Playing Techniques for Bass Guitars


Unlike the double bass, electrical bass guitars are played across the body at a horizontal shape. The center and index fingers are largely employed when plucking these musical instruments. The ring, the center and the index fingers are moreover selected sometimes for quicker plucking of strings. For example, James Jamerson of Motown plays intricate bass lines by utilizing really his index finger. This technique is what Jamerson calls “The Hook.”

Meanwhile, additional variations include utilizing the right-hand thumb or the left-hand thumb for those that are left-handed. These variations usually enable the players to rest their thumbs found on the fretboard’s side or on top edge of the pickups. Such variations are commonly employed by bass guitarists who have an upright influence.

Another favored variation in playing these bass instruments is the way of anchoring the thumb found on the guitar’s lowest string and moving it off in playing the low string. This thumb is rested loosely found on the guitar strings to silence the unused strings.

The string is furthermore usually plucked at any point between your region where the fretting hand is held found on the string and the point of the instrument’s bridge. In such plucking variation, different timbres are then yielded. Some bass players pluck close to the bridge. This really is where the string is many taut. One illustration of the variation is normally shown by Jaco Pastorius, a jazz fusion bass guitarist. In this technique, Pastorius and alternative bassists choose the looser piece of their strings nearest to the fingerboard.

Palm-muting is additionally another favored variation in playing bass guitars. In this technique, guitarists emulate the double bass sound by plucking the strings utilizing their thumb and palm-muting the strings to provide a brief, thumping sound. Bruce Palmer, the bassist who played for the Buffalo Springfield and even the late Monk Montgomery, who performed in Lionel Hampton’s band both utilized downstrokes. Early Fender models were even inspired by such variations that this guitar producer came up with instrument versions prepared with a “Tug Bar” or perhaps a thumbrest at the pickguard merely below the strings. Years later, guitar makers moved the
thumbrest above the strings.

One of the trend-setting techniques of playing these bass instruments is the slap and pop way. Frequently associated with funk, this variation enables bassists to make fast percussive sounds by thumping or slapping the strings utilizing the thumb and snapping them utilizing the center fingers. The technique is employed by hand-muting dead notes amongst the slapping and popping.  “Slap and pop” variation equally produces additional notes like the pull-offs, hammer-ons and the left-hand glissando. Funk band Graham Central Station and Sly and Family Stone bassist Larry Graham were the early recognized innovators of such technique. Other certified bassists that utilize such technique are of numerous genres – Les Claypool and J.J. Burnel in rock; Eric Langlois, Fieldy and Ryan Martinie in metal; and Victor Wooten and Marcus Miller in fusion. In the 80s and 90s, pop bass players like Mark King of Level 42; rock bassists like Pino Palladino of John Mayer Trio, Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Alex Katunich of Incubus lead the common trend of playing bass guitars utilizing slap and pop. Double Thump was popularized by Wooten and the uncommon employ of the funk fingers was popularized by Tony Levin.

  • CommentLuv badge


    This blog uses CommentLuv technology. It allows you to put your keywords with your name. To complete this, you need approved at least one comment. Use your real name and then @ your keywords (maximum of 3)