#1
I can play quite fast but only use 2 fingers. I see people playing at very fast speeds in technical bands with 4 fingers. I typically only use my 3rd finger to do triplet gallops. What's the common finger pattern for playing something like 16th notes?

1 2 3 2 1 2 3 etc seems like it is a more fluid motion than something like 1 2 3 1 2 3 but finger 2 is working twice as hard as 1 and 3, but the ladder seems like it would take more practice to negate any type of gallop style when trying to play 16th notes.

Just curious if there's a favored way to do this and hear some opinions what about 4 fingers?
#2
R-M-I-R-M-I or like you said, R-M-I-M-R-M are the only ones I've ever encountered.

I hear about people getting familiar with using only their ring and middle finger to strengthen the fingers and influence finger independancy when it comes to three finger technique.

Someone with monstrous technique is Steve DiGorgio of Death/Sadus etc, he's worth looking at. Also Gary Willis might have some instructional videos floating around the interbuts.

tidbit.. did you know Steve Harris uses two fingers?
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#4
Imo just do what comes naturally, I use an odd technique in general but it gives me my own sound.
#5
Do whatever is natural to you. I've tried all of the recommendations, but the 1,2,3,1,2,3 seems the most natural for me. The 1,2,3,2,1 is often suggested, but I feel very conscious of my right hand since I have to keep reminding myself to go forward and reverse down w/ my fingers. After using 3 fingers for a while, going back to 2 seems awkward.
#6
I personally feel like 3, 2, 1 is more comfortable for me and actually end up using that instead of 1, 2, 1, 2 when playing straight 16th's in my metal band. It DOES take practice to not accent every 3rd note, but practice with a metronome and do 3, 2, 1 while thinking (even say) very deliberately 1, 2, 3, 4 and you'll get it fine! =)
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#7
I'm curious too.. I only ever need to use 2 fingers for gallops but I'm wondering if I should practice 3 in case i need that some time in the indeterminate future... or maybe I worry too much...
#8
I use 321321, but it does take practice to put the accents on with different fingers. However, it does mean each finger is working less hard, so should allow higher maximum speeds.
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+1
#9
The 3 2 1 technique seems like it should work well. I will try it

Any of you use 4 fingers? Think my pinky is too short to use it like that, although while 3 vs 2 gives a rolling motion and conserves energy it doesn't seem 4 has an advantage over 3.
#10
This is a change from what I've been hearing, If you can play it with one finger, play it with one finger.

I've played around with the three finger technique, but only if I where to play very fast triplets would I find it useful.

My current teacher actually said the same thing, minus the triplets bit, he says he doesn't need three fingers to play fast, all that extra work on making sure the accents are right when you could be spending it on increasing your two finger speed. and jesus christ is he a fast mofo, two fingers and, wow fast.

EDIT, also, DEFINITELY check out Gary Willis and his five finger technique, if you want to play around with technique and the likes, his is pretty out there and can give you idea's on being efficient, Gary Willis = efficiency.
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Last edited by ZaccB at Jul 9, 2010,
#11
agreed with zacc. in fact, i want to make a new rule:

Occam's Bassz0r: one need not multiple right hand fingers beyond necessity

the fewer fingers, the more consistent the tone.
#DTWD
#12
There was one guy one of my teachers told me about that actually had a cool 3 finger technique. He used 2 fingers normally, but he did alot of octave and string skipping things and he would peddle on one string and then hit the octaves and such which his ring like:
2|3-------3-------|
3|----------------|
4|--3-3-3---3-3-3-|
..3.1.2.1.3.1.2.1.
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sht up u flthy librl foogit stfu u soo mad n butthurdt ur ass is an analpocolypse cuz ur so gay "my ass hrts so mcuh" - u. your rectally vexed n anlly angushed lolo go bck 2 asslnd lolol
#13
Quote by primusfan
agreed with zacc. in fact, i want to make a new rule:

Occam's Bassz0r: one need not multiple right hand fingers beyond necessity

the fewer fingers, the more consistent the tone.


