Page 1 of 2
#1
When using a pick and generally beating the crap out of the strings, is it okay to use my whole arm while picking, or should I stick to using just my wrist? I don't have any trouble playing up to speed with my whole arm (my band usually plays fast stuff), but when I try to use just my wrist, it just doesn't work.

I guess what I'm asking is, is it improper technique to use your whole arm? Don't misunderstand me, I'm not Pete Wentz, playing at the 15th fret moving my arm a foot every time I hit a note. The guitarist for The Faceless uses his whole arm and they play a lot faster than we do. What I'm thinking is, since I'm a bassist and my strings are bigger and require more force to hit them properly, it's cool to use my whole arm, especially since guitarists who play faster than I do do that. Am I right in thinking that?

Also,

When playing for long-ish periods of time, if I use the "proper technique" of keeping my thumb on the back of the neck, fingers parallel to the frets, my thumb and eventually my arm starts to hurt. But when I do the thumb over (not wrapped around) the fingerboard, it doesn't hurt and I have better stamina. So what's up, am I doing it wrong? And what's so bad about having your thumb poking over the fretboard?
Millie, my Peavey Grind Fiver
Peavey BAM 210 350w combo amp
Sansamp Bass Driver DI
Modded Ernie Ball VP Jr.
Monster Bass Cable, 21'

Quote by NakedBassist
Welcome to bass, you'll f*cking love it
#2
well the arm thing doesnt matter

and the thumb thing, everyone will swear up and down against eachother

i jsut do whats comfortable which for the most part is the farther down the neck (towards the nut) i play the more my thumb wraps around

like playing a G# on the G string my thumb is wrapped right around

but if i want to play something p[retty much above the 10th fret my thumb goes towards the middle of the neck

when Moses brought down the plagues upon Egypt one of them involved Behringer amps


Dont be so humble, your not that great....
#4
Quote by Narcotics
i jsut do whats comfortable which for the most part is the farther down the neck (towards the nut) i play the more my thumb wraps around

like playing a G# on the G string my thumb is wrapped right around

but if i want to play something p[retty much above the 10th fret my thumb goes towards the middle of the neck

Yeah, that's about what I do. Awesome, now I don't feel as much like a noob. Well, in that aspect, at least. I still have two A strings on my bass...
Millie, my Peavey Grind Fiver
Peavey BAM 210 350w combo amp
Sansamp Bass Driver DI
Modded Ernie Ball VP Jr.
Monster Bass Cable, 21'

Quote by NakedBassist
Welcome to bass, you'll f*cking love it
#5
Your playing bass alot like Dee Dee Ramone did. I've tried strumming like that and it makes my arm and elbow ache, but if it works for you, it works for you.

Pivoting the thumb on the back of the neck, if you practice it enough does give you a bit more flexibility and economy of movement. If you have smaller hands, its almost vital to getting a more fluid playing style. But I still find I slip the thumb up on the lower frets. My profile pics of me playing bass show this clearly, lol.
#6
the thumb thing means you have a long thumb, it won't affect your playing as long as you aren't squeezing. the hard part is not doing that, and not using the thumb to fret.
the arm thing, I do that when I play slow bass chords.
try to control it a little, if you hit wrong, it sounds a little buzzy.
Quote by FatalGear41
I wouldn't call what we have here on the Bass Forum a mentality. It's more like the sharing part of an AA meeting.

Quote by Jason Jillard
HUMANITY WHATS WRONG WITH YOU.


Warwick Fortress>>Acoustic AB50

http://www.myspace.com/rustingbloom
#8
I'm going to take a shot in the dark and say that you're holding your bass way, way too low. With it higher, you should be able to dig into the strings using the wrist and fingers of your picking hand, not your entire arm. To me, using your entire arm is totally excessive, not conducive of good tone, and is overly showy. We get it. Rock on. Bring the strap up to about belt-level, hold it parallel, and that should take care of your picking problems.

Now, about your fretting hand - for you to get tired holding the neck "the proper way" doesn't make any sense. If your strap is too low, your wrist is being bent more, and yeah, that'll start to strain (that's the only way I can imagine doing the John Mayer would be more comfortable than the Jaco). Again, raising the strap will solve both problems.

