Three Fingers or not...?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by bassduder, Jun 28, 2002.

  1. bassduder


    Jul 30, 2001
    Canada, GF-W
    Although there's been probably countless threads on this subject, i'm really too lazy to go and search through the thousands of threads, but anyways here it goes...Would you get more speed out of using a three finger technique or a two finger technique? I'm just wondering because I mean, you would think that you would get more speed out of a three-finger tehcnique, but pros such as Dave LaRue and Mark Egan (I think?!) have stated that you will get much more speed out of a two finger technique...I want to know your thoughts on it and if you have successfully proved Mr. LaRue or Egan wrong ha

    I mean does it boil down to how many fingers you use or the bassist himself?

    I'll be back *Arnold Scwarchnegger (spelling error) voice*
  2. BassMann2112


    Jun 21, 2002
    It totaly depends on how it works for you. If you can work 3 fingers into your riffs, (if you riff on your bass) ...and be solid and clean with your scales. Do it! I have worked with my 3 fingers for the past 7 years extensivly due to a killer bass player friend of mine that used to play some killer flaminco style riffs. But he would use all 4 and he would use them up and down for the fastest clean speed I have ever heard played on the bass. His name is Dan Buss from the Chicagoland area.
    Thanks Dan
  3. I think if you can get your 3 fingers in a smooth groove it can. I havn't been playing for very long but I tend to use 3 or 4 fingers most of the time. I find if you can get them in a small steady flow, you can go faster
  4. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    I'll wager people are refusing to respond for that reason alone.
  5. bassduder


    Jul 30, 2001
    Canada, GF-W
    Yes that's what I was thinking...but back on subject I find myself weird with little technique things...For example, if I listen to Billy Sheehan, i'll want to practice the three finger tehcnique, but then i'll listen to Jaco and realize that he did it with two fingers and just not practice the three fingers until another time??


    But one thing that really I find hinders my three finger technique is that fact that I don't know the proper positioning of the thumb or fingers when playing. I remember reading about Sheehan and he rest his thumb on his P-pup and bends his fingers at the joint. But then after seing a video of him I saw that he uses somewhat of a floating thumb technique. So yeah I tend to get wrapped up in all these little details.

    Later for now
  6. I personally use 3 fingers about 95% of the time I'm playing. However, I get more speed with 2 fingers, so if speed is a requirement, I switch to using 2.
  7. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    gard can do this cool thing using three fingers where he'll play quick muted notes with his ring and middle fingers and then play with two fingers again.

    yeah, so i'd like to be able to do it...but it's not quite *my style* (whatever that is!).

    i also should work on "one finger per string" I-M-A style finger plucking. whenever i need to do this i say "screw that!" and use my "P" (thumb) instead. i'm a lazy bass-tard.

    so, did i answer your question?

  8. I use 3 all the way in the same order as Billy Sheehan does (a,m,i) and even did so before knowing anything about him except the name

    BTW im quicker at playing fingerstyle than with a pick perhaps because I very very very rarely use picks because I loose them all the time :D
  9. Chudweiser


    Jul 5, 2002
    Okay, here's my thing:
    I'm an upright bass player primarily. For a while,
    I played with 1 and 3 in the right hand on electric and 1 and 2 on upright, seeing as, if you look at your hand, fingers 1 and 3 are more or less even length-wise. the problem was that, if I didn't play for an hour every day on electric bass, my third finger would become weak in comparision to my first, which was being used all the time on upright. So, to consolodate my R.H. technique exercises, I switched to 1 and 2, and I groove so much harder
    now. Long story short: 1 and 2 is good if you double and don't have time to delve deep into electric bass, but I'm sure 1-2-3, if mastered, is better.
  10. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I knew a teacher once who did use all 5...he would slap with his thumb...pop with his index or middle and would strum with his pinky and ring....sometimes all at once....he played 6 was really quite amazing watching this guy.

    I used to play with 3 fingers almost all the time...but then I decided to go back to 2 fingers for the most part and work on having good alternation and balance.I think that 2 fingers CAN achieve greater speed and tone...but if your focused on learning either style Î'm sure you can get the sound and speed you want.

    I'm not thinking straight...I've had to correct 5 spelling errors and I'm sure that there are I'll stop now.
  11. Hi there

    I guess each one of us ,has to "taste" each technic, and see what fits us best.

