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The most important bass technique in the world (and 5 tips to master it)
- Published on Mar 30, 2023 veröffentlicht
- ► Check out the Bass Technique Accelerator Course here:
Bass technique is multi-layered. As in, it’s made up of multiple parts.
Parts of your bass technique may be good… and, some may be bad…
But there’s one element of your technique that is the fundamental foundation to your sound, your tone, your dynamics and much more… in fact, when I meet a student for the first time it’s the very first thing I look at - because if that’s not right, they're in big trouble!
In this lesson I’m going to reveal exactly what this technique is, and show you 5 essential tips to master it.
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Comments • 195
Tips start at 3:12
1. Nail the Rest Stroke - 3:12
2. The Rest Stroke Mute - 5:00
3. Alternate Up, Economy Down - 6:17
4. Don't Forget Dynamics - 9:20
5. Change Position for Tone - 11:18
helps a lot thx
Gotta love Scotty but there is a lot of muck in some of his vids. Thanks man
Thanks for letting us know when tips start. Scott likes to do funny crazy things sometimes I think he talks to much but I love Scott and what he doing and I know he means well. Concepts are important too : anyway your tips on where thing start is awesome. I can go back later and listen to concept . I guess the most important thing for me is that if I listen to long I don’t get to start practicing and I get stuck in looking and listening a lot. And never get any practice in like right now. I could be practicing
This just seems like an extra funny lesson, not the information but the video! I love it! Thanks for your inspiration and lessons!
Your vids offer so much info!! So much that it will take an awful lot to grab it all, but I'll continue working at it. I'll love it when I get to where I can play as effortlessly and slick as you! Thanks Scott!!
Really good lesson. So much guitar instruction ignores the importance of pick technique. The picking hand is the key to everything. The fretboard hand can adjust to pick strategy very easily, but the pick gives the consistency of sound and speed and timing. It took me a long time as a young guitar player years ago to recognize this fact but all the best guitar players have exceptional pick technique. I work on pick technique a lot now. I'm working on combining flat pick with the middle and ring finger to create steady drones on single strings and smooth pulse lines on different strings. I think consistency is key to improving my playing because I've always been expressive naturally with my pick style.
I appreciate your videos so much. I love playing bass nowadays way more than guitar, been playing guitar since I was 13 and now I’m 31, but thanks to videos like this, I’m enjoy the feeling I get when I play my bass and it’s just way more fun jamming on a bass. Bass bass bass! 😆
Love that Pbass 5ver super cool bass! Great lesson Scott
I do the alternating up/economy down naturally (as a beginner) but I'm going to start focusing on it more now to make sure it's consistent. Thanks!
This is extremely helpful, I've recently had to adapt my plucking hand play style after an injury so going over all this again is helping me get back into it and actively think about how I'm playing everything. Great video
I started playing bass 1 year ago, inspired by Scott's videos. TY for continuing to make content, you are inspiring so many out there. Do you ever gig and do you share your gigging schedule? I may go to the UK for work, and would love to catch a show! TY so much. Sending positive vibes from San Antonio, TX.
Plucking hand technique is incredibly important, providing that you can use your plucking hand. I had my right hand (my plucking hand) in a cast or 6 weeks after a car wreck. So I had to adopt a more "Chapman Stick" free-hand approach to playing whilst the cast was on. But it IS essential for the more percussive techniques and tonal variations that the last tip mentions. Unless you've got an effects processor that will allow you to set up pass(or shelving) filters to alter the tones. But I think we would all agree that providing you're not playing one handed, utilizing such tech this way would be cheating or at least phoning it in.
Love this kind of vids! Very entertaining and educational. Keep up the good work
It's funny, I actually have to play my bass and pay attention to these five points, because Im not even consciously aware if Im actually doing these things or not. Great lesson Scott! Nice theory corner razzle dazzle too :)
If you can't evaluate your playing while you play, consider recording yourself. A phone video should be okay but an additional audio recording DI into a DAW should make bad tone super obvious with the video to help you spot your mistakes' origins.
Good points well made Scott. Dynamics are something I seem to forget alot about when playing. Having said that I have been listening to alot of Otis Redding of late. Duck Dunn was pretty full on in his approach for most of that stuff! Turning goat's piss into gasoline......... love it :)
Really,really helpful! Short and clear! Thanks
Hi ! I have a important question that I have for ages, it's a little bit tricky to explain but I'll do my best :
What do you think is the best way to train your fingers to go faster ?
Ok, let's say I want to play a phrase at 120 BPM, I already know the phrase by heart but I can't seem to reach the tempo.
Should I :
1) Play at 60 and then raise the tempo a little bit day after day until it come ?
