Chugging 2 finger tempo

I’m at the “With or Without You” lesson and am struggling to maintain a steady tempo playing finger style with first and second fingers. At the normal speed of the song I tend to trip up every now and again but also something very odd seems to be happening that I’m struggling to eliminate… I start with my index finger and occasionally unconsciously pluck twice with my index finger and end up leading with my middle finger. Any tips? Is it a case of continuing to practice more slowly and building up?




I think you just answered your own question. :slightly_smiling_face:

I have played several stringed instruments for many years and every now and then. this still happens to me when playing Banjo Rolls or FIngerpicking on Guitar. As they say sh!t happens every now and then. The main thing is to to just keep going with the song and be aware of the issue and work to correct it the next time round.

Time and Practice should mostly clear up your issue here. :+1:

By the way welcome to the low end of the music spectrum.
How long have you been playing?


You might also try this: While listening to the track, keep time with the beat by tapping your two plucking fingers on a desk surface, table top, your leg, or even the front of your bass; anywhere but on the strings.

The point of this exercise is to feel the beat of the song without any pressure of having to play along with it.

Anyway, alternate tapping your plucking hand’s index and middle fingers to the beat. Watch them to make sure you continue to alternate from one to the next, never double-tapping two consecutive beats with either finger.

Play the track a few times until you’re comfortable that your fingers are acting as they should. Then try playing alternating plucking with the track. It should be much easier than before. Keep at it. Good luck.


I feel your pain trippin fingers is no fun. It usually happens when you are trying too hard consciously, playing consciously means you are on your time, fretting and plugging. Best is to know your chords/ note by heart, which in your case is simple enough it’s a repeating 4 chords/ 8th notes pattern the entire song. You just take your time and build muscle memory. Keep playing even when you hit a snag just keep playing as the show must go on. Soon enough you won’t be thinking about how to play it and just be playing it.

Look on the bright side, at least that’s a more simple version than this one, lol


Patience and continued practice
That’s a very good song to do that
I break the alternating pattern all the time in non chugging songs, usually because of “the feel” of the song, but the longer that I do this the more important that it seems to control it, for all types of songs really
Keep going, you’ll get it


How long have you been playing?

I’ve played guitar for a number of years and bought a squire p-bass off ebay a few years back but tried to play it like a guitar with a pick and got bored. My daughter borrowed it for three years and taught herself and wouldn’t give it back until I bought her another bass which I did and I got this back a week ago. I started the course then… so a week!


Yeah, as a long-time guitar player, I played bass with a pick, too; and I found that boring. Josh made learning proper finger plucking easy and fun. Now it comes completely naturally. It’s voodoo, I tells ya!


I’m learning guitar and bass, but have been at guitar for longer. From a guitar point of view my alternate picking definitely gets out of whack if I’m going to fast and pretty sure my bass plucking does as well.

I’d say slow it down a bit and/or take mini breaks so you’re only playing short bursts at speed.

Good luck and welcome to the awesome Bass Buzz community :metal:

Hi there,

I figured out that humming the bass part while playing gave good results. I do feel my tempo and consistency improved. Just my 2 euro cents. :crossed_fingers: :metal:


To second what @bronzika posted somewhat, you can try saying out loud the finger you are supposed to pluck.

And if you get tripped up at the original speed, consider practicing the shifts between the notes separately, without a metronome. I often hit a wall when I try to go fast and it is always sloppy technique in the transitions.

If you physically cannot pluck fast enough (which I doubt for With or Without You), you can experiment with how you pluck. Are your fingers digging in below the strings? Do you pull towards the body? Which knuckle bends (try keeping the first joint above the tip straight).

Also… as far as I know, the song is played on the E-string only, with long slides to the next note (perhaps with the exception of the third bar’s B). Try that, it’s fun and not too hard. Also: sliiiiides! :grin:


Ha, saw that first now - it’s so weird to see Chad Wackerman play these straight, “simple” grooves - that was unexpected :exploding_head:


This is true and it improves many aspects of playing. Most of the improvements on new songs for me happens when I’m off the bass.

If you already learn the notes and where to play but needs to get the timing down listening to the song after the practice session(s) with out the bass on your lap and visualize playing along can help improve the timing.

Playing the songs years apart would also reveal many hidden “notes” you didn’t hear the first few times around.

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