Blazing Bass Fretting Hand in 3 Easy Steps
Get an intro to fretboard freedom on bass guitar. With the proper fretting hand setup, it's much easier to play bass. Play bass parts you thought you couldn't before. Unlock your own potential and don't let bad bass technique rob you of the fun you can be having!
Do you ever find yourself stuck in one spot on the bass neck when jamming with friends or bandmates? Ever wonder how to break out and be able to play notes all over the bass? Here I explain three steps you can take toward fretboard freedom. Follow these steps and you will be instantly on your way to playing some blazing bass!
1.Thumb placement is important
Thumb placement is no small detail, but something of critical importance if you want to be a good bass player. In order to make playing the bass much easier on yourself it's important to keep the thumb of your fretting hand in the right spot. Keeping your hand setup properly makes it much easier to play your bass lines, scales and chords, and also begin to develop fast single note runs.
When you go to play your bass, don't grip the neck like you would a chin up bar or a baseball bat. Your palm (ideally) should not touching the back of the neck.
The proper position for the thumb of the fretting hand in the middle of the back of the neck opposite the index or middle fingers. It's best not to have your thumb peeking over or wrapped around.
There are times when it's more comfortable to wrap your thumb around the bass neck if you're pedaling one note for a while. That's perfectly acceptable. But if you are trying to play something with more than one note involved, you'll probably find it much easier to play with your thumb properly positioned.
You just plain can't spread your hand out very far with your thumb wrapped around the neck of the bass. With your thumb in the right spot you can cover much more fretboard real estate!
2. Finger position
It's important to keep the fingers of your left hand positioned correctly. Make sure your hand and fingers are perpendicular to the bass neck and press the strings down with the same part of your fingertips that you type on a computer keyboard with.
On bass guitar any four frets in a row are called a 'position'. From the first fret to the fourth fret is a position. From the fifth fret to the eighth fret is a position.Try to get used to the feel of having one finger per fret for four frets to cover a 'position'. Start someplace easy like the fifth or seventh fret.Practice playing all four of those notes in a row all the way up the strings (in one position) and back down. Play slowly at first to develop a nice strong and even tone.
At times you won't really need to cover all four notes. In this case you can cover only three frets instead of four - like from the fifth to the seventh frets. This would be more like a traditional upright bass technique where they don't call four notes in a row a 'position'. It creates sort of a box shape which contains useful and important notes. It's an easy way to handle minor keys and pentatonic based songs.
3. Practice one and two octave scales to start.
One of the real tricks to learning the bass fretboard is in memorization of scale patterns. It's really not that hard, but it does take practice to gain muscle memory (but you get it pretty quickly).
Start with one octave Major and minor scales, ascending and descending (in one position). It's best to practice these witha metronome click, but that's up to you. You want to be getting a nice even tone.
Next you would move on to the same scales in two octaves. This is obviously more challenging, and it will really help you to see the fretboard in a bigger perspective.
If you practice these three steps, you should begin to develop some good fretboard agility within a few weeks. Also, when playing with band, you will begin to see the other notes of the chord the guitar player (for instance) is playing more clearly. Then it's matter of connecting the dots.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jon Brickley has developed a series of step by step video tutorials for bass guitar students. Easy to understand lessons help you learn bass guitar basics quickly or unlearn bad bass playing habits that are holding you back - Get your copy now for only $7 by clicking here ==> http://www.overnightbassplayer.com