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Three Fingers Rigth Hand Technique

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by jaimeloth, Jul 31, 2000.

  1. jaimeloth


    Jul 12, 2000
    Well boys, now I puted the rigth title to this post.
    My problem is that I've been playing the bass for about three years and I have a good left hand technique and I always used my pointer and middle on the rigth hand, but now I want to expand my horizons with the ring finger and I have no exercises for the correct finger coordination. Sometimes I use the ring finger to make triplets like Steve Harris but that's all I can do.
    Any one can help me please? Thank you very much. confused.
  2. msaygilar

    msaygilar Guest

    Apr 18, 2000
  3. mljohn


    Jul 16, 2000
    I also incorporate three fingers into my playing sometimes. I usually do it for the difference in the attack. My index being the strongest with the hardest attack, middle finger next, and the ring finger for a softer attack.

    I also double up fingers for a punchier attack. Using three fingers is also great when playing chords. I find the chords ring through much clearer than strumming.

    I haven't found any techniques books on using three fingers either. I guess not many teachers are willing to break the mold of the two finger style. Maybe we should write a book. biggrin.

    Sorry for not being any help with your question.
  4. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Also see the lessons at www.garywillis.com. The guy's playing is a testament to the benefits of the three finger approach.
  5. theJello


    Apr 12, 2000
    Dont forget James Jamerson used only his index finger. 3 fingers is not going to make you better. Maybe it will, maybe it wont. It depends. Gary Willis naturally played with 3 fingers. Maybe you should do whats natural. Gary Willis 3 finger tech is kind of a hybrid. If he is playing on one string he will just alternate 1 2. So its nothing like the Billy Sheehan 3 finger playing style where he alternates all 3 on just one string. Hope that makes sense. Also, contrary to popular belief Steve Harris only uses 2 fingers. Quote me on that.I have read it in several interviews that cover this. People just assume he uses 3 fingers. Hell, some think he uses 4. Sorry thats a BIG pet pieve of mine. STEVE HARRIS USES 2 FINGERS DAMNIT. Heh.J/K
    The reason people think he uses so many is the sympathetic
    movement of the other fingers. It just appear he is using all 3 or 4. I tried 3 fingers for awhile. It doesnt work for me. In the long run there are advantages to playing with 2 fingers. One being is a more consistant sound. Notice how each pluck creates a slightly different timbre? Its even more so with 3 fingers. Do whats natural. I think if you have to force it, you work on it for a year and its still not up to pare(sp?) dont do it. Just my 2 cents.
    This is a pretty controversial issue but I think it comes down to what right for the individual.
  6. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    please lets not devolve into ignorance. jello's point is that no one ever should strive to attain new skills and to reach beyond what is comfortable. well....BS!

    three fingers is simply better than two and certainly better than one. if james jamerson and steve harris used three then they might have found new ways to enhance their playing.

    no matter what stage you are at with your bass playing ability, never stop striving for more talent, skills, and creative ideas. if i was a multi-millionaire playing huge stadiums i might stop too but you know what....you aint and i aint. so lets keep reaching for the next plateau.

    PS: i use three fingers when needed for various types of chordal progressions and driving lines.
  7. theJello


    Apr 12, 2000
    BREWER.DUDE.Read my post more carefully before calling people ignorant. I never said 3 fingers was not valid. I thought I got it across clearly that everybody is different and different things work for different people. If that means using 4 fingers in the right hand thats fine. Its up to the individual to figure out what is right for them. Nobody else can say. Your statement shows COMPLETE ignorance. Your words as follows-3 fingers is better than 2 and certainly better than 1. Thats a bold statement. Funny how you equate the number of fingers used in the right hand to ability. Now thats BS. I would love to see how you would explain that to Rocco Prestia, Jaco, Stan, Jamerson, Geddy Lee,John Paul Jones, Jeff Berlin, blah blah and on and on. Gimme a freakin break. I tried a 3 finger technique for a long time and it didnt work for me. Does that mean it wont work for anybody? I dont see how you drew the conclusion that I think no one should try to improve their ability or try new things. My point is that if do try it for sometime and its not happening maybe its not for you. Brewer, in your world 3 fingers might be better than 2. If you think that applies to everybody than you are certainly out of touch with reality.
  8. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    jello, i am not saying that every 3 finger user is better than every 2 finger user. i am saying that if someone uses 1 finger really well then if that same person practiced and learned how to incorporate a second finger then that person would be even better than he/she was before.

    i use 1 finger sometimes (usually for pounding single quarter notes), 2 fingers most of time, and 3 fingers when it makes the riff more solid.

    i definately dont want to argue about who is most ignorant cuz from what i hear its bliss, but I am saying that at whatever talent level a person is at they would be better able to explore musical possibilities with more tools to use.
  9. Well... getting back to the original question. I use three fingers on the right hand and the occasional thumb for plucking. I found that coordination comes with extra strength in the finger and I have an unusual way to build awesome strength. Ready...it's bowling! Don't laugh, I've bowled semi-professionally for years and have developed the strength in my right hand that will crush bones. With that strength comes a bit more seperation in the sypathetic movements of the ring finger with the middle finger. What I think you'll find is that the use of the ring finger will be more of a instinctive action rather than a planned one. It will depend on the line being played. Sometimes I will play with just the two fingers until a particular passage and then the third just kicks in all on it's own. I think it probably has something to do with re-wiring the brain. Once you've used the third finger for awhile, it will probably become instinctive for you too.
  10. electricdemon3


    Jul 28, 2000
    Three is cool but if you want to do it the most energy efficiant way, use all four! I have for about 3 months now. I have finally gotten to the speed I get with two but I feel all this potential engergy just waiting to come out. I just need to get more coordinated. What I like to do is just alternate by starting with the first finger then going on to the middle, then the ring, and finally pinky. Then I start over with the first and repeat the pattern. You could start with the pinky and go the other way since that is a more natural movement for some people but I notice that you can have more control staring with the first finger. Speed will develop later.
  11. Chop


    Dec 12, 1999
    Demon--Did you get the three finger technique down before going to 4? If so, did you get the speed that succeded the 2 finger technique.

    By the way..there is an article on Harmony Central about the 'Spider technique' which outlines how to learn to use 4.
  12. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    The Harmony Central lessons seem to be pretty good. It just takes practice.

    Whether 4 is better than 3 is better than 2 is better than 1 is a moot point. Jamerson's attack with one finger gives a sound that is harder, IMO, to replicate with two than he did with one. So which is "better"?... for JJ, possibly one, for you...who knows.

    I use thumb and index and middle fingers. Would I be better off with three or four fingers?... possibly, if I wanted to play like Gary W. Since I can play faster than I need to with the two fingers and don't want to play Bop solos, I guess I'm cool with what I'm doing. I'd rather listen to Gary play than play like him, if that makes sense.
  13. electricdemon3


    Jul 28, 2000
    I personally never tried to master 3. I tried 3 for a few days but that was when I got the idea to use 4. I was like hey if im gonna use more fingers to be more efficient, why not just use them all. I have not exceeded the speed of 2 yet but right now I am working on coordination and strength. The whole arguement about the one finger stuff being more consistant is valid but soon your pinky and ring fingers get strong enough to get a pretty even tone. It just takes practice to build up your muscles, kind of like working out. I play pretty hard. I like to pull the strings towards the body so that they snap on the fretboard and make a slap like percussive sound. I have gotten to the point where each finger sounds even. No one way to pick the bass is better than another. Each way has its advantages and disadvantages. The most important thing is to find a way to suit your style and to not let others tell you what is a better technique.
    Guiseppe likes this.

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