My style of playing!

I think I have developed a “style” of playing. I tend to be much faster, cleaner and with less mush when I dig in hard. I am talking about the Geddy Lee style of playing where you attack the strings and pluck hard. For whatever reason, I tend to play much better the more aggressively I pluck. My muting is on point and my notes ring out clearly with no extraneous noises. I have tried the soft plucking. Sounds okay to my ears but my sweet spot is hard plucking across the strings. I know playing bass is always using what works best for the individual. I may have found what works best for me. How do you guys play…aggressively or softly. I found that even when I played a muted jazz piece, the aggressive style seemed to work much better for me. YMMV


Do you have any audio / video I could watch as an example?


Actually, no…I haven’t gotten to the point of recording myself yet. Best way to describe is that I snap the string rather forcefully rather than pull across. I am not “plucking” the way you would a 6 string guitar, but rather a forceful “pull across” the strings. For me it is quick and efficient, no wasted motion, no slow dragging of fingers. I may ask my wife to video my hands while playing later today or tomorrow.


Good on you! If it works for you, that’s the main important thing (for now :grin:)

I think this might be similar to many drummers: when they play harder they tend to keep time better; when they are asked to play soft(er), many of them tend to slow down (subconsciously) - drummers who can play softly while keeping time are unicorn material :wink:

I guess I would stick to your style for a while now, until you really feel comfortable with it, and then (in a few months perhaps) see how it feels to pluck softer. Maybe you’ll find out that you also play “cleaner” now when you pluck softer.

There are many bassists who tend to follow the philosophy to pluck softer and let the amp do the heavy lifting. That way you both have headroom left for actually playing louder when you need it (i.e., more dynamic range), and it usually also helps for faster runs. Then again, there are plenty of bass players who pluck really hard and it seems to suit them (and the music they play) just fine :smile:


I watched Geddy Lee playing and he is a maniac when he plucks. Hard, forceful and not anything like I have been told to pluck. Works okay for him :wink:


That’s, great, @EddieJones! Do what works for you and, as @joergkutter said, try playing softer later. But keep in mind that the use of dynamics is a key component of playing music.

I tend to play softly most of the time. I developed this style from playing fingerstyle guitar, where digging in is not generally a thing.

For bass, I let my amp (Waza Air-Bass or Rumble 40) do the volume work.


Absolutely! And for a bunch of others as well (Steve Harris comes to mind…) :wink:
As long as you are aware of potential limitations and drawbacks (including some wear on your fingers :joy:)


Exactly. How you play is definitely genre-driven. If hard-driving is how your bass hero rolls, and his/her style is your goal, then go for it.

The good news is you’ll rack up hours of practice and fun, which will lead to more playing. :+1:


But isn’t Steve Harris playing very lightly?


How softly can you truly play using 50-110 flats?

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Pretty lightly, actually.

Soft attack with heavy strings takes strength and control. If you’ve got that, any style of attack is possible.


I may be out of my depth here, but let’s listen to our guru:


Geddy has aften described himself as an obnoxious bass player, a loud attacking style on the strings as you point out as well as untrimmed nails to get that extra twang.