4 finger plucking


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02-28-2010, 04:28 AM
Well i got my first gig as a bassist coming up..

Went to a metal gig last night and noticed the bass players seemed to be plucking with 3 fingers.

I'm a guitar player playing bass so the plucking thing is new to me.
Any gigging metal bassists plucking with 4 fingers?

02-28-2010, 04:29 AM
umm...you wrote 4 fingers in the title, then said the bassist u saw was playing with 3 fingers, then ask who plays with 4? which of those numbers happens to be a typo?

anyways, im a gigging metal bassist and i play with 3

02-28-2010, 04:31 AM
I use 3, my pinky's too short to be used :(

To be honest, if you're still new to plucking and you have a gig coming up just use a pick. It's not "lame" to play a bass with a pick, even I do it sometimes when it would sound better for the song. And since you're a guitar player then I'm sure you have some level of skill in alternate picking.

02-28-2010, 04:34 AM
yeah sorry if that was confusing....

any reason for not using 4?

i'm starting off slow and four fingers seems to be working sweet

02-28-2010, 09:59 AM
If you can play with four fingers plucking the strings, then go for it. It would certainly enable you to do some incredibly fast playing. Doug Johns plays with four fingers and his technique is the best I've ever seen. Check him out to see what it can do for you.

02-28-2010, 11:15 AM
Google/Tube "Sheehan Bass Solo".

That shit is crazy.


02-28-2010, 02:15 PM
I use 3 for gallops, and 2 for everything else. Actually, thats a lie. Sometimes Ill do stuff out of chord shapes with index, middle, ring, and thumb

Bassist Rising
02-28-2010, 02:26 PM
Most people don't find playing with your pinky easy or practical so they tend not to do it. 3 Finger plucking is very common and I doubt you'll find any bassist who can't use two.

Personally I've tried using 4 but it was too uncomfortable.

02-28-2010, 02:46 PM
Never had much of a reason to try using my fourth, but I've seen some guys pull it off pretty well. I believe the bass players from despised icon, necrophagist, cephalic carnage, decapitated etc do. At least that's what I remember from the last time I saw them.

02-28-2010, 02:48 PM
Personally 4 isn't practical to me. It would make accenting a lot easier (with three it's hard for me to accent on the right beats when doing non-triplet stuff), but my pinky is so short and awkward that it doesn't reach the strings. Fingerpicking with it on guitar is no problem since my fingers are bent for that, but it's a bit different on bass.

02-28-2010, 04:21 PM
The main reason I don't use three fingers or four fingers to pluck, is because there's no real reason to. There's minimal speed advantages (no speed advantage that I've ever seen, but apparently others see it) and I can't think of anything else it might do. Perhaps it makes triplets or "gallops" easier, although that's more to do with timing than anything else as far as I can tell.

Raizer Sabre
02-28-2010, 04:53 PM
Google/Tube "Sheehan Bass Solo".

That shit is crazy.


i didn't actually think 4 finger picking was possible til i saw that and i noticed in places he even used his thumb as well

03-01-2010, 03:03 AM
The pinky is, in general, inefficient to use. Check out Matthew Garrison for a cool four finger technique.

p o e
03-01-2010, 03:15 AM
I use two.

03-01-2010, 12:30 PM
4 finger plucking is rare among metal bassists that I've seen in my 70+ experiences watching metal bassists. 3 finger plucking or Raking [as Cliff Burton called it] is quite common. I use it a shit ton, and I've seen plenty of other bassists use it. 4 finger plucking just becomes to difficult and in taking the time to learn it and get it up to speed, you could have just used 2 fingers 2 times instead of 4 fingers once... 2 and 3 are the only things that are really helpful.

You sir must also have a long pinky if your able to do that.... I know I can't and my pinky is average length...