If your fretting hand is still tired after raising the strap, lighten your grip. With the proper fretting technique, your touch should be delicate. Squeezing the hell out of your bass neck looks the same as a restrained touch, so don't worry about that

In conclusion, raise your strap and lighten your touch in both arms. If you aren't willing to raise your strap, put down your bass and get a hard-tail strat copy with one volume knob and one pickup near the bridge.

EDIT: After looking at your profile pics, besides not really being able to understand why you're tiring out, I think you should raise your strap a bit, and have the bass perpendicular-ish to your legs (i.e. not 45 degrees) so you aren't stretching and angling your wrist to the extreme as you work your way up the neck.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
Last edited by thefitz at May 9, 2008,
#9
Your playing is fine, Jason Newstead plays like that so do a few other prominent bass players. They say they play with their shoulder, as thats where the power is coming from, it adds a chunkier sound instead of using your wrist.
#10
A lot of bass players have their thumb over the top of the neck, particularly on the lower frets (there's footage of Entwistle doing it while playing live, for example). It won't limit you too much, although apparently 'proper' technique works slightly better. But each to their own.
#11
If the so called "proper" technique makes makes you sore, Don't do it - from what you said it seems your own technique seems to suit you fine, If it isn't broken don't fix it.

Personally i don't know why everyone makes such a concious effort to play "using the correct technique", most of the time if your playing in a not-rediculous position your hands will naturally conform to the correct technique automatically with practicing, at least, that's what i've found.

However, if you're playing with your strap too low, your wrist will probably hurt anyway.
#12
When using a pick and generally beating the crap out of the strings, is it okay to use my whole arm while picking, or should I stick to using just my wrist? I don't have any trouble playing up to speed with my whole arm (my band usually plays fast stuff), but when I try to use just my wrist, it just doesn't work. Its not necessarily wrong, just a bit inefficient.

I guess what I'm asking is, is it improper technique to use your whole arm? Don't misunderstand me, I'm not Pete Wentz, playing at the 15th fret moving my arm a foot every time I hit a note. The guitarist for The Faceless uses his whole arm and they play a lot faster than we do. What I'm thinking is, since I'm a bassist and my strings are bigger and require more force to hit them properly, it's cool to use my whole arm, especially since guitarists who play faster than I do do that. Am I right in thinking that? Bass doesnt require much force. All an increased attack does is increase the initial volume o a note; but you lose a considerable amount of sustain. Also, speed is a by-product of efficiency; you'll be able to play much faster by limiting the amount of energy you expend. Thats why shred guitarists dont move their hands that much - their pickimg technique is so efficient.
Also,

When playing for long-ish periods of time, if I use the "proper technique" of keeping my thumb on the back of the neck, fingers parallel to the frets, my thumb and eventually my arm starts to hurt. But when I do the thumb over (not wrapped around) the fingerboard, it doesn't hurt and I have better stamina. So what's up, am I doing it wrong? And what's so bad about having your thumb poking over the fretboard? It depends on how high you have your bass. If its low, using the proper technique will probably give you tendonitis. However if you have it high (like me) you are better of using it; you have much greater control from that position.
#13
Quote by BassmanArk
Your playing is fine, Jason Newstead plays like that so do a few other prominent bass players. They say they play with their shoulder, as thats where the power is coming from, it adds a chunkier sound instead of using your wrist.

This may sound sacrilege, but Entwistle NEVER had good fretting hand technique. Downright horrible, actually. If you watch him during his solos, when he wants to play a 2nd of a scale (i.e. 2 frets down, like fret 1, then fret 3), he (with his fingers at an extreme angle, no less) presses the fret with BOTH his pinkie and middle finger half way between the frets. That's not good to learn by.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#14
Thank you all for your input. One thing I'd like to get clear, however, is that I wear my bass high. Like, the bottom most of my bass is touching my belt. It's not I'm-Victor-Wooten-I-rest-my-chin-on-my-bass high, but fairly high. I'm not that concerned with how I look when I play, just that I play good. Otherwise, I'd be playing with my bass at my ankles.

