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FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / Got a playing problem -- looking for advice/technique

wrnchbndr

New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
May 24th, 2018 10:41 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I'm not really a bass player but I enjoy the hell out of faking it and I am actually getting better at it. I'm working on my finger style but mainly use my index finger alone as a pick -- it has become deformed and weird over the years. I got a problem with loosing my grove in certain types of tunes. The current problem is a song like Tush by ZZTop. Its simple as hell but I feel that I'm a few milliseconds behind the beat and I don't feel like I'm in the slot. I tend to kill all of the treble and have all bottom to sound better but this is just a bandaid fix. Anyone else have any experience overcoming this issue? Normally I'm reasonably intuitive and confident but a number of songs like this cause me to lose my mojo. I was having problems with Get Back by the Beatles but addressed it using an up and down stroke with a pick -- generally solved but Tush with its driving rhythm feels wrong. I have not recorded myself and played it back to hear from that perspective -- help.

themaestro
Contributing Member
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Wichita, Kansas

Drums = pulse, Bass = heartbeat
May 24th, 2018 10:55 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I often have the same feeling when playing Tush finger-style. It seems to be a combination of the shuffle beat, the tempo and the walk-ups and downs while shuffling. It seems to be just that song. I play 2 finger fingerstyle.

My determination is that this is a pick song requiring a downstroke on the strong beats and an upstroke on the late shuffled beat.

(This message was last edited by themaestro at 12:57 PM, May 24th, 2018)

wrnchbndr

New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
May 25th, 2018 07:51 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Yep. Using a pick helps a lot. But practice from one day to the next is showing improvement too. I'm not feeling out of the slot. I think I might have been not concentrating on keeping the shuffle in the same character during the walk-ups and walk-downs throwing me off. For some this may come naturally but for me its a lot of discipline. Its awesome getting better at something when you're over 55.

themaestro
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Wichita, Kansas

Drums = pulse, Bass = heartbeat
May 25th, 2018 08:26 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

After I made my post, I played finger-style against the recording. It sounded better than I remembered. I think my timing is good, it just feels more awkward than it sounds.

I'm glad you are progressing.

Bubbalou

USA

THE LOW END OF UPPER TEJAS
May 25th, 2018 01:26 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I use alternating two finger style on most all songs including Tush. Works for me :)


wrnchbndr

New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
May 25th, 2018 03:51 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

In the last three years, I began to see my limitations by not using a two or three finger style playing technique. I've also totally destroyed the first joint of my index finger by abusing it like a pick. I know there have been a lot of good players who never used traditional finger style either but I'm working on it. For a lot of tunes, I can do it and its becoming a habit the more I do. Practice practice...

Bubbalou

USA

THE LOW END OF UPPER TEJAS
May 25th, 2018 03:59 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

As I get older using 1 finger is all but useless and bothers arthritis in joints

digiboy

New York City

May 25th, 2018 06:10 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have no speed in my fingers, never did. By rights I probably shouldn't even play bass. I've developed a few tricks to get me by. Raking across the strings can work great depending on the riff. I always look for ways to do that. The other thing I do is just to cheat and not play all the notes. I've become an expert at finding just the right notes and the timing for certain riffs to make it sound like I'm playing the whole thing. Don't know if I'm fooling anyone but no one has ever called me out on it. Now if George's "Old Brown Shoe" or ToP's "What is Hip" comes around, I'd be in trouble.

themaestro
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Wichita, Kansas

Drums = pulse, Bass = heartbeat
May 25th, 2018 07:45 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Digiboy, I’ve been known to skip notes on a fast run.

I play in an 18 piece big band. A few songs have a tutti section where everyone plays some 16th note phrase lasting 3 to 8 beats. I can’t play that. Even if I did, it won’t sound good because a slow-speaking bass instrument just turns it to mud. I actually see these as an arranger problem. I don’t think the arranger understands the limits of the instrument. In these cases, I play the accented notes of the phrase and let the more nimble instruments play all the in between notes. I actually think this produces a better overall sound by adding some extra punch to the important notes in the phrase.

(This message was last edited by themaestro at 09:46 PM, May 25th, 2018)

Taildragger
Contributing Member
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USA

an acquired taste some may never acquire
May 26th, 2018 05:57 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Digiboy, I’ve been known to skip notes on a fast run."

^This.

I favor short-scale basses with tight string spacing, which is a big plus for fretting hand speed.

Also: I favor using increased amp volume and a more percussive but controlled right-hand technique (more light-fingered "tapping" than heavy-handed "hammering", if you will). I guess you could say it consists of using your fingers in a somewhat similar way to how you use your thumb when slapping. It's kind of half tapping the strings and half plucking them, but not really what I think of as "digging in".

In any case, I can play faster with accuracy using this method than I can by actually trying to pluck rapidly with two fingers. I also find that this produces a nice punchy tone, especially with some gain rolled in.

Got the idea from watching old footage of Jack Casady's playing.

Hope any of that makes some kind of sense...

Edited to add: the other ingredient of this recipe is stiff, flat-wound strings.

I use these:

(This message was last edited by Taildragger at 08:45 PM, May 26th, 2018)

digiboy

New York City

May 30th, 2018 05:12 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

wrnchbndr: You should read through Hushnel's thread talking about his recent experience at Bass Camp. Sounds like something he learned a lot from and he makes some good points.

(This message was last edited by digiboy at 07:13 PM, May 30th, 2018)

hushnel
Contributing Member
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North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
May 30th, 2018 07:07 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hello “o)
I use primarily three fingers, I’ll add the thumb from time to time as well as the pinky, usually for chords, which I never use more than two strings at a time.

I play with the pads of my fingers mostly but will use the fingernails for a more aggressive tone, I’ll also finger flip the nails, flamenco style for quick notes or runs. I try to keep my wrist straight and it’s a constant battle, I try constantly to use no more strenght than is actually needed to pluck the strings or fret the neck. I’ve set my action really low to remind me I’m using too much energy when I hear string buzz. If the tune calls for fast driving notes I’ll use a pick, but I’m not as good with it as I am with my fingers, especially when I need to use more than two strings for the line.

FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / Got a playing problem -- looking for advice/technique




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