Chug, Chug, Chugging along

I seem to be having some difficulty getting my chugging to sound nice and even. I’ve been working on my technique for awhile, but I just can’t seem to get those nice, identical tones. Each finger seems to produce an amplitude different from the other, even though I’m trying like hell to balance them. Any advice on what I can do to improve on this?


Don’t worry about having an even tone. Dynamic is a great thing. While you don’t want a drastically different level, identical level leads to bassline with no life.

Try practicing some 8th note alternating fingers and 16th note of the same, try to nail the extreme difference level out of the 2 plugging strength, as well as adding accent to the predetermine note like 1st beat, 2nd beat, 3rd beat and so on. This really helps you fine tuning your touch.

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Have you tried using a compressor to even out your playing a little?

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My amp has a compressor on it, I’ve been playing around with that but not very satisfied.


Plucking a bass doesn’t employ the same technique as playing fingerstyle guitar, but both use finger manipulation and feel for dynamics, so there is a bit of common ground.

I bring this up because I play fingerstyle guitar and I, too, had trouble getting chugging notes to sound basically dynamically equal. But I worked up a little exercise to address that.

I plant my plucking hand thumb on a table or any flat surface, pointing down. Then I use that surface as a reference point as I alternate dragging my plucking fingers across it to touch my planted thumb, thereby simulating plucking through a string.

Since the plucking fingers are of different lengths, the table surface acts as a constant, a training plane, that I use to develop muscle memory of how much to bend each finger to be of equal attack/strength as possible.

Might sound weird, but it worked. I do this now anytime I want to visualize playing bass lines in my head. It’s a way I practice when I’m away from my bass, even in bed at night, planting my thumb on my chest.


Practice, practice, practice. Then maybe practice some more. It’s there, i promise you. If i can do it with these, you can do it.

I promise you, you can make it happen. Use a metronome. Use what you know. Hammer the basics. You’ll get it.

Time and practice cures a lot. Keep at it, it will work itself out

Actually, I would not fix the problem that way. It’s like learning to drive with the cruise control. You can try using just one finger, most time people use index and middle finger, learn with index finger then ring finger what’s the difference? then do both finger.

If the middle finger is too loud then you know what to fix, it’s usually the case the weaker finger not in strength but the dominant, which usually is the index(trigger finger).

If you are going to play bass your touch control is a must developed skill to have in the toolbag. It’s not something you can learn later, that’s step one. Mastered then move on to the next skill, but you can’t go forward without this skill you can’t really play anything.


Don’t a-fret it @Kevins-a-frettin

It will come with time without even thinking about it.
If you want, try matching your middle finger tone vs. matching the stronger index finger first. But honestly, it will just come with time.