Tips for Improving Fingerstyle Technique

Hello BassBuzz community,

I’ve been playing bass for a few years now, mainly with a pick, but I’m looking to improve my fingerstyle technique. I find that my speed and accuracy need some work, especially when playing faster passages. Do you have any exercises or tips that could help me develop better finger control and consistency?

Also, how do you maintain a relaxed hand position while playing?

Thanks in advance.


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This is going to sound like an obvious cop-out answer but I promise I’m not trying to be sarcastic here. The best thing to do is find a songs that requires finger picking and practice them slowly until you get the coordination down then speed them up.

Another thing is practicing your scales and such with the alternating fingers. Again, the trick is to start slow to get that muscle memory established.

I’m in the opposite, I’ve been doing finger picking and am now trying to learn pick.

I saw a video recently where Chucky-B was talking about how he had to relearn slap bass with the thumb through slap technique and his advice was pretty good: embrace the suck. If you’re learning/relearning something, you have to accept that you’re going to suck at it. Forget that you were playing fine with the old way and find the humor and joy in how crappy it sounds until it starts to sound good again.


There’s no way around this. The only way you can play fast and accurate is to slow down the (mental) time. Just think “bullet time” :joy:

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Yeah, I just would hate for someone to think I’m being sarcastic and be like “well screw that forum”.

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My “area of opportunity” is not the speed but the acceleration but I’m sure everyone experience the same issue.

That’s excellent advice! Starting slow and building muscle memory is key. Embracing the initial struggles and finding joy in the progress can make the learning process much more enjoyable.


I read a book about the brain a while back. One of the things that stuck with me was patterning anything new, created a discrete neural path in the brain.
So even doing it slowly then sleeping on it is the best way. Repetition of the correct way then strengthens that pathway.
So there’s good science behind all the above advice.
I found using a drum machine : drum app was the best way into working on my timing / speed.


Yes yes to this.

The start slow and speed up advice is great, and always practice to a groove!

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Yeah I need to get into doing this more. I’m a bit lazy and when I’m trying to get to speed I just set a metronome running but it’s not the same and my Zoom B3n has one built in so I’ve no excuse! Although some stuff like the Canon in D I mentioned earlier doesn’t really work to a rock groove :rofl:

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I do it like this.

A. Learn the melody / tune / riff etc without a beat. Until I know the notes.
B. Start at a slower tempo and find the rhythm of thing. Note length etc
C. Practice at full speed.
D. Increase the tempo to 10% more than the speed of the song.
E. Return back to the actual tempo and it feels relaxed and I have more bandwidth to listen to others in the band and watch their cues.

Bottom line. Practicing with a drum beat trains your brain to feel that tempo. IMHO.

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The difference between drums and metronomes is drums are way more fun :rofl:

Seriously everything else is the same for practice. Both are the same for setting BPM etc.

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Playing fast is the same as playing slow, just faster :smile:

As you mentioned, the acceleration is a big part of it and you can practice “fast”, slowly :slight_smile: