Essential Secrets 44: Know the Best Left-Hand Tricks
Know the Best Left-Hand Tricks
Using Virtuoso Techniques to Your Advantage
Many bassists focus solely on playing the correct notes. Spending time on your left hand technique will help you learn the best way to play those notes and allow you to learn faster.
There are basic left hand rules: Your fingers should be more or less perpendicular to the strings and all your fingers should be curved naturally. Don’t let your fourth finger slip behind the fingerboard where it’s completely useless. Your left thumb should generally be positioned behind your second finger. If your thumb moves too far to the left, you won’t be able to reach certain notes.
Virtuoso bassists know additional techniques that will take you far beyond these basics. Here are some essential tricks that are unknown to most bassists:
· Intervals: If you need to make a huge stretch to reach two notes, play the fourth finger (pinky) note first. Then, stretch back to the first (index) finger. You’ll be able to reach much farther this way—and with a lot less pain.
· Closed Position: Be able to quickly change from open position (one finger per fret) to closed position (using only your 1st, 2nd, and 4th fingers over three frets). Open position will enable you to play difficult licks where you need all four fingers. Then, you can slip into closed position to relax your left hand.
· Left Hand Pressure: Squeezing the neck too tightly and feeling pain in your left thumb or wrist? There’s a strange but true solution for this common problem. Relax your right shoulder. Yes, your right shoulder. This will place the weight of your right arm on the body of the bass, holding your instrument in place so you won’t feel the need to press your left thumb forward to keep your bass from moving around.
Knowing these virtuoso tricks for your left hand will allow you to advance your playing in ways you haven’t imagined!
Books by David Motto:
THE TEN MINUTE
FOR ELECTRIC BASS
COMPLETE 3-VOL. SET