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to pluck or not to pluck

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Marc Piane, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    So I was watching this (for the millionth time) and was suddenly struck by how many notes he DOESN'T pluck (ie hammer ons/pull offs). So as an experiment I picked up my bass and played through Autumn Leaves a little and noticed that I plucked almost every note. So the question for the membership... where do you fall in the spectrum?
  2. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Ok so I did a little more research.

    I'm curious how much cats around here use hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, etc 'round here.
  3. I do quite a few slides (I've been listening to lots of Red, it happens) but I've never been able to use hammer ons or pull offs effectively. The only time I ever seem to incorporate them is in the middle of a fast run. Otherwise, they're not loud or forcefull enough to keep up with my pizz notes.
  4. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    great collection of DB solo's!

    I have the Marc Johnson Concept for bass soloing book. On the cd that comes with the book he uses hammer-ons, pull offs and slides all the time. Lots of times combining those three.
    Many times he only picks 2 or 3 notes out of 8 or so, the rest is all left hand work. Sounds much more fluent that way.
  5. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    That's what I was really keying into about Drew's thing. The lines have a certain kind of contour that seems more 'hornlike'.

    I was messing around with it in my own playing when I was practicing last night. I noticed that I do it a little naturally but I have never put conscious thought into where and when. Kinda opens my ears a bit and makes me more aware of my lines.

    Btw the iPhone app makes mobile TB so much easier. I post from my iPhone about half the time and the online site is a real dog on here. Kudos on the app.
  6. Nathan Parker

    Nathan Parker

    Oct 10, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I tend to pluck all the notes, ala Mingus, I suppose. It just seems to work the best for what I'm trying to do.

    I think if I was going for a more modern sound, I'd wanna be somewhat in the middle, using mainly plucking, but accentuating it with hammer-ons and the like. Of all the things you posted, I'd say the Mingus is the most to my taste, then the Mcbride clip. Of course, I wouldn't mind sounding like any of those guys, as they are all pretty bad ass.
  7. Thanks for the great You Tubes Marc. Inspiring! One things for sure they are all masterful players with a great sense of time. Alos shows that there are many conceptions that work. Play outside, play inside, be melodic, use lots of finger patterns outside the chord structure, slide, gliss, slur, hammer-on, hammer-off; it can all work if your very accomplished! Oh yeah I think we all can agree that all of these great bass soloists are also great compers first and foremost.
  8. -Sam-


    Oct 5, 2005
    Sydney, Australia
    Mingus. What a king
  9. Michael Glynn

    Michael Glynn

    Feb 25, 2004
    I tend to hammer on, pull-off, gliss, etc. a fair amount. In fast runs it can make your life easier, and more importantly, as you mentioned, it can make lines more horn-like and give some variety to your sound and articulation.

    I think listening to horn players can be helpful in learning how and where to use these techniques. Obviously horn players don't tongue every single note, they slur many of them together. Which notes are slurred and which are more strongly articulated is an important part of the swing feel for horn players.

    Red Mitchell is another great bassist for this kind of thing.
  10. Stilettoprefer


    Nov 26, 2010
    I find myself using slides a lot when I'm messing around.

    Unless it's a really fast jazz piece I generally don't use hammer-ons because the volume is nothing compared to my plucking. If the piece is too fast, I wimp out and grab my electric and hammer ons are acceptable on it since I have the muscles for upright

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