Bass Three Finger Right Hand Technique

author: Bass_for_life date: 08/27/2013 category: bass lessons
rating: 5.8 / votes: 4 
Bass Three Finger Right Hand Technique
Three finger Right hand technique (Left hand for left handed players). Most bass players obviously either play with a plectrum, slapping and popping or their index and middle finger. Two bassists who have developed their own style from this idea is Steve Harris (Iron Maiden) who has made a career out of playing with three fingers known as "galloping," and Gary Willis (Tribal Tech) who uses three fingers to cross dampen strings (alternates fingers when crossing strings to dampen with the other two fingers search Gary Willis bass lesson to see in full detail). So for this lesson I want to go through examples to improve finger independence so the three-finger technique can be used in a wide range of situations. The first thing to practice and learn is the standard three finger "gallop" style of using your Ring, Middle and Index fingers in that order.

Ring, Middle, Index example.

This can be played anywhere on the neck as long as it played across all strings with at least one Ring, Middle, Index pattern on each string.
G---------------------------------------5-5-5----5-5-5--------------------------------
D-----------------------------5-5-5----------------------5-5-5------------------------
A--------------------5-5-5----------------------------------------5-5-5---------------
E-----------5-5-5----------------------------------------------------------5-5-5------
                       R  M I        R M  I        R M  I         R  M  I        R M  
I      R M  I       R  M  I       R  M  I                                             
R Ring finger M middle finger I Index finger Same pattern applied to C major scale. Play one finger pattern (R M I) for each note of the scale.
G------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
D---------------------------------------------------------7-7-7-9-9-9-10-10-10-------
A----------------------------------7-7-7-8-8-8-10-10-10------------------------------
E------------8-8-8--10-10-10---------------------------------------------------------
                       R  M  I    R    M    I              R M   I  R  M I    R   M  
I      R M  I   R M  I    R   M     I                                                
R Ring finger M middle finger I Index finger Same pattern applied to C major scale (one note, one octave version). This pattern is similar to the one above but using only one note for each note of the scale. This means using the RMI finger pattern for different notes instead of the same note in the example above.
G-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
D-------------------------------7--9--10----------------------------------------------
A-------------------7--8--10----------------------------------------------------------
E------------8--10--------------------------------------------------------------------
                       R    M      I    R    M        I    R    M                     
R Ring finger M middle finger I Index finger This RMI pattern can be applied to arpeggios, scales, bass lines and any other musical phrase/sequence you can think of. You can also play the above example in single, double and triple formations. By this I mean doubling or tripling certain notes. Same pattern applied to C major scale (Double and triple variations). Although this can be tailored to your own imagination, always make sure you start on the Ring finger and follow the RMI sequence.
G-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
D-------------------------------------------7-7--9-9-9-10-----------------------------
A----------------------7--8--10-10-10-------------------------------------------------
E------------8-8--10------------------------------------------------------------------
                       R  M    I        R   M     I    R    M             I  R    M I 
R   M                                                                                 
R Ring finger M middle finger I Index finger In the above example, the RMI sequence is still intact and it's still a C major one-octave scale but some of the notes have been doubled and tripled.

Middle, Index, Ring example

Going back to the first example in this lesson. We can create a new stream of examples by alternating the RMI pattern. This is done by starting on the Middle finger. This creates the MIR pattern (Middle, Index, Ring). So taking the first example we just simply change the right hand pattern.
G---------------------------------------5-5-5----5-5-5--------------------------------
D-----------------------------5-5-5----------------------5-5-5------------------------
A--------------------5-5-5----------------------------------------5-5-5---------------
E-----------5-5-5----------------------------------------------------------5-5-5------
                       M  I  R      M I   R       M  I  R         M  I  R       M I   
R       M I  R       M I  R         M I  R                                            
M middle finger I Index finger R Ring finger This MIR (middle, index, ring) pattern should be used for all the above examples.

Index, Ring, Middle example

Going back to the first example in this lesson. We can create a new stream of examples by alternating the RMI pattern. This is done by starting on the Index finger. This creates the IRM pattern (Index, Ring, Middle). So taking the first example we just simply change the right hand pattern.
G---------------------------------------5-5-5----5-5-5--------------------------------
D-----------------------------5-5-5----------------------5-5-5------------------------
A--------------------5-5-5----------------------------------------5-5-5---------------
E-----------5-5-5----------------------------------------------------------5-5-5------
                       I   R M      I   R  M       I  R  M         I R M        I  R  
M      I  R M        I  R M        I  R M                                             
I Index finger R Ring finger M middle finger This MIR (middle, index, ring) pattern should be used for all the above examples. Taking all the above examples and applying these new right hand sequences will allow you to start scales, arpeggios, musical phrases and bass lines on different fingers of the ring hand. The list below gives all the possible Right hand sequences using your Middle, Index and Ring fingers. All should be practising in a variety of scales, arpeggios, bass lines and musical phrases.
I M R
I R M
M I R
M R I
R I M
R M I
Of course this can be applied to using four fingers on your right hand (Index, Middle, Ring, Pinkie), Five (Index, Middle, Ring, Pinkie and Thumb) or different three finger sequences where you use one finger twice (Index, Middle, Index, Ring) (Middle, Ring, Index, Ring, Index). Practising all of this will allow you to play faster patterns when combining both the left and right hand or even chords if you pluck simultaneously with all three fingers.
More Bass_for_life lessons:
+ Slap Bass - The Middle Finger Bass Lessons 04/23/2014
+ Slap Bass - The Basics Bass Lessons 04/21/2014
+ The Rule of Fives Bass Lessons 08/14/2013
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