1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Upstrokes and downstrokes

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by 64lusso, Feb 20, 2006.

  1. 64lusso


    Jan 20, 2006
    central Va
    Only with fingers and not a pick.
    when playing with a flatpick the rule of thumb says downbeats (1,2,3,4) get a downstroke and the upbeats (the &s) use an upstroke. Does anyone think the same way with your fingers on bass (I am coming back to bass after many years away). Lets say your index would play only the downbeats and the middle would play only the upbeats (or vice versa?). In the past I always just pulled the string with whatever finger was there but I am wondering if a little more disciplined approach might help my timing be a little more consistant. I guess I should finish by saying that I know this wouldn't be practical in all situations but a good rule of thumb to start with.
  2. Alternating fingers is a very popular approach.
  3. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    Yes, definitely alternate your fingers whenever possible.

    I pluck with m on the downstrokes and i on the upstrokes. I stick to this pattern even when rests interrupt (or additional notes augment) the basic rhythmic pattern.

    At first this was a challenge for me (when rests or addi'l notes change the rhythm), but now it's close to second nature and has improved my timing and feel noticeably.

    Definitely worth putting some effort into.

    Good luck.
  4. orlfl


    Jul 22, 2005
    I would not say 'whenever possible', although I understand what you are saying. I would say whenever it is necessary to use more than one finger, then alternate (after having worked hard to get a consistent sound out of the 2 or 3 fingers that you alternate between.)

    If I could play everything with one finger, I would, because it is by far the most consistent sound note to note.
  5. i always alternate, unless i am hitting a few notes in a bar and they are placed on off beets and are weird. also whenever i switch strings i start over on my index finger.

  6. adisu

    adisu I admit it, I'm a "user"

    Apr 8, 2005
    Generally I alternate all the time and wouldn't give any rules of index go to beats and middle to off beats. the only rule as far as i'm concerned is to alternate all the time.
    The only exception happens when i put some racking technique into my play for fast passes.

    If you always start plucking with index finger when you switch strings it can really reduce your speed.
    for example if you do a Natural A minor scale starting on fret #5 on the E string the plucking finger will go:
    A with index ,B with middle ,C with index then you go down to the string below to play D and you would play it with the index while you just plucked the C with the index.
    That will dealy the time that will take you to pluck the D instead of starting at the new string with middle finger on the D.

    Hope i was clear.

  7. 64lusso


    Jan 20, 2006
    central Va
    OK ORLFL brings up a good point, which finger sounds the best? After reading CJK84's post I tried using the middle for the downbeats as he suggested and I did notice that my tone is a little more 'solid' sounding so perhaps that's another issue for me to work out. It also feels like that finger is a little stronger and that might be a justification for using it on the downbeats instead of the index like I was using. Of the answers above that seemed to understand my question I only get that one of you has tried to assign a finger to downbeats and upbeats. Hopefully a few more people will chime in on this if I keep the thread going?--Jay
  8. orlfl


    Jul 22, 2005
    Defining fingers to assign to particular parts of the beat will end up pointless. In the end, each individual passage will lend itself to a fingering based on its complexity.

    If I have time to think about which finger I am going to play a note with, then I have enough time to just play them all with one finger. If I don't, then what comes out is going to come out.

    Practice alternating every note so that you can build up speed. Start with whichever one feels most comfortable.
  9. i know what you mean, but so far this has not been a problem for me. i actually noticed that i don't do this as much anymore, i only do it sometimes. its my fretting hand that can't keep up sometimes