3 against 2

Hey Willis, I’m originally a guitar player and when I started playing bass about five years ago I tried to learn your three finger technique. It did seem a bit complicated at first and I eventually ended up playing with two fingers instead. Do you think it’s worth the time and effort at this point to give it another try?

Hey Jonas,
Some of it depends on your situation – how much time you can dedicate to it, etc.
I will say this – it’s not necessary that you adopt my 3 finger technique but what is important is that you develop some kind of detailed system for how you want your right hand to work. The study of harmony (left hand) is a slow one and takes years to get an understanding. During this time, most bassists ignore their right hand since it’s fairly easy and intuitive to keep up with the left hand’s slow pace. But, during this time is when most players develop involuntary bad habits that eventually make playing more challenging ideas difficult.
From my few years of guitar study, I had the luxury of being semi-satisfied with where my left hand was when I decided to get scientific about my right hand. The hardest thing to do with the right hand is cross strings going up. My 3-finger technique solves this problem for me and gives me access to intervals and ideas that are much more difficult with 3.
Still, 2 or 3 doesn’t matter as much as being sure to make it your own.
best of luck,

  • Michael Addiego

    I feel stupid asking the question about the three fingers technique seeing as you addressed this a bunch of times before. Willis, forget about a reply if I have questions I’ll ask them then. Thanks again..Mike

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