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Finger Tone Club


BassAdder27

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Something interesting I’ve learnt is playing at home ( limited volume of course) the loudness you get from pick playing is huge compared to finger style 

However with the band the difference in volume reduces 

With an increase in amp input ( for fingers ) I still find the fullness of the sound is hard to beat. 
I do find having a compressor up front helps too especially taming the low E string and making it more punchy

Fresh strings too are a must for me 

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I'd like to join The Finger Tone Club also. I started on rhythm guitar age 12 playing rock n roll and shadows tunes, using a plectrum and bought my first bass at 17 it was a long time ago I'm now 60. So I don't remember there being a problem using my fingers or a plectrum..... I use either now, dependant on the song. I also dislike the fingernail click, it totally affects the way I play. Seems like I'm always cutting my nails...... Wish my hair grew as quickly 😁

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My accuracy, tempo and dynamics are all a lot more consistent when playing with a pick, as that's how I originally learned to play, donkey's years ago.

 

Yet today 90% of the time I play fingerstyle and loving it... :) Just feels like I'll never get muting and raking right, even though muting comes so naturally with the pick I don't even pay attention to it.

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Id love to join the finger tone club, but I have no feeling in 2 fingers due to an old injury, and at best my playing is woeful. The good news is that I've learned to largely mimic the tone, if not the actual technique, to the point where listening to old recordings I can't tell which I was at that day.  

 

So I guess that, like a schoolboy looking up at his heroes, I'll have to remain an honourary member rather than a full member of this particular club.

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8 hours ago, whave said:

My accuracy, tempo and dynamics are all a lot more consistent when playing with a pick, as that's how I originally learned to play, donkey's years ago.

 

Yet today 90% of the time I play fingerstyle and loving it... :) Just feels like I'll never get muting and raking right, even though muting comes so naturally with the pick I don't even pay attention to it.


 

im the opposite. I like to use a pick for certain songs for the attack but I find I get all mixed up when I need to play different strings. I’m just so used to playing finger style. 

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Personally, I'm a thumb and 3 fingers man... Thumb for both plucking and slapping, fingers either popping or doubledy-tripledy-do-ing. And it's always either right by or actually on the neck.

Being polite I don't use my little finger - it's always pushed out with a slight bend, like a posh lady drinking a cup of tea.

Folks often say I have a slightly weird playing style...

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I've found the more I play, the more practise I put in the more I like my tone. I'd say I play 80% of the time with fingers and every now and again I just go off the leash and whack on a bit of distortion and attack the bass with a pick. One of my favourite tones is playing with a pick or the thumb and muting with the right hand at the same time to get a really bass-heavy big attack - dub with thumb, retro clack with pick. I've just now started to get into the Rocco technique of slightly muting with the left hand so I can play fingers on the right and still have that thuddy tone, fewer resonant frequencies. Really fun stuff!

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Exclusively fingerstyle here.  Having no real background in guitar beyond abortive attempts in youth I came to bass fresh and the bassists who inspired me to take the plunge (principally Steve Harris and Jack Bruce) play(ed) fingerstyle.   Odd then, that the first bassline I ever played on a bass was Peaches by The Stranglers.  I learned it on the lowest strings of a guitar I had lying around then headed to the music shop to try basses :)

 

I've tried using a pick but it feels so alien and disconnected to me not to be directly addressing the strings that I don't enjoy it and see no musical benefit in the bands I'm in to make it worth persevering with.  Come to think of it, that's maybe why I never stuck at the guitar...

 

Not anti-pick though!  Some great players use 'em and to great effect.  With a pick I am neither great nor effective.  With fingers I'm not bad and make the correct noises most of the time...

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1 hour ago, BassAdder27 said:

Yep pick playing while palm muting is a great sound 

 

For me, that's the main thing I'll pick up a pick for on bass. I'm habitually a finger player and I reckon I get a better feel with fingers on most things, but that muted clicky thunk is such a unique sound that I can't get any other way.

