# Rules on Fingering?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Harry Lime, Feb 18, 2003.

1. ### Harry Lime

Sep 8, 2001
Rhode Island, USA
I'm trying to play James Jamerson's "Reach Out I'll Be There". In measure 3 (down below), please tell me if I am fingering this correctly...

-------44--_4
-----3----3__3
-1-1.---------
---------------

I use index on 1, ring on 3 and pinky on 4. But I find myself messing up a lot on the 4th fret. I guess I just haven't developed enough muscle there yet.

Anyone familar with this song anway? What about the first few measures...it starts out playing Eb, then to Bb. You bar those, right...but have to be careful not to let the Eb ring while you hit the Bb?

2. ### CS

Dec 11, 1999
UK
try playing the whole thing down a string ie the Bb on the E string at the 6th fret

3. ### John K.Guest

To play it like Jamerson, you have to play it all in first position. You can play this whole song in first position using the finger-per-fret method.

The third measure goes:

G--------3-3---3------
D------3-----3--3-----
A--1-1----------------
E----------------------

It's the typical Jamerson Root-fifth-octave pattern.

4. ### John K.Guest

Oh, in the first two measures, I bar the Eb and Bb, and then let go of the Eb just slightly, enough to mute the string so it doesn't ring.

I suggest you get the "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" book. It will really shed some light on Jamerson and his style.

5. ### codeine

Jun 6, 2002
Brisbane, Australia
That will be a lot easier to play when you fret the Bb (the way CS tabbed it) instead of the B as you had it tabbed.

Good luck with and definetly get Standing int eh shadows of motown as it is the bible of playing bass.

6. ### Harry Lime

Sep 8, 2001
Rhode Island, USA
I have the book! That's where it came from. And it says "b" on the G string. It doesn't say that's a flat note in the watchamacalit...in the music. The B is flat on the A string, yes. Unless I'm totally lost somewhere. But on the G string? It doesn't say to do that.

Thanks for the feedback...for now.

7. ### John K.Guest

Look over at the Key Signature, you see all them there flats? Well, one of em is the Bb, which means you are playing Bb's and not B unless otherwise noted. I know it shows low Bb, but the Bb in the key signature means a Bb regardless of what octave you're playing.

8. ### Bruce LindfieldUnprofessional TalkBass ContributorGold Supporting Member

Jamerson is famous for using only one finger on his right, plucking hand!!

9. ### Bruce LindfieldUnprofessional TalkBass ContributorGold Supporting Member

Juts thought I'd say that...don't know if it helps? And that this shows exactly why Tabs are a waste of time!!

10. ### Howard K

Feb 14, 2002
UK
tAbZ rOol Bruce surely you know that by now

Yeah, one finger... amazing how many great bassists use just their index finger. I'm sure there's a lesson to be learned from that, but I sure dont know what it is?!

11. ### Bruce LindfieldUnprofessional TalkBass ContributorGold Supporting Member

Solid consistent playing, musicality and the right line for the song are far more important than flashy, fast playing?

12. ### moley

Sep 5, 2002
Hampshire, UK
No.

That'll be where you're going wrong, Bruce.

13. ### Howard K

Feb 14, 2002
UK
For God's sake Bruce who told you that?

All the best basslines have two hand tap and machine guns a-plenty!

Well, that is one lesson I suppose... but surely it would be easier to play those simple lines with two fingers?!

14. ### Bruce LindfieldUnprofessional TalkBass ContributorGold Supporting Member

If we're being serious for a moment, I think the point is that if you can play it with one finger - then why not? I think that the argument is that playing every note with the same finger gives you a more consistent sound - so you don't need compression or anything like that, if you can get every note to sound perfectly and consistently, through your technique.

Of course nowadays, players like Jamerson aren't valued as much, as you can use compression and digital editing to get that "perfect" sound !

And still get loads of notes in!!

15. ### Howard K

Feb 14, 2002
UK
Aah, yes, that is indeed a good point... one I should have realised immediatley!

Simply because, I do find myself using one finger quite frequently in Gaudi. Because, like you said, I can and it's easier to achieve consistancy - I can make the line sound 'neater'.

...but I usually force myself to use two fingers to get intop the habit of using two fingers. I shant be so quick to do this from now on.

From my very limited experience of DB, I find it much easier to use just one finger.

16. ### moley

Sep 5, 2002
Hampshire, UK
If I'm doing a 16th note funk line, for example, I'll use two fingers.

But if I'm doing something more melodic up high, for example, I may well stick mainly to one finger, for a more even tone. And usually my middle finger, at that. I don't like the sound of my index finger so much, it's got more of a callous on it, and doesn't produce as sweet a tone.

17. ### codeine

Jun 6, 2002
Brisbane, Australia
Well I have no idea how jamerson can play so 'fast' with only one finger.

I struggle with two

18. ### John K.Guest

In high school, he started taking a music class and walked into the classroom to find a double bass. The teacher told him to play cause he had really big hands. I guess he really got his "speed" from one finger plucking on the DB.

19. ### Chris FitzgeraldStudent of LifeStaff MemberAdministrator

Oct 19, 2000
Louisville, KY

What JOHN KUIXOTE said about the key signature. As far as fingerings go, that is a skill best learned by using one's own analytical skills to figure out the various possibile fingerings and choosing the one that feels the most comfortable and sounds the best, preferably with the guidance of a good teacher. But if it makes you sleep any easier, be aware that there is no fingering god waiting to smack you down with a lightning bolt if you don't play it by the "rules".

20. ### Howard K

Feb 14, 2002
UK
OH SUPREME LORD FINGERUS, I BEG OF YOU, SPARE HIM HE SPEAKS ONLY IN IGNORANCE!