2) Play 60 and jump to 120, then 65 and jump to 120, then 70 and jump to 120 etc etc... ?
3) Play at 120 for weeks no matter how ugly it sound and one day the fingers will be use to the speed ?
I always do the first answer and it don't seem to work for me :(
Other than the nuanced 'rest stroke mute' technique. I'm really proud to say that I've already developed the habit of playing
in this way. I'm still really green, as I've only been playing for a year... but this video just let's me know I'm on the right track!
You are the best. I enjoy the inspiration and makes me want to go back to practising 😄
love the enthusiasm while you teach! it's so much more motivating to see a teacher give great techniques while having fun :D
Capital lesson, Scott! Great academic focus (good relief).
I can honestly watch Scott play for hours, one of my biggest inspirations for bass, he has taught me everything I know, amazing bass player
One of the hardest things to do is to get rid of the harmonics created by right-hand muting. At 5:46, there's an example of it. Based on the location of your index and middle fingers, you're making a harmonic ring out. Maybe most people don't mind it, but I notice it in my own playing and I don't like it. Funny thing is, your middle finger followed by an index finger mute does not cause this, because it's not at a node.
If you move your right hand just a bit, it'll go away. No one will notice in a full band setting, thankfully.
You read my mind with this one, Scott. Been trying to work on my right hand technique.
I always thought of it as left hand is the knowledge and right hand is the feel.
Such a great video though! 🙌🏻
@Tobias Robertson ehh, being able to read notation is completely unnecessary for the vast majority of aspiring bass/guitar players anyway... and this is coming from me, a theory simp.
Lomi Bear92 I get what you’re saying and I definitely prefer to hear a player who has great feel with a simple melodic line over one with a static feel attempting complexity. However, I wouldn’t say knowledge is in any way pretending. In my opinion, you need both to truly master an instrument. It’s like stand up comedy, you need the material and the delivery but I do agree that it’s all about learning the language of music.
I have a pretty basic grasp of theory tbh, I’m not one for scales but I learnt enough to help me know the right names for chords and how to build chords, I can’t read notation above a snail’s pace though haha.
I think The feel is everything. The "knowledge" allows people to effectively pretend. Ability comes from existing in the feel consistently until you can speak it through the instrument without aid. That's the only way you can hop on any genre in any band and just play without having to ask what is happening. you can fool yourself by recognizing the theoretical structure but that's not as valuable as being able to pull it straight from the ether(feel/physics)
Killer lesson by the way. What kind of strings are you using Scott?
Do you only use economy picking for scales and fast runs going down…or do you use it literally anytime you’re playing any bass line going across strings from high to low (as in g-d-a-e-b)??
Another extremely important point of bass selection: the sound of the instrument in the band pack. Very often, great-sounding instruments themselves are simply lost in the ensemble, or are knocked out of the sound of the ensemble, or simply not suitable for a particular ensemble. You should listen to "in a pack."
Great installment, Scott. I'm adding, "Don't rake" to your previous video regarding bass myths. I do it all the time, and it's become part of my voice.
Right hand technique is one of the things I've grown up with as being crucial to good bass playing. I'm definitely not perfect though, thanks for the tips, very useful. I just got an upright bass a few days ago so I'm working on getting my technique decent on that too. Do you have any experience and helpful information to go from electric bass to u[right? Thanks.
Thanks a lot! I'll keep all that in mind when I practice. I have seen the Adam Neely video. I'm taking instruction from bassist Rob Thorsen and the thing he's been having me work on the most is positioning with my left hand. I feel like I have decent intonation up until around where the 7th fret would be. Another thing I'm having some trouble with is being able to play strong and steady at faster tempos with my right hand.
The main difference I experience is the the fact that your left hand technique effects intonation significantly on upright. The same things that electric bass players do with their left hand in order to play faster and with more agility are the same sorts of things upright players do to keep in tune. Basically do what Scott does with his left hand shape at 7:55 (for example) and you'll be fine until you reach the shoulders of the bass, where the thumb is placed on the fingerboard and finger 3 replaces finger 4. Most importantly, keep your fingers curved and perpendicular to the fingerboard, and bear in mind that the force with which you pull the string down (more with the weight of your arm than your fingers) also effects your intonation: you need to be ensuring every note is played with weight from your left arm. Adam Neely has a video which covers all the other stuff too.
I'm a reasonably proficient guitar player who has recently taken up bass as well and this is gold. My pick skills are there but my plucking game is seriously weak. Very odd sensation with my fret hand being far more advanced than my plucking hand. I'm working on it though!
Great stuff. Well explained!
Right hand technique is definitely the first place to start, thanks for the vid Scott!
