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Use the 1-2-4 fingering or 1-2-3?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Orco87, Jun 17, 2007.


  1. Orco87

    Orco87

    Mar 26, 2000
    Texas
    I'm going through a book and learning how to read music and such (it's pretty fun), my only hang up right now is the fingering that they're suggesting.

    They suggest to use the index, middle, and pinky fingers for a 3 fret distance. I've always used index, middle, and the third (wedding ring?) fingers, and save the pinky for the 4th fret. They say to use that fingering to not produce any strain on the left hand... when I use my 3rd finger it usually doesn't produce any kind of strain, but can be easier to use the pinky in place of it in the upper neck area.

    I'm slightly hindered in progressing further in this book b/c I need to know which would be a better fingering technique and either continue w/ what I've been doing or change my playing now to the correct way? :confused:
     
  2. SuperSnake2012

    SuperSnake2012 floppy b strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    Bronx, NY
    If you're comfortable with that and it's working for you, it's fine. Everyone has a different technique. I tend to use my pinky a lot for since it is stronger than my ring finger.
     
  3. IIRC, the reason they have you skip out on the pinky is so that you don't strain it when you start playing. I say better strain it now then when you find yourself needing to actually use that pinky. ;)
     
  4. WalterBush

    WalterBush

    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    By any chance is the name F. Simandl anywhere on the book's cover? Originally, the 1-2-4 technique was for double bassists, and is still widely used, for good reason.

    I learned 1-2-4, for electric and DB, and don't have a problem switching between the two. Lower on the neck, 1-2-4 is comfortable. As I go higher, or start skipping strings, 1-2-3-4 becomes comfortable. As you play more, you'll get a better feel for what your hands want to do, and what works for you and your playing needs.

    Don't overthink it. The sharp pains in your hand will tell you when you're doing something wrong ;)
     
  5. TheMutt

    TheMutt Guest

    Apr 28, 2007
    I use 1-2-4 fingering lower down on the neck and 1-2-3-4 higher up past 12th fret. A couple gui****s have said that it is not efficient to use 1-2-4, and then have proceeded to show me "how it's done" to hilarious results. Gonna have to agree with everyone else here. Use what feels comfortable to you because you're the one who is playing the instrument. :)
     
  6. TheMutt

    TheMutt Guest

    Apr 28, 2007
    also, look into wrist straps if your wrists start to really give you trouble. Such as these ones. Looking into getting myself a pair since a drummer and guitarist friend both have them and do not suffer from wrist pain anymore.
     
  7. DocBop

    DocBop

    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    In long run you should learn to use both. Many people use the 1-2-4 lower on the neck, and as they move up the neck above 5th fret they switch to guitar style 1-2-3-4 fingering. Learn to use both and forget about it, you will subconsciously switch as necessary when you play.
     
  8. i use 1-2-4 untill i get up to about 7th fret then switch to 1-2-3-4

    i would definatly recomend using the 1-2-4 lower down but put the ring finger down just behind the pinky so the ring and pinky are close but not quite touching as that would defeat the point and give you strain.

    but as you move up the fret board and it becomes less neded just switch back to 1-2-3-4.
     
  9. Orco87

    Orco87

    Mar 26, 2000
    Texas
    ok, I figured as much it would be easier to use the 1-2-4 method for the lower neck b/c as I go higher I do use the 1-2-3-4 method and it works like butter.

    I am fairly comfortable switching back and forth, but I'd like to adjust my playing now and get used to using my pinky (even more) for the 3rd fret so I can switch to the different positions and gain speed string skipping easier, especially while reading music. Now I just need to find some exercises to incorporate in my practice routine while going through this book...

    also: this book is a compilation of 3 books in one from the hal leonard series... forgot the title. It's a pretty good book, goes through the basics but leaves you your dignity if (like me) you've been playing for several years. I'm excited about getting into the modes, chords, and scales. :hyper:
     
  10. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I learned on upright bass using 1-2-3-4 in all positions. I try to maintain that unless I'm playing a long repetitive line which requires a lot of hammering on the third fret. I'll go to 1-2-4 at that point because I don't need the 4th finger on the next fret, and the third finger doesn't stand up as well under the repeated hammering.

