Right Hand Technique ?

Discussion in 'Bass Area; The Bottom Line' started by LonesomeCraig, Apr 15, 2016.

  1. s2y

    s2y Member

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    If you look at a lot of famous bassists, a lot of form problems stem from either hanging the bass too high or too low. The jazzier guys seem to hang the bass really high. The rock guys sling their basses low. Both have their share of problems. A lot of us mere mortals will suffer from inefficiency and pain before that. Many will blame gear on their poor technique. ;)
     
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  2. s2y

    s2y Member

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    Geddy often plays with one finger. He usually switches to two when things get fast. I'm impressed how fast he can play before switching to 2 fingers. I certainly can't do that.
     
  3. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Member

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    I played my new Spector last night for the first time in a band situation. So it was the first time I really played it standing up. The strap button is higher up on the body on Spectors and the bass hung lower than I normally wear them. I got used to it ok and familiar material was no issue, but I noticed that while I was improvising and running scales and whatnot my fingers were a little slower than normal. It looked cooler though. lol
     
  4. s2y

    s2y Member

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    The slightly shorter (14 fret?) top horn and off-center strap button would drop the bass a few inches. Nothing a different strap couldn't solve.
     
  5. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Member

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    Yeah I know. I did mention how cool it looked right? lol
     
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  6. Hacksaw

    Hacksaw Time Warped

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    I gave it a try and habit struck, I did catch myself and correct. I ended up with the Geddy style look. Neck out and a away, bass body back a little towards my right hip and elbow stayed out easier. OK.. I think I fixed that. :) yay.

    I probably play with my finger tips 90% of the time, I rest my thumb on the neck pup, and then move it to strings as my hand goes down. Should I be doing this? reflecting back to the OP about using the thumb.

    Side question How the heck do you guys slap and make it so cool sounding? my thumb is OK but the octave I can't get a grasp on the feel of that. I just get a note thud. (probably a new thread needed for slap, huh?)

    I am really enjoying how the bass is so tactile/interactive with my right hand.

    Many thanks everyone.
     
  7. s2y

    s2y Member

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    My classical guitar teacher forced me to break my bad habits, as much as I initially resisted. Fortunately, my hands were much happier.

    Technically, floating thumb is considered the best. I don't really see a problem resting the thumb on the neck pickup. Floating thumb can become more useful on 5+ strings.

    I'm primarily a fretless player and don't slap much. I've never been particularly happy with my own slap tone. Much like percussive acoustic playing, it always sounds much better when someone else is doing it.
     
  8. bob-i

    bob-i Member

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    I'm trying to learn the floating thumb technique. Jack Bruce was amazing at it. That and using index and middle fingers mostly, with thumb occasionally for the round tone it provides.
     
  9. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    Disclaimer: I haven't played much bass for decades.

    But when I started in the .... ahem .... early '60s, the first person I saw play bass in person was Norm Sundholm of The Kingsmen. He played with the first two fingers and that became a model that pretty much never changed for me.

    Most of my bass playing was in a jazz piano trio where I used a Pbass through an Ampeg B-15N. For that music fingers was a perfect solution and I also noted that it was what jazz guys playing upright used. Later when there were more funky things going on I tended to play in the style of Rocco Prestia of Tower of Power. No slapping or popping.

    To this day a Pbass with flatwound strings is my favourite ride and I like the combination of sound and portability of Phil Jones amps.
     
  10. dean owens

    dean owens Member

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    I started playing when I was 12 and didn't have anyone to teach me. I was into metal... it was '89 after all. I played with a pick because that's what all the guys I wanted to be like did. That worked for a few years.

    Then my mom started dating a guy who played bass in a local club band. He kinda had the attitude that you should only play bass with your fingers. He didn't ride me on it, but he did try to persuade me. I did learn that I could get some different sounds and have more control over what I was doing if I lost the pick. Plus, it made me kinda unique at the time playing metal with my fingers.

    A few years later I was playing for a week of church camp. I hadn't really been doing any regular playing leading up to that and you can guess what happened... blisters. I've never been one to develop calluses per se... I just stop getting blisters. Well, I needed to keep playing so I started adding in the ring finger so it wouldn't hurt so much. It became pretty natural.

    So now I play with fingers 1-3 pretty interchangeably. I tend to wear the bass on the high side of middle simply because I tend to have shorter arms and need to have it in a comfortable place for my left hand/arm. And the most natural place for me to play is near the bridge.

    I'm sure I do things wrong, but my technique came from what I just said... plus trying to get the sound all my metal heroes got with a pick... while using my fingers.

    Does that answer your question?

    After watching this guy I must be doing everything wrong. Although there are some things he says as fact that are a bit of opinion. But that can be all musicians to some extent.
     
  11. dean owens

    dean owens Member

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    What did you get? I wanted a Spector from the time I started playing. Rachel Bolan with his white Spector was what got me excited. I finally picked up a ReBop a few years ago and really like it. I might be one of the few, but I'd like to find a 34" scale 5-string for a good price. I passed one up on talkbass years ago and I continually kick myself over that.
     
  12. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Member

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    Mike Starr signature Euro 4 LX. It's fantastic.
     
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  13. sears

    sears Member

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    I try to hit it right in the middle of the fingerprint. This is what it looks like.

     
  14. s2y

    s2y Member

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    I don't know if I'd call any of what Gary said to be an opinion. He has a very solid understanding of how the hands work and his basslines require good technique to pull it off. He also plays a heck of a lot as a professional.

    If you can play lines like his and as much as he does without good technique, good for you. Before I adopted this technique, I used to get all sorts of pain in my hands, especially in my left hand when I'd grab my 5 string. I have also been in bands with dudes who have had to have surgery on their hands. I may be in the medical profession, but that doesn't mean I want surgery. ;)
     
  15. dean owens

    dean owens Member

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    So I have to agree than a bass and amp combo sounds best when I have amp cranked and play soft enough that the initial attack is the same volume as the ringing of the note? No room to disagree and call that opinion? :dunno
     
  16. s2y

    s2y Member

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    I was referring to his comments about techique. The tone of low attack may or may not be desired, but it has the advantages and properties he describes. I think we've all been in a band with a guitarist, bassist, or drummer that hits so hard all the time that there's little room for dynamics. I think his approach probably works better outside of rock and metal. This technique is really nice on a good fretless, which is what Gary Willis spends most of his time doing.
     
  17. great-case.com

    great-case.com a.k.a. "Mitch"

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    The permutations are endless. I can't wait to learn a new one. I'll be watching this thraed.. thanks, folks!

    DiMeola's picking lessons got me started in the 70's but bluegrass really peeked my curiosity. Classical didn't hold my attention but as an exercise, I dug it deeply. Now...my fav: A combo of pick and with my three free fingers, I pluck or strum in a flamenco style.
     
  18. Funky Chicken

    Funky Chicken Member

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    I tend to use a couple of different techniques.
    Thumb on low E side of pickup cover and two fingers
    Thumb on low E edge of fingerboard and two fingers
    A strumming motion using the meat of the thumb on downstrokes and the index finger on upstrokes-you can get the string kind of bouncing off the frets and helping you along.
    Not much of a pick guy. My fingernails on my first two right hand fingers are very strong and I keep them a little longer than the tip of the finger.
     
  19. bayAreaDude

    bayAreaDude Member

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    Play a p-bass - thumb anchored on the pickup, middle and index finger. Feels very natural to me.
     
  20. sears

    sears Member

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    Isn't it true on guitar, too? That a light touch results in better tone and less fatigue? I think what Gary says is food for thought. Jamerson's technique was very different than Wills' but watch how delicately his right hand moves.
     

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