Although I’m confused as to which is #1 and which is really #5. ;)
BTW that 5 String “P style” Bass is Awesome!
You can make "covers" using magnets. Most whiteboards have a metal substrate that allows magnets to stick. That and some thin plastic makes reusable, removable covers for your whiteboard demos. (File under "Whiteboard theory.")
Thank you very much this video, I probably never gave enough importance to the 3 first points (or last.. I'm lost .. lol) . Nail the Rest Stroke, The Rest Stroke Mute, and Alternate Up, Economy Down. I'm going to wotk on them from now on. BTW, it would be great more lessons about the right hand work. I notice that the left hand is always faster than the right one, how to change that?
Serious question from a beginner: how do you approach plucking across multiple strings when they're triplets (or patterns of threes anyway). Do you alternate between the index and middle crossing over to another string, or do you use economy picking, which means one finger picks 2/3rds of the notes and the other 1/3rds? Especially when they become repetitive, fast patterns, I really wonder what's best.
Example: upper case is D string, lower case is A string (Cminor scale): G c c G# c c G c c F c c (:) G c c G# c c G c c F c c. How would you pluck that at fast tempos? Let one finger consistently economy pluck from D to A string (playing all the F, G and G# notes), or alternate plucking and divide all notes evenly across each finger?
A great lesson, thanks scott
I'm learning to really love bass since I got my J (I've had a stingray for a decade that I never clicked with and had just to have a bass), but it's kind of disheartening. I play with a pick because I have fibro, so whenever I play without a pick I feel that fake nerve pain, the one I know isn't real but I feel it anyway. I wish I wasn't so limited because this all seems like great advice and some of it I can't really use.
Great lesson! Playing guitar for 45 years, finally losing the pick on bass and learning the proper pick-less bass playing.
Thanks Scott, great lesson.
Super handy for a beginning bass player like me. Thanx!
yeah must say as a beginner this is one of the best tips u can get, a decent stroke technique will go a long way
couple years ago I was exactly the same. We're pretty lucky as bassists to have this channel. Good luck with your playing.
I count to four all the time. Probably more consistently than I count to higher numbers, because you have to count to four every time you count to higher numbers, but you don’t have to count up to the higher numbers in order to count up to four, so I don’t do that. But yeah, I think I have what it takes to play musical instruments.
What about a "Floating Thumb" VS a "Stationary Thumb" on your plucking hand? I know it's a matter of choice, but isn't there a level of playing that is achieved when using a "Floating Thumb" technique?
I spent the first and last 9 years of my bass playing practicing plucking hand techniques and dynamics but not scales. O.o
I feel like i might've done this backwards lol
Nice advice.I have been using the rest stroke naturally but now that I'm aware of it I'm screwing up.lol
When Scott demonstrates the stroke mute, there is a slight ringing AFTER the mute. Is it normal? This happens to me a lot too. I have a feeling it is normal, but it also sounds like the notes or the muting isn't clean.
An important skill for bass players is being able to count to 4 consistently ;)
Top advice. 👏👏👏👏
7/4 for the drummers
One two three four five six se-ven
Just know wheres the one 😉
Hey Scott I play a right handed 5 string bass I'm left handed need I say more any tips would surely be appreciated big will in Pennsylvania.
I'm working on in, John.
I'm coming at this from 25 years of guitar playing. For some reason, I'm feeling this really strong tendency for my middle finger to be my dominant plucker and my index finger to handle the E's and Ahs, in any 16th note line. Is there any clear disadvantage to doing it that way, if it's consistent?
Geoff Stockton I’m interested in this, as well. I’ve never played guitar, but my middle finger was naturally the dominant finger when I started alternate plucking
Scott, I have the problem that notes played with my middle finger sound louder than with my index finger. Any tips how to avoid this? Greetings from Holland. Love your vids!
maybe try and practice on a single string just only stroking trying to get it even before u start moving scales and such. practice makes perfect.
Right hand>left hand.
In playing many different genres you find there is much more utility in the right hand while less is more with the left about 95% of the time.
What about thumb mute? Is that a technique you recommend? Or do you mute with your ring & pinky fingers?
I always say, the left hand plays the music and the right hand provides the emotion.
Unless You're a southpaw :)
Scott if you should have a board dedicated to this idea, you could screw 5 thin pieces of wood with hinges and with cool decorative handles in the formation you have here. They would just flip up and they could have magnets or hooks on them to keep them open. Then you just write your "tips" underneath and erease at the end. It would look classy as fuck.
This was good stuff bro!🙌🏽
Your content is so great.
Thanks. Another good one 😉
5-string Precision - is my bass dream :(
How can you use the rest stroke muting tech when going to another string?
