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  #1  
Old 2007-08-22, 08:51
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Venom of God Venom of God is offline
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Finger techniques

Until maybe 6 months ago, I played bass with a pick and insisted that anyone who said this was cheating or whatever was just a 12yr old idiot... well, after awhile I decided that I was just making excuses and decided it was time to learn to play with fingers. It was super hard at first, but now I think I am pretty consistent with it. I've been playing a bit of Death lately, and I think it's time to introduce that 3rd finger. I have no problem doing triplets/galloping rhythms with 3 (obviously it's easier than it would be with 2), but for 8th and 16th note runs I seem to be a LOT faster with 2 than 3, mainly because I count 1,2,3,4 with each stroke I do I think (and with 3 fingers that gets weird).

Any tips on getting fast/accurate with the 3rd finger? String swapping is a real hassle, also. For awhile I would sit on my bed with a metronome and just play open strings, putting it up 10bpm at a time as I could do it, and I did see some improvement... but for how long it took it really wasn't much! Are there any better methods that anyone here knows of?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 2007-08-22, 10:32
Wolfsherz Wolfsherz is offline
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Try that pseudo-4-finger technique, "index-middle-ring-middle"? It took me a lot of practise though, but it's rewarding enough.
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Adustum - bass, guitars, full length out soon on XXXXXXXXXX recs

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  #3  
Old 2007-08-22, 10:46
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Venom of God Venom of God is offline
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Thanks for the tip, I'm going to bed now but I just tapped on the desk like that and it seemed to work a lot better than index-middle-ring-index-etc. I will give it a go tomorrow! I think I remember one of my drummer mates saying something about Alex Webster using a similar technique to this, any truth in that?
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  #4  
Old 2007-11-23, 23:57
iron_bodom iron_bodom is offline
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From my understanding Steve Digorgio used the i-m-r-m technique and Alex Webster adopted it only in the i-m-r-i pattern. I think Billy Sheehan and John Myung use a similare technique. You could also try a i-r-m-i pattern (similar to flamenco guitar playing) where if counting off the 4th and 16th note that are played would be struck with the index finger...it might make counting off a little easier.
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  #5  
Old 2007-11-24, 04:44
Zick Zick is offline
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That means literally nothing to me.
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  #6  
Old 2007-11-26, 15:49
basstendencies basstendencies is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Venom of God
Until maybe 6 months ago, I played bass with a pick and insisted that anyone who said this was cheating or whatever was just a 12yr old idiot... well, after awhile I decided that I was just making excuses and decided it was time to learn to play with fingers. It was super hard at first, but now I think I am pretty consistent with it. I've been playing a bit of Death lately, and I think it's time to introduce that 3rd finger. I have no problem doing triplets/galloping rhythms with 3 (obviously it's easier than it would be with 2), but for 8th and 16th note runs I seem to be a LOT faster with 2 than 3, mainly because I count 1,2,3,4 with each stroke I do I think (and with 3 fingers that gets weird).

Any tips on getting fast/accurate with the 3rd finger? String swapping is a real hassle, also. For awhile I would sit on my bed with a metronome and just play open strings, putting it up 10bpm at a time as I could do it, and I did see some improvement... but for how long it took it really wasn't much! Are there any better methods that anyone here knows of?

Thanks!


just keep practicing it. its going to be frustrating at first, but youll pick it up fairly quick if you slow down your playing and concentrate.
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  #7  
Old 2007-11-26, 16:03
Wolfsherz Wolfsherz is offline
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Oh yeah, problems with snare-changing?

Stupid question perhaps, but have you tried placing your thumb on the upper snare? (as in: playing a note on the A-snare = placing your thumb on the E-snare like you would on the pick ups)
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So this Georgian Olympian runs into a bar

Aosoth - New album III out now on Agonia Recs
Epoch - bass, guitars, drums, MetaStasizing out asap
Asphixa - bass, demo out asap
Adustum - bass, guitars, full length out soon on XXXXXXXXXX recs

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  #8  
Old 2007-11-28, 06:23
priji priji is offline
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I get so stoked when I receive your emails and comments about Bass Survival 101! Lately there have been countless requests for a lesson on improving your finger-plucking technique. (Note: I do not want to offend any left-handed bassists, but to make things easier, I will refer to the plucking hand as the "right hand".) As many of you know, if you do not have a well-developed right hand fingering technique, your road to mastering the bass will be fraught with frustration and flubbed notes. On the other hand, if you spend time honing your plucking technique, you will find that hard this will become easier, and the impossible will become possible. What I am telling you is that it is a valuable investment of time to work on your right hand skills.

