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To rake... or not to rake?

Discussion in 'Ask Todd Johnson [Archived]' started by Tupac, Apr 4, 2012.

  1. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    Hi! What is your opinion on raking? Many people have told me that it's sloppy technique and a bad habit... but I don't see why. I can't imagine playing faster licks like YYZ or Panic Attack without it, and it's very consistent and prevents fatigue. Should I keep at it, scrap it completely, or attempt to learn both?
  2. I too use this technique and am very interested in Todd's thoughts on this post.
  3. Todd Johnson

    Todd Johnson

    Sep 27, 2005
    Anthem, AZ
    Yes, rake!!!mI'm not recommending raking excludively, but YES rake by all means.

    It's a technique ....an articulation....besides its not an always or never proposition. Make sense??

    Who on earth is telling you this??? Ah...I don't need to know.

    Play slow....have fun!!!! :)
  4. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    Thanks :)
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Um...hi there.


    So when I took lessons off Dave LaRue in the 90's, first thing he told me was no raking in class. Took me a couple weeks to adapt, but strict alternation made things much easier that were really hard for me to play, such as fast passages with a lot of 16th notes in a row. Once that happened, I dropped raking from my vocabulary and sung the praises of strict alternation. And then I got into a lot of arguments about it on here.

    I finally came around to the idea that not everyone is looking to play 16th notes in a row really fast, and that if you rake and it's in time and it sounds good, then it's a good thing. But I still believe that mastering strict alternation made the single biggest difference in my abilities as a bassist, and even if they love to rake and have no intentions of stopping it, I really believe that it behooves other bassists to master SA, if for no other reason than to see what you're missing so you have a basis of comparison. Might have been wrong about being militantly against raking, but SA has a lot of benefits that those who don't do it don't realize.

    I don't think that's so bad, is it? ;)
  6. Work on being able to do both? It's never bad to be able to do things differently.
  7. WiflB


    Aug 24, 2013
    When you say 'raking' do you mean using the same finger to play a note on the G string followed by a note on the D string?

    EDIT: Just to clarify - the G and D string was just one example of using the technique I am thinking of, this also applies to going from D to A, and from A to E as well obviously.
  8. It's OK to rake if you're playing 'Autumn Leaves'.

    Get it? Rake? Leaves?
    ba-dum tssh!
    I'm here all week.
    Chriske22 likes this.
  9. :smug:

  10. Please elaborate on this :)
  11. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I thought I did, Keith! But I guess I can go a little farther...

    When you play a fast passage with a lot of notes in a row, raking takes you out of the alternating rhythm you've got going with your fingers and causes you to have to stop and restart it. I feel it's much more efficient to keep that rhythm going rather than interrupt it every couple seconds.
  12. gotcha thanks! sometimes when i rake i end up leading with my index coming out of it which is awkward because i slightly favor my middle for leading, but hey that's a separate issue isn't it? :p
  13. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Actually that's part and parcel of what I was referring to about being taken out of the rhythm. That's a good part of the reason I prefer not to rake. So I'd say you were right on target with that one.
  14. It's OK to rake, but you should learn to alternate as much as possible as it builds a lot of speed&precision.
  15. I say rake. Shouldn't preclude being able to use strict alternation, but some string skips are just cumbersome with strict alternation.
  16. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    They are only cumbersome until you get used to SA. Took me about 2 weeks.
  17. Bassman197835


    Oct 31, 2013
    I think as the man said its a great technique. But if you're doing it all the time I'd say practice alternating Index/Middle. My old teacher used to set and make me go back and forth,back and forth. Index/middle. Index/middle. I saw an amazing! difference in my rhythm and speed from doing this. I was skipping and going Index/middle/index/index. Not alternating properly. If you practice that I think you'll Rake a lot less! and may just keep Raking in your too box like Slap technique or anything else. But If its used constantly. i.e I know bassist that only! Rake. And its sloppy! So my opinion is yes! great technique to know. But should never be used to replace alternating index/middle.
  18. My experience playing guitar has taught me that to play at maximum speed, I had to minimize unnecessary movement. I used to play strict alternate picking but hit a wall in my speed progress. I analyzed my picking technique and figured out to use a different technique more similar to raking. I did have to work on the coordination, which did feel awkward at first. But I was ultimately able to achieve greater speed. I haven't ever had to play bass lines that quickly. But I still try to figure ways to play bass lines with minimum movement. Now playing efficiently feels natural. And I can easily play very quickly if the situation should call for it.
  19. Me again. I think the answer depends on which hurdle is harder for YOU to overcome. In my case, my fingers would hit a speed barrier and not go faster. It was easier for me to minimize movement and workout the sometimes awkward coordination. But maybe other people will have an easier time developing fast fingers than working out unsymmetrical plucking patterns.