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What are Geddy's fingers made of?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by dStar, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. dStar


    Mar 1, 2012
    I play a lot of Rush, so I’ve spent some time trying to emulate Geddy’s tone, and I can get part way there with the right bass and the right amp settings, but as we all know, tone is in the hands. Part of Geddy’s tone comes from his “flamenco” technique, hitting the strings with a back and forth motion of his fingers. It effects not only his tone, but his phrasing as well. Try as I might I just can’t do it. However, I can get pretty close using a pick. Up until recently, I had been using a Dunlop Nylon 1 mm, it’s pretty firm for a nylon, but still somewhat flexible, I thought it was a pretty good approximation of digging in with ones fingers and I can get the effect of the back and forth motion on the strings. I recently read in another thread, about Telefunken 1.6 mm triangle picks, they are made from Graphite enriched Delrin, they are very stiff, and have a hardness somewhere between Nylon and Delrin. I ordered some to give a try, not even thinking that I would use them for Rush, but to my surprise, they get me closer to Geddy’s tone than anything else I’ve tried! Are Geddy’s finger impregnated with graphite? Has 45+ years of playing, calloused his fingers, so much, that they are as hard as graphite? I like to shake his hand some day and find out ;)
  2. kohntarkosz

    kohntarkosz Banned

    Oct 29, 2013
    Edinburgh - Scotland
    Geddy suffered some sort of finger injury which made his nail grow back thicker. It sounds like he has longer fingernails than most bassists would chose to use.
  3. rtav

    rtav Millionaire Stuntman, Half-Jackalope

    Dec 12, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    I play the same way with my right hand middle and index fingers - back and forth across the strings as fast as possible bc I never learned to play the three fingers on my right hand the way I should have. There's plenty of stuff we play that's so fast I have to do it that way or I'll have to play every other note. I've got a Youtube vid of me playing Dream Theater's "Dance of Eternity" - and the bass solo is just such a place. I play it usually with one finger or the other, back and forth against the string. Forward to about 3:10:

  4. I'm not going to say I play like GL, but I can do the back and forth (up and down) thing because I keep really short fingernails. I don't know if others are the same, but when my fingernails are like 1/16 of an inch long there is a ledge there. The nail bed is softish, but the tip of my finger has it's callous which gives a hard edge and a pick-ish sound. I play that way by pushing down and popping up.
  5. Geddy's hands are made out of unicorn horns and the shattered dreams of teenage bass players.
  6. Hamlet7768

    Hamlet7768 Here to chew gum and rock. Still have gum.

    Jun 5, 2011
    Whoa, really? I didn't know that!
  7. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I Grow Organic Carrots
    They transplanted gorilla fingers onto his right hand.
  8. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I Grow Organic Carrots
    I heard that ... I also heard he damaged his middle finger and that is why he plays primarialy with his index finger.


    I don't know if either of those stories are true.
  9. Hamlet7768

    Hamlet7768 Here to chew gum and rock. Still have gum.

    Jun 5, 2011
    I'm not so sure about the middle finger injury. It must have been after Rush in Rio if it was, because he's very clearly using two fingers in, say, Driven.
  10. He uses two fingers in every video of them I have ever seen. Sometimes three if I recall correctly.
  11. Donavan


    Nov 8, 2013
    I've seen him use 3, since I don't have the hands of god, I use 3.0 mm dunlop picks, any passive jazz bass( roundwound d'addario, DR or even ernie ball regular slinkies) turn the neck pickup all the way, turn off the bridge, crank the tone all the way up and boost the treble with the amp, strike/attack the strings, I've played my rush songs like this(maybe it only works for me in terms of comfort and the sound I get) and I get his sound pretty close. Sometimes I'll use fingers although the thick picks give me that "grunge" I make no promises who it will and won't work for but it works when I play aloud and gets lots of attention.
  12. Bullitt5135


    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    I'm not sure what his fingers are made of... but I do know that he massages them with honeydew before soaking them in the milk of paradise.
  13. lowendblues

    lowendblues Supporting Member

    Oct 8, 2004
    I shook hands with him once, they felt normal to me..
  14. Yeah, Ged's hands/fingers are pretty tough. The guy has been digging in for decades, and my fingers get tired just watching him play.

    I like the Dunlop Ultex Sharp. Ultex is also harder than nylon, and I think a little harder than Delrin, but still feels supple and natural to the grip. But it gives a very distinct sharp attack, if that's what you're looking for.
  15. happygilmour

    happygilmour Supporting Member

    Feb 22, 2009
    Wilbraham, MA
    They're made of 100% Canadian Maple Syrup.
  16. sobie18


    May 5, 2002
    Shaw AFB, SC
    Fused with fearful dust, SX grease, and small pinches of TI flats, tort pickguards, and crushed Fall Out Boy CDs.

  17. 6stringpanda


    Aug 9, 2013
  18. d180fuzz

    d180fuzz C21H30O2

    Jul 10, 2008
    West Los, CA
    This is the best post in this thread IMHO.
  19. musicman666


    Sep 11, 2011
    I am going to remove my finger nails with rusty pliers and smash the tips with a hammer!!......I can't wait to sound like Geddy!
  20. russpurdy


    Apr 16, 2013
    Canadian made fingers man. They are the best.

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