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The Ergonomics Of The Plucking Hand Techiques

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Fergie Fulton, Mar 24, 2016.


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  1. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Hi all, This is the second part of some video's I shot about the hands and their interactions when playing Bass Guitar.
    This video came in at just under 45 mins, so I have cut it up into 4 short 10min.+ videos into its relevant sections.
    I will post each part in the coming weeks till all four are up on this thread.
    This is not a "teasing" idea, it is simply a 45 minute video is just to long as a single lesson.
    So feel free to subscribe to this thread, ask questions, and interact with the info, remember it is a journey so not all things are covered at once....some become apparent as we progress.

    As I always say, if this video, or any that follow raise any questions, please post them and I will answer if I can.

    Part one sets up some basic body mechanics ideas, and helps explain why our hands work in the way they do.
    Thanks,
    F.

     
    GastonD, LarryBama and fearceol like this.
  2. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Part 2. The video has links to Part 1, and also links to the Fretting Hand Video.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2016
    fearceol and LarryBama like this.
  3. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Part 3, talking now done, we now have a bass on and get down to highlighting what talked about and putting it into practice.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2016
    LarryBama likes this.
  4. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    OK Pt.4 is now in the link below
    Change of plan...there will now be five parts to this series of video's.
    I edited in some of the extra material from the shoot intended for other vides to help give this series better context.
    So enjoy Pt.4 below and the final Pt. 5 will follow.
    Thanks
    F.

     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2016
    LarryBama likes this.
  5. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    OK Part 5 is in the link below.
    As I said feel free to comment, or ask questions about the content.
    The purpose of the series is to raise awareness on how we apply techniques to our set up and playing, as well as the instruments we choose to play.....there are no absolutes in what I talk about, just variations of application to a given situation.

     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2016
    LarryBama likes this.
  6. RBellavance

    RBellavance

    Apr 17, 2013
    Thanks for these, very instructive.
     
  7. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    I don't put a lot of credence into "proper" right hand technique. A novice should learn how to avoid hurting themselves, but at the end of the day, some bass players we all love have what would be considered terrible plucking technique. I'd say in terms of helping you play, learning good left hand technique is more important.
    That's just my opinion.
     
    Fergie Fulton likes this.
  8. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Proper technique needs context, so proper for what? What would be the purpose of a proper technique?

    I like to use the phrase correct technique, and apply it to the situation we find ourselves in...Ok its a word, but I can help correct a players technique, I cannot proper it, I can correct it to make it better, even if slightly, I cannot correct it to make it proper.
    I for one would not slap bass lines in a Blues set, I consider that not to be the correct technique, but I would slap lines in say a pop, jazz, fusion or funk set and it would be the correct thing to do if the music allowed it. But Blues songs do use slap, and sound great for it.
    It was once not proper to play electric bass in jazz, even though it was the correct things to do for many reasons, as it was once not proper to play a five string on a Blues Gig.

    You are right in that learning to avoid injury is the correct way to learn, but that should be built into the correct technique, whether left or right hand.
    The beauty of learning a correct technique is the side effect is lessening the chance of injury, but when we apply the "art" of what accompanies music, then we see the justifications for many bad habits and in-correct techniques applied to playing the bass guitar....but that is cool if we are aware of it.
    All these videos should do is make us aware of how we are applying our techniques to our playing and see if we can tweak what we do to make playing easier and help, as you rightly say, avoid or lessing the chance of injury.
    Cool reading your thought on the subject.
     
  9. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    To avoid the wrist bending and keep my hand straight I do play with an angle, the bass is pointing up and it also not flat on my belly, more on the side.

    It also allow me to not wrap my fretting hand thumb around the neck as I can't do that and keep my agility
     
    Fergie Fulton likes this.
  10. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    I my experience players that have Double Bass, Cello experience tend to have good awareness of their hands positions. (I would say any Classical trained musician of my day would have this, as posture was a big part of early training)
    I put it down to the fact that the teachers I had, and from the experience of others, that the teachers would put me in positions of playability, talk to me about posture when I was playing.
    So sort of "Nice and easy on to Largo please...shoulders....shoulders please....keep that shoulder down and the elbow up please." One of my teachers had a yard stick (a three foot ruler) and would use it to tap you on the head to get your attention, poke you in the back if you slouched, tapped your elbow if it dropped etc. Also used to tap out tempo on the floor, or reach you from the piano without getting up.
    Along with reminding us to breath, head up eyes forward, and all other manner of instructions it could be quite distracting at first, but you learn to take in all this info and still concentrate while playing.....as it turns out all that in itself was a lesson in learning to focus on playing, be aware of what is going on around you, but do not let it distract you....which is what playing in an orchestra is about.
     
  11. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    Yeah I know all of that as I played classical double bass for 2 years in college.

    My electric bass at that time told me that I had a very gentle touch on the bass, more suitable for solo playing than groove playing. It is just not in me to groove and play funk.
     
    Fergie Fulton likes this.
  12. AMp'D.2play

    AMp'D.2play Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    NJ
    Nice work on the entire series, Fergie!

    I angle the neck upwards when I play, and when seated I basically straddle the bass to keep it centered instead of resting it on my right thigh (I'm right-handed). This promotes a straight-ish right forearm/wrist and allows me to keep my right shoulder relaxed instead of raised & tense.

    I started with a fixed thumb on pickup, eventually tried out the moveable anchor & floating thumb, but my current instructor has me with my thumb back on the pickup. It seems like it's what I most naturally gravitate towards, anyway. Adam Nitti has a video on YT where he talks about keeping the thumb 2 strings below the one you're playing. This way, the thumb mutes one string and the plucking finger doing a rest stroke mutes the next higher string. That's something I may explore. It doesn't seem to slow Adam down!

    This past weekend, I went to see a former band. They asked me to sit in for a couple of songs, and their current bassist has a long strap and keeps his bass slung low - not Krist Novoselic low - but much lower than I prefer. Even during 2 easy classic rock songs, my fretting hand was uncomfortable and my mechanics (in both hands) were awkward.
     
    Fergie Fulton likes this.
  13. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Thanks and glad you found it interesting.
    Krist, from what I remember, had good technique for playing that low, straight wrists, good angle on the bass when it was not parallel to him, but I rekon the parallel position would be stage craft.
    His bass lines were not that high intensity and of course a pick helped as far as his plucking hand was concerned, and thumb or the neck helped his fretting hand...cool player and his lines did support the music fully....he understood what he was doing in my book.
     
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