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Old 09-14-2012, 03:57 PM   #1
Standarduser
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Fingerstyle basics?

How do you alternate pick the bass strings? You cannot pick them fast enough with only the thumb, yet if you alternate with the index finger(the index finger comes from below the string so it has a different sound) the sound is inchohesive.

Is there any way to pick the bass strings fast as alternate picking without incohesive sound?
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Old 09-14-2012, 04:03 PM   #2
Cruel Angel
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With a thumbpick?
idk
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Old 09-14-2012, 05:40 PM   #3
brandonian
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I think you are over analyzing this. If you bring your index finger up play a lower string, it should sound about the same. Is there a particular song you are trying to play?
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Old 09-15-2012, 02:00 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brandonian
I think you are over analyzing this. If you bring your index finger up play a lower string, it should sound about the same. Is there a particular song you are trying to play?


The thumb attacks the strings with its soft, meaty flesh. The index comes from the bot, so theres always some of the nail hitting the strings too. Therefore the sound is incohesive if you want to reach certain speeds.
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:30 PM   #5
Steve BP
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Perhaps you need to grow a little nail on the edge of the thumb closest to the strings. I find if you can get the nail & thumb flesh striking together with your attack, the sound will be more consistent. You don't need a lot of nail to get the result you need.
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Old 09-21-2012, 03:44 PM   #6
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Practice and technique. Whenever you think something is not possible because we are not using pics and just using fingerpicking I can name just a few people that will prove that you only need your fingers to do what you want.

SO IN SHORT STOP POSTING, START PRACTICING MORE AND GIVE IT TIME!!! Also, check your technique for proper technique, hand position, etc. helps a lot!!!
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:13 PM   #7
Cruel Angel
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Or you can alternate with the index and the middle finger?
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Old 09-24-2012, 03:31 PM   #8
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Get a thumbpick and sand it back until it's quite short. That way the pick doesn't get stuck under the string on the upstroke. Then start practicing by wearing the thumb pick and steadying it with your index finger on the bottom. Once you get your speed up, practice alternate picking quickly on the low E, just jam on it for hours.

You'll get that speed up. That's how I learnt at least.
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Old 10-02-2012, 05:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruel Angel
Or you can alternate with the index and the middle finger?


You can of course alternate with any combo of thumb and fingers. But I think some combos work more naturally than others.

On the topic generally, my view is that sound quality is a secondary issue. The crucial thing is to get your basic technique correct. Take the example of the intro to "Dust in the wind" by Kansas. The picking pattern (based on the opening C chord) is:

e ----------------
B -1---------1----
G -------0-------0
D -----2-------2--
A -3-------3------
E ----------------

I would count it out carefully with half beats like this (taking care to get the 2 half beat count on the first plucked note):

.. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
e ----------------
B -1---------1----
G -------0-------0
D -----2-------2--
A -3-------3------
E ----------------


Then I would practise the fingering for my plucking hand, aiming for evenness, keeping the rhythm (but not speed), and consistent fingering.

Here's a series of tabs showing how I help my guitar students to build this skill step by step. For this pattern the thumb plays strings 5 and 4; the first finger plays string 3 and the second finger plays string 2. First the thumb and second finger alternate:

.. 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 .
e --------------------------------
B -----1-------1-------1-------1--
G --------------------------------
D --------------------------------
A -3-------3-------3-------3------
E --------------------------------


Then the same for strings 3 and 4:

.. 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 .
e --------------------------------
B --------------------------------
G -----0-------0-------0-------0--
D -2-------2-------2-------2------
A --------------------------------
E --------------------------------


Then combining the 2 pairs:

.. 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 .
e ----------------------------------------------------------------
B -----1-------1-------1-------1----------------------------------
G -------------------------------------0-------0-------0-------0--
D ---------------------------------2-------2-------2-------2------
A -3-------3-------3-------3--------------------------------------
E ----------------------------------------------------------------


And finally:

.. 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 .
e ------------------------------------------------
B -----1---------------1-----------------------
G -------------0---------------0-------0-------0--
D ---------2---------------2-------2-------2------
A -3---------------3---------------------------
E --------------------------------------------


Which with the double pluck added at the first beat is a short step to the song. I then gradually speed up, and add the chords when I am ready. My experience is that getting this process right will take care of 80% of the sound quality issues. The rest can be polished by experimenting with shaping fingernails or adding a thumb pick.
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