Tapping On Bass Guitar. Part 7 - Ninth Right Hand Position

author: UG Team date: 07/31/2003 category: bass lessons
rating: 9.4 / votes: 8 
Tapping on Bass Guitar Lesson #7 ================================ LESSON POINTS: Ninth Right Hand Position The interval of a fifth, which we considered last time, sounds weak when used extensively, so this week we'll examine how it can be combined with the fourth interval we've previously used to produce what is probably the most useful of all right hand tapping patterns. Play an A chord at the twelfth fret as usual, then follow it with a fifth based pattern similar to the one we looked at last time:
                                                             -O-
                                                  O
                                                 ---    ---  ---

                                            -O-  ---    -O-  ---

                                            ---  ---    ---  ---
                            __ 
                        |--/--\----------O------------O---------
                        |  \   | .  #                    
|-------14-------16-|   |------|--#-----------------------------
|----14-------14----|   |      / .         
|-12-------12-------|   |-----/---------------------------------
|-------------------|   |    /     #
     T  T     T  T      |---/-----------------------------------
                        |                 
                        |---------------------------------------
Now rather than keeping your fingers straight, play the fifth by hooking your third finger round behind your middle finger. With practise you should find a hand position which is a comfortable compromise between the the fourth and fifth hand positions you've been using previously. By using this hand position you can smoothly mix both fourths and fifths to provide passing notes:
                                                               /--\
                                                             -O-
                                                      O           O       O
                                                     ---     --- ---     ---

                                                 -O- --- -O- --- --- -O- ---

                                                 --- --- --- --- --- --- ---  
                                    __
                                |--/--\--------O----------------------------
                                |  \   | .  #                   
|---------14----16-14----14-|   |------|--#---------------------------------
|------14----14-------14----|   |      / .        
|---12----------------------|   |-----/-------------------------------------
|---------------------------|   |    /     #
       T1 T2 T1 T3 T2 T1 T2     |---/---------------------------------------
                                |
                                |-------------------------------------------
The B-A transition is a pull-off. You should be able to remove your third finger from the string cleanly enough to leave the A ringing, and to provide a smooth transition between the notes. Make sure your timing is tight on this example - in particular there should be no delay in shifting between hand positions. In fact there should be very little hand movement involved once you've found the correct technique. This fingering position is VERY important. It crops up everywhere, but its main uses (in terms of chord construction) are in resolving suspended fourths:
                                                       -O-
                                                  O
                                                 ---   --- 

                                            -O-  ---   ---

                                            ---  ---   ---
                            __
                        |--/--\--------------------------------
                        |  \   | .  #                    
|-----------14--16--|   |------|--#----------------------------
|-------14----------|   |      / .       O  
|-------------------|   |-----/------#-------------------------
|---12--------------|   |    /     #
        T   T   T       |---/----------------------------------
                        |
                        |--------------------------------------
                                         Root    Fourth
                                            Octave    Fifth


And outlining ninth chords:


                                                       -O-
                                                  O     
                                                 ---   --- 

                                            -O-  ---   ---

                                            ---  ---   ---
                            __
                        |--/--\----------O---------------------
                        |  \   | .  #                    
|-----------14--16--|   |------|--#----------------------------
|-------14----------|   |      / .         
|---12--------------|   |-----/--------------------------------
|-------------------|   |    /     #
        T   T   T       |---/----------------------------------
                        |
                        |--------------------------------------
                                         Root   Octave
                                            Fifth      Ninth
Ninth chords are very important on bass, as the large intervals involved prevent the sound from being muddy, while still providing a complex sound. I hope to cover them in more detail in a later lesson. To avoid confusion with fourth and fifth hand positions, I'll probably refer to this hand position as a ninth position, regardless of the harmonic role it's playing. OK, time for the examples. The first example is a pattern I sometimes use for the middle section of "Panama" (Van Halen). The section is pretty quiet, and can sometimes drag - depending on the atmosphere, this riff can pick things up nicely and fill in the gap.
|-----21----21----23-21---21-|-21----21----23-21----21--|
|o-------21----21-------21---|----21----21-------21-----|
|o----7----------------------|-------------5------------|
|----------------------------|----------------------8---|
                           \___/                    \___

|-----21----21----23-21---21-|-21----21----23-21----21--|
|--------21----21-------21---|----21----21-------21----o|
|----------------------------|-------------5--------8--o|
|-----8----------------------|--------------------------|
  ___/                     \___/                    \___
The final example this week is an all time fave of mine - Stu Hamm's "Kings of Sleep". This makes repeated use of the ninth position, while the left hand plays the bass line. Note how the same right hand notes play different roles within the chord depending on the bass note. This version is written for a standard bass - those with Kubicki's can use the extender, and drop some of the notes down one octave to be consistant with the record. Alternatively non-kubicki users could raise everything one tone.
                                                                  Repeat
|---14----16-----|----14--------|---14----16---------|---14-------------|
|------14--------|-------14-----|------14------------|------14----------|
|-------------4--|--------------|-5------------7-/9--|-7---------7-9-7--|
|-5--------------|-2------------|--------------------|------------------|
  H T  T  T   H  | H  T  T      | H T  T  T    H  S  | P T  T    H H P  |


                                                                      DC
|---14----16-----|---14--------------|---14----16------|---14-----------|
|------14-----11-|------14--------11-|------14-----11--|------14--------|
|-9--------------|-9--------11-12----|-9---------------|-9--------------|
|----------------|-------------------|-----------------|----------------|
  H T  T  T   H  | H  T  T  H  H  H  | H T  T  T   H   | H T  T  H H  P |
Enjoy... Ian.
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