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Synchronizing fingers to left hand

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by joeyzaza, Feb 15, 2006.

  1. joeyzaza


    Dec 16, 2005
    Since I picked up bass while already being good on guitar, I have lightning fast left hand fingers with good dexterity, but since I don't use a pick like I do on guitar, my fingers have to do loads of work to catch up with my left hand. I so far use my first and second finger, haven't used my third yet, and I tried it, but it's a little difficult. I can play as fast as billy sheehan for instance, and I'd like to be able to play that fast with both my hands in sync, I can do it with legato, but it sounds lame on bass. So I have to work on just my picking fingers pretty much, but my 2 fingers I use right now are getting quicker, however, will I ever be able to catch up with my hand with just 2, or will I need to use my third aswell, what do you recommend? I can stick with 2 and just keep practicing, or can introduce my third, and that's going to take a few weeks of just getting used to, and building some callus, but that would speed up the process if I used it, no? What should I do?
  2. seventhson

    seventhson Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    why not use a pick if you're already comfy with it from playing the guitar?
  3. joeyzaza


    Dec 16, 2005
    because I hate a pick sound on bass, if I could only use a pick on bass, I wouldn't play it.
  4. seventhson

    seventhson Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    that's cool...i totally respect that. just didn't want you to avoid using a pick because you felt it wasn't a "legit" way to play the bass.
  5. The Clap

    The Clap

    Jan 5, 2004
    Scottsdale, AZ
    With proper practice, yes. I'd suggest (a lot of) slow, focused, perfect practice. Also, working on your ability to play very short, staccato notes will help you to coordinate your hands. Try to cop the feel of Jaco Pastorius' tune "Speak Like a Child" for an example. I also came from a guitar background when I first started on bass, and had a very similar problem with my hands being at different proficiencies. It'll take a while for your right hand fingers to really obey your inner musician though, so don't get discouraged if it feels like your hands are still clumsy a few months (years, really) down the road.
  6. BasStefan

    BasStefan Guest

    i have the same problem, but its getting better now. just with a lot of practice
  7. Kroy


    Jan 19, 2006
    Another alternative, you may or may not know about, is felt picks. They tend to less 'clicky' than hard plastic picks and sound a little more like fingers. Just a suggestion though, I prefer for my students to play with their fingers and the ones that insist on using picks I still make them practice without them just so they're more versitile. The felt pick could be a happy medium while you get your right hand caught up with your left.
  8. agfrag

    agfrag Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2006
    Novi, Mi
    joeyzaza, I have been playing bass for a wee bit over 30 years, and this left right coordination thing has been something I struggled with for ever. Yes, my left hand too is quicker than my right. And I have always felt my stupid right hand was on crutches or something! Just in the past couple of weeks or so, I finally decided I'd had enough, and it also dawned on me that I had lacked a plan. While I had tried a gazillion things individually to improve coordination (which is absolutely necessary not just for speed, but for true, perfect Jaco and Rocco-like groove), I had never really planned it out, like my retirement finances, my workout, a trip to the east coast...like in real detail.
    So I did about two weeks ago. My "plan" consists of certain strings of 5 minute exercises to a metronome (don't leave home without it!), left-right hand table finger tapping play, bongo playing (sounds corny, but it helps) and...juggling.

    Anyway, as weird as this all sounds, it all involves right left synapse path burning, and for the first time...in a long time...I think I am actually beginning to move the needle on my speed and groove ability. My goal...Jaco's Havona, without scuffing up. Wish me luck, and give it a shot.
  9. Dragonlord

    Dragonlord Rocks Around The Glocks

    Aug 30, 2000
    Greece, Europe
    If you don't, use a light touch on your right. If you can clearly hear what you play when unplugged, then you're playing too hard! This will keep you back with speed. I've been there. Use a very light touch, no tension at all and let the amp do the work.
  10. Wes Whitmore

    Wes Whitmore

    Mar 10, 2003
    Columbus, OH
    LIght plucking touch, or fretting touch?