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Straight fingers vs. curled fingers.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by SullyB, Dec 19, 2005.


  1. SullyB

    SullyB

    Nov 22, 2005
    Hello all,

    I have read interviews with some players, such as Bunny Bruneal(sic), who are qutoed as saying that a straight finger technique is the way to go. I have also heard/read that a curved finger style, similar to scratching your head, is superior. I am confused! :confused: I think that it' is interesting that there is so much info out there, most of it good. I don't know how to sift through the chaf(sic)!

    Thanks for the help,

    Sully B.
     
  2. It just comes down to what you're more comfortable with. Try both and whichever one you do better, stick with that. My fingers are usually curled a little bit.
     
  3. Bullet-Bob

    Bullet-Bob

    Aug 20, 2005
    I assume this means the fretting fingers?
     
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Straight picking fingers, curved fretting fingers. I don't see any advantage to having straight fretting fingers whatsoever, while there are tons of advantages with curved fingers...accuracy and speed being the main ones.
     
  5. I think this is about picking fingers. Who the hell frets with straight fingers?
     
  6. Lewi_wilko

    Lewi_wilko

    Mar 24, 2004
    my plucking fingers are either slightly bent or quite straight, if im playing on the E string my fingers tend to be quite bent
     
  7. SullyB

    SullyB

    Nov 22, 2005
    Hello all,

    Yes, I was refering to the plucking fingers of your right hand. Look at a picture of Bunny to see what I mean in temrs of straight right hand technique. Gary Willis would be an example of curled fingers.

    I'll use both styles and pick one that works for me. Thanks.

    Sully B.
     
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I can't tell if my picking fingers are straight or curved. When I hite the note, they're straight at the moment of impact, but the follow through is definitely curved. Took lessons off Dave LaRue for 3 years, so I imagine that if it was wrong he'd have corrected me. So I'd just do what comes naturally.
     
  9. Sunshower

    Sunshower

    May 26, 2004
    Norway
    My bass guitar teacher complains when my fretting fingers are curved, and tells me they should be straight, especially when playing on the D and the G-string because I curve them more then. I find it very difficult to keep the fretting fingers straight, since it doesn't feel natural, but he claims it's better that way. My thumb has to rest really low on the neck. I'm unsure about continuing to practise this way, because I can't see how this can be better than curving my fingers slightly :confused: I must curve them a bit at least, because of my little finger... Oh, but I do want to learn a good technique too... :meh: Maybe I'm doing something wrong?
     
  10. Son of Magni

    Son of Magni

    May 10, 2005
    NH
    Builder: ThorBass
    Wrong teacher maybe?
     
  11. Do what is comfortable and gets the job done. As long as you can get a clean controlled pluck, thats all that counts.
     
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You tell your teacher to come on here and I'll straighten his sorry butt out. Keeping your fingers straight is an invitation to hit wrong strings and make noises you don't want. And worst of all, it cuts way down on your reach. Quite honestly, if a bass teacher ever told me that, it would be the last lesson I ever took from him. Is he a real bass teacher or just some guy who plays bass who's teaching you?
     
  13. I went to this mini workshop with a guitarist before. He asked us to stand up, let your hands hang out from the shoulders, just beside your waiste/hip, and totally relax the whole hand. Then with minimum effort, bend your left (fretting hand) at the elbow and bring the left palm up to face yourself as if you are going to fret a guitar, remember to keep your hands totally relaxed. That's the finger posture that you should have while playing guitar/bass. The same goes for the plucking hand.

    Well, mine (and almost everyone's in the workshop) is slightly bent, so I start playing from there. :)
     
  14. Sunshower

    Sunshower

    May 26, 2004
    Norway
    Well, he is a double bassist (if that's what it's called in English...), and has been playing in the Norwegian Opera for some years. He says that he used to play in some bands too when he was younger. I don't know really. He just likes to stick to what he knows works for him I suppose. He didn't like it when I switched from plucking with two fingers to plucking with three, even though I play faster that way and my hand feels more relaxed...

    kiwlm: I remembered reading the same tip in the book "bass guitar for dummies", so I tried it earlier today. My fingers are a bit less curved then, but it didn't feel uncomfortable so I'll work on learning that technique instead... :)
     
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Playing double bass (yes, it's called that in English) and electric bass are two different things. With all respect to your teacher, I still think curved fingers are the way to go. On both.
     
  16. MikeRS

    MikeRS

    Aug 16, 2005
    Clinton, MA
    I do. It helps in the muting department and I find I have no problems with speed (I play a ton of Rush, Jaco for jazz band and hard rock/good metal). I also have a right hand technique where I anchor my thumb on the pickup for the E string, the E string if I'm playing the A and the anchored on the A when playing the D or G. I've never gotten any sympathetic vibration.

    That and I have no sensation in my left hand from a car wreck so I can't tell if my fingers are curved or not unless I look.
     
  17. luca

    luca

    Nov 22, 2005
    EU
    It depends what I want. It is important to know what you want from your instrument, but listening what your bass wants it is important too. I use straight fingers if I want dirty funky sound, and curled fingers if I want a clean sound. For rock 8-ts I hit the strings just a little with curled fingers. Experiment, listen to your instrument and use all the picking techniques.

    TIP: Listen carrefully how your two fingers sound> Usualy they don't sound the same, becouse they have not the same shape, and maybe they dont have the same callus. Usualy you have a stronger callus on you index becouse that's the "slap" finger. NOw.. when you play 8-ths wich one you use first? It will sound much better if you begin with the finger that sounds louder and with more harmonics.
     
  18. I think it should have more to do with the sound you're trying to grasp from your instrument, and what you feel more comfortable with. More or less this thread seems to resemble preference more than any known fact. Just my two cents.

    I wouldn't quit what feels right to you if you're content with your results, however, I urge you to keep an open mind.
     
  19. Figjam

    Figjam

    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Im pretty sure i use straight finger.