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Sound and my fingers

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by jackmurray, Sep 10, 2005.

  1. Ok, these two questions are totally unrealated, but I'm still new and not sure if I should have made 2 posts or not.

    I don't want to start a debate, but what is the general consensus about 2 fingers vs. 3? Also, I've been working on my 3 fingers but I keep playing triplets. What I am doing is not looking or thinking, but when I pluck 4 or 8 times I change notes to try and get into a 4 patern (if that makes any sense). I go R-M-I-R-M-I.

    Also, I reckon Billy Sheehan has an awsome sound. What does he do to his EQ or what effects does he use to get it?

    Thanks, Jack
  2. Combining questions into one post is usually a good idea.

    2 vs. 3: Agree do Disagree.
    I don't think there's really a consensus reached. On one hand you've got guys who swear that three fingers gives them blazing speed, and on the other is the "Jaco only needed two fingers" crowd. So use three if you like the feel of it and like the results you're getting, or use two if you'd rather do that.
  3. Yeh, I basically knew that, I was just asking a final time to just make sure before I make up my mind. Also, do you guys have any tips for trying to get straight "un-tripleted" quavers? Also, I'm having touble staying in time when I change strings. And the Billy Sheehan question.


  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Staying in time when changing strings can be accomplished by two things...playing with a metronome, practicing hard riffs painfully slow and building your speed as you master the riff at the slower speeds, and always alternating your two fingers even if raking seems like it would be easier.

    As for Billy, I don't know. He once said he tries to get his bass to sound amplified like he thinks it sounds unamplified, so I would guess he goes for a fairly flat EQ.
  5. jack, there's no consensus on how many fingers to use. I use four fingers and my thumb and usually lead with my index. If you want to go for pure speed then it's usually good to lead with your middle, ring or pinky and go backwards (RMI in your case) because the fingers naturally fold that way. I like leading with my index for precision, I find it's easier to insert the correct amount of space between the notes that way.
  6. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Use what works best for you. I use 3 a lot but can play faster with 2, I just have better endurance with 3.

    The key to either is practice, slo steady practice, to build muscle memory. I use the R-M-I-M patters for even groups. Practice that to a metronome, with string skipps and everything, regularly and at slow speed and you will improve rapidly. The key is to practice SLOW and EVERY DAY for like 2-3 months, only advancing the metronome by a click every couple days, 2-3 bpm per week at most.
  7. Thanks for your all your help. I've been practicing all day to a metronome, and i can play steady clean sounding quavers at 220bpm going R-M-I-R-M-I. The hardest part is when I start to think about what I'm doing, because to play, for example, a I-V-V progression, I have to go R-M-I-R then M-R-I-m and then M-R-I-R so it gets really confusing. I just have to listen out for 4 notes and then change.
  8. Remember that you don't always have to lead with the same finger. For example, if you're playing in patterns of 4 using 3 fingers, you can go:

    RMIR, MIRM, IRMI and it's the same thing.
  9. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    This is what I don't get about the 3-finger approach. Sure, it's great for triplets, but when doing straight quarter notes, when you do three fingers I would think you would lose count of where the one is because your leading finger would constantly change. It's like dividing 4 by 3 as opposed to dividing 4 by 2. There's no remainder when you divide 4 by 2.
  10. Yeh, that's exactly what I mean. Your leading finger will always change. Basically if you just close your eyes and listen it's not hard, but as soon as i look at my fingers or start to think about what i'm doing it all goes haywire. People do it though so I guess it's just practice.
  11. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Too much like work for me. I try to play to where I don't have to think about it at all. When I play I like to think about what chicks in the crowd look like naked. The 3-finger approach seems to involve too much thinking and doesn't allow me to concentrate on what's important.
  12. +1!

    I don't actually agree about it being too complicated (although it's totally cool if it's not something Jimmy wants to learn); I think it's just a matter of how ingrained you get it. The thing about using three fingers is that it's a really weird number. One makes sense, since it's the simplest arrangement possible. Two is the minimum needed for fast playing. Once you get to three you're just adding fingers for the heck of it, so why not just use all five?