I really don't agree with that. Watch someone like Stephan Fimmers of Necrophagist. Sure if you're playing rock or jazz you should be able to get away with two fingers, but if we're talking about high speed technical death metal/grindcore, greater speeds can be achieved with more fingers and it is easier on the muscles.
#14
Quote by King Of Suede
There was one guy one of my teachers told me about that actually had a cool 3 finger technique. He used 2 fingers normally, but he did alot of octave and string skipping things and he would peddle on one string and then hit the octaves and such which his ring like:
2|3-------3-------|
3|----------------|
4|--3-3-3---3-3-3-|
..3.1.2.1.3.1.2.1.


and I understand him o.0 Just tried it a bit... It's really hard to get used to, but I guess if you sue octaves a lot, it's REALLY helpfull...

Myself I mostly play only with 2 fingers... after playing for about 10 months, I can easily take bits as "Abnegation" by In Flames, and "Hysteria" by Muse...

I also play quite a few Iron Maiden songs just for the speed/stamina practice... matching the speed, now I just need the stamina!
#17
Most people use ring finger, middle and then index since that's the natural motion your right hand will take as opposed to index middle ring.

Many bassists such as Alex Webster, Steve DiGiorgio and Stefan Fimmers use:

r-m-i-r
m-i-r-m
i-r-m-i

So you're using three fingers, but you still tremolo four notes on every beat if it's a 16th note figure as opposed to just triplets.

For doing solo-ish playing I usually prefer just my index and middle though, I feel it's a bit more precise and controlled than with three.
#18
idk if this will help you out or not- its not something i use-, but you asked for something on 4 finger technique, so here's a tutorial

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qig3yw5XqQ0
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#19
if you're playing anything that absolutely NEEDS three or four ringers you probably can't distinguish the notes anyway.
#DTWD
#20
I've tried 3 fingers a little bit, but I've never found any need for it. Of course I have no desire to metal at all, nor anything that calls for such technicality.

I'll use just my 1, 2, or sometimes index and middle together for "maximum meat"
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#21
nothing absolutely NEEDS more than two fingers. think about it, as soon as one goes down the other goes up, if you think you need more you're getting a little lazy. just work on making those two fingers better. I've seen plenty of people play super fast with just two fingers.

Also I want to make a new rule: Never... NEVER sacrifice musicality for speed.
"Whats that noise??"

"... Jazz"
#22
Quote by ZaccB
nothing absolutely NEEDS more than two fingers. think about it, as soon as one goes down the other goes up, if you think you need more you're getting a little lazy. just work on making those two fingers better. I've seen plenty of people play super fast with just two fingers.

Also I want to make a new rule: Never... NEVER sacrifice musicality for speed.



James Jamerson, the most influential bassist in modern music history only needs one finger. By his account, you must be getting a little bit lazy w/ your flashy 2 fingers twirling.
#24
Quote by Lazarus.Bird
Wow. Some of you are pretty closed minded and have contributed nothing to this thread.


Close mindedness nothin' I told you to check out Gary Willis if you wanted to use more fingers, that dude has some serious technique on him. Then I was stating my opinion on the use of multiple fingers, then recommended to spend the time you where going to spend practicing getting the accents right and being halfway decent with an extra finger on making what you already got faster. which is perfectly possible, just doesn't have the gimmick of "dude, I use more fingers"

@Skeletomania: I've been feeling a bit slobbish lazy. I've actually been trying to play some of the slower line i.e. walking lines all with one finger. I also read something Tim Commerford said about mimicking drum exercises like a paradiddle with your fingers.
"Whats that noise??"

"... Jazz"
#25
Quote by ZaccB
Close mindedness nothin' I told you to check out Gary Willis if you wanted to use more fingers, that dude has some serious technique on him. Then I was stating my opinion on the use of multiple fingers, then recommended to spend the time you where going to spend practicing getting the accents right and being halfway decent with an extra finger on making what you already got faster. which is perfectly possible, just doesn't have the gimmick of "dude, I use more fingers"

@Skeletomania: I've been feeling a bit slobbish lazy. I've actually been trying to play some of the slower line i.e. walking lines all with one finger. I also read something Tim Commerford said about mimicking drum exercises like a paradiddle with your fingers.



