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Two fingers soundng the same

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Crazic, Dec 14, 2003.

  1. I had a search but couldnt find anything so here goes.
    I reckon a lot of younger players such as myself have this problem but dont realise.
    When playing fairly normal pace, alternating plucking fingers, as is the norm for most, i ca hear the two different fingers have different sounds. A "dah DAH dah DAH" type sound, one finger slightly louder than the other.I'm guessing its something to do with angles of my fingers or something similar. Is practising and concentrating on fixing it my only way to fix it or is there something massively wrong with my technique.

    Thanks a lot
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Usually, the middle finger tends to be louder because it is longer.

    Tilt your plucking hand a little to the left so that you even out the differences in length.
    You might also need to compensate the volume by plucking harder or softer with the respective finger.
  3. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I used to have that problem, but then it gradually went away without me doing anything. I dont know what i changed?
  4. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    I can remember having those problems also, but it went away by itself with me as well. Perhaps it is one of those problems that vanished automatically with practice and experience (just like the newbie's issues of not being able to play fast enough) - maybe subconsciously we always want the fingers to "sound" the same, and thus we might work on it all the time without actually thinking about it?
  5. Actually I have a similar but slightly different problem. My index finger is slightly more calloused than my middle finger, so the tone coming out of it is slightly sharper. There's a huge difference when I compare it to my ring finger, which I only use for triplets and miscellanous other applications. I don't mind it much but someone might. Solutions?
  6. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    IME the differences become less obvious when you generally use a lighter touch.
  7. tkarter


    Jan 1, 2003
    I am noticing the same problem. I found I wasn't really using the second finger harder it was a nail catching.

    Still working on the right hand technique.

  8. bassmantele


    Jul 22, 2003
    Boston MA USA
    This is a classic problem that shows up one way or another on all instruments. Violin has up and downbowing, woodwinds have double-tounging, etc. Just spend a little time each day playing carefully and listening very closely to yourself. Alternate 12121212 with 21212121 until you can't hear the difference. It will take some time, but pay attention and try to get exactly the same volume and attack out of each note. If you can record yourself it can help a lot, but you don't need it.
  9. bassnewb


    Apr 15, 2003
    I have a very similar problem, but instead of the volume being different, it's the tone that sounds different. I get a flatter sound with my middle finger, probably cuz it's fatter and rounder than my index finger. How do I fix this? I've been using one finger for the past month cuz of this. :(
  10. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Avoiding the finger doesn't really fix the problem.

    This is just one of those things that takes time. Consciously try to match the sound of the one finger with the other. It wouldn't hurt to try and figure out "why" there's a difference. Let's say that one finger is just stronger so it strikes the string harder. Take JMX's advice and instead of trying to build the weaker finger up to match the stronger one, try lightening up and kick your amp's volume up to compensate. You'll most likely build up strength and stamina without even knowing it.

    IME most people get the galloping effect when first learning how to play with two fingers. The stuff that really helped me early on was trying to learn early Tower of Power songs featuring Rocco Prestia on bass. When I first tried it I thought "This guy is a machine! How can anyone play that evenly and relentlessly?".

    Over time my plucking came into it's own. Nothing magical, I just kept playing. I'd have the same problem today if I tried incorporating another finger in but I know I could do it if I wanted to because I know how. And I know I wouldn't have it down tomorrow;)
  11. bassnewb


    Apr 15, 2003
    I wish my problem was just a volume problem. My middle finger makes a much flatter sound than my index finger, so even if I change the amount of force I use it won't solve the problem. From what I can tell, I'm attacking the strings the same way. I really think it's cuz my index finger is too bony compared to my middle finger, so it makes a sharper tone. Nobody has had this problem before?
  12. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Experiment with striking the string at different angles. I get a fairly wide range of tones by doing this.
  13. hernan


    Apr 10, 2003
    almagro, argentina
    Yes, my short experience tell me that Brad has the point.

    If the difference is in tone (not in volume) you should try to change the angle of your fingers.

    Pay attention as you practice and it will start to getting better soon (it happens to me also and it's much better now).

    Good luck
  14. bassnewb


    Apr 15, 2003
    Thanks :)
    I'll give it a try now
  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Remember, it might take time to really get it down. Don't be discouraged.
  16. I second the "lighter touch" approach.

    It's amazing how little force it takes to get the strings vibrating. Just a slight brush is all that's needed sometimes.
  17. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Lighter touch would help, but also, it's something that you really just have to work on, over time, with good technique, it will eventually become consistent.

    I actually have the opposite problem, my plucking is TOO consistent sometimes, that is, I have trouble getting certain accents when I want them because I'm so accustomed to having clean alternation.
  18. That's because you don't touch the string in the exact same spot you do with your index finger with you middle finger. If you happen to touch the string always in the same spot, your finger attack will always be the same.

    Anyway I never cared for it, really... I think it's natural when playing the bass.
  19. Berten


    Jun 6, 2002
    I normally play with my index and my ringfinger. There equally long, so there is no different angle of touching the strings!
  20. prophecy


    Dec 26, 2003
    i had the same problem, then i played a 300W amp (instead of my usual 75W) and i touched it so lightly it still knocked the drummers toms over :D in short: play loud, and u can play softly and ull never hear the diff' between fingers (cheating a bit ill admit)

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