Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Two or three fingers...

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by misterk73, Sep 26, 2002.


  1. misterk73

    misterk73

    Apr 11, 2002
    Flagstaff, AZ
    This one may have popped up elsewhere before, but what are the advantages and disadvantages of using two versus three or more fingers when plucking?

    I had a bass instructor who basically tried to talk me out of bothering with three fingers awhile ago. (I was trying to introduce my ring finger into the mix, feeling pretty comfortable with two-finger technique at that point.)

    Should I have listened to him?

    His main argument was that relatively few people in the history of our instument have ever been able to effectively use a third or fourth finger. People I've talked to about this before have either found the statement to be quite wise or quite moronic. What do y'all think?
     
  2. theJello

    theJello

    Apr 12, 2000
    Really the only person that can answer that is you by experimenting with it. Like if you work on it for 6 months and it just isnt happening.
    I worked on it for awhile and finally came to the conclusion it was not for me.

    I dont think your teacher should be discouraging you for trying it just because most player dont do it. That means nothing really. There are some bad ass players that use 3 fingers as well as some that use 1! Like Geddy Lee.

    But you will get lots of opinions like either love it or hate it. Although I think most people around here will tell you to find out what works best for you.
     
  3. Fishbrain

    Fishbrain

    Dec 8, 2000
    England, Liverpool
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Bass and Amp
    i went from two to three quite easily and I really like it. It stops my fingers/forarm from getting tired to quick and you can play faster. I cant c any reason for not wanting too...
     
  4. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    Well, that might be, but in that case I'm one of them.
     
  5. RiCKdoesntTrip

    RiCKdoesntTrip

    Aug 16, 2002
    pa
    this is how it works for me:

    Slow>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Fast
    1finger 4fingers 2 fingers 3fingers

    heres how i see it (this is prbably different for different people):

    1 finger is just slow period. (unless u do the flicky thing)

    4 fingers (for me anyway) is just too many to worry about, plus pinkies are shorter than the other three, which means i have to either move my wrist alot to reach the strings with my pinky or play at a weird anle , which just slows me down and requires more motion.

    2 fingers is very good all around, you can play fast an cleanly with minimal wrist movement.

    3 fingers is what i play with. here are what think are the advantages:

    a. i can play faster than with the other finger methods.

    b. it allows more rest time for your fingers than just playing with 2 fingers, hence you will be able to play longer without tiring so soon.

    c. there is minimal wrist movement.

    d. triplets sound cool.

    e. it looks cool

    (these are entirley my opinions, they might not hold true for every one. I know all this because i have tried all four methods, each for a considerable amunt of time, and 3 fingers works best for me.)

    i hope this helps you.


    I am Rick.
    I am 15.
    I play bass.
     
  6. just_a_poser

    just_a_poser

    Apr 20, 2002
    If it's comforatable and it really helps you out, then do it.

    I've never had to use it, and feel rather uncomfortable (I spell that wrong a lot) using it, but haven't really practiced with it much either.

    Fight the system. Use the third finger.
     
  7. vegaas

    vegaas

    Nov 6, 2001
    Milwaukee
    I play in a metal band, and for the speed I need I have to use 3 fingers. The trick is to start with your ring finger, not your index.
    I use 2 fingers for our more groove orientated songs and 3 for our fast songs.
     
  8. misterk73

    misterk73

    Apr 11, 2002
    Flagstaff, AZ
    I totally agree about raking from ring to index instead of the other way around. Once I stumbled into that, playing with three fingers started making a lot more sense. I also agree about being selective about when you use three (triplets, etc.). Thanks, all, for the feedback. I believe I shall continue down the Path of the Three Fingers.
     
  9. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I mainly play using two fingers but have found that without conciously practicing it I have started to throw in the ring finger more and more for quicker passages or whenever the bass line becomes more convenient to play that way.