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Playing With Fingers.... Doh!


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I have been playing fingerstyle forever(25yrs)

use a pick only "on demand"...Lately I have come

to notice while practicing - that when my fingers

come off the string after sounding the note, they

slap into the next up string and make a most

unmusical "fwappp" unless I reeeally articulate

carefully...did I just get sloppy in my old age

or is that an artifact common to finger playing

and I somehow never noticed it? :confused:

if it ain't broke don't fix it...

unless you need the overtime.

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I notice that although I hear those 'fwaps' in the room, I rarely notice them on a recording. Nature of the beast, I suppose.

"I had to have something, and it wasn't there. I couldn't go down the street and buy it, so I built it."


Les Paul

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Your fingers should land on the next string after you play a string. Classical guitarists would call that a "rest stroke". They also use "free strokes" where you don't hit the next string, but that's a little too delicate for bass playing.


What it sounds like amplified is really what counts. There are all kinds of little noises, buzzes, etc. that don't make it through the amp and speakers into the room.


Without seeing you, it's hard to tell, but try playing a little less hard and see what happens.

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In thinking about this I think Jeremy's suggestion (play a bit lighter) sounds good. One thing I notice about active basses is that they can be quite hot. this combined with you playing over the pickup may exacerbate the problem.


I have my first active bass, and it has a finger ramp. I notice that when my fingers come thru the string, the ramp helps take some of the impact, though I still hit the next string (a key to my muting technique ;) ). When I play hard over the pickup, the same thing happens, but it makes noise (both the PUP and the next string). I do it on purpose at times....




Acoustic Color


Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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Thanks to all for the responses! Definitely

not pickup related as I hear it totally acoustic

and on both my active and passive basses. I think

it is mostly just an accumulated "bad habit" of

playing harder than necessary :rolleyes:

Funny how it got past me till it got to this point... Could also be my trying to compensate

for my "plectrum fingers" as they were both

damaged in a lawnmower accident this past summer


They look fine, but feel very different from the

inside out than they used to (if that makes any

sense)the first bone of the index finger was

broken and the top of the middle finger was

splayed open (eeewww!)Neither can take much

pressure on the tips now so I may be "riding to

the side" of my fingers instinctively



Maybe it IS time to pick up the pick :D

if it ain't broke don't fix it...

unless you need the overtime.

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I think you just answered your question. I'd suggest playing as much as comfortble to get back to the "zone." I'd also suggest for us fingerstyle players, anyway, that playing a little softer can be a good thing. I seem to get a better tone with a softer touch than with a rigid, forceful touch that I know some players use. I use this philosophy: let the amp make volume and the instrument make sound. If you need more volume, then turn up and save your fingers. Dynamics are a different story, however, I still recommend a delicate touch for the best tone.
...think funky thoughts... :freak:
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  • 4 weeks later...

I would sugest striking some notes and just watch what your right hand is doing. one-note-at-a-time.


Do your fingers "hit" the string and then unintentionaly move another string?


try this perhaps: instead of "hitting" the strings with your fingers, think of it as shooting an arrow-by pushing the string down twards the body of the bass(pulling the bow) and letting it shoot straight up(firing the arrow).

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