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String Skipping and Raking...help me out

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by elpelotero, Jun 12, 2007.

  1. elpelotero


    Jun 16, 2006
    I'm having a hard time understand the proper way to play octaves when using a 2 finger right hand style. It becomes very awkward and cumbersome, even on slow passages. What advice can anyone offer to aid this?

    Also, I am finding conflicting things regarding "raking." When I descend on a scale, I use the finger that just finished playing a note to hit the next string, since it is resting on that string already. Is this the proper way to descend on the strings? I find it to be a cleaner method, but as I read more and more about strict alternation in the right hand, I'm finding online lessons call it bad technique. What is the proper way?
  2. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Here's the deal...raking interrupts the momentum of your fingers alternating, and it can set you up to have inaccurate timing. Every time I say this, I always get two comments from the rakers. The first is, "I rake and my timing is perfect." To which I say that it's really easy to lose your timing when you rake, and you have to work much harder to keep your timing together when you rake.

    Then they say that they're using "economy of motion" by raking. But what's more economical...keeping a steady alternating pattern with your two fingers, or interrupting the alternation with a rake and having to restart your alternation? I say alternating.

    The last time we had this discussion, two guys on here decided to try SA for a month and never rake. At the end of the month, they both said they were able to play riffs that they weren't able to play when they raked.

    So now we'll hear from the outraged rakers again, I'm sure. They'll tell us how great they are even though they rake and they'll tell us how Jamerson and Jaco raked so how dare I say it's wrong. Two words: you ain't Jaco.
  3. BrandonBass


    May 29, 2006
    Pfft BS.

    Just because you lose the tempo when you're just starting to sing an play at the same time, you give up and say its impossible cuz you're not jaco? From your comment, it seems like you havent been playin for very long, what you mean you need to be jamerson or jaco to be efficient at raking? thats absolute bull

    I have been playin for a year and have been raking since the day
    I started. It was awkward at first, but it becomes 2nd nature after awhile. Same as playin with say 3fingers or whatever....
  4. rhythmchanges


    May 7, 2007
    @JimmyM : That's three words. ;)
  5. wmcjhi


    Feb 12, 2007
    Tempe, AZ


    I cannot be much help on the subject as I don't rake, but I'll give it a shot for a while and see what I think. Always up for something new, even if I eventually decide it's worthless for me.
    ErikP.Bass likes this.
  6. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    Gentlemen, there is no argument here. These are both techniques currently used by many great players. There is more than 1 way to skin the proverbial cat.
  7. Eublet


    Jul 28, 2006
    If anything is observable it's that the human body is very capable of adapting and becoming very efficient at even the most inefficient forms of doing things, bass playing included.

    As for string skipping, go slow. Very slow. If you can't play it slow, then go slower. Speed is a byproduct of accuracy. Don't substitute the latter for the former.

    I say single finger raking is fine. You can develop the same degree of accuracy and timing using it as you can alternating. It's all a matter of practicing it at manageable tempos first.
    antonio_darko likes this.
  8. Any comments on playing octaves? I am a fairly new bass player, and am also having problems playing a quick alternating root-octave. I find it easier to do this with my thumb and middle finger, but I have difficulty switching from alternating plucking to thumb+M, and back again.
  9. Jeez!

    Well, I'm not "outraged." :) But I do rake. I won't claim to be great though.

    And I'm glad I ain't Jaco or Jamerson, cause they're dead. :)

    I never liked Jaco's stuff much anyway :bag:

    Anyway, back to the OP, raking is just a technique.

    Try different things out, and find what works best for your hands, your style, your sound.

    Some like it, some don't. Some say it's wrong or bad. I say whatever. Some say one finger per fret, others don't. Some say pluck the string into the bass, others say parallel, others say use a pick. Some say wear it high, others low...you get the idea.

    Every idea has it's proponents and detractors. I don't know if there is anything that everyone agrees on.

