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Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Chug_A_Lug, Apr 4, 2001.

  1. um... okay, so i've been playing since the summer... well, i actually started a while ago, but i got my *own* love affair now. and for some reason, i'm having difficulty playing with my index finger. middle finger is fine (it's actually the dominant uh... finger... er...) but when i use my index finger i get a strange twang. (which is why i try to refrain from using it) but i know that as a bass player, i need to learn to alternate my fingers... but if it twangs... someone told me it's the way my index finger is hitting the string... but... i don't know! i don't know! shiranai! je ne sais pas!! ah, i'm just confused. but i know i know, practice practice!


    practice practice practice
  2. :D:D
    Ok. I'm no expert, but my advice would be to try plucking the string at different angles with your index finger, and see if/when/where you don't get that twangy sound. Voila! Problem solved, unless it makes it really hard for you to implement your middle finger into alternating plucking like that.

    Alternatively, you could just go on with plucking with just one finger. Of course, I think the people that've done this before/do it now generally used their index finger, but I see nothing wrong with using just your middle finger. Well...if you're close to the audience they might not like it, but if you lay a nice groove, that should solve it all. :D
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    The only other thing I can think of is making sure your fingernails are short and even - I often find that when my fingernails start to grow, they will catch the string and make an unpleasant "twang"!
    This is also more pronounced with lighter gauge strings.
  4. i always make sure my fingernails are cut short... which really sucks! i mean gee, as a woman, i like to get my nails done and so on. but ever since i started playing the bass... no fingernail polish, no manicures... no *french* manicures.... but i don't complain too much b/c my bass is worth it... but i do find myself getting jealous every once in a blue moon when my roommate gets her nails done and shows them off... ah, oh well, life goes on!
  5. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    Hey Chug~ Do you know what kinda' strings ya' have on your bass?
    Besides the attack angle of your index finger, that may have somethin'
    to do with the unwanted 'twang'. Switchin' to Ground, Compressed, Flat,
    or Tape wounds may clear up the problem. Or, as Bruce pointed out,
    try a heavier gauge. This whole thing is interestin' cause ya' don't
    normally hear about a P-Bass derivative with a twang problem.
    P types bein' known more for their 'thud'.

    There is ONE other option...this is difficult, bein' a devout finger plucker :p .
    You might try a felt pick. Instead of plastic, nylon, or whatever, they're
    made of compressed felt. They wear out pretty quick, so if ya' find
    some get a gross or two. Using a (felt) pick kills two boids - you'll
    probably have no twang trouble AND you can go nutz wit your nails :D.
  6. Well, on her RIGHT hand, at least.
    Unless she plays lefty...
    Chug? D'you play lefty or righty? :p
  7. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Chug, I can only think of two things that might cause your problem. First thing that comes to mind is: Do you have a callus build up on the tip of your finger? The harder your fingertips get, the more it can sound like a pick.

    Another possibility is that you need to change your picking technique so you are using a "meatier" part of the pad to pluck the string.

    It's good to be able to alternate between the "P" sound and a twangier sound at will. It can add worlds of expression to your playing. Normally, getting the twangy sound is harder for me than the mellow (not "thud", mellow :)) sound.

    Good luck,
  8. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    Tomater' / Tomahter'...you're killin' me with semantics `ere :D .
    Perhaps 'thud' was a bad choice of words as it implies the musicality
    of a tree fallin' in the woods. But I meant it in a GOOD way :).
    Like my countless descriptions of Rotosound tapewounds...
    woody and airy, with a good solid thud :D .

    * no-twang zone *
  9. well, that's quite a good question! bygosh, i've no idea what kind of strings... i would *assume* fender ones (i saw a few packs of those at the store). but since the same strings are on there since i bought it... goodness... now i'm a wonderin'...

    i do play with a pick (i try different things) and it works pretty well... i suppose... it's more difficult using a pick, however, b/c i get lost!!! (i know i know, i'm pathetic) but seriously, unless i know the song **really** well, i get lost and lose track of what string i'm on and blah blah blah. but thanks, i never thought it could be the string....
  10. um... good question! uh... i pluck with my right hand, so i suppose that makes me a righty???? interesting question sheep man!

  11. >home-alone-expression on face< callus'? NOOOOOOOO! not those, please not those! i know i know that it's better to have them... but nooooo! it'll ruin the delicate textures of my hands. i know i know... callus' do a world of good. but not for me, dammit!

    i haven't really played long enough to get callus'. which does suck, and i can live with them of course... but still!!! i don't feel any callus build ups... and the day i do!! i don't mind my fingers being red, and going from raw to no feeling at all :p but no, no callus build up yet.

    well, maybe a *little* bit on my left hand... but otherwise... nooo! such a nightmare... i'd rather use a pick... but then that might limit my capabilities and i want to leave all options open... so... anyway! thanks for pointing that out to me!

  12. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    You bought it new? Are the silk wraps on the strings
    like a real light green or cyan-ish color? If so, those
    are probably Fenders.

    There's ump-teen replacements around. Do a search
    in the "Strings" forum for some info...
    "twang" or "Good flats for...punk / jazz / polka / etc." .
  13. Well, FWIW, I actually have little to know callous build up on either of my hands. Just a thin layer on the tips of my left hand fingers, and thicker layers on the very tips of my right hand index and middle fingers - the only ones I use to pluck the strings. Actually, I don't really know why the callouses have formed there on my right hand, because I don't really use those parts of my finger to pluck, except at the very end of the motion when my finger is 'rolling off' the string.
    Oh well. I find them really irritating at times, and cut/bite them off/shorter, and when I play I don't feel any pain or anything, but they ALWAYS grow back within a day. :D:p

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