Question about raking

Hi!
I have been silent for the past 3 months because life did me dirty with a hand injury and things I shoudn’t discuss here.
I’ve picked from where I left off without too many issues (hell, I’m even reading some sheet music for the first time). But when I watch lessons, I notice that Josh never rakes, and encourages always alternating fingers. I wasn’t an absolute beginner when I started this course, and I even took some private lessons in the past. To cut things short, everyone (including my former teacher) told me to rake, so I’ve developed a habit, and it is one that’s very difficult to correct, in case I would have to.
Is raking automatically wrong? Should I unlearn raking to make myself more aware about when to use it and when not to?

6 Likes

I forget if it is in the course or one of his other videos but I definitely remember Josh covering raking at some point. It’s a legit technique. However Josh does focus on alternating until you have that down solid.

5 Likes

Got it. So I shouldn’t be too concerned about it, correct?

5 Likes

Not in my opinion but I am also just another student :slight_smile:

4 Likes

It’s a technique I’m just starting to learn for certain songs. I agree with @howard in that we are only students on the same path as you are.
Perhaps a more learned member of the forum such as @Gio might shed some light on the matter.

4 Likes

Raking is absolutely legit, when used at the right times, for example crossing strings in an effortless way. I often rake without even thinking, although most of the time I’m alternate plucking.

5 Likes

Forgive my ignorance, but what is raking ?

5 Likes

Simply put, it’s when you pluck two adjacent strings with the same finger in sort of a “raking” motion. For example, D G ( 5th fret of the A string to 3rd fret of the E string), you would move your fretting fingers from the the D to the G , and just pluck the A and E string in a fluid motion with the same finger.
Does this help explain it?

3 Likes

Ah thank you Pam. I don’t think I’ll be trying that anytime soon … well not unless Josh covers it in the course ha-ha.

5 Likes

I think he does in later lessons. It’s been awhile since I graduated, so I can’t remember.

3 Likes

I just started Module 8, and if I remember correctly, Josh talks about raking somewhere near the end of Module 7 or the beginning of Module 8.

4 Likes

Hail @Dr.Loveless!
This is a real good question.
I stand by the ALWAYS ALTERNATE mantra for all my students because…

It was something I had to break the raking habit in college and it was real tricky.

Raking is awesome and is often the best call and best idea for a way to play a given line.
However!
If you start with it and use it all the time for descending string crossing, your right hand can get a bit lazy and more complex parts and string-crossings can become really difficult.

I noticed the problem when I was trying to play Freedom Jazz Dance - lots of string crossings, and my parts were not quick and articulate enough.
I had to do a complete re-training when I was told to play Got A Match? by my bass instructor in college.

If you learn to always alternate, you set the foundation for the best, most versatile approach to playing a line.
Raking, then, becomes an alternative or an applied technique to use when it’s appropriate, and helps the execution of a line.

If you learn raking first, you can end up boxed into a corner and unable to attack parts with the fluidity and fluency you’d want to execute complex string-crossing.

10 Likes

Yup, unlearning it is being pretty tough. But if it’s for the greater good, then I’m all for it lol. With that being said, some songs are a lot easier with it in my opinion, so I won’t abandon it completely

4 Likes

I was repeating the final lesson of Module 7 and the first lessons of Module 8, but Josh didn’t say anything about raking in any of those… Turns out he talks about it in the comments, of Module 8, Lesson 1, Part 2, to be precise. Short version: it’s OK to do it, but he doesn’t teach it because he wants us to develop a solid alternating technique.

4 Likes

Just an update for future members with the same issue. I forced myself not to rake anymore, and the effort is paying off. My plucking hand feels much more agile, and I’m faster overall. You will build a lot of stamina

4 Likes

I am glad to read about raking as I never thought about it but especially this bass line gives me a stroke with alternate plucking, so I will try raking for sure!
grafik
grafik

4 Likes