I don't like GW's playing style. I think he plays way too soft, and I hate the ramp on his signature bass. How a person plays is his personal preference. As long as he doesn't hurt himself doing it, then it's perfectly fine. I went from two fingers to three for just the heck of it. It doesn't take me more than a week to learn, and it just stuck with me. Besides, how many people can say that they have been called a gimmick for using 3 fingers on stage
#26
Quote by Skeletomania
I don't like GW's playing style. I think he plays way too soft, and I hate the ramp on his signature bass. How a person plays is his personal preference. As long as he doesn't hurt himself doing it, then it's perfectly fine. I went from two fingers to three for just the heck of it. It doesn't take me more than a week to learn, and it just stuck with me. Besides, how many people can say that they have been called a gimmick for using 3 fingers on stage


I suggested GW because his style was fairly different to conventional styles, So if you are thinking about changing your technique he is a good guy to look out for to get some idea's, and see how radical you can get with the right hand.

yea, the ramp is an awful idea in my opinion, besides the fact that he's super solid and consistent, I'm not a huge fan of the Willis man.

I still think playing with three fingers has the gimmick of "hey man I use more fingers" not to anyone else but to the people who just got into playing it, Like slap when you first learn how. Maybe gimmick isn't the right word.

Also out of interest how are your accents and articulations with three fingers? on the faster passages, Say a song like Boat People by weather report, any live recording, would you be able to keep those accents steady? Because it took me a little bit of work concentrating on articulation to really make it solid, with two fingers.
"Whats that noise??"

"... Jazz"
#27
Quote by ZaccB
nothing absolutely NEEDS more than two fingers. think about it, as soon as one goes down the other goes up, if you think you need more you're getting a little lazy. just work on making those two fingers better. I've seen plenty of people play super fast with just two fingers.

Also I want to make a new rule: Never... NEVER sacrifice musicality for speed.
Nothing absolutely needs it, sure, but the amount of practice necessary to maintain 16ths at say 210 bpm with two fingers would be insane-- not just the speed, but the stamina.

(assuming a tremolo picking melody of course, not any complex scalar/arpeggiated playing because that would probably be even harder)
#28
Quote by Steve08
Nothing absolutely needs it, sure, but the amount of practice necessary to maintain 16ths at say 210 bpm with two fingers would be insane-- not just the speed, but the stamina.

(assuming a tremolo picking melody of course, not any complex scalar/arpeggiated playing because that would probably be even harder)


Stamina comes with practice.

I have nothing against people playing with three fingers, I'd just use the practice time you'd need to make three consistent on other things is all.
"Whats that noise??"

"... Jazz"
#29
Quote by ZaccB
I suggested GW because his style was fairly different to conventional styles, So if you are thinking about changing your technique he is a good guy to look out for to get some idea's, and see how radical you can get with the right hand.

yea, the ramp is an awful idea in my opinion, besides the fact that he's super solid and consistent, I'm not a huge fan of the Willis man.

I still think playing with three fingers has the gimmick of "hey man I use more fingers" not to anyone else but to the people who just got into playing it, Like slap when you first learn how. Maybe gimmick isn't the right word.

Also out of interest how are your accents and articulations with three fingers? on the faster passages, Say a song like Boat People by weather report, any live recording, would you be able to keep those accents steady? Because it took me a little bit of work concentrating on articulation to really make it solid, with two fingers.


