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Tips on gliding across strings with picking hand.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by InfidelicBass, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. InfidelicBass


    Dec 2, 2011
    Howdy, i've been playing Bass for a bit now and i've found myself digging into the strings alot and my fingers end up getting caught. I've been trying to do lighter touches and so on but it still ends up happening.

    The piece of music i'm learning is quite fast and i would love some tips on gliding over the strings. Are there any exercises i can do? any tips with a metronome? anything would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.
  2. There's a wealth of sites and instruction books available on this subject. Start with a search on TB......and search on youtube.com also.

    On a personal note, when I get to digging in, it's usually the attack angle of my fingers. I get my shoulder and elbow back up where they belong instead of letting my wrist drape over the guitar (pure laziness), and things are right again.

    Another thought: Gain up with a lighter touch. Playing with your gain too low causes one to dig in to get more volume. With the gain up, you can ease up and get the same sound level with less effort. Remember, develop "your sound" with your fingers, not just with your control knobs.
  3. maxiegrant

    maxiegrant Bassist in Transition

    Nov 26, 2007
    Sellersburg, IN
    I found my degree of right-hand control improved appreciably when I practiced just playing steadily and as fast as was comfortable on one note, just droning away. I would see how long I could keep a drone on E going, then I would move to A, or fret a note. I would drone on that note as long as I could until my hand got tired, then rest with some left-hand work, then go back to the drone. Do this for 20-30 minutes a day and make sure you get every string in. It's muscle memory learning exactly where the string is and how to accurately hit it every time.

    THen I started doing arrapegio chords across all four strings. I had a little riff I was doing with a b minor chord (7997) up to a d major (10 12 12 11), down to an F# (2442) and so on. After I did the above exercise for awhile, three or four days, I came back to this arrapegio thing and it was much cleaner.

    As you are droning on that single note, vary your attack angle. See how many different ways there are to hit that string and make it respond differently. You can swipe it with the tip of the finger, or you can get the meat of the finger into it, and so on.

    Also, I play with index and middle fingers. Try wiggling the tip of just one plucking finger back and forth to make your drone. It is a bit awkward at first but it improves articulation dramatically. Think of how players like Jamerson and Geddy Lee do very fast runs with just one finger. I tried that kind of thing with both fingers and while it isn't my technique (yet) it helps me out tremendously with my two-fingered technique when I only pluck in one direction.
  4. InfidelicBass


    Dec 2, 2011
    Thank you for your tips they've helped quite a bit, especially the gain issue, ive been playing with very little gain.

    I appreciate it.
  5. Buxtehude


    Jan 5, 2011
    Something I have tried that works. When you practise fast lines try to play them softly. Sometimes our mind equates fast lines with loud playing and really digging in. You see it so often at gigs and on clips. Learning to play fast lines with a soft touch will disconnect these two elements and result on more facility for playing fast. When you have good facility in speed you can then decide what the music needs in terms of dynamics.

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