speed playing??

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Camel_spit, Nov 14, 2001.

  1. I play bass with my fingers and I was wondering if there is any way I can speed up my playing. I'd prefer not to use a pick coz I loke the mellower sound finger playing makes. Any help??
  2. red-hot-bassist


    Sep 18, 2001
    i saw a rubbery ball thingy in my local music store that you are supposed to aqueeze with your fingers to increase their stregnth. maybe stronger fingers would help, or more practice, ;)
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Those practice toys won't help you.

    You don't need strength, but dexterity.

    Practice on the bass and try to optimize your finger movements.
  4. red-hot-bassist


    Sep 18, 2001
    but surely the more you play the bass the stronger and more agile your fingers will become, thus useing the little gimmick-toy, your fingers would increase in strength:D
  5. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Not really.

    It's a common misconception that you need lots of strength to play the bass.

    The crucial thing is you wouldn't train the exact muscle groups and muscle movements you need for playing bass.
    Believe me, I had my Gripmaster phase, and it didn't make me faster, but slower. I got "heavy fingers", like a body builder who wouldn't do well as a sprinter.

    If you practice the right way (no noodling!), you'll get fast automatically.

    Why practice on a device and then having to transfer it on to the bass, when you can practise on the bass right away?
  6. JMX is dead on. It's not strength but fluidity and economy of motion.

    Camel - one thing is: are you using all of your plucking fingers? If not, try this exercise called "Hanging Ten" - http://www.harmony-central.com/Bass/Articles/Hanging_Ten/

    It helped me to utilize my "lazy fingers" more and increased my speed. The downside of the exercise is that it doesn't address your fretting hand. A lot of us don't fret as efficiently as we could.
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I also agree with JMX - this question has been asked many times before and I would just add what several of the Pros have said before - that the secret to speed is low action and a light touch.
  8. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I'll go ahead and throw in my two cents...I agree with Bruce. The secret most pros tend to claim is low action and light touch. John Entwistle told me that he "lets the amp do all the work". I consider him fast;)

    Those gripmaster devices actually hinder your playing. What happens is that when you use them, you're strengthening the muscles in motions that you don't naturally use for playing.

    The way I think of it is as with running...Runners may use light weights, but that's not where they tend to focus their workouts. Instead, they focus on running. Sometimes they sprint, sometimes they run long distances. It depends on how they're training and for what event. On that note, by the way, some distance runners still train partially by running many sprints instead of pure long distance.
  9. like the other guys said low action, and light touch. but there is another thing I don't think many people think of. the hight of the pickups. I play right over my neck pickup, which doesn't allow me to dig in. the pickup has to be high enough, almost as close as the space between the strings and the fret board. your fingers will just bottom out on the pickup, resulting in less movement. once I learned that my speed improved greatly.
  10. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    i totally agree with this as well.

    id like to add that you should also buy a metronome and gradually increse the tempo while practicing 16th notes.
  11. red-hot-bassist


    Sep 18, 2001

    jes so you guys know ;)
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Wel at least this thread has made one convert then! We have done our work! ;)
  13. red-hot-bassist


    Sep 18, 2001
    convert too.....? hatred of beginners? brucey i am a beginner?
  14. EString


    Nov 20, 2000
    Los Altos, CA
    Flea spends a lot of time using a Gripmaster.
  15. Velkov


    Jan 17, 2001
    Lansdowne, Ontario
    I've been in the process of learning to play with 4 fingers for about 2 months now. I started off with the Gripmaster and I felt like it did help in getting my ring and pinky fingers to a certain level of strength. But the thing that really got those fingers up and plucking was playing full songs with only one finger. I would pick a song with a not-too-hard bass line and play it with one finger - my third finger at first. I did that for two or three days and then started playing with my 2nd and third finger. And eventually I was playing with 3 fingers. Last week I went through the same process with my pinky finger. I played 3 or 4 sonds over and over with just that one finger. It sounded bad but by the 3rd day it was alright. Then I started playing with my 3rd and 4th fingers together. Right now I'm at the point where I can play some songs with all 4 fingers but sometimes I get all mixed up. So, I still need a lot of practice but I found that the only way to get a finger that's never picked before to pick is ... to make it pick until it hurts, over and over. I haven't used my Gripmaster for a couple of weeks now.
  16. The only reason to have strength is to help avoid RSI's like tendonitis and CTS.

    That said, playing bass will develop your hand strength faster than any squeezy-ball.

    4-finger plucking will also help.

    Alot of us don't fret at all :D

    But left-hand technique is definitely something I see as a general weakness in bass players. Most of the noise people post about here is due to shoddy left-hand technique.

    The best way to improve left-hand technique is to play at insanely slow speeds (40bbm) and concentrate on being able to groove at this speed while accurately fretting (or stopping). Once you can do this, speed up gradually, continuing to concentrate on clean left-hand technique.

    Playing a fretless bass, I'm not at liberty to have bad left-hand technique. Its WAY too noticable.

  17. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I'd like to offer a meager suggestion. I learned to use 3 and 4 fingers when I have to play fast. Also learn the helpful use of "ghost notes". They'll do wonders for that speed thing you're after. Plus they're not as tiring.
  18. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Hey Freaky Fender - I'll tell your mom... :D
  19. What are "ghost notes"?
  20. punkachu


    Nov 22, 2001
    southampton, uk

    that's what i was gonna ask.