Index finger sound vs Middle finger sound

Hey all!

I was just fielding a question from someone who was having an issue with the sound of their index finger being markedly different from their middle finger when they’re playing with alternating fingers in their plucking hand.

Anyone else dealt with this?


Now that’s interesting. No difference here.


For a long while I was plucking harder with my middle finger than with my index finger… it wasn’t something I was intentionally doing, it just… happened. Which, of course, made for a louder sound from the middle finger. I had to specifically train myself to not do that.

Maybe it’s something like that?


Yes, I do notice this on some occasions and some others no.
Can’t describe when it matters, but it can.

Quick test, pluck like Jamerson for a few riffs then go alternate, should show itself.
May be more subtle in a mixed bag.
I do know some songs I have covered I have changed a starting pluck to insure consistency, but, this could all be due to my inexperience.


I haven’t noticed it, but now that you mention it, I’ll start listening for it.


Yes, I definitely noticed this when starting out.
There were two issues.
Where I positioned my right hand meant I was clicking the string with the nail of my middle finger, even with close trimmed nails. I re-positioned my arm so the wrist was straighter and my fingers flatter and now the nail doesn’t hit the string.
Secondly, I was plain and simple plucking harder with my index finger. I reckon this was because I was tensing up my ring and pinky fingers. I’m more conscious about it now but still occasionally lapse if I’m finding something difficult.


Yes. For me I was trying to land my plucking finger into my thumb. My thumb would rest behind my index finger and I’d pull my middle finger slightly diagonally across the string to hit the thumb.


Definitely different sound. Especially when I hold the bass on my right knee with hand vertical the middle finger is a lot more stacatto than the ring.

When I sit and hold the bass angled up like a classical guitar my plucking hand looks like I’m playing classical guitar, same sound. This is way more comfortable for me I might add


For me the middle finger has a different sound when alternate plucking. Subtle tone difference, but it’s there. As @John_E mentioned, pluck with your index finger only and you’ll probably also notice it right away.

I noticed this when playing song 8 from the 50 song challenge (I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry), when I unconsciously index plucked the whole song out of boredom. LOL.


Your index finger isn’t as chonky as your “get bent” finger? Start using the index finger to let them know how you feel instead until it catches up.


Are their fingers made of the same material?


Thanks for the killer perspectives, input, approaches and solutions all.
And - @akos - as far as I know, yes. They are.
Good question though.

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This is something I’ve noticed too over time. For whatever reason, I get a certain tone with my index and it’s different to my middle. I’d say it’s got a bit more tone on my index. Or less on middle.

And it’s even more pronounced if I try the same on a double bass.

No idea why, because I try to alternate equally between them but there you go.


It’s not uncommon to have a slightly different tone from index vs middle finger which is why people often use just the index finger when uniform tone is more important than speed… i spent a fair amount of time early on working on tone and having a light touch.

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Definitely for me. I tend to pluck mostly with my pointer finger because of that. I can get a consistent tone. The nail on my middle finger is closer to the tip, so anytime my nail grows just a bit from cutting it, it has a tendency to hit the string. I need to always keep the nail trim on my middle finger.

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Oh, yeah! But I’m a super-noob, lol. I got some suggestions from the forum, and it all is about practice, and turning the amp up so I don’t pluck so hard.

Same here!

…and if you turn it up far enough, you can’t hear anyone yelling that its too loud either :upside_down_face:


John_E or hear them yelling that I sound like crap :laughing:

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