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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
as you guys may or may not know, I've essentially turned into a bassist (I dont like being heard in mixes) over the last 6 months or so. Ive been focusing mostly on fingerstyle. But i've noticed some different patterns people seem to use for picking:

theres the two finger alternating 1-2-1-2-1-2, etc. That's pretty straightforward. However, in attempt to play faster (and cover Death songs), I've been working a lot on three finger style.

i noticed the most natural way for ME to do it, or at least it feels right -- is leading with the first finger, ie, 1-2-3-2 1-2-3-2.

However, i read a column by Steve DiGiorgio where he mentions he does it ring finger first. Ie, 3-2-1-2 3-2-1-2. And since, I've noticed most other people do it this way. Ive tried it, and ive noticed the only real advantage to me is that the 3-2-1 3-2-1 thing makes galloping rhythms REALLY easy. However, it still feels really awkward for 16th note or even 8th note patterns to do this.


Is there an advantage to leading off with the ring finger? Am I fucking myself up long term by using my first finger to third finger thing? Am I just retarded ?
 

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I tend to mostly use the Geddy Lee method of using two fingers, but using both sides of each finger, like playing with two picks. I'll occasionally throw in the ring finger, especially for string jumps and the occasional gallop. My technique's really varied, though, and I generally just fall into whatever feels natural for whatever I'm playing at that moment. I'd feel really limited by the John Myung four finger method (strictly following the 4-3-2-1 pattern).
 

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Dream Crusher
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Do whatever feels right. I switch between 1-2-1-2 and 3-2-1 depending on whether I'm doing triplets or eighths or whatever. One guy I know does 1232 for four-note patterns like you do, and he's pretty quick and very accurate, while Mike Sherman is mainly a two-finger guy and he's one of the best 'pocket' bassists I've ever seen live, with some serious speed if he needs it.
 

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I use 3-2-1 for gallops, but I find that 3-2-1 makes it near impossible to do totally even triplets. I know Myung has some interesting 3 and 4 finger pattterns for fast runs, you should check that out.
 

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depending on the riff i will use a 2-1 pattern with a 3-2-1 pattern if i am playing a long set of 16th notes with no break. i tend to throw in the third finger for accents usually
 

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Engineer Bassist
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1-2-1-2 normally and 3-2-1 or 3-2-1-2 for more speed or even just different accents or placement. I think it feels easier to start with the ring finger because it isn't one of my most used fingers so after using it you can essentially forget about having any discomfort for that grouping instead of having it be the last note you play if you get my drift.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
1-2-1-2 normally and 3-2-1 or 3-2-1-2 for more speed or even just different accents or placement. I think it feels easier to start with the ring finger because it isn't one of my most used fingers so after using it you can essentially forget about having any discomfort for that grouping instead of having it be the last note you play if you get my drift.
I see what you're saying, yeah. I think the reason i like starting with my first finger is that when im changing strings or whatnot, it feels easier to 'reach' with my first finger than it does with the ring figner. I think that might be my fundamental issue with starting off on the third finger, since its actually the shortest of the 3 fingers i use.
 

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Engineer Bassist
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I see what you're saying, yeah. I think the reason i like starting with my first finger is that when im changing strings or whatnot, it feels easier to 'reach' with my first finger than it does with the ring figner. I think that might be my fundamental issue with starting off on the third finger, since its actually the shortest of the 3 fingers i use.
Weird, really? My index is shortest of the 3. But that's a non-issue if you actually adjust. I've found that by just changing the angle at which your arm is set then you can negate length differences. If you don't understand, think about this: If you just put ur hand straight down perpendicular to the strings then every finger's length is normal. Now, if you lean your wrist or w.e toward the neck your index and middle become basically the same length.
 

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Classical tremolo is played with the thumb first then the ring finger p i m a fashion. The reason for this is that the thumb is the strongest digit therefore it makes sense to lead of with it as the first note you play will usually be on the beat. Following it with the ring the second finger tends to be a more balanced aproach.

If you are going to use the thumb, or plan on adding it in the future, then I'd stick with the p i m a pattern. If you can't see your self ever using the thumb then try druming you fingers on your desk. Start with a m i a m i then switch to i m a i m a. You'll find that one is naturally easy and one is not. Use the easier pattern for the majority of your playing and pratice the other one, you never know when you might need it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Weird, really? My index is shortest of the 3. But that's a non-issue if you actually adjust. I've found that by just changing the angle at which your arm is set then you can negate length differences. If you don't understand, think about this: If you just put ur hand straight down perpendicular to the strings then every finger's length is normal. Now, if you lean your wrist or w.e toward the neck your index and middle become basically the same length.
I wasnt clear there. I meant, that its weird that i want to reach with my first finger, since its the shortest of the 3. I flipped my shit around. Sorry. :lol:

Ive been messing with hand positioning, and basically discovered the same thing you were stating. I think what i was doing was kind of point my hand towards the bridge a bit more than most people were (to the point where i could touch it really easy with the 4th finger). I think that, in the scheme of how I was playing explains why it was so much easier for the first figner to reach. When i flipped my hand position, it suddenly got easier to lead with the ring finger.
 

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I wasnt clear there. I meant, that its weird that i want to reach with my first finger, since its the shortest of the 3. I flipped my shit around. Sorry. :lol:

Ive been messing with hand positioning, and basically discovered the same thing you were stating. I think what i was doing was kind of point my hand towards the bridge a bit more than most people were (to the point where i could touch it really easy with the 4th finger). I think that, in the scheme of how I was playing explains why it was so much easier for the first figner to reach. When i flipped my hand position, it suddenly got easier to lead with the ring finger.
Sounds good and glad your hands are set up correctly lol :yesway:
 
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