terrible technique!

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by WarwickFRK, Oct 16, 2001.

  1. WarwickFRK

    WarwickFRK Guest

    Oct 14, 2001
    Well I don't know, I do everything wrong. I sometimes do not alternate picking fingers, sometimes I use three two, no order, just whatever. I play messy sometimes, slap like a wacko, etc...

    But I have always got the same response, "You know how to burn up that bass but damn you would piss off an instructor!!!" I just do it how i feel. if its wrong oh well, it sounds good to me.

    does anyone else out there play out of wack like me!?!?!??? i don't know - I've always did it my own way and have been looked at as an idiot (using a single index finger to play 16th notes) but like i said, if it aint broke don't fix it.

    oh yeah, i heard of garry willis and all but someone told me he also doesn't follow many rules, is this right?
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Hey, it's a free instrument, everybody can make his own rules...
    <font size=7>BUT</font size> make sure that your rules aren't just 'easy shortcuts' or bad habits, but rules with a concept and with regard to how the ergonomics of bass playing are.

    Gary Willis is somebody who succeeded in doing that.
  3. furtim


    Dec 12, 1999
    Boston, MA, USA
    JMX is right. Even if you can get by with poor technique, you'd be much better off with a good one. I used to pluck with just my index finger and "got by" damned well playing walking lines. Then my band instructer threw "Respect" at us. I almost made it, but it was a struggle. All I had to do was add in the middle finger consistently, and, BAM! It was effortless. It sounds like you just alternate your style depending on the song, which is pretty much okay. But if what's actually going on is that you make up your technique as you go along, that's not so cool. Sooner or later, you'll hit the wall and hit it HARD. It's best to find one technique which you think is the most versatile and stick with playing that. Alternating index and middle is a good one, and seems to be the most common right hand technique. You don't really have to be absolutely stuck on alternating absolutely every time, though. I often pluck two notes with one finger if the second note is on a lower string, just because that's more efficient and quicker. Technique is there as a guide. It's good to have a very solid technique, but sometimes flexibility is nice, too.
  4. WarwickFRK

    WarwickFRK Guest

    Oct 14, 2001
    I hear ya. I got to practice more on the alternating with the index/middle. I usually do it but sometimes i find myself not. I got to brake bad habits!!!!!!! Speed is sometimes an issue with me...
  5. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    JMX and Futrim are right. I never really had much of a technique until recently, but became unstuck when I tried to play a certain song. Just concentrating on what I was doing improved things a lot. And if you can get by doing what you are now, just think how good you could be if you did refine your technique.
  6. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    Funny thing, i find myself being sloppy on purpose. so i can hear a bunch of clacks and everything when i want to cut thru.....im weird.
  7. Zirc


    May 13, 2001
    Los Angeles
    How the hell can you play 16th notes with one finger? Must be really slow tempo.
  8. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    hey, man, i've been called "functionally illiterate" by the last teacher i had. doesn't hang me up. i can learn what i need to learn when i need to.

    good technique is an important factor only as far as it works towards what you are trying to say musically. just remember that the more techniques that one knows well, the more different flavors of music one can express.
  9. elbass


    Aug 6, 2001
    San Antonio TX
    Well, James Jamerson played with only his index finger (he called it "The Hook) with his middle, ring, and pinky fingers resting on the pickup cover of his Precision Bass, and he played plenty of 16th notes(on really old dead strings, no less). FRK, I agree with the other posts that refining your techinique may give you more versitility. However, if your current technique is giving you what you want, I wouldn't get too hung up about it. Like Jamerson and others have shown, you don't get to be an innovator by following someone else'e rules.
  10. While one finger may suffice for picking 16th notes on one string, how in the world can you execute fast string crossings using only one finger? Seems like a helluva lot of trouble when it would be so much simpler by learning to use another finger.
  11. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    I was suprised how often Geddy Lee only uses his index finger. Hammer-ons and upstrokes with the index take care of a lot. Then again (and I haven't seen footage of this, so who knows) I don't think you could play YYZ without alternate plucking. :)

    Also, from what I've heard Gary Willis didn't so much "not play by the rules" as he did invent his own technique (like JMX indicated). There was another thread on this here a few weeks ago, with links to his pages and some lessons. Looks like what he does, works really well for what he does. If that made sense. It has some bits that are pretty funky (ring finger on the next *highest* string to mute it, and play the first note as you move up), but make sense. Debating whether or not to try to learn it.

    Personally, I started off with no techniqe. Used my middle finger mostly (am I alone in this? It's just longer!). Every now and then I work on my alternate plucking though, and *bam* something gets easier to play. Still, some pieces get the one-finger job (like the Bach I'm working on, go figure).
  12. progplayer


    Nov 7, 2001
    I don't know about u guys but I really do not have a consistent 1-2-1-2-1-2. I do not use my ring finger (but I wish I could) to play. I find myself using my index finger a lot more than my middle sometimes. But I do use both! Its just its not consistent. I play a lot of fast lines and when I do my index takes over, I'm not even thinking about it. It works for me (so far :( ) but I wish I could play better (don't we all)

    i'm index finger dominant! when things get really fast it takes over! is this a really bad habit? because if it is, i'm in deep do-do...

    btw - can using an index only - be considered "downpicking" in guitar playin'? because when u do use just index there is a different "attack" in the tone (it sounds good)...
  13. There is no right technique... If everyone used the same technique then there would be no innovation. But, theres always room to improve your technique.
  14. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    Im with lizerd king, if there was a right way, everyone would sound the same.
  15. I agree that there is no "one, correct" technique. However, I do think that having a poor technique could drastically limit the things you are able to do. IMHO, you never want your technical abilities or deficiencies to dictate what you are able to express musically. (At least that's the ideal--I haven't reached that Utopia yet). :)
  16. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    i alternate between my index and middle finger pretty consistently. I never ever ever use my pinkie and ring finger. I might use just my midle finger if I am doing those accented notes that are really loud, or if I want the notes to sound more seperated and not flow together. But if im playing a steady tempo, my fingers will "walk" back and forth between the index and middle. I also use a pick half the time. I am more concerned about my picking technique than I am with fingerstyle :D

    I hold my pick between the very tips of my thumb and index fingers and most of the picking motion comes from my wrist. I pick the strings close to the bridge and use mostly alternate strokes. I cant do fast downstrokes, but I used to be able to when I first started playing. I gotta get back to that.
  17. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    But if he can play the way he described and still play what he wants to play, I wouldn't say his technique is "poor." Just because he doesn't play the way that you play, doesn't mean he has a poor technique, right?

    Sounds to me like most of you think that having a "good technique," means following the rules exactly as they've been "written."