fingers he frets with, (except maybe when he's playing octaves), are his index and middle fingers. His ring and pinky fingers mute the strings. If you check out some of his bass lines, you can see how the notes sometimes lend itself to this technique. However, it's still difficult.
I'm going to be in an ensemble next year at Berklee College of Music that plays strictly TOP tunes. It's been really fun learning Rocco's bass parts. It's really amazing how busy his playing is, but how it fits so well in the context of the music.
Rocco's use of multiple succeeding dead notes and his busy lines that somehow fit just right are great contributions to funk bass playing. I really enjoy watching his Live at Bass Day 98 video.
However, I wonder if his left hand technique is efficient.
Rather than regularly anchoring his thumb and pivoting upon it to allow for a reach of 5 or 6 frets, he constantly moves his entire left hand to accomodate his unusual technique that involves fretting almost exclusively with only the i and m.
Wouldn't most instructors discourage this left-hand approach?
It's true it's not "proper" technique, and people should probably not use it until they have a good grasp of standard fretting technique. It is inconvenient, but it's worth it for the sound. Anchoring your thumb, and pivoting your left hand wouldn't be any easier, I don't think, because you would have to move all your fingers while keeping the thumb where it is. It seems easier to me to just move your whole hand.
+1 on checking out the video. It's very revealing and well produced. They merge him playing the examples by themselves with a live TOP concert recorded at Musicain's Institute. It's one of the best vids in my collection and the booklet that comes with it has all of the basslines/examples to many classic TOP tunes written in standard notation and tab. Well worth the dough, IMO.
That's interesting. I always thought his muted sound was the result of his right hand attack. Sounds like the method he uses requires an almost double-bassist-like amount of shifting and pivoting.
Well, it worked for Django.
If anything, I'd say it involves even more shifting than on a double bass, but like I said before, the sound is worth the inconvenience ub my opinion. I don't think his bass lines would have been nearly as effective if he had played without the left hand muting.
The thing to also remember is that he plucked staccato with his right hand, making the notes even shorter. If your going to play lots of 16th notes in a funk type setting, the notes have to be short, or else it wouldn't work at all.
It's definitely Rocco's fretting hand...Will Lee does the very same thing; in fact, IIRC, Lee sez he does not use his plucking hand for any muting assignments.
I agree. I think it's a combo of the left hand muting with the right hand playing sticatto notes, e.g., the string is plucked with one finger and immediately muted with the other. So it actually is a combo of left and right hand muting. Some of the lines you have to use the left hand 3rd and 4th fingers at least occassionally. Like when playing the octaves (like the triplets on "Credit"). But it's that left hand muting thing that gives the notes that "dead" sound.
It's true. When he played octaves, (which he actually did quite a bit), he probably did use his other fingers. It's quite challenging to keep the sound as consistant as possible when you're muting some of the ntoes more than others.