    Different strokes for different folks (literally!)
  10. gjooro


    Mar 27, 2006
    raking is the way to do.. when i go up I sometimes use legato when going down I rake! Raking is very important to me, I can play much faster that way
  11. the point of techniques is to make music with it. if you can't make music with the technique you're using, the tech is useless. So as long as you're making music the way you make it (if that makes sense) it's fine. However, i do recomend using multiple techniques to keep your options open.
  12. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Wow dude, you have been playing for a whole year? Well dang, you obviously know everything now. My measley 30 years of professional experience can't even compare. I guess I'll go tell Dave LaRue, one of the world's most respected bassists and the owner of Bass Central, that he was full of crap when he ordered me not to rake at the lessons I took from him for 3 years. You've been playing for a whole year, and that counts way more than anything!

    The rest of you, hey, rake if you want to, but I've seen the difference in my playing since I quit raking and I like it. So I'm glad I committed to it rather than sticking to raking and insisting that I was as good as anyone out there when I raked. Those of you say it makes you play faster or better...I disagree completely. Of course, since you all rake and don't strict alternate, you really have nothing to compare it to, do you?
  13. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    I've once tried to stop raking and go for strictly alternating instead, but I gave up after a few days of practicing (not very much I know :bag:). So I chose to continue raking and focus on doing it in time instead. It works well for me.

    I'm not a pro and don't intend to become one either (only as close as possible :)). My technique and timing is good enough for the things I play so I don't really have the inspiration to put a lot of effort in learning the technique when I manage without it.
  14. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Deacon, that is a fair reply. You're not pretending that raking is better. You're saying that you're at a level you are comfortable with and have no career goals as a musician (which makes you way smarter than those of us who did). So have fun with it.
  15. Eublet


    Jul 28, 2006
    I don't mind that Dave LaRue says don't do it. I still think it's fine. Most highly successful and very accomplished players have very different opinions on what is okay and what is not. If it were painfully obvious that non-rakers where so much better than rakers, then the decision would be easier. I don't see that kind of delineation between the two groups. IMO, raking is an after though of one's playing, not something that deserves attention. Now, if you're trying to be a master technician on bass, then perhaps you should worry about such things.
  16. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    Hehe... :) But I don't believe I'm any smarter than the rest of you, actually I think it's the other way around. You followed your dreams and made a living on what you love to do, whereas I took the safe alternative and got an engineering degree. (My skills when I was 18 wouldn't have justified studies in music either, so it was an easy choice to make). I have a very interesting job and a decent salary, but it's far from a passion to me in the way music is. Guess there are pros and cons with both... :meh:
  17. elpelotero


    Jun 16, 2006
    Thanks for the post everyone...keep 'em coming.

    I've always played with alternation, but only started raking in the past week or 2. I noticed there was less "clutter" in my right hand and less noise, which is the reason I liked it. Perhaps I was just alternating incorrectly all this time???

    It just seems to make lots of sense to me to play a string with the finger that's already on it.

    If anyone can find online video lessons demonstrating both things, it'd be much appreciated.
  18. BrandonBass


    May 29, 2006
    alright, i take back that 'you havent been playin for very long part'

    if uve been playin for 30yrs then u must be very most likely a better player than me. Having said that, ever occurred to you that you might hav been even better player if youve raked?

    anyways whatever, to each his own style. i still think raking is the better way to go in THE long run
  19. Fli


    Apr 30, 2007
    Birmingham, AL
    IMO raking can be used effectively but will slow you down if used as a substitute for your usual technique.
    There's one riff I can think of in my band where I use raking and it sounds better than when I alternate. I guess it just depends on the song & situation.
  20. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    Practice. Playing octaves has to be second nature. Best way to learn a technique you can't do. Is to play it slow and then gradually bring up your tempo. First get good; then get fast.

    One of my favorite tunes to perform was/is "The Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin. On bass you have octaves, a "gallop" rhythm, and, in the chorus, fast 16th note scales.

    Just because, you are playing two sequential descending notes on two sequential descending strings does not mean you have to rake. You could play this with one finger by plucking each note individually.

    I only rake when I am playing a very fast passage that is conducive to raking :)two sequential descending notes on two sequential decedent strings).
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