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Something my bass teacher told me

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by primemover, Nov 13, 2005.

  1. primemover


    Oct 16, 2005
    Baton Rouge
    That when I am practicing my two finger technique that I should not touch the next string above the one I am playing. He said that it some situtaions it's ok but that I should really try not to for now. This seems to contradict what I have seen on bass instruction videos where they want you to let your fingers hit the string above the one you are playing.

    For example suppose Im hitting each string four times in a row to practice two finger techiniqe. I hit the E string four times but of coarse there is no string above that one. I then move to the A string and let my finger hit the E string after each strike of the A string.

    Should I practice by trying to not rest on the string above. It seems really hard not to.
  2. He is just trying to teach you a better technique that gives you more flexibility. If you develop a technique that relies on resting on the lower string, it will hinder playing certain things later.

    Most of the time, it would be ok if you came to rest on the lower string, but there will be times when a note is sustaining on the lower string. So you'd need the control not to mute it.
  3. NoisemakerD-Lux


    Oct 12, 2004
    Actually, a lot of bassists teach just the opposite; that you SHOULD stop/rest your fingers on the following string.

    But driver800 brings out a good point. At times you'll be playing something requiring chords or arpeggios (some of the Classical guitar or piano stuff transcribed for bass, for example) where you will not be allowed to touch the next string.

    I personally think that for most playing [one note at a time], resting is very beneficial. But you should know how to do what your teacher says as well, as you will use it.

    One of the reasons I am against too much schooling is because a teacher will very often push his ideas on you and hinder your own. I think that some lessons in the beginning are good, but once you learn the basics, it is better to just go and explore the instrument on your own. That's the only way you'll find your style.

    And look at some of the good bassists around... they all have different techniques. Billy Sheehan, Gary Willis, Geddy Lee. There is no single rule for playing bass.

    Listen to a lot of Stanley Clarke for the two finger style you're trying to do. Expecially, the Return To Forever stuff. Great hands.
  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Guys who don't touch the string above the one they're playing always sound a little too delicate for me. I'm not big on that light-handed approach to playing bass. For arpeggiated chords, yeah, I would agree you shouldn't touch the other strings. But for everything else, nut up a little and play with some oomph. Jaco called it "cutting the string." I like to call it "putting a little ass into it."
  5. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    How the hell can you play as fast as billy sheehan if you dont touch the string above? I dont touch the string above when i play chords though, but i do when i play arpeggios...
  6. You don't have to be light handed though. One of the reasons I mostly use free strokes is because I sometimes pluck hard enough that hitting the next string makes too much noise.
  7. djcruse


    Jun 3, 2002
    Norwood, MA
    I recommend asking your teacher to clarify what he meant. Mention that you've seen both approaches and are wondering what his thought process is regarding this technique.
  8. SeanE


    Sep 20, 2005
    I've had instructors that teach both ways. I think it's good to rest in the beginning. I found that resting helped move my hand and wrist into the correct position and get that position into muscle memory. It's good to be able to play both ways.
  9. I think the bottom line is that you should be able to consciously play either free strokes or rest strokes. I find I get different tones from either of these techniques so it depends on the sound I want to get which one I use.
  10. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You are an anamoly in the bass world then, because everyone I've ever heard that played like that sounded very light and used that technique for that exact purpose. I don't see how you can follow through without hitting the next string. Just like bowling or hitting a baseball, you have to have a follow-through. And if I prevent my finger from hitting the next string, I cut off my fingers' follow-through and I can't get enough digging in to make it sound mighty. I'm interested in how you follow through when you use that technique.
  11. Your finger lifts up more as it follows through so that it misses the string above it that you'd normally rest on with a rest stroke.
  12. Yeah, I agree that most guys who don't hit the next string play a little weakly. I'm fine with being an anomaly though. :)
    He has the right of it. You just barely miss the next string and let your finger fly up into your palm. Just like a classical guitar free stroke. Free strokes sound weaker on the guitar, but don't seem to on the bass.
  13. bassaroo


    Dec 9, 2005
    yep, I'm trying to learn free strokes - my teacher uses it most of the time, and he gets TONS of power, and so many different sounds that I cannot get when I use rest strokes only. I always like the extra 'thump' I get from the rest strokes, but the extra tones he can get made me really realize that I was limiting myself by just using rest strokes.

    What I REALLY want to know is - what does Anthony Jackson use - that guy is THE KING - I believe he is using free strokes - anyone know more?
  14. TheJimster


    Feb 21, 2006
    Pensacola, FL
    +1 :ninja:
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Fact : none of the people on here who have replied, can see what you are doing and how you are playing!

    Fact : your bass teacher can see what you are doing and is almost certainly trying to help correct defects in your technique that he can see - but nobody here can!!

    I would tend to trust your teacher more than anybody who can't actually see what you are doing and who is therefore just guessing!! :meh:
  16. spindizzy


    Apr 12, 2004
    +1 to Bruce. Everything that you learn can me modified at a later date to fit with new circumstances and new challenges. Control often starts with practicing what is most difficult and then adapting that control later on. Once you have mastered avoiding hitting something you can then move to thoughtfully doing it when you want, for specific purposes (more attack strength or for muting) not as habit that is automatic and not thoughfully applied.
  17. fretless Bob

    fretless Bob If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.

    Nov 27, 2005
    Harrow, London, U.K
    id imagine he is telling you to di this to give you more strength in you right hand playing,

    freestroking is a little more difficult than rest stroking IME and even though id imagine that you will probably use more rest strokes in the real world you will end up with more dexterity in the long rum from learning to freestroke.

    and +1 to what Bruce said, he can see you playing when none of us on here can, why not ask him to give you an explanation of it next time you see him

  18. Drifta


    Sep 13, 2006
    South Florida
    i'm self taught, been playing for over a year 1/2 and i never rest my fingers on the string above, never even thought about it. so picking with my fingers and bringing them into my palm is freestroke?
  19. Cerb


    Sep 27, 2004
    I began playing without reststrokes a couple of years ago. My teacher seemed content with my technique and so did I. As I've played more and developed my own style, reststrokes have become necessary, especially when playing quicker lines. Your technique may evolve... it may not. Do what feels natural.