BtB - I made it as far as Module 8 Lesson 1

and have decided to go right back to the beginning.

When I first started learning over 20 years ago, I was taught to pluck across the strings but not to complete each pluck by touching the string below.* That’s something I’ve been struggling with since I started BtB at the back of last year. I’ve tried to correct this failing but always struggle from the medium workout onwards and it looks like I’ve made a mistake in progressing to the next lesson before nailing what appears to be a fundamental.

I thought it might have been something to do with my body position as I played sat in an armchair. I picked up a bar stool and am now much more comfortable but still can’t hit the string below on every pluck.

I’ve deleted all my progress to date and am now back on Module 1 and will not allow myself to progress until I’ve mastered this basic technique.

I’m also suffering with terrible string ring, particularly when crossing. That needs to change, too.

*just to make sure I have it correct, if I’m plucking the D string, I can’t/don’t consistently come to rest on the A string.


Best of luck, @pauldavidson335d. I’m right behind you at Module 7. Let us know how this works out for you. Did you happen to run this strategy by @JoshFossgreen or some of the senior members here for additional ideas?


Thank you @bfrederi1

No, I didn’t. My habits have been bugging me for a while and I think they’re hampering my progress so I decided to go back to the beginning. It makes sense to me to try and iron out the errors on the simple stuff rather than trying to make the corrections as the course progresses.


Maybe you could make a short video of your plucking technique - that usually allows people to come with more detailed feedback :smile:

By the way, there is no one way to pluck… there are different strategies for sure. The approach where you pluck through the string and hit the next string with your finger has a number of advantages, however. E.g., providing tactile feedback to knowing where your finger is; providing a starting block for the next move of that finger; muting the string you hit. All of these really support the alternating plucking approach with index and middle finger.


If I can’t nail the technique of plucking through the string over the next couple of weeks (I only find time to practice for anything more than half an hour on weekends), then I might just do that. It’ll give everyone a good laugh if nothing else.


Sympathetic string ring is a thing. Some avoid it by learning to sing. Many more explore music stores to buy fret wraps and strings. Ok, I’m no dr. Seuss-but i do know that as you practice more You’ll typically naturally start to mute better. @JoshFossgreen has a wonderful video on YouTube that addresses several fixes with muting. Good luck and keep on plucking!


Nope - many if us have their “little” battles with technique and/or limitations stemming from injured or arthritis-plagued fingers/hands/shoulders/you-name-it etc. :wink:


Oh yes @joergkutter


Rhythm and timing; everything else is gravy


‘Normal’ muting to make a note shorter isn’t a problem for me, the string ring comes from when I move from, say, third to sixth fret. It’s more of a string drag. I have very small hands but I think it should be something that sorts itself with practice. I hope.


Can you explain this for me, please? Serious question, I’m not trying to be a smarty pants.


Rhythm and timing is what is taught throughout the entire course as well as many other courses out there. This is why it is good to slow things down, use a metronome and so forth and gradually speed things up. Each module has slow medium and fast for example.
Otherwise, dont sweat the small stuff. Everything else will fall into place. Dont over think it.


Ah, ok, thanks for that.

I read some advice on here a few months ago about using a metronome so I bought one, a mechanical Wittner. Ok, so there’s free apps out there but I can’t be doing with them; I find keeping half an eye on the pendulum helps immensely. I was using it for Billie Jean and it really helped, ignoring the fact I wasn’t hitting the string below.

Maybe I am overthinking it, but not being able to consistently hit the string below at anything above the slow speed is bugging the living daylights out of me but more practice will help.

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I’ve been working on this with alll my beginning students.
Check the position of your finger as you go to pluck. If you want good follow through, try not to have any bend in that last joint of the fingers. It that is bent before you play the string, you’ll pluck up and out from the bass.
If that joint is straight, you’ll pluck across the string and into the next string.

It has to do with what joint on your hand does the main motion.
You want it to come from the knuckle. The knuckle will move the whole finger.
That’s good - that’ll get you the follow through.

The tendency is for the movement to come from the next joint down, like you’re curling your finger into your palm. That’s wrong, and will result in plucks that don’t follow through and don’t dig in for the big bass tone.

Hope that might help!
I’ve had this under a microscope for the last month for students, so I’m hoping it can relate.


This sounds pretty much like exactly what I’m doing, bending the last joint.

I’m going to try this next practice, I’ll tape up the last joint of my plucking fingers if I have to.

Thank you :+1:


My wife has one of those on top of her piano. I can’t stand the sound. The constant ticking only serves to remind me how close I am to death :skull::joy:

Good news is that all of these technique issues will iron themselves out with practice. I like you, got halfway through and went back to the beginning. It didn’t do me any harm.


Caveat: I am not a bass teacher, @Gio is; so take my input with a grain of salt…

But, you could try and pay attention to the very tip of your finger pointing away from you (from your face) as you initiate the pluck, not already more or less pointing at your face. Maybe that helps to “align” the nuckles…

Also, instead of hitting the string below with your plucking finger, you might try and hit your thumb instead (especially if you use your thumb as a movable anchor). Perhaps this helps with establishing the sensation/feedback of “hitting something”.

A lot of the details of your plucking technique also depend on what type of music you play, i.e., if it requires a lot of aggressive plucking, or whether you are OK with a light touch.

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A note on the schedule: I learn better/faster when practicing little and often. It’s the magic of rest and sleep (also mentioned elsewhere in this forum). Don’t skip daily practice just because you have half an hour or less… ofc there are things in life more important than bass, but if you can carve a 15-20 minutes routine every day, it might help you progress a bit faster.
Have fun!



sorry :rofl:

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