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Better sound with strong left-hand grip?


PhilMan99

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Does holding the strings FIRMLY against the frets with the left-hand make a noticable difference to you "pros" out there? I'm just a "weekend bass-player" (at Church), so my left-hand grip is not all that strong, though I'm no feather-weight.

 

I'm trying to determine if I'm really hearing a difference when I grip strongly, or if I just grip strongly when I'm "pumped-up". Obviously, one has to grip strong enough to avoid fret-buzz, but beyond noticable fret-buzz, have others out there noticed a big difference when pressing the strings firmly against the strings?

 

I hate asking such a newbie question, but I've never taken lessons...

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I would say only hard enough for good contact with the frets and a good,clear note. Not very hard. Too hard will make your notes sharp and make your frets and even your fretboard wood angry,not to mention your hands. I say the less work and movement,the better. Some others may disagree.
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Originally posted by BigKahuna855:

what about on a fretless?

I'd say the above comments apply, about just enough pressure to prevent fret buzz yet produce a clear note. Obviously though, with the frets gone, I'd think you'd just have to make a solid contact point between the string and the fretboard. I could be wrong (please comment if so), but it seems pretty straight-forward to me; I don't know why the removal of the frets would make any difference. Of course, if your fretboard isn't too great, like mine on my fretless (converted by me), then that will cause all sorts of problems with the contact between the strings and wood.
"If only I had HIS chops!"
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Originally posted by BigKahuna855:

what about on a fretless?

Not really. I look at the way I play fretless as carressing the notes out, not squeezing the living hell out of them. A lighter touch helps a lot in getting a nice vibrato going on fretless. Varying the pressure of your fingertip on the string at the point of attack is part of what makes the fretless so expressive, but you don't need to slam the string against the fingerboard.

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They used to say something similar about cars back in the early 60s when automatic transmission and power steering were options. Back then, "real drivers" used neither, they just toughed it out, and so should the rest of us. My first car had the former, but not the latter, and when I moved on from that I went to power steering and never looked back.

 

Same with my intonation/action. You don't need a lot of tension/force to express yourself. But then some out there may say I'm not a "real bass player"...

:D

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I agree with the other comments - good technique is relaxed technique. Generally, you should strive to play with the least possible amount of tension.

 

One related tip that may help is to focus on fretting very precisely just behind the fret. You'll get less fret noise there.

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Inever understood the fascination with grip strength. Unless you're playing a poorly set up upright, you shouldn't need all that much strength. But that doesn't keep fools from buying those grip excercising things...
For sale: 1992 or 1993 Carvin LB20F fretless 4-string with lines. Black with black hardware. Good player, fair amount of wear. $250 shipped.
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If you play slap, you might want a strong R.H. technique for hammer-ons, such as one technique where you literally lift your finger so high, and then slam it onto the string into the fretboard with your fretting finger. It almost sounds like your thumping or popping it. But its not intended for every note, just on fills for expression.

It takes a lot of finger strength(and precision for sake of hitting correct note) to pull this off.

If you like slapping and popping and sizzling and fizzling and all that jazz, once you learn how to do this and a couple of other L.H. and some R.H. technique you can become a good slap player.

"The world will still be turning when you've gone." - Black Sabbath

 

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