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Ties, slurs, slides, notation and fingering...

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by alex-hi78, Nov 14, 2001.


  1. alex-hi78

    alex-hi78 banned.

    Jun 11, 2001
    Honolulu, Hawai`i
    I got my bass a few weeks ago (I remember posting that proud news on the day it happened), and I have managed to master some songs, but I have a few questions that I wonder if someone can help me out with.

    I have no bass teacher, so I'm going to have to ask your help.

    From learning the piano, and learning to read sheet music a while back, I wanted to know if a slur (not racial slur ;-) ) is the same as a slide? Better yet, how would a person notate a slide using sheet music? Would it just be one note behind another? Obviously, if you wanted to go from F# to A on the E string, you could just write 2/5.

    I'm straight on ties.

    And as for fingering... well, I've seen many bassists finger with their index and bird fingers. I do it with my thumb exclusively. Is that weird and should I perhaps try a new method or should I stick with whatever works?

    One other thing: one you all figure out songs, how do you go about it? I've developed something of a methodical mathematical way... I try to figure enough roots and find which scale they sound like then figure out the notes. Sometimes it works. I at least got the beginning of "Let's Groove Tonight" that way. Sometimes it does not work because of naturals. I don't know.

    Thanks!
    Alex
     
  2. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    I was taught that a slur should be played as a hammer-on or pull-off, i.e. you strike the notes with your fretting hand while not doing anything at all with your plucking hand.

    Bird finger, you mean middle finger (F-U finger)? I think you're doing yourself a disservice if you don't try to learn the index-middle fingering. Even better is to learn how to pluck with ALL your plucking hand's fingers (I tried this myself, but my little finger is too small, so I just use T-1-2-3). You will limit yourself in terms of speed and expression if you just use the old-school thumb technique. If you want to become a technically skilled player, I'd advise you to jump off the thumbs-only-route quickly!
    Haven't quite analyzed my approach... I think I just listen and imitate, and keep trying until I get it right.
     
  3. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    Alex-
    Yeah, your notated "Let's Groove Tonight" 'looks' correct...remember, though, that the bass SOUNDS one(1)octave LOWER than WRITTEN.
    In other words, get rid of the ledger-lines & write it out an octave higher ON PAPER! ;)
    (The OPEN "E" will have but ONE ledger-line).
     
  4. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    This may certainly be correct, but I keep coming back to George Porter, Jr, who is pretty much a thumbs only player, and he definitely has expression. Listen to the session work he did on Tori Amos' "Under the Pink" "From the Choirgirl Hotel" and "Little Earthquakes."

    Interestingly enough, I have recently switched to index finger only, and it's increased my speed. Well, the bird finger shows up on occasion, but it's really rare. I know the fundamentalists will probably be outraged by this, but it's working for me so far.
     
  5. Lovebown

    Lovebown

    Jan 6, 2001
    Sweden
    That's pretty weird. I suppose one finger might assure a more consistent attack, but I could definately not play a 16th-note groove with only 1 finger!!

    /lovebown
     
  6. I use my thumb for string anchoring and muting only. i started with the traditional index, middle, index, middle. but ive found that im using my index about 70% of the time now. i just try to let it be natural, if it sounds and feels good, do it. i could NEVER be a thumb only player, i dont have that kind of skill.
     
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I know this has been discussed may times before - but I tend to see everybody agreeing here. I think the point is that there is stuff that is (almost?) impossible to play with one finger - but most normal basslines are quite possible - so I often find that at a gig I am playing maybe 70% of the time with one finger for consistent sound and also because I am thinking about a 100 other things that are going on. ;) I know there are parts where I have to concentrate on speed though and only the alternating finger technique will work. I always try to practice this way because one finger is just too limiting.

    The other thing is that I often find that I am using my thumb and one finger for some lines - so my thumb will play notes on the lower strings B & E and the finger will play the others. This can work very well for patterns that involves a lot of octave shifting - and for things like "Tumbao's" where you're going for a feel and a rounded sound, but speed/technique is not vital. In a lot of "Latin" music the consistency is more important than anything else - to keep people dancing!
     
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    SLOWJAZZ,

    I don't know if I'd call myself a "Fundamentalist", and I'm certainly not "outraged", but I DO think that you'll be sorry at some point if you continue to play with only one finger....in your musical travels, one day you will start to run into material that cannot be played in that manner, and then you'll have to relearn how to play the bass. Just my .02c
     
  9. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I know I know. I've been playing with two fingers for years, but for some reason I have never developed that grace or ease that I seem to have now. Nor, did I ever have the speed. Of course, this doesn't mean that I won't continue to try and work out what works best for me. It's not that I will refuse to use two fingers now, but for some reason this one finger thing is working, but I'll stress the "for now" part.

    Sorry for hijacking the thread.
     
  10. alex-hi78

    alex-hi78 banned.

    Jun 11, 2001
    Honolulu, Hawai`i
    I think I've accidentally started a small firestorm about fingering. Sorry about that. So it seems to me that most, if not everyone here, is advising me to attempt to learn with more than just the thumb. It may be a bit difficult integrating the index and bird (nice word, eh?) fingers. The thumb works well for slower tunes though, or so I think...
     
  11. lost_in_space

    lost_in_space

    Nov 16, 2001
    France
    playing with the thumb (+palm muting) is just what you need to get a deep fat muted sound for -typically- reggae. but it is difficult to play fast or syncopated lines that way.