I guess the reason I'm tiring out is because of how hard I grip the neck. I have a fairly tight grip, partially because I beat the crap out of the strings. I'll work on loosening up.
Millie, my Peavey Grind Fiver
Peavey BAM 210 350w combo amp
Sansamp Bass Driver DI
Modded Ernie Ball VP Jr.
Monster Bass Cable, 21'

Quote by NakedBassist
Welcome to bass, you'll f*cking love it
#15


There is me playing at my last gig. Check that awful left hand technique! Sick gig that was.

Gear:
Fender Standard Jazz Bass
Artec Matrix Pedal Tuner
BBE Optostomp
Boss GEB 7
EHX NYC Big Muff
Ashdown MAG C410T-300
Torque T100BX
GAS-ing for:
Boss SYB5
Behringer Intelligate IG9
#16
Quote by thefitz
This may sound sacrilege, but Entwistle NEVER had good fretting hand technique. Downright horrible, actually. If you watch him during his solos, when he wants to play a 2nd of a scale (i.e. 2 frets down, like fret 1, then fret 3), he (with his fingers at an extreme angle, no less) presses the fret with BOTH his pinkie and middle finger half way between the frets. That's not good to learn by.

jack bruce did the thumb thing too.

but can you trust an eb-3 player?
Quote by FatalGear41
I wouldn't call what we have here on the Bass Forum a mentality. It's more like the sharing part of an AA meeting.

Quote by Jason Jillard
HUMANITY WHATS WRONG WITH YOU.


Warwick Fortress>>Acoustic AB50

http://www.myspace.com/rustingbloom
#17
Quote by the humanity
jack bruce did the thumb thing too.

but can you trust an eb-3 player?

And, I'z just sayin' is all - listen to him play a fretless Thumb during the Cream reunion. His intonation got pretty scary at times. Close, but ironically enough, the closer you are, the more out of tune you sound.



There's some perfect fretting technique at a crap gig
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#18
Yes, moving your arm while playing bass is definitely improper technique unless you were tremolo picking which is the only time I would use it.

For bass the thumb over the fret board isn't really a problem.
Quote by brandooon
Buy both pickups. Rub icyhot on both of them. Sandwich your penis between them and walk to the nearest homeless shelter with your brand new icyhot penis sandwich.
#19
Quote by Woogles
Yes, moving your arm while playing bass is definitely improper technique unless you were tremolo picking which is the only time I would use it.

This brings up a question I've been wondering for a while. What is the difference than tremolo picking and just doing 16ths or 32nds at a fast tempo?

EDIT:

When I wore my bass a little lower.


Lower on the fretboard.


Where I wear my bass now.


Also, I just realized that my bass is lower than I thought, but still pretty high. My bass would be choking me if it were as high as I said, earlier.
Millie, my Peavey Grind Fiver
Peavey BAM 210 350w combo amp
Sansamp Bass Driver DI
Modded Ernie Ball VP Jr.
Monster Bass Cable, 21'

Quote by NakedBassist
Welcome to bass, you'll f*cking love it
Last edited by t3hrav3n at May 9, 2008,
#20
Man, i love that someone mentioned The Faceless on this forum. One of the best in their genre right now. Absoultely love them, and their bassist. But I'm pretty sure he almost always uses his fingers (from all the videos of them i've seen live he does).
Gear:

Basses:
2008 American Standard Fender Jazz
Ibanez SRX300
Amp(s):
Ashdown MAG 300 C410T + 1x15
Effects:
SansAmp 3-Channel Bass Driver D.I.
#21
Quote by t3hrav3n
This brings up a question I've been wondering for a while. What is the difference than tremolo picking and just doing 16ths or 32nds at a fast tempo?

EDIT:

When I wore my bass a little lower.


Lower on the fretboard.


Where I wear my bass now.


Also, I just realized that my bass is lower than I thought, but still pretty high. My bass would be choking me if it were as high as I said, earlier.


The last picture looks coolest

The difference between trem picking and fast 16th/32nds, is that trem picking has no defined note value. Its basically as fast as possible.
#22
Quote by Tallman
The last picture looks coolest

The difference between trem picking and fast 16th/32nds, is that trem picking has no defined note value. Its basically as fast as possible.


