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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by anubis101, Nov 11, 2000.

  1. anubis101

    anubis101 Guest

    Aug 31, 2000
    Nacogdoches, Tx
    anyone have any tips on
    how to increase my speed?
  2. Yeah im having the same problem, i can play songs i want to, at a slower speed, but the band im in (we just started playing together), want to play punk. Boy do i haver trouble keeping up in order for me to play faster i sacrifice hitting the notes clearly and crispily, and my sound becomes rather muffled. I need help with this too guys, as i can play somewhat fast but not fast enough for punk. It also makes u think people usually say that punk musicians have no talent, well i have a new respect for them after, trying to imitate as you have to have mega speedy hands.
  3. Run laps in fast/slow intervals until you can eliminate the slow laps..Oh, you mean FINGER speed! First and foremost, you need to use a metronome or some other rhythm device when you practice licks, scales or anything else.
    You have to realize that you cannot start off at Blazing tempos, you have to build up to it. And second, don't let you brain get in the way of your fingers. If you concentrate too hard, you will not be relaxed enough to play at faster tempos because your body will tense up and
    slow you down.
  4. Mike


    Sep 7, 2000
    repetition,repetition,repetition of scales and basic exercises. Add a little time and experience and you'll be settin' the frets a fire in no time...
  5. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Pay particular attention to the "economy of motion" rule; that is, are your fretting fingers staying in close proximity to the neck? Are you making unneccessary shifts?Are your plucking fingers tight(think of them as hummingbird's wings)? Are you strictly alternating between them?

    Luckily, there are exercises that help one improve this one aspect of technique. It does take some discipline & concentration. There was an exercise in a recent BASS PLAYER mag for the fretting hand(someone at this site has already posted it...I wish I knew where). Basically, using 1 finger/fret, put your 1st finger on the "G" string's 9th fret; 2nd finger on the "D" string's 10th fret; 3rd finger on the "D" string's 11th fret; & the 4th finger on the "G" string's 12th fret. Got it? Good. Now while keeping the 1st & 4th fingers on the "G" string & STATIONARY(!), slowly move ONLY the 2nd & 3rd fingers. Back & forth & barely coming off the string. Use your plucking hand to assist if the other fingers don't wanna cooperate.
    You should also practice the remaining combinations-
    1st & 2nd fingers
    1st & 3rd fingers
    1st & 4th fingers
    2nd & 4th fingers...etc.

    Someone else can chime in for the plucking hand(my favorite)...:D

    [Edited by JimK on 11-11-2000 at 10:40 PM]
  6. i like using 3 fingers on the picking hand not a big fan of using the pinky though. but some people use it, i just found it slowed me down. there is a good article at http://www.harmony-central.com under the bass section called hang ten. its exersises for using all four on the picking hand maybe this will help
  7. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    My favorite bass teacher gave me excellent advice that helped me alot. He said you have to slow down to speed up. In other words, practice far slower than the required spped for the passages you want to play. A metronome is best. Than you can start really slowly and increse speed one click at a time if necessary. (Ex: start at forty beats a minute, go to 45, then 50. If you start having trouble at fifty stay there until you have it, then go to 51 or 52...no more...until you can play that expertly. Keep moving up until you get to the required speed. But that isn't enough. Keep practcing at speeds even faster than required, moving up slowly. Go up to 100 if possible, played well and accurately. Then, play at the correct speed and you'll be amazed at how much easier this seems. However, it may take you days or weeks to attain that skill. There is just no use in trying to rush it. It takes time to train the muscles and nerves required to do that work. There just is NO shortcut.

    Jaon Oldsted
  8. Watch television. Find an song or exersize that you can play slowly. Without plugging in your bass watch T.V. and start playing the exersize or song slowly. The speed will graduly increase. Do this every day as part of your normal practice. Increasing speed is a booring and time consuming project this helps you stick to it long enough to accomplish it.
  9. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    You could try taking a lot of dexedrine and playing along with "Loose Goose" by Dust or try Bogert's solo on "Oleo" by Cactus. However, substance abuse just makes your technique go down the toilet. I now use "Fingerweight Speed Weights," I bought from Musician's Friend for $50. I tried their Grip-Master but that only helped my thumb and wrist. I also play jazz not only because I like it but those bassists are really into economy of movement and fingerstyle.
    YOU GO, GIRL!!!
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    This question was asked on Mike Dimin's "Ask the Pros" forum - you can look it up. Basically his advice was to lower the action as far as possible and use as light a touch as possible. I tend to agree with this.
  11. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Gary Willis says the same; you will need, however, a powerful amp to pull this off in a band situation, right?
    Otherwise, you will pluck harder to hear yourself...that coupled with the low action = BUZZZZ!

