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Essential Secrets 29: Figure Out Fingerings First

31 July 2017

Essential Secrets


Compliments of performance coach/bassist David Motto

DAVID MOTTO

Secret 29:
Figure Out Fingerings First

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Making Left-Hand Decisions Affects Everything Else

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Before you can add all the elements of a song that make it exciting to listen to, you’ve got to play the correct notes with the correct fingers. Left hand fingering on the bass is particularly challenging. Fret spacing in the lower positions is huge, riffs can be played on different strings, and nearly every note on the bass is available at multiple locations on the fretboard.

Start with some experimentation to figure out your fingerings. With each new song you will find yourself in a discovery phase. You’ll use open strings, then play without open strings, start a riff on one string, and end up starting it somewhere else. Try several positions. Don’t limit yourself to fingerings in just the first few frets. Sometimes you’ll get better tone and balance by playing farther up the fingerboard—even in the mysterious area between the seventh and twelfth frets that many bassists avoid.

During the discovery phase, don’t get too attached to any one fingering. Hopefully, you’ll quickly decide on your best fingering choice. Only with the definitive fingering in place do you want to start the process of slow practicing that imprints the pattern permanently into your brain. Once this muscle memory is in place, the fingering will be automatic.

Make sure you are comfortable with your fingering choices. You never want to find yourself in the position of having to re-learn fingerings because you made bad decisions the first time around. If figuring out fingerings is too challenging, get help with this all-important detail. Some sheet music includes fingering in the notation, and your bass teacher can help you. Asking about fingerings will be one of your primary tasks if you take lessons.

With your fingerings in place you’ll be able to work out rhythms, tones, dynamics, transitions, tempos, and all the other technical elements of your song. Always start with fingerings.



Books by David Motto:



THE TEN MINUTE BASS VIRTUOSO
THE TEN MINUTE
BASS VIRTUOSO
-EBOOK/PDF-
ESSENTIAL SIGHTREADING STUDIES FOR ELECTRIC BASS -- COMPLETE 3-VOL. SET
ESSENTIAL
SIGHTREADING STUDIES
FOR ELECTRIC BASS
COMPLETE 3-VOL. SET

-EBOOK/PDF VERSION-



IN THE SPOTLIGHT

JIMI HENDRIX: THE COMPLETE SCORES
JIMI HENDRIX:
THE COMPLETE
SCORES
This masterwork contains vocal, guitar, bass and drum parts for 52 songs from four albums in its 1040 pages. Standard notation and TAB. Hardbound in purple velvet, with a slipcase. Magnificent.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

SLAP IT!
SLAP IT!
Also check out the
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Tony Oppenheim's SLAP IT! will give rookies the right start and help pros refine their touch. Audio tracks included.

The ONLINE COURSE is a lifetime subscription that accesses more exercises and lessons. Like Volume 2 of SLAP IT!

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IN THE SPOTLIGHT

ESSENTIAL SIGHTREADING STUDIES FOR BASS, 3 Vol. set
ESSENTIAL
SIGHTREADING
STUDIES FOR BASS
3-VOLUME SET
-EBOOK/PDF VERSION-
These three books from David Motto make up one of the great sightreading resources of all time. Available singly or as a set, in print or ebook form, with accompanying audio.

GETTING STARTED

Just learning your way around the bass? We'll start you right.

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PLAY BASS TODAY
PLAY BASS TODAY
Teach yourself to play bass guitar at your own pace. Includes CD with instruction and backing tracks.

BEGINNING ELECTRIC BASS
BEGINNING
ELECTRIC BASS
Part one of a three-part series, this book introduces music theory, scales and chords. Learn to build cool bass lines.

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