People consider tremolo picking to have no defined value, though it should.

The definition of tremolo (in this instance) would refer to a note being split up into 32nds or 16ths.
In the bass chat:

<Jon> take the quote of me out your sig plx
<Jon> i hate seeing what i said around lol


Leader of the Bass Militia PM to join!



And now on BANDCAMP!


Officially the funniest member of the Bass Forum.
#23
Quote by Tallman

The difference between trem picking and fast 16th/32nds, is that trem picking has no defined note value. Its basically as fast as possible.

It's my understanding and observation (I listen to way too much Metal, if there were such a thing ), that Trem picking is more about doing both a Up & a Down stroke for each "normal" strike.

e.g. if there was a bar made up of 16 Open E Notes (let's say 16th notes), a "normal" way to pick/play it would depend on if Fingerstyle or Picking was being used. But either way it would be either Down Strokes, Up Strokes or a combination of the 2.

Trem picking the same Bar would involve playing the Open E Notes *more than* 16 times, maybe 2 times (Up and Down) for every 1 normal stroke.

Ok, that was a bit tricky to explain ... Um if you have Guitar Pro, try to write out the example I used, and do the same bar twice, one normal and one with 16th Note Treme Picked

My point was also going to be, I know a few songs that use Trempicking at Slow Tempos and actually in time with the Drum's Double Bass pattern. So not exactly "As fast as possible"
#24
^

Fair enough .

Its always been my impression that if you were to play fast 32nd notes, that is what you'd call them.
#25
It is. If you see a tremelo in sheet music, it depends on the amount of slashes over the note. If it's three it's 32nd notes and if it's two it's sixteenth notes, etc. I haven't seen tremelo that often in sheet music, but that's what I've been told when I do have it.
#26
Well yeah, I guess makes sense - when it is written out like that.

But when it's applied, from what I've heard, it's usually just a alternating "stream" of notes - but not necessarily at "Full speed".

A good example (just search up in the Guitar Pro tabs section ) is Amon Amarth - Runes To My Memory. The intro is Trem-picked, but isn't just straight 32nd Notes, the notes are grouped in a 6-rhythm (I don't know what the technical term is).
Last edited by Monkey_Bassist at May 10, 2008,
#27
Tremolo is an unmeasured amount. It means play it repeatedly as fast as you can (or at least fast). And to Bales up there, one or two slashes means divide it up (twice as fast for one slash and four times as fast for 2 slashes) but 3 slashes means tremolo, no matter what value the note has. 1 slash on a half note means play 2 quarter notes but 3 slashes on anything means tremolo.

To TS: The point of practicing technique is to make playing as natural as possible. Note that I said natural not easy, but after your technique gets good, the natural way will become the easiest, most efficient, best way to play. So play whatever way makes your picking hand relax. If you try too hard to stop moving your arm, you will have more problems than you did in the first place. This happened to me with bowing technique. I tried to stop using my wrist so much and use more arm. But instead of keeping my wrist relaxed, I always restricted its movement so that led to really intense pain in my bowing wrist when I played. I couldn't explain it and I had it on and off for 2 years but now that I started moving my wrist again, I'm pain free and I've found a good compromise between using my wrist and my arm. Think of your picking technique as waving goodbye to someone. You don't freeze your arm and only use your wrist, and only using your arm will tire you out, and both of those look really stupid. A casual wave uses both the arm and wrist. More movement with the wrist, but that doesn't mean the arm doesn't help. Get your technique as natural as possible, always.
Got Bass?
#28
Quote by DocrDrw116
Tremolo is an unmeasured amount. It means play it repeatedly as fast as you can (or at least fast). And to Bales up there, one or two slashes means divide it up (twice as fast for one slash and four times as fast for 2 slashes) but 3 slashes means tremolo, no matter what value the note has. 1 slash on a half note means play 2 quarter notes but 3 slashes on anything means tremolo.


