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Bass Guitar:
Plucking Hand Technique



Plucking hand technique on the electric bass begins with players finding their optimal playing and thumb positions. Sometimes the make and model of instrument can play a role in this search. For example, some models of the Fender precision bass have thumb rests, or string covers players may use to rest their thumb on. See image below.



A good exercise that players can use to develop solid alternate plucking technique is to perform four sixteenth notes on each string working vertically across the string sets. Always begin with the same finger on the way up (watch video lesson). When descending alternate between index and middle.

When it comes to two-note chords, rest the thumb on a lower string and pluck notes with index and middle fingers. For three-note chords (or four-note) use the thumb for the lowest pitch (similar to classical guitar technique).

To get started with slap-bass technique players can try the more traditional approach of hitting the thumb at the last fret and snapping with index on the off-beat. Or, another approach is to catch the thumb under the string to get the slap sound (see video).