Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fretting hand tips

Here's a few of the things I try to keep in mind when I'm focusing on my fretting (left) hand technique.
  • Thumb placement
    I'm awful at keeping my thumb behind the neck where it belongs. I know plenty of pro players let it wrap around, but traditional bass technique says you keep it behind the neck. My hope is that keeping it back there will keep things fluid for faster movement.
  • Fretting fingers perpendicular to the fretboard
    Sometimes I get lazy (especially with my ring and pinky fingers) and fret a string with the side of my finger instead of the tip. Sticking with the tips means faster movement when it's time to change notes as well as better tone in the note when played.
  • Clean fretting matters
    Learning to play isn't just learning to play notes, it's learning to play good notes. Make sure the tips of your fingers are right behind the fret. Do it right, even if it's slow, to build up strength. Speed comes later. Don't fret lazy.
  • Economy of movement (or, use your damn pinky)
    Move your fretting hand as little as possible. Sure, you could slide it a bit to use your index finger again, or your ring finger instead of your pinky, but the extra movement adds up. Speed comes with time, but start the right way. You're eventually going to want to be able to play songs by written by people who used their pinky. Use yours too.
Need more fretting tips?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lessons #4 and #5

Sometime in the past two weeks I've gotten lazy about blogging. (And doesn't that happen to most beginning bloggers?) Anyways, back to our feature presentation!

Lesson #4 and #5 were full of new scales (G and D major), exercises, and songs (The Beatles Drive My Car, Uncle Tupelo's No Depression, The Pixies Where is My Mind?).

Aside from really enjoying lessons, I'm haven't found anything about them particularly compelling as blog post fodder. Time to start branching out into explorations of the bigger concept stuff I think.

The biggest development in my playing in the past two weeks (aside from slowly getting better) is my new practice setup. I've moved the amp out of the bedroom into the home office. This gives me more room to stand up and play as well as the ability to use my computer (and it's nice speakers) for play-alongs. This morning I did an hour of Pixies play-along (Where is My Mind, Gigantic, and Cecilia Ann).

I'm hoping to start recording some of my practices soon in order to give them a critical eye. All in all, things are looking up.

In summary, fewer lesson recaps, more big picture posts, and hopefully a few interviews coming soon.