Good to know my band teacher is as dumb as I thought.
#29
Quote by DoctrDrew116
Tremolo is an unmeasured amount. It means play it repeatedly as fast as you can (or at least fast). And to Bales up there, one or two slashes means divide it up (twice as fast for one slash and four times as fast for 2 slashes) but 3 slashes means tremolo, no matter what value the note has. 1 slash on a half note means play 2 quarter notes but 3 slashes on anything means tremolo.


Hmmm, I'd better go back to my music theory lecturers and tell them they're wrong...

And all those composers... Stravinski and the like...
In the bass chat:

<Jon> take the quote of me out your sig plx
<Jon> i hate seeing what i said around lol


Leader of the Bass Militia PM to join!



And now on BANDCAMP!


Officially the funniest member of the Bass Forum.
#30
Sorry, I think I slipped on the one or two slashes part. Was ZZZZZ but I stand by the 3 slashes means tremolo means unmeasured thing.
Got Bass?
#31
DoctrDrew116: That's about what I do, use a fluid motion of my arm and wrist. I'd be tired a whole heck of a lot quicker if I only used my elbow.

And thanks to everyone who answered my question about trem picking.
Millie, my Peavey Grind Fiver
Peavey BAM 210 350w combo amp
Sansamp Bass Driver DI
Modded Ernie Ball VP Jr.
Monster Bass Cable, 21'

Quote by NakedBassist
Welcome to bass, you'll f*cking love it
#32
whilst we're on the subject of techniques, and instead of starting another thread, i'll post here.

Why do people always talk about playing with their thumb on the p'up? does it have any physical advantages, or is it just to do with preference?

EDIT: *TS* your guitarist has some sick snakeskin pants
Quote by guitarhero_764
I think you need to stop caring what people think about it. I stayed home all day today and masturbated like 5 times. Fucking blast.

Ibanez ATK300 ◈ Sansamp VT Bass ◈ EHX Nano Small Stone ◈ Hartke LH500 ◈ Ashdown/Celestion 115
Last edited by ScottB. at May 12, 2008,
#33
Quote by ScottB.
whilst we're on the subject of techniques, and instead of starting another thread, i'll post here.

Why do people always talk about playing with their thumb on the p'up? does it have any physical advantages, or is it just to do with preference?

EDIT: *TS* your guitarist has some sick snakeskin pants

It helps you anchor, thus giving strength and a point to guide yourself. Try playing with fingers not anchored, it's way different.
#34
Quote by t3hrav3n
DoctrDrew116: That's about what I do, use a fluid motion of my arm and wrist. I'd be tired a whole heck of a lot quicker if I only used my elbow.

And thanks to everyone who answered my question about trem picking.


Fluid motion, that's good. You're right that it's a bad idea to only use your elbow, and it's even worse if you use only your wrist. Tensing up an holding your arm still while you move your wrist for hours of playing will put a lot of stress on your hand. The thing about carpal tunnel, arthritis, tendonitis, etc is that these problems can sneak up on you. Bad technique might not hurt you now while you're still young (I assume you're young) but it will catch up with you later. I know from personal experience. I'm only 17 but after playing with bad bow technique for a while, the pain in my wrist became unbearable. And I had been playing the same way for at least a year, so even though it was painless initially, I was really damaging my wrist. Now that I've learned to relax (weird that you have to actually learn how to relax huh?), I play much better and the pain's all gone. The same principles apply to your left hand too, and your entire body if you want to go that far. I can't stress this enough: (heh lame pun) relax...relax...relax.
Got Bass?
#35
I'm just going to tell you what i think...

There are a lot of people out there that there is a right and wrong way to play the bass, and to an extent that is true. But the best way to play is one that WORKS FOR YOU. There are people that hate pick players and those that would never put down the pick. There are people that keep their bass pretty high up, and others that drop it as low as it can go.

The trick is not to do what others tell you to do but what you yourself find to be the right way to play. No one has made a major impact on the world of bass by following others...you have to be a leader. Do what feels right to you, and don't let anyone convince you that you are wrong.

Rock On
#36
sounds right to me
Quote by guitarhero_764
I think you need to stop caring what people think about it. I stayed home all day today and masturbated like 5 times. Fucking blast.

