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technique question about playing touch

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by TSanders, Jul 14, 2005.

  1. I recently heard something that I dont recall hearing before. Someone said that if you play too hard, youll choke the note, and it can affect your tone in a bad way.

    Is this true?

    I play with a pretty heavy touch, but Ive been pleased with my tone. Im just wondering if Ill be more pleased with my tone if I lighten my touch.

    Just in case it matters my main setup is: Ernie Ball MusicMan StingRay 5, Gallien-Krueger 1001RB-II, GK Neo212, GK Neo115.
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    I agree with Gary Willis that a lighter touch gives you a fatter tone, but some like to dig in hard and like that sound. YMMV
  3. It depends, I found that a lighter touch also gave me a punchier sound, besides giving me more control and tons more dynamic room in both directions. If you think about the basic physics of the instrument there is only so hard you can strike a string where it will maintain that volume; I equate a really hard touch with almost sfortzando in music- meaning that hard attack followed by a much softer after note, whereas with a lighter touch the note's attack and following sustain will be more homogenous.
  4. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    What they said. I usually play real hard though. It creates a sound that you can't get playing real light. If I need the sound of playing real light, I play real light. It's a challenge to do that onstage when adrenaline is pumping.
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    With all due respect - why are you aking us ?

    Why not just try it and see how you like it?

    It's not like you need anybody's "permission" to play with a lighter touch - just do it!! ;)
  6. Im asking because Im at home, and every peice of gear I own is at my bands rehearsal space. I figured Id get a few opinions here before my weekend gigs.
  7. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    *clap* *clap* *clap* "good answer! good answer!" *clap* *clap* :)
  8. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    There's usually a sweet spot between "soft" and "hard" where the note speaks the best.
  9. Ozzyman


    Jul 21, 2004
    Your note sustains more when you play with a lighter touch. Also, the note will sound more even and fatter. A hard touch will cause the string to loose it's energy quickly and therefore giving it a very punchy, mid/treblier sound. Both have their styles and advantages, i guess. Whatever sounds best to your ear.
    Like when I play gospel, i have it setup so I just barely have to touch the string to get a note. I sounds THICK and RICH
    When I play metal, I get a punchy tone to cut through and give a feeling of aggression.
    And jazz is kinda a mix between the two.
  10. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    Yeah its the same on upright. Depending on your action, of course, there's a point of no return attack-wise where the note gets choked.
  11. junkman510


    May 2, 2005
    Lebanon, PA
    Keep a light touch with you fretting hand so notes stay in tune and to increase your speed. With the picking hand you can use all variations of attack to get the different tones you need and like.
    Also try a pick. I don't use the pointy end of the pic. I use the rounder edge of the pic. With this you can change the angle of the attack and get many different tones. It's like between pick an fingers. With a bit of palm muting you can do incredible things. I was told by a great guitar player about this trick and I use it now for both guitar and bass. It changed the way I play. It takes a while to get used to it but it is the bomb! I still use fingers and slap when it calls for it.

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