The Basics Of Technique And Lightening Up


On the one hand, as long as there are no glaring physical issues with either one’s fingerboard technique or one’s pizzicato/finger-style I feel that it should not be overly policed by an instructor during the course of a bass lesson. On the other hand, there are some things that definitely do need adjustment .


If a player has finger-style technique with heavy pressure, especially when there is poor dynamic range, I will always recommend experimenting with a lighter touch. It can be a great revelation for a student to realize that pounding away like a maniac is only one way to go about things. It takes away from a performance when there is a greater balance of energy going into simply getting the notes out. Players need to save some energy and concentration for higher-level musical awareness, such as the overall direction of a tune, or anything else that can and will pop up during live performances.


As far as a common fingerboard or fingering issues, one that comes quickly to mind is the analog to the previous issue of heavy pizzicato pressure. This time the player is squeezing the neck like a weightlifter. Not good, Bro. Lighten things up along the fingerboard and your motion and “travel time” will become more ergonomic and just plain easier.


Did you ever notice how easy playing seems for those great players out there? All other things being equal, a musician that learns to economize on the physical nature of playing will be a noticeably relaxed and effective player.


Let’s lighten up and save more energy for the music.