I've never played the River People so I can't comment on that. Maybe I'll ask a psychic to contact Jaco, and ask him how he does it. But honestly, there's no magic to the three finger technique. It's just an extra finger, and if you can't do it on two then you won't be a able to do it on three. Sometimes I do get lazy w/ octaves, and use two fingers. But for consistency sake, practicing w/ three fingers will make it more natural, and easier(not perfect) in the end.
#30
I can play triplets with only 2 fingers. You don't need the 3rd or 4th fingers really. Unless you want to share the effort amongst all fingers.
#31
The main advantage of using more fingers is that it's easier to develop stamina, as each finger is doing less work. You can learn to go just as fast with two as with three or four, just it'll take longer to learn and develop stamina at high speeds.

I play with two cos I'm too lazy to learn with three.

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#32
Quote by Lazarus.Bird
1 2 3 2 1 2 3 etc seems like it is a more fluid motion than something like 1 2 3 1 2 3 but finger 2 is working twice as hard as 1 and 3, but the ladder seems like it would take more practice to negate any type of gallop style when trying to play 16th notes.
I always do 1 2 3 1 2 3. Each finger is playing every third sixteenth note, whereas with 1 2 3 2 1 2 3, although the index and ring finger are only playing every fourth sixteenth note, it forces the middle finger to play every other sixteenth note. If you think about it, this is no more efficient than 1 2 1 2.

The difficult thing about 1 2 3 1 2 3 (for me at least) is making sure you don't accent automatically with the index finger. It's easy to do 1 2 3 1 2 3, whereas it's not quite as simple to do 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3.

With practice though, it shouldn't be an issue.

Quote by Derk'ed
I can play triplets with only 2 fingers. You don't need the 3rd or 4th fingers really. Unless you want to share the effort amongst all fingers.
Using more fingers is a lot more efficient. Sure you might be able to play just fine with two fingers, but if you work your third finger to match the speed of your other two fingers, then you will be able to play much better. Plus his question didn't really concern triplets.

Quote by ZaccB
nothing absolutely NEEDS more than two fingers. think about it, as soon as one goes down the other goes up, if you think you need more you're getting a little lazy. just work on making those two fingers better. I've seen plenty of people play super fast with just two fingers.
I have the same thing to say to you. You don't "need" more fingers. It's more efficient though.

Quote by ZaccB
Also I want to make a new rule: Never... NEVER sacrifice musicality for speed.
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Last edited by food1010 at Jul 12, 2010,
#33
Someone already touched on the point I was trying to make. If you're playing most genres of music, three fingers is more showmanship than necessary. But when playing speeds that are pushing physical limit, three fingers seems like it will help. I do not understand the "with practice 2 fingers is just as good" argument. If three fingers is generally faster than two fingers, with lots of practice wouldn't three fingers be faster than two fingers regardless?

I can play quite fast and accurate, and am looking for ways to expand my bass playing. That's all I was looking for. Thanks for the info. I've been working on the 3-2-1 method now and it's come quite natural. I had only tried going in the 1-2-3 motion. In the linked video Alex mentions that the 3-2-1 style follows the similar motion of throwing and is most natural. I think he makes a good point.
#34
Quote by Lazarus.Bird
Someone already touched on the point I was trying to make. If you're playing most genres of music, three fingers is more showmanship than necessary. But when playing speeds that are pushing physical limit, three fingers seems like it will help. I do not understand the "with practice 2 fingers is just as good" argument. If three fingers is generally faster than two fingers, with lots of practice wouldn't three fingers be faster than two fingers regardless?

I can play quite fast and accurate, and am looking for ways to expand my bass playing. That's all I was looking for. Thanks for the info. I've been working on the 3-2-1 method now and it's come quite natural. I had only tried going in the 1-2-3 motion. In the linked video Alex mentions that the 3-2-1 style follows the similar motion of throwing and is most natural. I think he makes a good point.


Three fingers would help in speed, but getting your third finger up to par with the other will take some time and a fair bit of practice, so if you spend that time working on two fingers then being able to play at those ridiculous speeds it would make sense that you would then be all around better at slower speeds as well.

with the 3-2-1 pattern remember the accents on each beat, so you'd have to accent 3, then 2, then 1 then 3 on each down beat (assuming you're playing 16ths)
"Whats that noise??"

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