Its kinda funny but I don't like so much editing and weird sounds in the vids... Guess i like it simple... Thanks for the great lessons and hello from Mexico 🇲🇽
SCOTT, you ROCK. thanks
super helpful stuff
Im signing up to learn the bass guitar soon.
“Without the ‘engine’ we won’t get where we want to go.” Unless you are a legend and can do hammer-on pull-offs on a bass.
alec jackson I guess that’s sort of like putting the car into neutral.
nice vid :) good tips very good cheers
Thank you thank you! I realised recently that my right hand was really holding me back.
Um, for me is the left/fretting hand, what to do with it, if you know exactly what are you doing or gonna do with your fretting hand, you're 99% there. Picking hand is just adjusting to have the extra 1%.
Good on ya Gav, legend mate.
No6. Mute strings you don't use.
Nice video Scott.
Who makes the bass Scott used in this video? I can't quite read the wording on the headstock. Cheers!
Good job Gav!
my bass teacher played bass in 54321. Dave Richmond. Legend
@Scott's Bass Lessons What if I'm barely starting bass but I want to take the opportunity to take this lessons?
I'm a guitarist, so I play bass with a pick, then the finger doesn't have to rest or for that matter free 😅
Left hand is what you know. Right hand is who you are.
So you start the lesson with an intro demonstrating a thumb and index finger technique, and then the lesson itself uses index and middle finger plucking :-)
Didn’t realize how much the position of the plucking hand changes the tone
Wait a minute! Is that a 5 string P-bass? :O I need one. What is that brand?
Gav is the man.
You are the Greatest Mentor
Killer tone out that P
educational and funny,cheers
Does rest stroke still work with Todd Johnson floating thumb? Seems like not so well.
Continue with that nice theory corner ;)
accelerator lessons???? What about clutch and brake lessons? I do however admire your hide, gaull, front, what ever you want to call it.
Would like to see a bit more definition in the tone and playing int he left hand.. that's where a lot of the tone variation comes from left hand and the right just is pressure differential..
Until now nobody could explain to me why left-handers should need "mirrored" guitars, obviously the left hand's job is much more demanding. And, why are there no left-handed pianos?
My question about the piano was a rhetorical one :-), and I am still waiting for an nontrivial explanation other than that it initially feels more comfortable. Playing guitar feels nevertheless uncomfortable for beginners for many understandable reasons anyway.
Left handed keyboard would be no harder to make. They could actually include a switch to change it back and forth between left and right! I want a royalty!
Great idea on the left handed piano! I wouldn't be surprised to see a left handed electronic keyboard soon. I'll bet there would be some market for it!
Because which hand is your dominant hand has no impact at all upon your playing, provided you start one way round. For example, left-handed violins are practically nonexistent, yet left-handed violin players are no rarer than they would be in the general population because there is little to no difference upon ease of playing. The same is true of piano (despite the fact that the right hand is often 'in charge') and guitar, the difference with the latter being that due to the ease of teaching yourself, left-handed people may find it *initially* more comfortable to hold a guitar left-handed and learn the instrument that way without starting in a standardised way otherwise.
ps I would imagine the physical nonexistence of left-handed pianos is due to Western languages reading from left to right, and the piano's notes hence ascending from left to right being the least confusing way of approaching such an instrument, combined with the expense and inconvenience of creating an instrument the size of a piece of furniture which is the only one of its type you can play, forcing you to carry it everywhere with you).
What is the purpose of the rest stroke mute technique if you triggering a harmonic, every time you mute?
Also looks like video was stratched...
There's some harmonics making noise when he is showing us how to mute the string, isn't that weird?
Just what I was hoping to find, right hand techniques!!...
I need to work on my economy picking bigtime. My alternate picking is rock solid, though.
Same. It's like tripping over your feet when trying to walk.
Nice video. You remind me of Nolly from Periphery.
Relieved I just play with my thumb - like Bill Wyman and Sting!
Omg thanks for the number 3
The most important hand is the plucking hand - looks at left hand tapping away
I haven't finished the video yet ( still watching while I'm typing this ) but I'm curious, so there a reason for the glove on the fretting hand ?
@Chad is Barefoot ohh okay. This is the first of his videos I've seen before. I thought maybe it was like, not wanting to get oil on the strings or fret board or something. Thanks for the clarification.
Swaampii Sensei Yes. Scott has a nerve condition that it helps with. Nothing at all to do with helping play or sound other than addressing his medical issue. He’s addressed it many times.
0/6: know the rules before you break them
PLEASE tell me that strat looking guitar is a baritone.
to have an amp that goes to 11, because its 1 more isn't it
5 strings today 😅