    Of course, there are many times when using 1-2-3-4 in the base position is highly advantageous, so I'd recommend learning to stretch your fingers so it's there when you need it - in all positions on the neck. It may take some time to get it to work on a 34" scale bass at the open string / 1-2-3-4 level.
     
  11. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Inactive

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    I have smallish hands and 1-2-3-4 is no problem for me. I set my action really low and I make a point to pivot my wrist on my thumb instead of stretching the fingers out. I haven't had any problems so far.

    My teacher told me that 1-2-4 was started back from the DB days and also because when the bass guitar was invented, electronics were crappy, so you really had to dig in to get good sound of your amp, meaning you needed your action higher, so you couldn't really go 1-2-3-4 without straining yourself. Now that electronics are better, you can lower your action and play lighter.
     
  12. Sarbecue Boss

    Sarbecue Boss

    Jul 9, 2006
    i would reccommend 1-2-3-4 on electric, with basses having such great action these days I see no need for 1-2-4

    Also when I took DB lesson I was taught 1-2-4, with my ring and my pinky acting as four, ring for the power, pinky for the intonation
     
  13. gjooro

    gjooro

    Mar 27, 2006
    Croatia
    flexible fingering
     
  14. nuff said, if you can learn all of the different variations, it is really useful to have equal dexterity between all of your fingers, so you can be more efficiant on your instrument and so if you have problems with a certain finger you can avoid using it while it recovered. I recently said something similar in the blood blister thread thinking about your right hand (for playing righty) but this works for your fretting hand as well. 1-2-4 is possibly the most common fingering, however 1-2-3-4 can be much more efficiant for playing certain lines, however, if your playing other lines, you might then want to use !-2-3, or even 2-3-4, there are loads of combinations so its really good to be able to swap between them, only if you have enough time and patience to learn all of them though!
     
  15. Scot

    Scot

    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    It really depends on the line I'm playing and the tone, feel and phrasing I'm after. I would try the book's recommended fingerings.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher

    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    1-2-4 up to the 7th fret, then all 4 fingers.
     
  17. uethanian

    uethanian

    Mar 11, 2007
    either u have ridiculously huge hands or your bass wasnt the right size. i can use 1-2-3-4 easily on a 1/2 upright but never a 3/4. and my hands are about as big as it gets.
     
  18. Orco87

    Orco87

    Mar 26, 2000
    Texas
    I do have slightly smallish hands (in the fact that my fingers aren't really long) so a 1-2-4 system probably would've been great for me if I started playing that way. But I'm used to spanning 4 frets and I find that I don't really pay too much attention to the little fingering ques the book has when trying to direct me in the right positions and things.

    From what I've gathered, everyone is basically saying learn as much as possible and make whatever you learn work best at whatever you're doing. So I'll go ahead and do so. :D

    Thanks for all the replies.

    edit: Just realized this got moved into technique... my bad, didn't discern if this topic was supposed to be under GI or technique....
     
  19. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    I used to use 1-2-3-4 until I learned DB and needed to use 1-2-4 on DB. Now I have the habit of using 1-2-4 on electric as well. But on fretted electric, I sometimes still do 1-2-3-4.
     
  20. 30hrz

    30hrz

    May 13, 2007
    Toronto
    Yeah I've been wondering about this too. I've been doing 1-2-3-4 all up and down but it's rather awkward and painful when playing round the headstock. I can do it but it's not comfortable at all. I've experimented with (again low on the neck) 1-2-4 and 1-2-3. The latter gives me strength but the former feels more comfortable. I see pro bassists that have like all their fingers together and I always wondered how they got all the notes but I guess they just move quickly around the neck. I envy people who make playing bass look comfortable and relaxed.
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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