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Why does finger style look so easy?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Skel, Dec 6, 2006.

  1. Skel


    Jun 19, 2005
    Boulder, Colorado
    I see players all the time that look like they are having no problem whatsoever playing pretty difficult stuff, finger style. Is this just an illusion or are they that good?
  2. Maybe they practiced?
  3. ErikP.Bass

    ErikP.Bass Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2004
    Professionals are really that good. :bassist:
  4. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    Why do some guys make playing with a pick look so easy? I've played bass with my fingers ever since I started playing. I have a very hard time playing with a pick and anything difficult that I play, I play with fingers.
  5. Skel


    Jun 19, 2005
    Boulder, Colorado
    So it must be that the guys who make finger style look easy have been playing for 15+ years, and don't know any different. It *is* easy for them. I can play with a pick with no effort at all....it's easy. But I've been playing with a pick forever. I've practiced, practiced, practiced finger style and I must be thinking that 1 or 2 years is enough when it isn't. Or maybe I just don't have natural talent finger style.
  6. +1

    At least with fingers you can damp, play 2 notes and when I panic, slap/pop an octave.- looks cool, fill a hole - means nothing ;)

    I mean to start learning to use a pick sometime - honest.
  7. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    South Carolina
    After many years you will recognize that playing fast and difficult things (pick or fingers) requires more relaxation than tension. So I suppose when someone is playing with relaxed fingers, it looks like it is easy. Also, their muscles are trained and do things automatically.
  8. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    If it doesn't look easy when you play it, then you haven't worked hard enough.
  9. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    My fingers don't think, they just do. It's just years of practice that comes as second nature. It really IS that easy with enough practice.
  10. morf

    morf Banned

    Feb 17, 2006
  11. Skel


    Jun 19, 2005
    Boulder, Colorado
    It looks like they were born doing it to me.

  12. well, if you really think about it...
  13. Skel


    Jun 19, 2005
    Boulder, Colorado
    I've heard all these debates about whether guitar or bass is easier. Trust me, a really good finger style bassist is absolutely no less talented than the best guitar player. I'll go to my grave not budging on that one.
  14. Me, I do it with mirrors.
  15. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Skel, I played with a pick for 30 years or so. In 2003,
    I decided finally I was going to master finger style, and
    so far, have gotten reasonably proficient at it.

    I spoke to few bass teachers, and all kind of said the same
    thing in the vein of 'Don't worry, your right hand will follow

    I started looking around for some real tools to help me
    with right hand work, to take it to the next level.
    And I found something I want to share with you.

    I get a catalog from a company called Homespun Tapes in
    Woodstock NY, run by Happy and Artie Traum. Among the
    DVD's in there are a few for fingerstyle acoustic players.
    EUREKA! The lightbulb went off, I called up and explained
    my interest to the young lady there who was a guitarist
    and she hooked me up with 'Essential Evercises for the
    Fingerstyle Guitar' by Peter Huttlinger. Not only is Peter
    a National Fingerstyle champion and a Nashville go to pro,
    but he is an excellent teacher.

    The first section will give you enough right hand work in
    5 minutes to fill 6 months. The exercises are as he says,
    'not optional, but absolutely necessary to develop good right
    hand technique'. The best part is that in translates very
    well from guitar to bass. And given that there is a huge gap
    in what is available in the market for intermediate players
    who are honing their skills, it meets that need rather well.

    The second session drills arpeggiation in conjuction
    with the fingerstyle patterns. I found that quite useful.

    He has interesting discussions on hand and arm relaxation
    and performance notes.

    You can find it for between 27 and 30 bucks on the internet,
    and it is worth every penny invested 10 times over.


    Essential Exercises ...
  16. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    This past Friday, I got a cramp in my plucking hand forearm while we were playing Paranoid, which caused my entire hand to collapse into a fist. The best I could do to finish the song was, to hold my index finger straight & use it like a pick. I was laughing & freaking out at the same time... A 15 second stretch & life was golden.

    But, yea, back on topic... if you work at it, it IS easy... like Tim said, they just do...
  17. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Too much hip thrust
    I guess it looks easy because you dont have to move the overall location of your wrist as much/as obviously when you are changing strings with a pick.

    Depends who's playing! Some people look like they are dying.
  18. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    I agree with what you said above. But it sounds like you still give finger style players more credit than pick (bass) players. Maybe I'm wrong.

    I think it's a common misconception that finger style bassists are somehow better bass players. I am so glad that this misconception is out there.;) Some of my friends and band mates give me more credit than I deserve as a bassist just because I play with my fingers. I hear it all the time, when people are handing out compliments, "you play with your fingers" seems to always come up before "you have good time" or any of the other nice things people might say.

    The truth is - When I started playing bass (just 7 years ago) I had no experience with guitar or any stringed instrument for that matter. Playing with a pick was no easier than playing with my fingers. I got a beginning method book, which recommended and taught finger style, and started doing the right hand exercises. Out of all the things that I've had to learn and work hard on, my right hand finger style technique accounts for about 0.001% of the effort I have put into learning bass. I never think about my right hand and it completely takes care of itself.

    But, if people want to assume that I'm somehow a more learned bassist because I play with my fingers, even though I know that I'm really taking the easy way out, who am I to correct them?
  19. Skel


    Jun 19, 2005
    Boulder, Colorado
    I've heard great bass with fingers and with a pick and I don't think the finger style bassist is necessarly better...it's just more difficult to play what they're playing with fingers than it is with a pick. To me anyway. That's why I *do* instantly respect a fingerstyle bassist more than a picker, and I'm probaby wrong on this, but they are doing something I couldn't do.
  20. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    My take on it is that it is all tools in the tool box.

    I did have to stop picking to concentrate on developing
    my right hand. If the song needs a pick, I'll use it.

    It is all artistic style, and their is no right or wrong way.
    And I often admire other bassists for their mastery of
    different techniques. I can't do the 'Hook' and make it
    sound like Jamerson with that little rake in 'Heard it through
    the Grapevine'. I can't slap like Marcus Miller. I can't tap like
    Wooten, and I can't alternate 3 fingers into 4/4 like Billy

    I better stop, I am getting depressed now ... :bawl:

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