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My first bass was fretless so it seemed natural to use fingers. I used lockdown to crack the pick thing but fingers is still my go to technique. 

Influenced early on by John Paul Jones, so mostly play over the end of the neck which also has a pleasing tone on fretless. And worked on the Gary Willis technique of using the ring finger to make string crossing more fluid... also good for triplets. 

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I've never tried to use a pick and don't even know how to hold one.  Do you pluck the strings with the pointy end or the roundy end (technical terms!)

I am a fingers player but I do have some inconsistancy of tone.  I like a nice dull thud, via flatwounds, but sometimes a note will 'twang' for no apparant reason.  It mainly happens when I use my second finger so I'm experimenting with the angle of my hand in relation to the strings.  As to finger nails; mine seem to suddenly sprout overnight and I wake up looking like Edward Scissorhands!

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I’ve found using triangle picks is an easy way for picking stability 

 

Normal size picks are great on guitar but on bass I think the larger pick helps alot 

 

I use Tortex 0.88 Green picks and being a triangle I use the pointy bit x 3 !! 
 

I think many try a pick without adjusting the EQ and it can sound nasty if you don’t tweak the EQ

More lows and less mids finds a close finger tone I find and backing off the bass guitar tone too helps 

Then you can palm mute too and that’s a great sound 

 

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I leaned the floating thumb style, when I first started playing bass and it means you can play anywhere along the strings, from the bridge to the neck. Which allows you to get a lot of different tones.

 

But I've noticed many, very good bassists like Guy Pratt and Leland Sklar, playing with their thumbs glued to the pickup.

 

Edit: Oooops, I take that back, I just saw a vid of Leland playing floating thumb style.

 

Edit2: And just saw Guy do the same............I'll get me coat

Edited by gjones
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Inreresting.  I do the opposite, middle and 3rd fingers glued to the other side of the pickup. Those are the ones that don't work proper like and that works well for just keeping them out the way.

 

From that position I can pick play. I can use fu gers from there, but because middle finger is so inextricably linked to the 3rd it doesn't  always do as I'd like, so im left with playing with forefinger and thumb.  I can play like that, but its so limiting and frustrating compared to simply reverting to pick.  

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I play with fingers mostly as I feel more in control of what's happening. I like to play close to the bridge mostly, but can move around comfortably if needed as I use floating thumb. I also use an "invisible" pick technique where it looks like I am holding a pick but actually use my first finger as the pick itself to strum the strings, so I retain the direct connection to them. It is something I have always done naturally, though I have started to use a "real" pick every so often more recently just to develop it as another playing style.

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  • 1 month later...
On 29/09/2021 at 03:29, Waddo Soqable said:

Some vintage thumb action....

 

Just something about those days.I love the wry smile on the bassist.It's like he knows something nobody else does.Anyone know him?

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It is possible to pretty much emulate the tone with a pick, if you know where you're at. It seems not everyone can do it, or even want to, but I can and know other players who do.

 

Play with fingers because it feels better, or its more dextrous for you, or whatever, but the idea of a unique finger tone that can't be replicated is simply incorrect. Indeed, the available tonal palette from a pick is far, far wider in range.

 

My band member chums can tell from a recording whether I'd gone at it with a pick (which is more usual) or fingers. Sometimes I myself have to check my own written notes to establish that one, because when I want to no bugger can tell the difference.

 

Im on the fence.  Im mainly a pick player because of injury, but do play fingers from some parts and would play a bit more if my missing dexterity would let me. Do either because feels right for you, but this idea of a unique finger tone is pretty much a nonsense.

Edited by Bassfinger
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Sign me up. Exclusively fingers these day, two or three for a gallop! I’ve used a pick in the past but not very often and when I do use both in the same set i find it hard to equalise tone and volume between the two techniques, plectrum style jumping out of the mix.

 

our original bass player, Gary Giles, uses an interesting technique of fingers and thumb pick giving him the best of both worlds I guess!

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