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Triplets, fast

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by PinkFloydDan, Jan 20, 2006.

  1. PinkFloydDan


    Jul 4, 2005
    I guess all triplets are pretty fast. I am trying to learn my new band's tunes, with some nice gigs in March coming up, and I have only been playing bass for like 3 years. Anyway, I for the life of me cannot play triplets very well and certainly can not do a run of triplets on different notes and strings. I just cannot stay on the rythm and a drum machine didn't seem to help.

    How do I figure out how to play triplets better---fast, and runs of them. To me, some of the techinque of their former bass player seems just very above my experience.

    Is there another way I can play it without triplets--is there something I can substitute triplets with?

    I have no way of getting the song to you unless you emailed me and we worked through an IM and I can send it to you. But that's a hassle.

    Any thought or advice?
  2. jacko spades

    jacko spades

    Jan 9, 2006
    Central FL
    I have only been playing for a year, but my band (the one I learned bass to be in) plays a lot of thrash type metal and we use triplets all the time. I reccommend just pushing through and trying to get them down. In my experience, every time I've tried to cut corners it's come back to bite me in the butt. Try just tapping your foot or playing with a metranome really slow and have the triplets span a whole beat so when your foot goes down you're playing the first note of each set. Speed this up and then move on to switching strings starting really slow and then getting fast again. Once this is really easy then go back to your band's song, and your fingers should already know the timing and spacing of a triplet and just go on autopilot. I could be full of crap, but it worked for me.
  3. Vampyre


    Dec 9, 2004
    you could always try using 3 fingers ..going ring, middle, index, etc

    i never really use this method for quick triplets but a lot of pple hear do
  4. Jacko is right on track but I'll try to clarify. He is talking about quarter note triplets, but first.

    Triplets are part feel and part technique. Without proper technique it will be hard to nail the feel.

    Count quarter note triplets like this:
    1 and a 2 and a 3 and a 4 and a

    Like Jacko said, start slow and feel the down beats and put three notes in-between the down beats. once you get quarter note triplets down at slow and fast tempos moving onto eighth note triplets will be easy.

    The technique part is:
    The down beats will fall on alternate plucking fingers. When you play the first down beat on your first finger beat two will fall on your second finger, the third beat will fall on your first finger and the fourth beat on your second and so on.

    It is kind of an unnatural feeling at first probably because you are use to counting straight eighth notes or sixteenth notes where you always start a run with your first on every down beat.

    A good easy exercise is playing triads
    numbers in bold are you plucking fingers.

    If you do not have strict alternation down with your plucking finger when doing eighth notes and sixteenth notes playing triples will be tougher to get down.

    I have a really good exercise (if you want it) that was given to me by a former teacher that will help with both playing triplets and strict alternation, but I will have to do it later, it's almost 2 a.m. and I'm beat. It will take some time to format it.
  5. shanmag


    Jul 27, 2005
    if ya dont mind, id be interested in the exercise?
  6. I can't tell whether your difficulty is in feeling the triplet rhythm, or actually physically executing the triplet with your fingers.

    Either way, I'd say the solution is probably the same.

    Practice more slowly.

    Still can't get it? Slow down even more.

    Eventually you will get to a speed where you can do it. Just do it over and over and over and you will gain speed.

    Another vocalization I've seen is "trip-o-let" with the "trip" coming on the metronome click.
  7. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    Just practice for as long as it takes. Half an hour a day on just triplets and other rhythms. Three fingers isnt a bad way to start because your accent will be on the first note.

    Ring-Middle-Index is the easiest way to start. If you have an accented note right after the triplet, use your Middle.

    If you want to switch it up, and get a slightly better tone (in my opinion) try-


    Probably the most (and maybe only) outstanding thing about my bass playing is right hand finesse. I started out on bass learning how to play Fear Factory. Later on I met psycho prog metal drummer and had to spend a lot of time just to keep up with crazy fast and complicated odd-time rhythms. My secret was just spending time on it. I can do an hour a day to learn just one super hard rhythm- to get it perfectly precise, with perfect attacks and accents. It just takes dedication.

    Here is another exercise that can help you all around. It will challenge the brains on your fingers-

    8 note pattern (no pauses):


    That is how I play fast 16th notes even and flowingly.
  8. As for any technique, practice slowly and build up to tempo is the best way for anything.

    gary willis have some three finger technique stuff:

    Learn to do it both ways, IM and IMR, or even challenge youself with MR, or IR.