Talking Technique: Fast Fingers

Today we’re talking technique with the right hand and getting those fast fingers. I’ll be going over the two finger alternating plucking style, which will get you through most playing situations.

Oftentimes, players get wrapped up in coupling their right hand and left hand processes when playing patterns. I recommend making alternating your fingers an automated process so you don’t have to think about which finger to use. That decouples your left hand from your right hand to free up your creative flow and timing.

We’ve got several patterns and approaches to clean up your right hand technique.

Austrian-gone-Californian Ariane Cap is a bassist, educator, blogger and author. In her book "Music Theory for the Bass Player” and corresponding 20-week online course, she teaches music theory, bass technique, bass line creation and fretboard fitness in a systematic, practical and experiential way. Contact her via her blog or website.

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Share your thoughts

  1. Mark S B.

    Ariane did I hear Stratus in there . Over the last month I played the song Stratus over and over and over and I will most likely play it again tomorrow now that its ingrained in my head.
    I was told to hold a small apple in my picking hand to keep it round and just not drop the apple.
    Then when your done you eat the apple if you don’t drop it.
    I enjoyed this very much , thanks .

  2. Hey Ariane ….Another winner. I am an advocate of this approach and it serves me well .Cheers and thanks for the exercise suggestions?
    On a related note,it always amazes me to think James Jamerson ” The Hook” laid down some blistering notes with that HOOK of his ?

  3. Charles desjardins

    This video make me realize that I have a bad right hand technique, I always rake when descending a scale..I need to practice those excercises to reprogram my brain !

  4. Exactly what I was looking for, thanks Ariane!

  5. I am primarily left handed but I play a right hand bass. Because of that my fretting hand has always been pretty efficient but my plucking hand is a dumpster fire! Alternating fingering has been a problem for me. I work on it with some exercises but I will incorporate what you suggest as well. One thing I noticed is I can get good at playing the exercises using alternating fingers but the moment I’m in a band or musical situation it goes out the window for the most part. How long before it become second nature?

    Thanks Ari! Love your lessons (and your theory book).

  6. JJ

    Hiya Ariane. I get teased a lot because I dislike the fingerstyle because of an issue I have when it affects my job and patients. My right is the primary hand for starting IV needles in my ambulance. I have found that my left hand is ok being slightly calloused as that is my fretting and all I use it for finding veins under. The skin. I started out as a pick player but wanted to practice fingers. I spent about a month playing with fingers and i was making some improvement. Then i noticed the callouses the afternoon before my shift that night. I noticed the callouses prevented me from feeling the actual small poke as
    The needle enters. I messed up three semi important ivs.

    My.question is there a way to develop the fingertips as soft as what i need fork yet able to stand up to 6-8 songs etc in a row.

    Sorry for the long winded question and about somethinh you may not be100% sure of.

    Thanks for the time to read this and possibly form an answer.

      • Hi Ariane! First, thank you for your free lessons! You are a charismatic teacher and I enjoy your short and to the point lessons. About the subject: I started play bass with the 2 finger style, permanently alternanting. A few years ago, I saw a lesson of a great teacher on YouTube ( I don’t want to give the name), about alternate plucking and raking. The last technique was recomended for achieving speed o bass solos and other fast riffs. I.ve started to practice it and got used to it quickly. The problem is that I use all the time now and I do feel like I feel that it affect the fluidity of certain bass lines, like the funky ones, with sixteenths and dead notes (like Francis Rocco Prestia does). I look forward your lesson on the subject, when I hope I’ll elucidate when appropriate and when not to use this “sick” technique :) .