Although there are several ways to pluck the bass, I will focus on the most common technique - the two-finger, alternating, technique. This technique is simple in concept: You use your index and middle fingers to strike the strings, and you always alternate between the two. Novice players rarely have trouble with the two-finger part of this technique, but they sometimes struggle with the "always alternating" part. The reason that you should always alternate between the index and middle fingers is because it sounds smoother and allows you to play faster. Some bassists like to "rake" the strings when they are playing from the higher pitched strings down to the lower pitched strings. (Raking is a term where a player uses one finger to play down all the strings.) While this may seem economical, it is often
Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
hard to play cleanly and it can be hard to control. Think of this: When you are running down the stairs you would never think of using your left foot, left foot, right foot, left foot, left foot, left foot, etc. Not only would this slow you down, you would probably fall down! If you just dedicate yourself to consistently alternating, you will play with more agility and control.

When using the two-finger technique, you can anchor your thumb in one place (Figure 1), have a moveable anchor (Figure 2) or use a free-floating technique (Figure 3). Anchoring your thumb in one place is very popular because it gives you a point of reference that never changes. Hard rock and metal players like this technique because the anchor gives them more power and helps them play as they leap around the stage.

The moveable anchor technique still gives you power, but it helps to keep the strings that you are not playing quiet. When you are playing the E string (or B string for your fivers out there) you anchor your thumb on the pickup or thumb rest. When you play the A string, you move your thumb so that it rests on the E string (keeping it from vibrating and adding noise). When you play the D string, you then rest your thumb on the A string. (Some people will rest their thumb on the A string, but will let the side of their thumb touch the E string to keep it quiet (Figure 4). This moveable anchor technique is perfect for the studio because it keeps the sympathetic vibrations under control.

The free-floating technique is not widely used, but those who employ it are ardent supporters of it. Basically, you do not anchor your thumb to any point on the bass and allow your hand to "float" over the strings. Proponents of this technique like the freedom of it, but will admit that they can play with a lot of power.
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  #9  
Old 2007-12-19, 01:14
faf_476 faf_476 is offline
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What would be the technique, so that your hands will not get strained immediately?
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  #10  
Old 2007-12-21, 13:38
basstendencies basstendencies is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by faf_476
What would be the technique, so that your hands will not get strained immediately?


start very slowly, and always warm up.
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  #11  
Old 2007-12-23, 12:41
faf_476 faf_476 is offline
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Also, where should I master first the fretboard or the shredding?
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  #12  
Old 2007-12-26, 12:22
basstendencies basstendencies is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by faf_476
Also, where should I master first the fretboard or the shredding?


the first thing i would recommend for a new bassist is to get a good solid sense of time and rhythm."shredding" will come naturally after years of playing. someone once told me if youre practicing, and your playing is sloppy, you are only practicing sloppiness. start slow. your speed will build.
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  #13  
Old 2008-01-04, 21:07
faf_476 faf_476 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by basstendencies
the first thing i would recommend for a new bassist is to get a good solid sense of time and rhythm."shredding" will come naturally after years of playing. someone once told me if youre practicing, and your playing is sloppy, you are only practicing sloppiness. start slow. your speed will build.


Thanks mate, does reading books regarding on how to play the bass really helps?
I'm more of a self study, haven't got a teacher yet, but someday will found someone.
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  #14  
Old 2008-01-07, 13:05
basstendencies basstendencies is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by faf_476
Thanks mate, does reading books regarding on how to play the bass really helps?
I'm more of a self study, haven't got a teacher yet, but someday will found someone.


i would ask around, and try and find yourself a good teacher. i had lessons when i first started, and my teacher was a joke, so i quit, and wasted years dicking around before getting some proper lessons. if you dont already have a metronome i would suggest you pick one up. they help alot with getting a good sense of time. above all, just keep playing.
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  #15  
Old 2008-01-08, 23:56
Fritz12 Fritz12 is offline
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Playing in Death Metal band, I find that when I play finger-style, I just can't maintain the volume to cut through, that I can with a pick, particularly during the speedier sections. I see, or better should say hear this same phenomenon with live bands I've seen recently - among them Vader, Behemoth, Immolation, Suffocation, and others...all finger players and the bass was simply nowhere in the mix - just lost!
I know my finger playing isn't the strongest - but can one develop enough strength and technique to achieve that solid audible bass low-end in the live setting(for Death Metal specifically)? I know some like Alex Webster and the like can positively rip-up the bass finger style - but I've not seen CC live in ages. Any suggestions on some live footage to check out along these lines, or advice on how not to sacrifice volume and bottom with fingers. It's clear you gents are NOT big fans of picks - so this seems a great place to ask for help along these lines!

Thanks
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  #16  
Old 2008-01-09, 08:32
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Tattered Tattered is offline
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I Know its said a lot, and i hate to say it again, but.. Practice!

Practice your endurance, and consistency in making sure all your notes are hearable when playing in a live situation and any other playing situation, a lot of metal players and punk players do use picks because they are not consistent in tone and volume with their fingers, but it can be done with enough practice and patience..
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  #17  
Old 2008-01-09, 08:47
Wolfsherz Wolfsherz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fritz12
among them Behemoth, all finger players and the bass was simply nowhere in the mix - just lost!