    Try checking out this

    A Lesson from the great bass player steve digiorgio. that could help estabilishing some finger patterns in your right hand

    A like using the 3 - 2 - 1 - 2 ...and repeat.

    the 3 - 2 - 1 ..naturaly flows, but that middle finger next is hard to "flow" at high speed.

    Just practice if you want to master it.

    When i´m playing really fast i only use two fingers , but the normal grooves i play them with three. I must practice more and more to see if the 3 finger technic achieves higher speed limits.

  12. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    I have not had the need to use more than two fingers in over 30 years.
  13. BassMann2112


    Jun 21, 2002
    It's a fact that your left hand should be able to keep up with your right hand while playing scales or rif's. the cleaner the better sounding. Most bass players I see play out locally can't play any solo type scales, So there is no doubt to me that some of you are here. Keep on practicing :D
    Cheers to all
    Hope you had a great 4th
  14. bassduder


    Jul 30, 2001
    Canada, GF-W
    I'm suprised that this post got so many replies...anywas you can really debate a good argument from either side. I mean when I listen to Chromatic Fantasy by Jaco or Scit Scat Wah by Racer X, you can say/hear that 2 fingers is all you need. But on the other side of the tracks, you can listen to players like John Myung (has a weird 3-finger tech.??), Billy Sheehan, Steve Bailey (I only read he has an amazing RH technique), Gary Willis (same with him:D ) or even Les Claypool and you can see it works for them.

    I guess it all boils down to what works for you or whether you want to practice enough to incoporate a three-finger technique :confused:

    Later for now

    PS - About Myung's RH technique, anyone notice that he will sometimes pluck with his three fingers and then other times with just his middle and index and then sometimes with just his index?? :confused: :confused:
  15. That´s right John Myung changes his finger combinations in his right hand, i´ve seen him pluck with the 3 fingers at the same time , to create a more agressive , raw sound , maybe..

    altough he is great , mt fav bass player , he plays insane fast scales with his 3 fingers with ease.

  16. bassduder


    Jul 30, 2001
    Canada, GF-W
    Is there any reason why Myung uses different finger combinations?

    Also would you be able to tell me some of the different combinations hes uses?

    Another also, ha, does he use different combinations for different rhythms or something like that?
  17. in Myung´s video - Progressive bass concepts (i don´t have it),he explains it. someone who´ has the video told me that he uses the combinations:

    1 - 2 - 3

    (1 index , 2 middle.....)


    1 - 2

    but what i want to know..was if in the 1 2 3 ..when repeated ,he starts it with 1. or go backwards and play it like this 1 2 3 2 1 2 3 ..........

    I´m sure he uses what seems more natural to him, but the 1 2 3 1 2 3 ..for me leaves me with the sensation of constant triplets , i don´t know ...
  18. Actually thats just not correct. He doesn't use that technique I have the video and he uses 3 different combinations...if i remember correctly they are.

    3-2-1.....not 1-2-3
    in repitition he goes 3-2-1-3-2-1-3-2-1

    (this is what everyone considers the "trick" to the 3 finger technique it is much easier for you fingers to go 3-2-1 instead of 1-2-3)

    It isn't constant Triplets as long as you play evenly
    if you accent the 4th notes each time you play a 4 note repitition you will be accenting with a different finger each time so think of these "a's" as the note "a" and a capital one is accented with a stronger strike.
    A-a-a-a-A-a-a-a A-a-a-a-A-a-a-a
    3-2-1-3-2-1-3-2 1-3-2-1-3-2-1-3

    The count is just 1234|1234|1234 etc.
    *pretend those lines are connected I had to space them out because the different sized letters weren't helping them match up.

    He also uses
    1-2 or 2-1 1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2
    (we all know that one)

    And he will also use;
    1-3-1-2...reapeating the pattern the same way as all the others. (this one is a little more difficult and he will use it for more complex arrangments in songs that involve alot of string skipping.

    3 = Ring
    2 = Middle
    1 = Index
  19. Thks dreamjazz . someone has told me wrong then :)

    the 1-3-1-2 combination is the one i´m practicing hard by now , it´s great for string skipping indeed.

    we gotta keep practicing :)