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three finger question

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by d8g3jdh, Nov 7, 2005.

  1. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    Is it bad technique to only use three fingers at a certain time? Like, during quicker triplets? or should i be consistent?
  2. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Don't know. What do you think?
  3. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Yeah, that's more of a philosophical question than a practical one.
  4. I assume you're talking about the right hand? (If you're right handed that is.) I think it's basically a stylistic thing. I've seen an instructional video by Gary Willis (the name of the video escapes me) in which he documents his 3 finger method. I've allways used 2, as that's what I've been taught. The only thing I would be careful of is to not let your 3 finger approach hinder your 2 finger alternating.
  5. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    Whatever works well for you cannot be construed as bad by someone else. ;)
  6. I agree. What ever works for you in a particular musical situation would be the right way for you.
  7. nah i do the same thing, two fingers for everythin exept when im throwin in a few triplets or playin some maiden!

    Think about it triplets= a group of three notes, makes sense to use three fingers.

    Now if only i had 32 fingers :smug:
  8. NoisemakerD-Lux


    Oct 12, 2004
    When I'm playing with fingers (I'm a big pick fan), I constantly switch between the 2 finger approach for the slow or medium speed lines and the 3/4 finger technique for the really fast stuff (Sheehan / guitar shredder speed).

    Actually, even for the slow stuff, I'll sometimes do 3/4 fingers... great for ultra quick dynamics.

    You could say I'm a Stanley Clarke / Billy Sheehan hybrid for finger style.

    So..... switch away and switch often. From one lick to the next.
  9. I currently alternate between my index and middle finger on my right hand and am currently working on applying 3 fingers into my work (Excluding my thumb for the occasional slap; yes I know what you're going to say.). I'd do with what you feel comfortable with if it's effective, because why sacrifice what works? I am not saying not to practice applying that, quite the contrary. Just don't sacrifice your rhythm.

    By the way, do you have any suggestions when playing with 3 fingers? When I try to play with my (What I would assume would be kind of like the ring finger of the right hand *Shrug*) it seems incredibly weak and quite awkward. And when I try to incorporate it into anything outside of exercises I fall back to alternating between my index and middle fingers. Any suggestions? I am not the best of bassists so please, just constrictive criticism. :bag:
  10. Funkateer


    Jul 5, 2002
    Los Gatos, CA
    IMHO, the best reason to incorporate using the third finger of your right hand ("a" to classical guitar types) is that when you play figures that skip a string, your hand doesn't have to move as far. Having two choices for alternating fingers (i and m, and m and a) makes a lot of this string skipping stuff a LOT easier.

    For example: Try playing a 16th note octave ostinato: first two 1/16s low note, second two high note. i.e. Bb on E string, and Bb on D string. Pretty awkward, right? Now try it with i-m on the low note and a-m on the high note. A lot easier; at least for me.
  11. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Three-finger technique has been kind of a frustration to me because I think it can be really useful for certain things, but I really dislike the fact that my tone changes a lot when trying to use it. I can play some lines with three fingers (not Billy Sheehan stuff, of course) but I always end going back to two. The best example of this situation for me is "The Trooper". I can play it with three fingers and it's a lot more comfortable, but the tone I get is notably less powerful that way, so I prefer playing it with two. It's a matter of practice for sure, but I've tried to improve this with no satisfying results.
  12. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    I would recommend you always practice with 3fingers...

    my first attempts using 3fingers went pretty bad because i usually used 3fingers sometimes and 2fingers sometimes and never really became good using 3fingers... now i have dropped the 2finger technique(which now feels awkward to use) and i'm very happy... i dont see any disadvantage using 3fingers.
  13. How long did it take you to develop those skills? I JUST GOT MY 6 STRING BASS :p :p ! So I expect to do it alot more. I've been practing some standard scales with the GDAE format with the 3 finger technique (As I don't know any 'real' 6 string scales; Recommendations would be great. But the reason i'm practicing 3 fingers is to be more fluid with my new 6 string). I'm having trouble incorporating as powerful a tone as compared to 2 fingers. And besides some areas in which I wish to incorporate triplets, I really feel that a 2 finger technique is more efficient but in itself I would think that it would be counter productive to improving my 3 finger technique :(


    Edit: Eik! sorry missed your post Gomez. I totally agree with you

    You're still my hero for responding to my tapping technique!
  14. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

  15. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Instead of trying to incorporate the third finger right away, try doing what classical guitarists do: Practice two finger technique in every possible finger combination: Index - middle, Index - ring and Middle - ring.

    Practice all your exercises using those three combinations. That way, you'll have an easier time keeping a consisent attack when you use the three at once and be better coordinated too.