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Finger and Thumb Plucking

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I have been playing for 12 ish years. I have tried two finger plucking but always come back to thumb and fore finger and am comfortable playing like this and uncomfortable plucking with two finger. I realise that you get a slightly fatter sound with fingers only but I like the percussive feel of thumb/forefinger. I do sometimes play with two fingers but struggle on the E string.

Anyway I have joined another band and the guitarist (very accomplished) is ‘encouraging ‘ me to use two fingers. I know that most players use fingers but was wondering if anyone else plays (almost) exclusively with thumb/forefinger(other than slapping)? Should I see this as a problem and fix it?

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Play however you feel comfortable, I used to play with fingers but exclusively play with my thumb or pick now. The thumb gives a fatter sound over fingers all day long.

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10 minutes ago, hooky_lowdown said:

Play however you feel comfortable, I used to play with fingers but exclusively play with my thumb or pick now. The thumb gives a fatter sound over fingers all day long.

I think that I am too far down to re program comfortably anyway...was just wondering if other people play like this. 

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Unless the style of playing used doesn’t work for the band in question why change? 

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So minor pedantic point is that you posted in 'Bass Guitars' which may not get you the best response compared with 'General' or 'Technique' forums.

So admin out of the way, go tell your guitar player to f**k off. As long as you play the music, technique is secondary. And your technique whilst uncommon, is not unusual and I suggest you seek out the work of Damien Erskine to see how far you can take it. He's written a whole book on it called, 'Right-hand Drive' and he incorporates fingers 1 & 2 together with the thumb to get some serious dynamics and expression down. Some of his lines are phenomenal.

Edited by visog
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32 minutes ago, visog said:

So minor pedantic point is that you posted in 'Bass Guitars' which may not get you the best response compared with 'General' or 'Technique' forums.

So admin out of the way, go tell your guitar player to f**k off. As long as you play the music, technique is secondary. And your technique whilst uncommon, is not unusual and I suggest you seek out the work of Damien Erskine to see how far you can take it. He's written a whole book on it called, 'Right-hand Drive' and he incorporates fingers 1 & 2 together with the thumb to get some serious dynamics and expression down. Some of his lines are phenomenal.

Yes his technique is a combo of both..very relaxed as well

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Over the years I reckon I've seen pro level bass players using everything from 3 fingers to thumb pluck only to almost flamenco guitar style thumb and four fingers.

It's one of the many areas where there's  no absolutely  correct technique, just whatever works best for you.

 

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Im a 90% thumb player, 10% pick player depending what is required for the song. Sometimes even use the joint area of the thumb an inch back from the usual plucking point to a deeper, more aggresive punchy sound. I vary plucking position on the strings too. Always worked for me. Think I may be in a small minority though.

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Richie Blackmore sacked a Mark Clark for playing fingerstyle.

Mind you, Richie Blackmore enjoyed ejecting people so much, he once sacked himself by mistake.

 

Me ... mostly two fingers, three when I want to play silly fast, thumb and two or three  fingers for guitar style fingerstyle. Never use my little finger. Occasionally use back of my forefinger nail like a plectrum. Thumb and three fingers together for slap'n'pop.

Struggle with a plectrum!

So basically do whatever works for you. Tell your guitarist that only beginners restrict themselves to a single technique 😉

Edited by Stub Mandrel
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If he doesn't like how you play he should never have given you the job in the first place.

I commonly use just index finger ( and a second finger only if I really need to).

Otherwise I'd reserve 'two fingers' for the guitarist.

 

 

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There is no animosity between me and our guitarist whatsoever. Really just wondering about the thumb/finger technique. Tried to upload our first rehearsal. I think it sounds OK...thumb thing
 

 

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Bassists that play thumb and index finger (at least some of the time):

Paul Westwood

Pino Palladino

 

Doninique Di Piazza

https://youtu.be/Nyec7ssI7Lw

Different sounds and vibes but all pretty cool.  Play however you think sounds best, as long as it’s a choice,  not because it’s the only way you can play!

Edited by Jazzjames

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How many guitarists!!!?   Sounds fine though.

Two fingers and using your thumb for damping (or sitting it on the edge of a pickup, on a four string) is the normal method.  I think the idea is that you get faster timing and an more even pluck   But of course basses used to have a finger grab rail and you were expected to play only with your thumb (as indeed Pauls Westwood is doing on that beat up ... and woolly sounding - old Fender Jazz at the outset)  so these things change. 

Famous guitarist, Julian Bream, played with his thumb only and I don't think anyone complained to him about it!

Probably worth LEARNING the two finger method (in the same way I should probably learn to play with apick, which I never have) as it widens your scope a bit.  I just learned "floating thumb" damping to use on a 5-string and now wonder why I never did it before.

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22 minutes ago, NickA said:

Famous guitarist, Julian Bream, played with his thumb only and I don't think anyone complained to him about it!

Wes Montgomery too ..

 

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Finger and thumb is a technique John Entwistle often used, though he also played with two fingers as well. If I remember correctly, didn't James Jamerson only play with one finger? Covering as many options as possible is probably a good thing, but as long as your technique doesn't restrict you, playing the way that feels most comfortable and natural must be OK.

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27 minutes ago, durhamboy said:

Finger and thumb is a technique John Entwistle often used, though he also played with two fingers as well. If I remember correctly, didn't James Jamerson only play with one finger? Covering as many options as possible is probably a good thing, but as long as your technique doesn't restrict you, playing the way that feels most comfortable and natural must be OK.

Jack Bruce too appeared often to be using mainly one finger.

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35 minutes ago, durhamboy said:

If I remember correctly, didn't James Jamerson only play with one finger? 

I think so, and am fairly sure Jerry Scheff also played like that.

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Sting also plays almost exclusively with thumb and index finger.

I think that the only time I've seen him play with two fingers is for When The World Is Running Down live

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Our own Mike Flynn making it look amazing and simple at the same time (b4stard!!! 😍)

 

 

Edited by TheGreek

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