I have been playing for a couple of months, and I think I do alright, but when I try to play faster the strings click against the fretboard. If they don't, the string gets stuck on my finger and it sounds weird and uneven.

Also, I see other bassists holding their hand flat and their fingers stiff when they play. I rest my thumb on the pickup with my fingers curled under a lot more than I see other player's fingers, and it seems like I'm doing something wrong. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?
well the two are probably related: if you are hooking around the strings too much you tend to pull them up(away from the bass) so that they snap on the frets, while you should be pulling them across(parallel to the bass). I'm not saying you don't pull parallel, just that some perpindicular motion is probably being introduced by the hooked fingers. Hooking your fingers a lot can also slow you down as you start to play faster parts because you have to pull them up and then over each string as you move from string to string.
You're pretty much right, but they're not hooked, their just curved, but I see others holding their fingers stiffer. It actually causes me to hit the strings down against the fretboard more...

I think I should be tapping the strings more than pulling them, but I'm not really sure, and I can't find anyone that plays bass to show me how.
Last edited by Armagedn at Feb 20, 2008,
make sure your technique is right before you modify(blame) the bass

studybass.com tells you the correct way to hold it to prevent buzzy and weird unwanted noises.

if that fails, your action or something could be off.
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I have thought about the action being too low, but I'll check that website. I took lessons, but the guy didn't know a whole lot about technique, just the musical theory behind bass.
i think i know what youre talking about. when youre playing the string will go tick every time you play the strings with your fingers. this is actually natural. a great example is the faster part of john myungs little solo called solor groove. you'll hear little ticks under it. you can raise the action a bit to correct this problem. but i wouldnt.
Yeah, you're right. Thanks, but do you know of any ways to not do that when I don't want to, without raising the action? Also, do you adjust the action with the bridge or the truss rod? I guess I would probably let a proffesional do that...
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Yeah, you're right. Thanks, but do you know of any ways to not do that when I don't want to, without raising the action? Also, do you adjust the action with the bridge or the truss rod? I guess I would probably let a proffesional do that...

Bridge. Don't mess with the truss rod unless you know what your doing.
matt.. you forgot something. this is big or you'll swear the bass is unplayable. i had to raise the action on my schecter. and like a 'tard i forgot to eyeball the strings. i had some strings higher than others. made it really hard to play. so make sure you eyeball them by looking at the strings from both sides. they should be in a pretty decent line. do not under any circumstances try to adjust your truss rod. if you've never done it before, youre just asking for warp/twist the neck. maybe worse if you get too gung ho.
I have that problem sometimes too. if you listen to Iron Maiden you'll notice Steve Harris has that a lot. I've noticed fenders have a higher action than any of my basses...except my first bass. Even the MIA fenders i've tried have a high enough action to avoid most clicking. I imagine you could set it differently as Steve Harris has proven fret clack can be quite easy on a fender. What i'm saying is that lots of people have high enough action that they never have this problem while the rest of us who enjoy nice low action just learn to play closer to the bridge and with a lighter touch. try that for a while.
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What I don't understand is this great fear of a truss rod. I mean, yeah you can do some damage, but it's not like you're going to ruin your bass unless you act like an idiot. The other thing is this statement: "If you haven't done it before, don't do it." What? How is he EVER going to do it like that? There has to be a first time for everything. I never took my bass in for a truss rod adjustment and it turned out just fine. Learning how to upkeep your bass is a valuable tool.

The other thing is warping? I doubt that could actually happen from adjusting the rod. It just doesn't make any sense that a rod bowing and unbowing would cause any kind of twisting at all.

Anyway, I really think the problem is that you're being too heavy handed. Play with a lighter touch and it should all go away. Also, rethink your technique a little, it seems slightly off. Oh, and play closer to the bridge. The strings are tighter there and won't clack as much.
i ended up learning how to adjust a truss ross, first through an online lesson i found. the second was i took lessons from the town guitar guy when he actually gave a damn about music. and i will say that trial and error did come into play. someone let me borrow an cheap-o ibanez for a show. you knwo the one that comes with the started pack. but needless to say i warped its neck pretty bad during that show. i thought i'd get gung-ho with the truss and maybe releave some pressure. little did i know, and this was before i got schooled, i was turning it the wrong way. it was turning so i thought i was going the right way. SNAP! i was just glad i found a similar one for like 50 bucks at a pawn shop and replaced it. thats why i say if you never messed with it, seek professional help. until you learn it yourself.
Might I suggest getting a thumb-rest installed? If you have your thumb resting higher, your fingers will stretch out a little more when playing. As mentioned earlier, the idea is to attack the strings from over the top of the strings not below them, so resting on something above the pickup will help there.

Another suggestion is to think about the dynamics of the song and play in relation to it. I really love smashing the strings as hard as I can, but sometimes you just need a lighter touch. Than will reduce the clanking somewhat. Also, a pick will reduce clank, whilst retaining a bright tone (just don't rely on a pick, though).

And the final piece of advice is just to keep playing. The more you play, the more you'll get used to technique and dynamics and even thinking about how it should be done as it's coming up.