The #1 Bass Fretting Technique Myth (Are You Fretting the Wrong Way?)

The right fretting technique is crucial for any bassist, whether you want to shred solos or just lay down a gig’s worth of grooves.

0:00 - Fretting Technique Showdown
0:58 - Meet Your Challengers
2:04 - Round 1: Doing It To Death by James Brown
3:59 - Doing It To Death Play-along
4:53 - Round 2: Time Bomb by Rancid
6:02 - Time Bomb Play-along
6:43 - Round 3: Plush by Stone Temple Pilots
8:31 - Plush Play-along
9:15 - Final Judging + Fretting Myth
10:05 - Pros and Cons of Both Techniques
11:07 - How to Decide Which Technique
12:07 - 2 Principles of Good Fingerings

If you’re doing the Beginner to Badass course, this lesson would fit best after Module 6, when you’ve got a good handle on basic fretting. Some of the play-alongs might be a little tricky, but the concepts should all make sense.

Spoiler Alert: Simandl versus One Finger Per Fret Summary

don’t read this if you don’t want to kill the suspense!

Here’s a quick summary breakdown of how the Simandl and One Finger Per Fret techniques compared:

Challenge Fretting Exercise

I had to work my little butt off to play those bass lines at 12:45 with only one finger, especially Ytse Jam.

If you want a fretting challenge, try playing a bass line you know with only one fretting finger today. It might feel silly but your shifting and target practice skills will improve!


I really loved watching this. I tend to use 4 fingers on my bass guitar, but now that I’m learning the upright bass, it’s 3 fingers on that (which is what they teach).

So, I go back and forth between both techniques, depending on which instrument I’m playing.


Two points. One, it’s really nice to be reminded how head and shoulders above other teaching sites this one is, nicely done. Two, I think most beginners are going to gravitate to ofpf. Mostly because that’s what everybody teaches and you would have to have some quick rules in place to transpose ofpf to 3 finger, which just creates more work and confusion for a beginner.


Cool new video, off to watch now.


Great video! I usually bias towards Simandl and shifting myself, which works well for the styles I like, but definitely use both. Nice to see that vindicated somewhat :slight_smile:


Excellent video, you always pick perfect songs for your examples.

I have a question for you @JoshFossgreen.
In Timebomb, I was watching your right hand technique. You anchored your thumb on the pick up the whole song, while playing it, and at the end you moved your thumb up to the E string. I assume you did that to mute immediately.
My question is, while you moved up to the D string for those 4 notes, you left your thumb on the pick up, and did not move to the E string.
Also, you did not appear to be using your fretting hand fingers (any of them) to mute the E string, you kind of just left it on its own, only touching it with your plucking fingers on alternating plucks.

So, did you do this only because you were on the D string for four 1/8 notes? Because it was just a short time, and if you were on the D string longer would you have shifted your thumb up? Or is the plucking fingers alternately touching the E string enough?
Would you have moved your thumb up if you needed to pluck any notes on the G string?

Ok, that was more then one question…So shoot me. LOL

Thanks again for a great production.


Good eye! Check out my right ring finger in those spots - I’m covering the E string with it while I play the D string, which is the trick I called the Sneaky Finger in this muting video:

Good way to keep the thumb more stationary for short passages without leaving strings open to torture you.


Great tip, thanks for the link to that one, another winner.


I’m an avid reddit user and read this statement today. Was curious on others feedback?

The OP was asking if they should get a finger strength trainer

Crushing power in your fretting hand is not just useless, it’s counter-productive because it encourages bad technique.

Your thumb barely touches the back of the neck for stability. The force to hold the strings down comes from pulling back with your arm and shoulder. Never from squeezing with your hand muscles.

Im a noob… and while I’m not trying to apply lots of force my forearms burn after an hour session. I related fretting to touching all fingers to your thumb which is solely a hand/finger /wrist strength movement… I can see how using larger muscle could be more beneficial.



I’m not a fan of Reddit, but I have to agree with that advice about the fretting hand.

Everyday practice is all you need. You are developing muscles in your hands that have gone largely unused all your life. What you need is dexterity in those areas, not necessarily enormous strength.


also, good stretching and muscle massage (for like 10 seconds ) on your forearms is a great thing to do before you start playing.


Yeah Aikido stretches (specifically kotegaishi, ikkyo, nikkyo, and to a lesser extent sankyo - tutorials on youtube) have served me well over the years for wrist and forearm injuries. I have tendonitis in both arms from time to time.

One of those cases of tendonitis was directly caused by a workout injury. I do not recommend grip strength trainers at all - they suck and you can hurt yourself with them. Much better and safer grip strength training doing wrist curls.

In fact good form wrist curls with light weight are reportedly pretty good PT for RSI’s. It helped for me with one.


I used this thing when I messed up my wrist last year. Almost as good as a dumbbell wrist curl.