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Use 3 or 4 four fingers to play

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by BassFisher, Mar 11, 2003.

  1. BassFisher


    Mar 11, 2003
    When playing should I use just my index, middle, and ring fingers, or should I use them all?

  2. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Ok, first things first: Welcome to TalkBass! :)

    Secondly, this is in the wrong forum - really, it wants to be in Technique - that's where things of this nature get discussed. Chris A is the mod of this forum ( :rolleyes: ) so with a bit of luck he'll move this thread over to Technique when he finds it.

    As regards your question - are you talking about plucking hand or fretting hand?

    If it's fretting hand, I think the best approach is generally considered to be to use all four fingers.

    If it's plucking hand, the general consensus is that you should use whatever you find works for you. I believe most people just use index and middle fingers - and some use index middle and ring. However, some people just use one finger (the famous example being James Jamerson). And some include their thumb too.

    It's a matter of finding what works for you.

    Personally, I mainly use the index and middle fingers on my right hand - however I sometimes use the ring finger, simply because of the tonal quality I get from it - it hasn't had nearly as much use as the index & middle fingers so it hasn't developed a callous, so it makes a slightly sweeter sound, I find.
  3. Mathias_TfG


    Apr 28, 2002
    New York
    I personally use all four fingers on my picking hand most of the time, because that is what feels the most natural to ME. I can probably play just as fast with only two, but it just doesn't feel right. I also use 3 sometimes when playing galloping triplets (a la Steve Harris). My advice is to try every combination of fingers to find out what suits you best. I would also sudjest finding a good teacher and getting some lessons. And, like moley said, there have been some very talented bassists who have played predominantly with just their index finger.
  4. Chris A

    Chris A Chemo sucks! In Memoriam

    Feb 25, 2000
    Manchester NH
    Hi, Moley.

    Let's move to Technique..

    Chris A.:rolleyes: :bassist:
  5. BassFisher


    Mar 11, 2003
    Ya, I was talking about the hand with the frets. I believe I have seen both 3 and 4 fingers on the frets. THanks alot... sorry about posting in wrong forum.

  6. whatever the song calls for:bassist:
  7. SlavaF


    Jul 31, 2002
    Edmonton AB
    I wish I could use 3... I just started practising with 3, but it doesnt feel right yet.
  8. Try just using your index finger, and muting the strings with the rest of your hand. It sounds really cool.
  9. yoshi


    Jul 12, 2002
    England, London
    Check out this lesson by the bassist from 'Death' (to name one band), it's all about getting up the speed for metal basslines, focusing on 3 finger techniques.


    Once youve checked that one out/are happy with your prgress, have a look at the other lesosn which as the title suggests, explores a bassline to one of his bands songs, explaing his choice of fingering.


    Check out aces high or the trooper by Iron Maiden too!
  10. chris griffiths

    chris griffiths

    Aug 20, 2002
    nashville tn
    Endorsing artist: Gallien Krueger
    now thats nonsense i play very chordally intricate music and I barely ever use 2 fingers. just do what feels comfortable. the way I find myself doing it is depending on how fast I have to play
    at a 100 bpm I use 2 fingers together like a hook for quarters and eighth notes (especially when walking). for 16th notes and eighth note triplets I use 2 fingers alternating. and for 16th note triplets (not the most used end of my playing) I either use 3 fingers in a up and down flamenco motion, or thumb index middle finger. I also use my thumb a lot when playing ballads and reggae.

    so thats how my technique breaks down. generally a good 80 percent of the time I go no faster then eighth notes so I use basically my whole hand to pluck the note it has a nice fat nasty sound to it.

    if you buy the new Oteil burbridge cd it comes with a DVD and bass lesson and you can watch his hands move. he has the perfect technique
  11. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    And for us non-DBers that aren't familiar with Simandl/upright approach - it is, what, exactly? :)
  12. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Ahh. Is that approach widely used on SLAB?
  13. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Actually an approach similar to Simandl is used on Slab at times - use just index, middle and pinky on your fretting hands (Carol Kaye, for one, does this). This helps if you have smaller hands, especially in the lower positions.

    I learned both this and the finger/fret method, and I use both, depending on what the song calls for.
  14. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Ed, on BG you used "4 fingers per fret"? :D
  15. logdrum

    logdrum Formerly known as noelpaz Supporting Member

    i have small hands and I started playing upright in high school and I am 5'7 now and was shorter then. I default to the simandl up to the 6 or 7 fret and thoughtlessly I do a one finger per fret from that points onwards until the 13th where I just switch to 2 - sometimes 3 fingers again for the d and G but I mitten hold when palying the E or A string on these upper frets. It's like doing a quasi thumb position technique.

    I think that's why I never learned to tap
  16. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Could be why he switched to UB...that technique wasn't getting him anywhere.:D

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