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rainy_sunny
06-01-2006, 06:37 PM
Couple of months ago me and my friend have started indie-rock band. I used to play guitar but because of lack of musicians in our town i've started to play bass and sing (while he is playing guitar). Then we've found a drummer. Things are going well, but i have some questions:

1. I play bass with pick (and it sounds really good, because i am not bad guitarist), and i think of switching to finger-playing. When i play with fingers, the rhytm is bad and when i'm playing "index finger-long-finger" motion, notes are not sounding even.
So i want some advice for improving my right-hand finger-playing, considering my good pick-playing.

2. By the way: do i really need this switching? What can this give to my playing or sound or something else? Many great bassists are playing with pick... Maybe it's better to leave it that way?

3. And i'm interested in everything related to bassist/vocalist thing.

Spino
06-01-2006, 09:30 PM
Fingers are a lot more versatile than a pick and it' s a different sound ,fatter, but it might take a while to get them moving in sync but it should'nt take too long if you persever.Try learning a 3 finger alternating approach, a little strange at first but it will pay-off in the long run. G'luck

Poparad
06-02-2006, 02:41 AM
Playing with a pick often gives you a thin, brittle sound from the bass. Fingers will give you a full, warm, punchy sound that really fills out the low end in a band nicely.

As far as speed, rhythmic accuracy, and even tone between the index and middle fingers, simply practicing more will improve your playing. The more familiar you become with two-finger technique, the more natural it will become.

rainy_sunny
06-02-2006, 03:34 PM
Thank you. I'll try. I need just more practice, i understand... I have one more trouble: as my finger-playing is not good now, i have to play with pick on gigs (we already did one, another one is upcoming) and rehearsals and simultaneously practice fingerstyle at home... It's not good because i don't have amp at home... But i'll try.

I've just realised where is my main problem: i have tension in my index finger (right hand). When i play fast things with two fingers, right hand gets tired very quickly. I have to work on it. What can you guys say?

Poparad
06-02-2006, 04:39 PM
Relax. It's important with fingerstyle playing to keep your fingers relaxed and play with a light touch, especially on fast parts, as playing with too heavy of an attack will slow you down and tire your muscles.

Be careful practicing without an amp, because in order to hear yourself, you'll want to pluck the strings harder, which is the opposite of how you should approach fingerstyle playing.

Spino
06-03-2006, 01:28 PM
You might like to try "The Bass Workout" book by David Overthrow ,a 30 day plan for Bassists lotsa good strength building exercises for R & L hands ,it will get your picking sorted out in no time. ISBN 0-7390-2342-X G'luck

rainy_sunny
06-05-2006, 08:38 AM
Now my playing is much better. I hang the bass really low, so my right hand is relaxed (left hand is OK too, because i have long fingers). For some reason i find it easier to play "middle finger-index finger" instead of "index-middle". I think, i'll be able to play with fingers by the time of our next gig.

Spino
06-05-2006, 01:43 PM
Don't want to be a killjoy or sound like I'm preaching but having the bass slung low might be comfortable for your right hand but it severly limits movement/flexibility in the left hand even tho you might think that it looks cool. If you sit on a chair holding your back straight and play your bass this is approximately the right position when standing ,check it out but in the end the decision lies with you. :)

Poparad
06-05-2006, 01:50 PM
Don't want to be a killjoy or sound like I'm preaching but having the bass slung low might be comfortable for your right hand but it severly limits movement/flexibility in the left hand even tho you might think that it looks cool. If you sit on a chair holding your back straight and play your bass this is approximately the right position when standing ,check it out but in the end the decision lies with you. :)

I completely agree. That's the ideal level for both hands on the bass. With the bass too low and the right arm completely extended, it will slow down the fingers, and having the left hand, no matter how long your fingers are, extended will force the fretting hand to be at a bad angle. The result for the fretting hand will be poor accuracy, severely reduced speed, and a very high risk for a repetitive stress injury (RSI).

rainy_sunny
06-05-2006, 03:27 PM
If you sit on a chair holding your back straight and play your bass this is approximately the right position when standing

Just tried it: it's really high. Why then most of the bassists hang the bass somewhere in the middle posicion? They're all wrong?

I hang guitar low too. So it's the natural position for me. I do it not because of "it looks cool", it's just most comfortable position for me. Billy Joe Armstrong or James Hetfield are playing like this for years...

And i don't need to play complex things on bass, because i'm singing bassist. I don't need much stretching or solos beyond 12th fret or something like that...

But i don't want to get an RSI so i'm worried about this. I think I'll keep on playing low, but if there will be something wrong with left hand, i'll change the position.

Spino
06-05-2006, 04:42 PM
It's only high cuz you are a low-slinger and like I said in my post IT'S YOUR DECISION .I won't waste my breath in saying any more 'specially as Hetfield & Amstrong do it, both, master musicians. :rolleyes:

rainy_sunny
06-06-2006, 06:16 AM
It's only high cuz you are a low-slinger and like I said in my post IT'S YOUR DECISION .I won't waste my breath in saying any more 'specially as Hetfield & Amstrong do it, both, master musicians. :rolleyes:

Yeah, i agree. Sorry. I think it's old and useless dispute. And it's really individual question.

anDou
06-06-2006, 09:38 AM
Even though your learning to play the "index-finger" aproach it is very important to warm up. If your hand hurts, stop.! It's a very important matter, since your hands will get slower and your mustles tighten. I recommend to strech before and after either practice and/or gig. It helps...! For the purpose i recommend the DvD of John Petrucci that he did a couple of years back. he has a 20 min intro where he's pointing out several warm up methods.

Best regards from one bass-player to another. GL

Supernaut
06-17-2006, 05:32 PM
I tend to fingerpick like Geezer Butler from Black Sabbath. instead of pulling on the string, you more sorta use your fingers to hammer it. But there's a little pull involved too. It's hard to explain. See if you can find a video.


hope that helps!

rainy_sunny
06-26-2006, 04:08 PM
Sound interesting... I didn't heard much of their music, and didn't seen the videos, so i don't get this approach by now. I'll try to find some information. Thank you.

jade_bodhi
07-24-2006, 12:54 AM
I had a similar experience years ago when I went from guitar to playing bass in a band. I was so used to using a pick on the guitar in a band that I bought those felt picks for the bass. I didn't like the sound they gave me, and I think the bass isn't meant to be flat picked on the kind of music I do, which is melodic, bluesy, and nuanced. A pick might work best on metal or raunch 'n' roll stuff where the bassman is picking eight or sixteen of the same note in a bar. It was hard to be patient to learn to play with the fingers of my plucking hand, because at the beginning I could play better with a pick, but the pick ultimately limited my playing. Eventually, I learned to pluck with my fingers and I would encourage any player to use finger. As someone said here, fingers are so much more versatile than a pick.

As far as how to hold the bass, I think the low - slung style is really just a "look." No serious player, unaffected by the image he creates playing, plays bass that way. Holding the bass that way is just a rock and roll look. Unless your knocking down millions of dollars, you'll look silly holding it that way by the time your thirty.

Just my thoughts on the matter. I wouldn't tell anyone how to do it, but these are my thought and I'm a critic.

JB

rainy_sunny
04-30-2007, 08:54 PM
Thank you all for the advices. Now, after almost a year, I mostly play the bass with fingers (usually two). And I can play something like eight notes at 200 bpm (after some warm-up, of course).