No no no, that's just because their bass-player is a pussy and doesn't have the guts to stand up and say "Hey guys am I allowed to turn my bass amp on?". His technique isn't the problem, the crappy band and pussyness is.

And yes, practice really is the best way to really hammer on your strings with your fingers. I didn't do any specific exercises, just played a lot of songs/albums (especially Ride the Lightning and shit). Yeah, maybe that's some good advice, always play along to songs with bass-solo's. You'll want to hear yourself do it so you'll play harder. Do this until you have enough muscle-tissue in your fingers or something like that, I did it and I'm audible with 2 other guitars and drums playing.

So I'm better than that Orion-fag.
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So this Georgian Olympian runs into a bar

Aosoth - New album III out now on Agonia Recs
Epoch - bass, guitars, drums, MetaStasizing out asap
Asphixa - bass, demo out asap
Adustum - bass, guitars, full length out soon on XXXXXXXXXX recs

Quote:
Originally Posted by far_beyond_sane
Tetianblood? ... Well, 'Necrosemen' to you too. Twat.

Last edited by Wolfsherz : 2008-01-09 at 08:51.
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  #18  
Old 2008-01-09, 13:57
basstendencies basstendencies is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fritz12
Playing in Death Metal band, I find that when I play finger-style, I just can't maintain the volume to cut through, that I can with a pick, particularly during the speedier sections. I see, or better should say hear this same phenomenon with live bands I've seen recently - among them Vader, Behemoth, Immolation, Suffocation, and others...all finger players and the bass was simply nowhere in the mix - just lost!
I know my finger playing isn't the strongest - but can one develop enough strength and technique to achieve that solid audible bass low-end in the live setting(for Death Metal specifically)? I know some like Alex Webster and the like can positively rip-up the bass finger style - but I've not seen CC live in ages. Any suggestions on some live footage to check out along these lines, or advice on how not to sacrifice volume and bottom with fingers. It's clear you gents are NOT big fans of picks - so this seems a great place to ask for help along these lines!

Thanks


ive gotta say i disagree completely. i can think of loads of fingerstyle bassists in the metal genre who cut through the mix (cliff burton comes to mind right off the bat), and as for a live setting, i saw suffocation, unmerciful (their bassist is the SHIT) and cannibal corpse fairly recently, and found all three bassists to have very solid tone. if anything playing with your fingers (as opposed to a pick) should give you more bottom end, volume, and in general a much richer tone. if you find your sound to have too much bottom, and not enough mid range (i think this is what youre saying), try turning your mids up on the EQ, or plucking closer to the bridge for a brighter tone. also take into consideration that the amount of people there will affect your bass sound. if youre playing a room with fewer people in it the bass will sound washed out, or muddy.

just out of curiosity, what kind of bass are you playing on?
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  #19  
Old 2008-01-09, 14:00
basstendencies basstendencies is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tattered
I Know its said a lot, and i hate to say it again, but.. Practice!

Practice your endurance, and consistency in making sure all your notes are hearable when playing in a live situation and any other playing situation, a lot of metal players and punk players do use picks because they are not consistent in tone and volume with their fingers, but it can be done with enough practice and patience..


word.
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  #20  
Old 2008-01-09, 17:27
Fritz12 Fritz12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by basstendencies
ive gotta say i disagree completely. i can think of loads of fingerstyle bassists in the metal genre who cut through the mix (cliff burton comes to mind right off the bat), and as for a live setting, i saw suffocation, unmerciful (their bassist is the SHIT) and cannibal corpse fairly recently, and found all three bassists to have very solid tone. if anything playing with your fingers (as opposed to a pick) should give you more bottom end, volume, and in general a much richer tone. if you find your sound to have too much bottom, and not enough mid range (i think this is what youre saying), try turning your mids up on the EQ, or plucking closer to the bridge for a brighter tone. also take into consideration that the amount of people there will affect your bass sound. if youre playing a room with fewer people in it the bass will sound washed out, or muddy.

just out of curiosity, what kind of bass are you playing on?



Thanks for the advice to everyone!

I am playing an ESP 5-string B-405(EMG actives) and/or Spector Legend Custom 4-string(EMG passive) through a Hartke 250W -15" combo. I can get plenty of volume generally speaking - especially from the Spector - but I think everyone has just confirmed my suspicions - it ME, not the equipment, etc. Practice indeed!!

Still, I stand by the buried bass in seeing various live acts in the past year. I made it a major point to focus on the bass-players, moved all around the clubs to get different sound perspectives, etc. Maybe it was just the venue/PA's.

*as a side the Cliff Burton reference is excellent and something I had forgotten. Being a little er...older, I got to see Cliff play numerous times "back when" beginning with the Kill 'Em All for one tour in '84! Never had trouble hearing Cliff live!

Practice it is! Thanks again to all.

Last edited by Fritz12 : 2008-01-09 at 17:29.
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