Straight fingers vs. curled fingers.

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

  1. Scot


    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    I took one lesson with Bunny Brunel some years ago and, in fact, the whole lesson was about keeping the fingers straight on the *fretting* hand.
  2. I save the straight finger for the drunk that wants to hear "Freebird". :D

    But really, straighter fingers on the fretting hand come in very handy for muting the strings. And for very wide necks like a 6 string.

    Its very possible that everything that works on DB may not be appropriate technique for electric. I went though similar problems learning bass. I was classically trained on trumpet first. I noticed many techniques did not apply. Double and triple tonguing for instance. Diaphram control. Hope this helps.

  3. westland


    Oct 8, 2004
    Hong Kong
    I'm curious about this. I had heard the same thing ... keep your fingers straight ... from a rock bassist. Keeping your fingers straight introduces tension (at least for me) and thus slows me down and feels awkward. Maybe it's alright for a lot of repeated 'drone' notes in rock, but it seems to restrict your fingers to a single location unless you move your wrist (curved fingers give you access to the full X-Y plane south of the fretboard).

    Straight fingers do keep your nails from clanging the strings, while allowing you to hit from above while raking back towards your palm (although how you do this comfortably eludes me). To use straight fingers seems to require a lot of wrist action ... maybe useful on a DB where you have a lot of real estate to cover. But it's unnecessary motion (i.e., tiring and slow) on the electric.

    If you curve your fingers, come in from the side of the string and rake up, you're less likely to slap the string into the fretboard. Curved fingers seem to require only the fingers to move, not the wrist and shoulder.

    But that's just my opinion. :meh:
  4. bill_banwell


    Oct 19, 2002
    On my right hand, my fingers are naturally curved, not fully, just slightly.. ive seen some bassists with all straight fingers on there plucking hand, i cant get them to all be straight while your playing, the pinky and the ring are curled..

    But yeah, whatever feels comfortable!
  5. westland


    Oct 8, 2004
    Hong Kong
    I looked through my various bass books (I've purchased a surprisingly large number of them in the past year) and almost all favor curved fingers. Maybe Bunny is going for that dropped strap rocker look ... straight fingers might be just the thing for a bass around your knees :p
  6. JohnInghram40hz

    JohnInghram40hz Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2004
    Charleston, WV
    I find that whatever sounds best generally dictates what tech. I use, or how I use it. What might be sonically functional in some scenarios may not be in others, of course. So why not have arsenal or tech.'s and sounds. I find that I have to use a lighter touch ad more amp volume when playing with arched, curved RH fingers, but get more physical volume out of playing with straight fingers. Then you have the issue of decay (i.e. Strong but Quick or Lighter yet Longer). Really good question.
  7. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    With all due respect to Bunny Brunel, how do you get any serious reach without curving your fingers?
  8. jfv


    May 5, 2003
    Portland, OR
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