    Also, how 'bout acoustic players? They have some pretty high action compared to ours, right? Yet guys like McBride have NO problem pulling off, say, that lick from "Havona" on an URB. IMO, 90% of it is 1/2 technique...;)
  12. theJello


    Apr 12, 2000
    Im suprised nobody mentioned breathing.
    Make sure you are breathing! You will tense up if your not breathing. Breathing evenly and not holding your breath during a difficult passage.

    Light touch in paramount. You will have a better tone also.

    Practice everything slow and deliberatly(sp?)
    I have noticed if you practice something really slow you will be able to get it up to a fast tempo much faster than you may realize. It must be played perfectly though. This is really good for your time also.

    Another thing that goes along with all that is right hand damping. Pluck with your index and immediatly dampen the string with your middle finger. Then pluck with your middle finger and immediatly dampen with your index finger. So on and so forth. I hope that makes sense. For a really good demonstration of this get Gary Willis' video.
    He the fastest, cleanest, most relaxed player I have ever seen. This technique will allow you to get really stacatto notes without using you left hand much. Plus it is much cleaner.

    That exercise JimK mentioned is great for the left hand.
    I do it everyday now.
    good luck

    [Edited by theJello on 11-14-2000 at 10:01 AM]
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    My theory is that most of these "upright guys" have developed far stronger muscles in their wrists and fingers than I will ever have as a "part-timer", so I need all the advantages I can get.

    I also think a lot of them have "natural advantages" - I go along to my local Jazz club each week and see some really great upright players who have incredible technique. But the depressing thing from my point of view is that they invariably seem to have very long fingers compared with me - whereas the vey few electric bass players who appear at the same club have similar or smaller hands/fingers than me. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it! ;)
  14. Rockinjc


    Dec 17, 1999
    I think that not watching helps as well. I noticed that faster passages seem to go better if I leave my eyes out of the equation. Anybody else have this experience?

  15. Regarding the string bass, it's a completely different instrument requiring different technique. I don't think right hand or wrist muscles come into play much. The key to a big sound is pulling it out from the shoulder. Also, hand size is only an issue for the left hand, but I've known many short players with small hands. They overcome it.

    Playing fast on the bass guitar not only requires a lighter touch, but good right arm posture. The arm should be up, allowing the hand to be over the strings, unimpeded. I disagree with who ever wrote that a lighter touch needs a more powerful amp. Volume is a lot more than just how hard you pull the string. Volume comes from how widely the string vibrates. Rapid repeated light strokes will keep the string vibrating with a wide oscillation. Hence it's easier to play louder when you play fast. Practice controlling the delicacy of the stroke to control the volume.

  16. Steve S

    Steve S

    Jul 26, 2000
    The exercise that Jim K mentions has worked for me. I do it every day for five minutes. A lighter touch also helps.
  17. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Looks like I gotta get with the program; I have always had pretty high action & tend to pluck pretty hard in live situations.
    Also, being relaxed is key(kinda goes hand-in-hand with breathing).

    What's the consensus of Jaco's plucking? Hard, soft,...?

    [Edited by JimK on 11-14-2000 at 06:55 PM]
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    When I was talking about hand size, I was thinking purely about left hand technique and the ability to reach distances on the neck without moving position that I could never hope to make. I've seen it mentioned in interviews/articles in magzines that Christiam McBride was encouraged ny Wynton Marsalis at the age of 17, to do away with pickups/amps and rely on his hands to make the sound which was where I was thinking that I'm never going to get anywhere near the sort of technique and muscles that he must have developed in the period since.

    As to JimK's questions about Jaco - he has explained about how he plucks very close to the bridge to be able to play faster, explaining about the greater tension at this point than nearer the neck. I think this is in the instructional video. At the beginning of the video, Jaco seems to be setting up the bass he is using to get a lower action and I get the impression that he mostly plays quite lightly - especially for the fast stuff - but it sounds like in some solos that he is really playing hard, but that may just be the tube distortion or different techniques.
  19. I'd know how much distance you're talking about reaching across, but 99% of doublebassists use a 1-2-4 fingering system in the positions below the octave harmonic, the space between the first and fourth fingers only covering a whole step (eg. C to D). People I see with small hands, I know a couple of females in the 5'-5'5" height range, who compensate with a little thumb pivot.

    I gave up the pick-up too. Playing unamped does wonders for your technique. You'll notice a big difference after only one or two gigs without an amp.
  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    The thing that JimK and I were talking about in particular, was the riff or "pickup" on Havona, which goes in 16th notes from a B on the E string, up to a D, 2 octaves above and back down. It's the very last bar of the transcribed solo here:


    Christian McBride play the whole solo transcribed here on his new album, note for note, before playing a few more choruses of his own. In a previous thread we were discussing how it was impossible on electric - but on upright!! :eek:

    Now I think you need big hands to play this!

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