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The Middle Finger Being Problematic lol

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Currens1, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. Currens1


    Oct 30, 2012
    Hello fellow bass players,

    I'll be half-silly first and say that the using middle finger is giving me problems :D

    I played piano as a boy and played guitar as a teenager. I have since become interested in playing bass and have been playing for a few months - listening to music, watching others play bass, and sometimes using books and sheet music (no tab!). I routinely play scales when practicing and play old country/rock when playing with a friend. I am considering lessons in the near future.

    I routinely find that Fingers #1, #3, and oddly enough #4 works well when playing but finger #2 doesn't seem to want to be in the action and is never there to land on a note unless i put a concious effort to do so. My only reasoning for this is from the habit of playing barre and power chords on the guitar when I was younger. Does anyone else have this problem where one finger just doesn't want to be involved? Does anyone have any suggestions?

    Happy Holidays!
  2. jordak


    Apr 7, 2011
    Queens, NY
    practice playing major scales in the 2,4,1,2,4,1,3,4 shape?
  3. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    I take for granted it's your fretting hand.

    I think we all, at one time or the other, had things that did not want to work as they should. Thank goodness practice usually overcomes the problem. Or we find a way around the problem.

    You mentioned barre chords - boy, did I have a problem with barre chords - still can not get a good crisp barre, on my rhythm guitar, but, I found I could make music with out the barre.

    Like has already been said - scales and more scales, until that middle finger gets the message.

    I live by the Major Scale Box. Notice the box occupies four frets, one for each finger.

    G|---9---|-------|--10---|--11--| 1st string
    E|-------|---R---|-------|---2---|4th string

    Want the C major scale put the R on the 4th string 8th fret and play the pattern.
    Want the G major scale put the R on the 4th string 3rd fret and play the pattern. The correct notes fall automatically under your fingers.

    • Major Scale = R-2-3-4-5-6-7 Home base
    • Major Pentatonic = R-2-3-5-6 Leave out the 4 & 7
    • Natural Minor Scale = R-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7 Major scale with the 3, 6 & 7 flatted.
    • Minor Pentatonic = R-b3-4-5-b7 Leave out the 2 & 6.
    • Blues = R-b3-4-b5-5-b7 Minor pentatonic with the blue note b5 added.
    • Harmonic Minor Scale = R-2-b3-4-5-b6-7 Natural minor with a natural 7.
    • Melodic Minor Scale = R-2-b3-4-5-6-7 Major scale with a b3.

    Four notes then a pause, gotta get the pauses in there - that is how licks are born.

    That should give you enough so "doing" scales does not get all that boring.
  4. wrench45us


    Aug 26, 2011
    Your previous guitar chord patterns probbaly has something to do with it.
    A lot of chord patterns don't have much for the middle finger to do.
    and a lot of blues and modal patterns on guitar work 1 and 3 and again leave out the 2.

    But you are in luck as one of the two major scale fingering patterns for bass does start on the 2 )see above) , the other on the 4.
  5. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    Basic logic with anything including playing a musical instrument is everything is going to feel unnatural the first time. That's why we practice. If you spend enough time forcing your middle finger to work in patterns eventually it will go on autopilot and you will do it without thinking about it. Eventually the "Unnatural" becomes "Natural".

    I read an interview with some young Neo-Prog-Metal Guitarist and he likened practicing especially difficult music to playing a video game. Playing that passage like you are trying to beat a level in a video game you probably aren't going to beat that level the first time. Sometimes you progress beyond that level and find there was something you needed at that level that you didn't get so you have to go back and get it.

    Sounds like practicing and learning music to me. We practice technique scales etc. that we find difficult until they become easy. We might move ahead and figure out that we did something wrong and have to go back and correct it. Or we learn new uses for things we already know (how about playing those "Tired" old pentatonic box licks off from different chord tones/extensions) so we have to go back and redo them. If you think of it like playing a game it really becomes more fun.

    Rev J
  6. As was said practising scales, also try dominant 7th arpeggios fingering for say G7 would be middle finger 3rd fret E string, index finger 2nd fret A string, pinky 5th fret A string, middle finger 3rd fret D string (G,B,D,F) running these up and down the neck is good practice also working across G7 to C7 to G#7 to C#7 to A7 to D7, going up the neck to say C 15th fret A string or just the 12th fret to start off with. The idea really is to get used to leading paterns with your middle finger, not only the index finger that would be from what you did on guitar. Hope this helps.
  7. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    Yeah, I didn't use my pinky much at first. Then I got used to it and I use it all the time. Four fingers are much better than three.