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The secret to playing with a lighter touch

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Joe Nerve, Feb 23, 2014.

  1. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    I'm a pretty aggressive player, and often wish I had a much lighter touch, as I know how much more can be done with that. I've made some progress over the years but today I discovered an instant, 2 step plan, that works better than anything I could ever imagine.

    1. Take the pointer of your right hand (or whichever hand you pick with), and place the tip of it in doorway.

    2. Slam the door.

    Absolutely amazing. Have a rehearsal this wednesday. Have an important gig this friday. New technique is going to be awesome. Slight chance I may have to go to emergency tomorrow to get a hole drilled in my nail. I heard if it swells too much, it's counterproductive. We'll see I guess.
  2. That's some funny sh*t Joe. As I live in northern Ontario Canada, cold and dry weather lead to true cracks in my my fingers which result in pain and, subsequently, lighter touch. Beats the hell out of your technique in my books.;)

  3. ¿¿ I don't understand.... can u make a video of it pls??

    ..... I prefer steel wool splinters personally - they're not as attention-seeking as bruising and bandages.
  4. Violen

    Violen Instructor in the Vance/Rabbath Method Banned

    Apr 19, 2004
    Kansas City Metro Area
    Endorsing Artist: Conklin Guitars (Basses)
    A good compressor is way less painful.
  5. BAce


    Jul 31, 2012
    I find arthritis works well too.
    But seriously, the best way I've found to keep a light touch is to turn the amp up really loud. Then your forced to have a light touch or you'll drown out the guitars.....which come to think about it may not be such a bad thing.....
  6. Hevy T

    Hevy T Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2011
    Lethbridge, AB Canada
    My favorites are Arthritis with ingrown fingernails... wow I can tickle te strings and still get the pain I used to get when I was playing Heavy Metal 25 years ago :)
  7. I did something similar with a log while working at a sawmill.
    6 months of not using your right index finger really changes the way you play.
  8. Is an interior or exterior door better? Will a car door work, as well?

    What is the best door to slam your hand in for metal?
  9. J Bass II

    J Bass II

    Jan 19, 2014
    DON'T USE A CAR DOOR !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  10. dieselbass


    May 15, 2010
    Davis CA
    Miscue with a 3 lb millers hammer, a punch and a brake drum gave me a lighter touch.

    A hot paperclip will melt through the nail and provide a satisfying geyser of blood. Hurts less then the small drill method.
  11. eddododo


    Apr 7, 2010
    im going to go ahead and make a public service announcement:
    compressors should NEVER be used to address a deficit of technique

    that being said

    My buddy is a new-ish drummer, ive watched him make incredible progress while he goes through school- the mature attributes lacked, specifically his timing and clock.

    One night he played a gig with a sprained wrist, and his timing, control, tempo, and style were all 100% ON POINT
  12. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    It's funny, but back when I was about 19, I walked off a 20ft cliff in the middle of the night on a camping trip and broke my hand. I had a cast on it for a couple months. Up until that point, I was having trouble with my technique and utilizing all of the fingers on my fretting hand (particularly my pinky), still being a new player. I would slowly play notes up and down the neck with my middle finger poking out of the cast out of boredom and longing to play my bass. When the cast finally came off, I could suddenly use all of my fretting fingers, including pinky, no problem. It was the weirdest thing. Almost like the two months and the way it healed had suddenly allowed my hand to make the stretch more effortlessly.
  13. I was able to do 3 fingered triplets like nobody's business, I also held a pick with my thumb and middle finger for about 2 years :meh: not sure when I went back to normal:confused:
  14. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    A compressor should not be abused to make up for bad technique, but it certainly gets you there. turn the amp real loud, set the compressor to limit at the desired max vol, which should not be much as the amp is real loud. now, a light touch will be as loud as a heavier one. So when digging in lost it's benefit, you'll do so less and less.
    This way, the comp acts as training wheels and you can leave it out of your setup when you settled in.
  15. eddododo


    Apr 7, 2010
    ^now THAT'S a great idea

    I have used compression for the light touch, but what i do is basically set the compressor to eat-up things like bumping a bass on a chair with 5 open strings, and rely on technique for the rest
  16. philvanv

    philvanv Gerbil Turds, Kitsap County Turd Core

    Jul 2, 2012
    and at the bottom it says thank you, and now you can shag off
    Very true about the hot paperclip. And for those with metal slivers.
    To get a metsl sliver/shaving out of the skin get a fine metal or alum file lightly run it over the sliver backwards, it works very well for us at the shop....
  17. ghostfather


    Oct 26, 2013
    i've read that safe-crackers would sand their fingertips to increase sensitivity (and obliterate their fingerprints).

    could work for bass.
  18. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Turn your amp up too loud, and play with someone who gets upset when bass is too loud. Make sure you're married to that person.

    That will lighten up your touch quite a bit.
  19. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly. Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    Sez you! Any box that makes me sound better stays on!:D
  20. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    An exercise where you make a fist and then open the fingers all the way straight is good. I find light touch requires curled fingers and this exercise develops strength and control in all the finger joints. Heavy touch (for me anyway) has my fingers more or less straight all the time and hammering at the strings (like Ox). ymmv.