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Which problem to fix first?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by leanne, Jun 25, 2003.

  1. leanne


    May 29, 2002
    Rochester, NY
    I've got some habits I'd like to break. Not sure which one I should focus on first.

    I need to look at the neck a lot, which makes it hard to read when I have to keep glancing at my hand. Makes my neck sore, too.

    I also want to stop having to anchor my thumb on a pickup. I have a hard time playing some basses that feel very different from mine, and I tire my hand out fast when I have to spend a lot of time on the G string, because it stretches my hand out so far.

    So...is one of these things more crucial than the other? Both bother me and have made me play badly in front of people. But I only want to work on one at a time because I'm trying to get my practicing to be more focused and consistent.
  2. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I would first improve not looking at the neck so much, then the pickup thing.

    I personally, anchor my thumb to the pup or the E string, and it doesn't bother me, enables me to play faster :p
  3. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    Not looking at the neck will come with time. You just have to get it under your fingers. The best cure for that is to play as much as you can. As far as the thumb anchor situation goes, I anchor my thumb on the pickup when i am playing on E, but when I play on any other string I put my thumb on the string above it. It takes a little while to get used to but once you've got it is fast and comfortable.
  4. I'd have a stab at the right hand technique first. I recently switched from thumb-on-pickup only to a more flexible attitude myself, and I found it suprisingly easy. The hardest thing is not falling into the old comfortable patterns.

    Looking at the neck is probably a function of how you practice. If you spend 100% of your practice time looking at the neck, how can you hope to be used to playing sight-unseen when it comes time to gig? Work on looking at the neck less and less often in your practice sessions. And go slow on the shifts and slides at first, you need to get used to the distances your hands will travel without looking.
  5. GrooveSlave


    Mar 20, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    I would also attack the neck looking problem first. Try to play with your eyes closed. Pick something you know very well and put on the metronome at slow tempo and just feel it.

    If you concentrate, you can actually feel the frets as you move your hand lightly over the strings. I'm trying to learn how to do this on a fretless - talk about not being in Kansas anymore. ;)

    For the anchoring question. I would suggest looking into the floating thumb technique. This is where you rest your thumb on the string above the string you are playing. E.G. to play the D string, you rest your thumb on the A string. You use the meaty part of your thumb and hand to mute the E string (or B and E strings). This comes in really handy on a 5 or 6.

    I first heard of this technique from ready Adam Nitti's site. Here is a link. http://www.adamnitti.com/bass_player_02.shtml

    Good luck.
  6. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    To help with the looking at your neck. Play in the dark.
  7. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Not meaning to be narcissistic-

    Back when I was a youngin', I played in front of a mirror. I guess after years of that, muscle memory emerged. For awhile now, I often play with my eyes closed or fixed on the drummer...

    At this point, I would say-
    1)Know how a note sounds
    2)Know how a note looks
    3)Know how a note feels

    How does a note feel?
    (You probably already know how a Major scale feels, right?).
    So, if you play with a finger-per-fret method, knowing what notes you have "under your fingers" is invaluable.
    Then, moving up, say a Major 3rd, & still knowing what you have "under the fingers" is nice.
  8. ConU


    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    Study exactly what JimK printed here,there's no trick or secret,it has nothing to do with playing in the dark or with your eyes closed.2 things:do you know your neck,and do you know the music...if you do you don't have to look at your neck,and if you do who cares,some of the greatest players in the world "look" at their neck all the time.:)