#1
I have been playing bass for about 4 months now. I kind of suck but I am able to play so stuff alright. I have been teaching myself. I have made myself a habit of playing the bass by plucking only with my index finger. With my other hand I can use all my fingers to "occupy" the frets so there isn't a problem with that hand as far as I know but with my plucking hand I can only use my index finger to play. I've heard that James Jamerson used only his index finger to pluck and that was his style of playing. Is that habit of plucking with the index finger alone a bad thing necessarily? What can I do get rid of this habit FAST? I am able to play at a decent speed but for some reason I think I would do better by using my index and my middle finger alternating between each note.
#2
that is generally a bad habit. Just keep trying to work in the other finger, you'll eventually get it. It's all repetition.
#3
When you play make yourself use the other finger, even if you just play some slow tunes then work your way up. You'll kick the habit.
#4
Ahh thats not a bad habit I think, as long as you feel comfortable hitting your strings that way its all that matters.
#5
its not nessecerly a bad habit as it is an unpracticed method. that can be quite a good thing to have once you've learned how to play with both fingers. sometimes alternating fingers can mess you up if your keeping a steady beat, while as just one finger will assure you will stay steady. work on 2 fingers too though, its good to have both.
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#6
It's not a bad habit if you don't need the other finger.

Some songs you will, though. I suggest just practicing playing straight 1/4 notes over a simple root note progression (any one, but I suggest just for ease the simple dooh-wop progression D, B, G, A).

Make sure every note is played with the alternate finger, and every so often alternate between legato (every note rings until you play the next one) and staccato (every note is deadened after you play), especially making sure you deaden each note with the finger that is playing the next note (i.e. if you pluck with your index finger, then stop the string ringing with your middle finger). This way you'll have the correct finger on the string, and ready to pluck the next note.

Start off slow and work your way up, and then increase the notes you play (move to 1/8ths, and eventually 1/16ths and when you're good enough 1/32nds).
#7
Tim Commerford from RATM swears by using one finger, he says it adds more funk. I don't think there's anything wrong with using two though. It is more economical, it's quicker and it's efficient.

So just keep practicing with two fingers using a metronome, and keep increasing it when you're getting better.
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#8
As stated earlier, James Jamerson used his index finger, aka The Hook, to create amazingness. But the catch might be that he honed the skill on his upright.
#9
Quote by aguacateojos
As stated earlier, James Jamerson used his index finger, aka The Hook, to create amazingness. But the catch might be that he honed the skill on his upright.


And there's the rub. Jamerson had amazing strength and speed because of that.

For most of us tho', two fingers are going to be much more efficient and economical. To the TS, because you started off using only your index, its going to take some concerted effort to break this habit.

What finally broke it for me was a suggestion by bass teacher--practice basic scales and songs, and alternate your fingers. Out loud say "middle - index" as you alternate with that finger. Once I nailed it, I was quite surprised how much faster and efficient my finger style became.
#10
Yes, this is a terrible habit. I don't much care what Jamerson did, you're not Jamerson (right?). Like anarkee said, the best way to do it is to vocalize it. Play some basic scales and songs, reciting index-middle etc. for hours on end.
#11
This thread shocks and amazes me. I'm a self-taught beginner myself and I never had problems alternating.. I have serious issues using a pick though.
#12
I'm a little embarassed to admit this, but when I play I usually only use a pick or my thumb. I just can't get the whole finger thing down.
#13
im up to 3 digits or playing with the devil horns (pointer and pinky).To get out of that just play with that fingure on all the songs u know.Like learn somthing simple with that fingure alone like ummm........what ive done by likin park. I know that song is a bad example but thats all i can think of
#14
THat's nothing. I've got an even worse habit. I don't play with any of my fingers. I just slap the whole time.
#15
I play with 3 fingers or lately, a pick. I think its important to learn to use every style you can. I had an incredible blister come up on my index finger the day of a show, so its always good to be able to play things more than 1 way.
#16
playing with one finger is extremely limiting, in how smoothly and quickly you can play. So yes, to answer your question it pretty much is a bad habit, unless you're looking for that sound when you're playing.

Most of the suggestions in this thread will help you kick the habit, so i suggest trying a few of those, and remember practice will truly help.

You're lucky, the two plucking fingers is an easy habit to kick, starting off using only three fretting fingers, and trying to break the habit was almost damn near impossible.
#17
think of it this way.

by using only one finger the whole time, you're using that much more strength and effort that isn't necessary. using your middle finger will allow you to do less work with your index, and it will also make you able to play a lot faster.

like everyone else is saying, just keep practicing with using your other finger. also, try using a pick for a while then coming back to finger playing and incorporate your middle finger.. this idea may be horrible actually, i've never tested it out but it seems logical enough.
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#18
I found that it was really easy to get rid of this habit for me. Here is what you do, pluck each string a 100 times each, alternating the two fingers you prefer. At a total of 400 plucks, it wont take you long, and if you do it nightly it will be gone in less than a week.

If you want more varience, you can do the same technique by playing your favorite scale 20 times, alternating fingers.
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#19
i've been using index and middle finger and thumb, been trying to work my ring finger in too, though thats not easy
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#20
I think you should just keep playing how u feel comfortable but it is easier when u start alternating between ur index and middle finger it will take some getting use to though but once you learn to do alternate fingers u will find it much easier to play.