Fingering Question

Ok, so, I’m trying to teach myself Hotel California by the Eagles. It’s one of my favorite basslines. It’s pretty much arpeggiated power chords most of the way through, but it sounds super cool. Anyway, here’s a sample of the tab:

G|————————————————————|
D|———————9—————9——————|
A|—————9—————9———9————|
E|—7—7—————————————7——|

For most of the song, this pattern repeats at various locations up and down the fretboard. So, for this example, I start off with my index finger on the 7th fret of the E string, playing the two B’s. What would you recommend for the 9th fret action on the A and D strings?

Here’s my two main approaches, and neither are working perfectly for me (and I’m going to use the example above for clarity):

  • Quickly release the index finger off the 7th fret after the 2nd note, and quickly hop to my ring finger on A/9, then use my pinky on D/9. Then it’s ring, pinky, ring, and back up to index on E/7.
  • Quickly release the index finger off the 7th fret after the 2nd note, and do something of a “double stop” with my pinky on A/9 and D/9. As Josh touched on in Billie Jean, I then kinda roll my pinky a bit over A/9 and D/9, and then back up to index on E/7.

With the first approach, my ring finger often can’t get close enough to the fret with the pinky right underneath it, and the fret buzzes. With the second approach, sometimes my pinky doesn’t hold down the D/9 enough, so it creates a muted, dead note.

Anyway, how would YOU play that measure?

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I don’t know that bass line, so take this with a grain of sand:

it depends a bit on the tempo, the rhythmic values of these notes and on whether they ring out or should be stopped, whether they should be played short (staccato) or held for their full value (tenuto) and so on. But, as a first approximation, I would play it similarly to the bass riff in “Money”, i.e., the root with the index finger and both the fifth and the octave with the pinky. I would essentially use the pinky to “barré” those two notes… if you feel your pinky is too weak, you could use the ring finger to reinforce the pinky, as it were…

I wouldn’t do any ring - picky - ring or pinky - ring - pinky shenanigans. However, as said, it depends a bit on what is required from the notation (can’t see that in the tab).

Hope this helps a bit!?

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It does, thanks. :slight_smile:

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i can send you the sheet music if you like @timsgeekery ,
Cheers Brian

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Check out this video…
(4332) Eagles - Hotel California (Bass Only) (Play Along Tabs In Video) - YouTube

He’s using the second example you gave which, I think, fits more with the staccato playing @joergkutter was talking about.

When I’m playing notes arranged like that, I only do the rolling pinky if I have more time between notes to get it. When playing something quick, I couldn’t get the finger roll to give me the clean note I wanted. This is probably a me issue so don’t take it as gospel. A lot of it comes down to what works for you in your playing. Like how Josh gave both options when playing Billie Jean.

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Ah, yes, that it why I had that caveat in my reply. So, here, you have to cut the notes short (to play them staccato) and that is really tough to do when you are barring with your pinky. So, it seems you indeed need to do some ring pinky shenanigans :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
One other thing: try to do all that while not moving your index finger too much away from its fretting position (the guy in the video shows that nicely). It’s all about being efficient and economic in your movements :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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I try to avoid pinky rolls whenever possible, and roll with the ring finger instead. So in this example index on 7th fret, and then roll the ring finger on the 9th frets.

There’s a similar part towards the end of Only Happy When It Rains (Garbage), that one’s on the 2nd and 4th frets. Bit of a stretch with the ring finger, but (to me at least) still a lot better than rolling with the pinky.

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Can you do that and keep the index close to the root position?? Wow, that’s an impressive stretch :astonished:

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Well I’m sure it’s not textbook form, my index finger is around 1-2 cm above the fretboard when I’m rolling the octave, but yes it stays in line with the 7th fret

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For this I would just use the index and ring finger. I don’t understand where the pinky comes into it unless you’re using the Simandl technique having your ring and pinky together. I tend to use OFPF.
If it sounds good, you could keep your finger on the 7ths fret while barring the 9th fret on the A and D string.

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It depends to me too on where I’m going after… if im going to the G string, I’ll probably play the pinky roll but if im going back to the E string I’ll play the ring and pinky. If there’s a repeating root/5th/octave, it becomes a circular motion with the hand which is pretty easy and efficient. Usually I’ll try out multiple ways and choose whichever sounds the best or is the most efficient. I rarely use my ring finger unless I’m on the upper frets or I have a progression of 4 notes, I’ll usually go with my pinky because I don’t have to reach as far but I have short fingers.