Hello folks , first post here so i'll try not to sound too retarded.

Ok , so basically my problem is with 16th notes. I'm simply not fast/skillful enough to play them it seems. I can play both pick with finger(Not as well) , but I can't seem to manage either way. Does any kind soul have any advice for a lowly dreg like me?

I can't thank you enough for your advice.
~Mighty Schweeps

and practice more with fingers than picking

fingering bassists get more respect than picking bassists

07 Fender American Deluxe Strat
07 Fender Custom Telecaster
09 Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster
09 Fulltone OCD V.4
10 Ibanez WH-10 V.2
09 Splawn SuperStock
10 Jet City JCA-20
97 Fender Hot Rod Deluxe

Yeh the SICK! bit sounds a bit stupid.

One good warmup is playing chromatically four frets (using all four fingers) starting on your low E then work up the strings and repeat once you hit the top going back down, and move over a fret each time.


2345 etc

This really works up your fingers then once your ready try taking out notes or adding more. When playing 16th notes it also helps to say ONE E AND A TWO E AND A etc.
Ibanez RG350DX - ESP LTD EC-500

Peavey JSX 212 Combo - Digitech RP 250
You should use whichever you prefer between fingers and a pick. Don't feel forced to use fingers because you'll "get more respect," it's all about comfort.I prefer fingers myself, but I never understood why people always knock bassists who use a pick, it certainly has some advantages. But like he said, practice. Just keep on playing and eventually you'll be able to fly.
Last edited by Swanny614 at Mar 18, 2008,
Play moar.

It will come to you. If you play stuff just outside your ability, you improve. Eventually you'll be able to play them. But what kind of tempo sixteenths are you talking about? Theres a huge difference between sixteenths at 80 BPM and 150 BPM.
Thanks , i'll practice as hard as I can until I can get it down.

As far as tempo goes... well.. er.. I have no idea what i'm talking about unfortunately. I'm trying to learn some Ensiferum songs if that helps you get a better idea what i'm talking about :P

Thanks for the pointers folks!
~Mighty Schweeps
practice with some iron maiden..that'll get ya goin
My gear:
Fender Jazz Bass
Ampeg BA115
Here's a good excerise. Get a metronome or go http://www.metronomeonline.com/

First set an appropriate tempo so you can play a 16th on each click. Then the metronome on half speed so you're playing two notes for each click. Then half the speed again so you're playing four notes for each click. This should help your precision, and hopefully make you feel confident to play 16ths straight with no click.

I second wrathofthenorse for speaking out aloud your counting. That helps internalise what you're doing.

Don't worry that you're having trouble with 16ths. Sometimes the most "simple" things to do are actually the hardest. I had a conversation with the engineer when I was in the studio a few weeks ago about 16ths and how he noticed a lot of people not getting rock solid.
an easy way for me to do 16th notes is to use my fingertips and the backs of my fingernails. kinds of like a wavy motion. some people don't like the sound of nails hitting strings but if you do it gently enough it sounds fine.
GAS List:
if you're using a pick, do you use upstrokes? follow each downstroke and you'll get twice the notes, so if you can play 8ths easily, x2 = 16ths. This is a very easy way to pluck quickly, a good example is Parrallel Universe by RHCP
make sure if you're using fingers very small plucks, don't raise your fingers too much
sped me up a great deal
I'm a Fire, and I'll Burn.Burn.Burn.
Quote by Jonn0
make sure if you're using fingers very small plucks, don't raise your fingers too much
sped me up a great deal

Yeah dude, gotta make'em look like little dancing people.
Les Claypool
Geddy Lee
Robert DeLeo


...Coincidence? I think not.
Quote by whack-a-bass
practice with some iron maiden..that'll get ya goin

Or some Kiss, i was made for loving you is a great exercise and since Gene Simmons wasn't that great of a bassist the stuff is fairly easy.
To Be is to Do -Socrates-
To Do is to Be -Sartre-
Do be do be do -Sinatra
Stick on something fast and root notey like Whiplash by metallica and yeah like others said, practice and short strokes. They're possible using 2 fingers (I never use more than 2 and can gallop, do 32nd notes just about and 16th's up and down strings.) but others may prefer three or four (four being more convenient in this case).

Its all about practice. Oh and play with fingers. Will sound better.
id say start at ur 0 fret and just play up to your highest fret(mine is 24) playing 16th otes
16th notes are semi-quavers right?

[America has a different system then over here in aus]

Also, OP get your hands on a metronome and start at 60 BPM and work your way up. Also it is very important to use alternating fingers, 1,2,1,2, 1 being your index, 2 being your flipping finger.