Hi. I just started the course and have a question about my plucking hand wrist position. I notice that Josh has his wrist arched in a way that keeps his fingers perpendicular to the strings all the time. I have tried to copy that, but when we get to the fast workouts my wrist starts to get flatter and my hand closer to the bass or I can’t keep up. I am still pulling across the strings, not plucking up, as Josh warns against all the time, but I wonder if going forward it is important for me to try to learn to keep that wrist arch? Does anyone else notice this? Anyone else have advice?
Welcome aboard, @skerpelman . . .
If you just started the course, everything about playing bass is all new to you!
Just take it slow, try not to overthink your wrist position, and follow Josh’s lessons . . . little by little you’ll develop technique. Everything takes time, patience and practice.
You’re in the right place here and we’re glad to have you with us.
Welcome to the forums @skerpelman
I had similar issues when I first started ( a mere 3-4 weeks ago lol ) but I seem to have found a happy medium now.
I found how I sat and the position of my bass to my body were quite a significant factors with my wrist position as well as the length of my strap.
My wrist position also improved when I swapped from a very nasty p bass copy to my Ibanez.
First, Welcome to the forum @skerpelman!!
As for your comment and question,… as time goes by during the course, you will notice yourself developing a style of play that best suits your body. Some of us here are old with arthritis (myself included), and the wrist bend that Josh uses does not work for me at all - my wrists just don’t bend too good any more - actually, they never really bent like his do that I can ever remember… The main thing to avoid as Josh mentions is developing a habit of “plucking up”… (even though we’ve probably all “plucked up” at one time or another… “Plucking Up” will always result in a really bad “Buzz” as your strings start smacking against the fret wires… Cross plucking avoids this situation from happening… Good Luck!! Have Fun!! And…
Keep on Thumpin’!
As everyone has said, with time and practice you will develop your own individual style. Just do it the best you can and keep on thumpin!
Thanks to everyone who answered. I’m an old guy(65) so maybe as Lanny says I just have to do what can work for me. I am still able to pull across and it sounds good so I guess I’ll just let my style happen.
@skerpelman welcome to the forum. When you get a chance, please post in the “Introduce yourself” thread.
Regarding your question, the first thing I want to tell you is don’t try to emulate Josh in any way. He has extra-terrestrial fingers, and no human can do the things he does.
With that said, I agree with what others have stated… you are new to playing bass and are doing things with your limbs, fingers, and muscles that you have never done before. Give it time, but stay focused on correct procedures such as how you pluck the strings, alternating fingers, etc. After awhile, your body will begin to adjust to its new challenge, and you will find your comfort zone.
Just remember, we’ve all been through it.
Most of it was said already. As long as you are plucking across and not up it is okay if your hands don’t look like Joshs alienlike appendages (no offense Josh).
While I agree that it is okay to find your own style for your own body I just wanted to add that it is in most if not all cases more helpful to play slow and clean than to try and rush through things to play fast. If you notice that you are having a problem on a certain speed go back to the slower one until you are really comfortable and then try the faster speed again. Either the issue is gone because playing at a slower speed resolved it already for the faster speed or you can isolate and focus on the issue. I know Josh often says the same in the videos but it can’t be said often enough IMO. I still tell myself!
So I think it’s okay if you’re plucking technique doesn’t look like Joshs but I think you should aim to be consistent with it. I think ideally it shouldn’t change with speed.
I’m about a third of the way through the course and I had the same question when I was starting out. I noticed that I was getting different tones from the index and middle plucking fingers. At the time I found that pulling across more perpendicular to the strings made it easier for me to get consistent tone between the fingers. But it wrenches my wrist so far I think I usually slip out of that position. Strangely, I think the consistency in plucking between the different fingers has evened up all in its own without having to pluck perpendicular to the strings. I’ll have to check that tonight.
If all else fails, try the floating thumb technique. It’s much easier on the wrist, plus helps with muting. I’ve been doing it for nearly the entire year I’ve been playing bass.
Floating thumb meaning on strings not the pickup?
This video by Todd Johnson explains it pretty well
It takes some getting used to but it’s much gentler on your wrist.
Welcome aboard @skerpelman,
Enjoy the ride.
Everyone has responded to your development.
Stick it out it gets easier
Thanks Pam. Looks promising and I plan to try it. You’ll get the credit!
Yes! @skerpelman you will find your feel. We can’t all be Josh
Is that in the B2B course @PamPurrs or something you’ve picked up separately?
Either way I’m glad you mentioned it, looks like good advice to try. I want to try and learn the technique.
Josh doesn’t teach floating thumb. I picked that up outside of B2B
That is great, thanks for sharing @PamPurrs. I may try it!
This thread got me to searching the Interwebs for more info. Scott’s Bass Lessons has a relatively succinct video (from 2011, so maybe the verbosity and off-topic noodling has increased over time) in which he explains a few left-hand muting techniques, including the floating thumb. I fooled around with a modification that he said he uses, which floats the thumb up and down but anchors it to the string below the string being plucked (or the pickup, for E), which worked better for me than free-floating.
My muting issues were driving me to distraction when trying to play along with the lessons–even though Josh is very clear about not worrying about it too much–and some variation on the floating thumb should really help.