Ibanez ATK300 ◈ Sansamp VT Bass ◈ EHX Nano Small Stone ◈ Hartke LH500 ◈ Ashdown/Celestion 115
#37
Quote by Bayce Masta
I'm just going to tell you what i think...

There are a lot of people out there that there is a right and wrong way to play the bass, and to an extent that is true. But the best way to play is one that WORKS FOR YOU. There are people that hate pick players and those that would never put down the pick. There are people that keep their bass pretty high up, and others that drop it as low as it can go.

The trick is not to do what others tell you to do but what you yourself find to be the right way to play. No one has made a major impact on the world of bass by following others...you have to be a leader. Do what feels right to you, and don't let anyone convince you that you are wrong.

Rock On

This is true, to an extent, but there's kids that play with their bass at their ankles and they think it feels fine, but what feels good isn't always best. Just like tone: what sounds good to you, may be a really terrible tone.

Quote by ScottB.
whilst we're on the subject of techniques, and instead of starting another thread, i'll post here.

Why do people always talk about playing with their thumb on the p'up? does it have any physical advantages, or is it just to do with preference?

EDIT: *TS* your guitarist has some sick snakeskin pants

Like wmf said, it's easier to play that way, mostly. You can do it without anchoring, but it's a heck of a lot easier to anchor.

And yes, those are some righteous pants. We had to make him stop wearing them, they were so ugly and showed his junk.
Millie, my Peavey Grind Fiver
Peavey BAM 210 350w combo amp
Sansamp Bass Driver DI
Modded Ernie Ball VP Jr.
Monster Bass Cable, 21'

Quote by NakedBassist
Welcome to bass, you'll f*cking love it
Last edited by t3hrav3n at May 13, 2008,
#38
Quote by Bayce Masta
I'm just going to tell you what i think...

There are a lot of people out there that there is a right and wrong way to play the bass, and to an extent that is true. But the best way to play is one that WORKS FOR YOU. There are people that hate pick players and those that would never put down the pick. There are people that keep their bass pretty high up, and others that drop it as low as it can go.

The trick is not to do what others tell you to do but what you yourself find to be the right way to play. No one has made a major impact on the world of bass by following others...you have to be a leader. Do what feels right to you, and don't let anyone convince you that you are wrong.

Rock On



NO. There should really be none of this "find out your own way" technique bullcrap.

Without proper guidence you could run the risk of developing a technique to finger pick which may be comfortable atm but could possibly cause injury to your wrist in the long run after several years playing.

This injury could but you out of bass playing FOREVER! You may also require surgury which could run into $$$$s.

Risks like this are too high to develop your own technique. Get professional tuition and they will be able to point out all the bad things in your technique, show you the correct one to avoid long term injury and improve your bass playing.

This is not something like tone where it's purely subjective, there are better techniques than others without any risk to personal health or well being.

Gear:
Fender Standard Jazz Bass
Artec Matrix Pedal Tuner
BBE Optostomp
Boss GEB 7
EHX NYC Big Muff
Ashdown MAG C410T-300
Torque T100BX
GAS-ing for:
Boss SYB5
Behringer Intelligate IG9
#39
I wasnt trying to imply that having your bass at your ankles would work, and i dont think anyone truely like them that low.
Please correct me if i am wrong, but if you strech you fingers and wrist before you play or practice, isn't it ALMOST impossible to do that kind of damage to your body?
#40
Quote by Bayce Masta
I wasnt trying to imply that having your bass at your ankles would work, and i dont think anyone truely like them that low.
Please correct me if i am wrong, but if you strech you fingers and wrist before you play or practice, isn't it ALMOST impossible to do that kind of damage to your body?


Professional sportsmen and women stretch better than any musician ive ever known and they pick up ligament, tendon and muscle injuries all the time!

Gear:
Fender Standard Jazz Bass
Artec Matrix Pedal Tuner
BBE Optostomp
Boss GEB 7
EHX NYC Big Muff
Ashdown MAG C410T-300
Torque T100BX
GAS-ing for:
Boss SYB5
Behringer Intelligate IG9
Page 1 of 2