yay 1st bass

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by airrick, Dec 25, 2005.

  1. airrick


    Dec 4, 2005
    I'm so happy, for xmas today I got my first bass, a humble squire p-bass. dont have any pics yet though. I do have a question: Is the point of having half hand position and first hand position is to facilitate to changes between notes in dirrerent pieces?
    if not why?
    noob out...
  2. Congrats on getting your first bass, I think we all remember the day!

    I don't understand your question though.
  3. airrick


    Dec 4, 2005
    I was watching this weird video and it was saying that using you 1st finger on the 1st fret and 2nd finger on second fret ,etc. was half position and useing 1st finger on second fret, second finger on third fret, etc. was first (or was it whole?) position. Can anybody shed light on this?
  4. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Squier* cmon its on the headstock
  5. curse that headstock. :p

    Maybe by "half posistion" he meant "half-step". Half steps in ex. are from A to Ab, Ab to B, but a whole step would be D to E or Gb to Ab. If memory serves me correctly, 2 half steps make a whole step, whole step is distance from one note to another, but there is only a half step distance from B to C and E to F. Correct me if i'm wrong guys, thats why we have TB. :D
  6. airrick


    Dec 4, 2005
    yeah, i wasn't looking at my bass while posting this(not trying to sound like a jerk)

    i know about half and whole steps, i've played piano for 11 years. When fingering on the bass, are there such title as half position and first position?
  7. I have no idea and am waiting for someone else with some knowledge to offer an opinion about this. I always thought that first position meant first finger at first fret... at least I always thought my way around the bass using that kind of fret reference, I don't normally use the idea of positions (at least not to navigate the bass fingerboard).
  8. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    The theory behind positions on bass is the same as on piano...

    Different scales, notes, chords, etc... are easier in different positions.

    Thats why I like my 5-string... I have no reason to ever leave the 5th position.
  9. airrick


    Dec 4, 2005
    so does it really matter what finger use use on each fret as long as it is the right note?
  10. klharper


    Oct 16, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Being a violinist in my musical origin, I know where this is coming from.

    On violin, you have a much smaller scale fingerboard, plus the strings are tuned in fifths, which makes it very organized for finger patterns and utilizing 4 fingers, making hand positions very "standardized" compared to bass. On violin, say your playing on the D string, and you put down your first finger in first position, you play an Eb/E ("low" or "high" first finger). Second finger plays F/F# (low or high again). etc. etc. But in second position, first finger would play F/F# and second finger would typically play G/G#... so on all the way up the fingerboard, on all the different string and what not. Its the violinists way of organizing and regulating finger pattersn and the fingerboard, in a way.

    Basically, what I'm saying in pretty much on an electric bass, since it is a much longer scale + has frets (makes shifting accuracy and intonation higher up on the neck loads easier - of course, much different for fretless/upright obviously) + is tuned in 4ths, so hand positions aren't really standardized much at all to the point where its "first position/second position".

    I would reccomend just practice and practice and build up your "fingerboard awareness", as I like to call it, and you'll find your way around the fingerboard nicely with time and practice.
  11. parttimeluthier


    May 7, 2005
    Maybe what he is asking about is refering to your root position finger for scales.
    For instance if you are playing a major scale your root note would start on the second fret of a span of typically four frets. you would play this note with your middle(2nd finger), your pinky(4th finger) would play the 4th fret which is the second note of the major scale.
    Moving up to the next highest string your index finger would play the first fret major third note , then the middle finger would play the 2nd fret fourth in the scale etc.etc.
    Now if it was a minor scale you would start with the root note on the first fret with your index finger, then the third fret(third finger) would play the second of the scale, the fourth finger fourth fret would be your flatted third etc. etc.
    It's hard to explain here but if you looked at a chart of box position major and minor scales you'd get the idea. it comes down to positioning your fingers to fall naturally on the frets that are directly under them as this cuts down on having to shift positions on the neck. Basically each finger gets it's own assigned fret.
  12. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    The video is correct. The video is using traditional double bass fingering positions. Half position is first finger on first frett, first position is first finger on second frett, etc, etc. The way the video demonstrates is standard for all classical and jazz doublebass postition designations and the same positions designations can be used for electric bass.

    Usually traditional double bass fingering uses 3 notes per hand per position. So then in half position, your first finger would be on the first frett, the second finger would be on the second frett and the third and fourth finger would be on the third frett. However, electric bassists have the option of playing four fretts per hand per position if your pinky will reach far enough to hit the fourth frett. That's up to you.
    Hope this helps.

    As a side note, the place for a question like this would be in the technique forum, but your new here so welcome and good luck!
  13. smperry

    smperry Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    Exactly. It's great to develop a memory of where certain notes are when your hands are in different positions, and it is useful later in learning scales and modes.

    Welcome to the wonderful world of bass! :)

  14. the_home

    the_home Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2005
    Pensacola, FL
    Your description is mostly correct, and the description is of the double bass fingering, with the minor(?) point to make that double basses, of course, do not have frets, that's why the finger goes to 'first position' and not 'first fret'. Applies directly to fretless bass, and to fretted bass with the noted change in terminology. ;)
  15. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    This whole "position" thing has it's origins in double bass. Playing upright, I use positions. Playing electric, I use the dots on the fretboard to tell me where I am :)
  16. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Welcome to Talkbass, airrick.:)

    Since this is more related to technique than a bass, I am moving it to our Technique forum. A great place for beginning bass players to post questions and search for answers.
  17. I learned something new this Christmas. :)
  18. That's why I like my 6 string even more ;) :D