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Author Topic: Basses yet again!  (Read 4542 times)

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Nick Hudis

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Basses yet again!
« on: September 13, 2008, 06:55:46 PM »

Nine months into my melodeon (or is that datonic accordion?) adventure, I have begun to realise that while I'm having a lot of fun, exploring some great tunes and getting quite creative with funky harmonies and cross fingering,  my basic control of the instrument is, to put it politely.....crap.  So, with the help of George Garside's excellent tutor, I 've gone right back to the beginning and started to relearn from scratch.  A fun and instructive exercise. (although I'll jump for joy the day I don't have to play Blaydon Races again!!!)

I'm at the stage where I am re-integrating the left hand.  Now, when I first started, my logical pianists/classical guitarist's mind simply lined up my four fingers with the four pairs of buttons, so first finger plays the D/A chords and B maj/E minor, second finger plays the D/A fundamental and B/E fundamental and so on down to the pinky which played the G/D fundamental and C fundamental.  Nice and logical and simple.

I realise from previous threads and from looking at Youtube vids, that not many players do it like this and there is much variation of use of two, three and four fingers.  I am quite comfortable with my four finger approach and the only slight problem is that oom pahing in G can be a little harder work on the weaker fingers.  But this mainly just needs practice.  This way of doing things also suits my old Club boxes which seem to have quite widely spaced bass buttons.

I've got certain advantages here.  I'm left handed, I have long thin fingers trained by thirty years of piano and guitar playing and being, by profession a massage therapist, have a bit more strength, coordination and flexibility in the finger department than some folks.

Now, I'm not looking for a definitive answer, or a "right" way, because everyone seem to do what is comfortable for them, but before I really work at programming my four finger approach into my nervous system, I'd like to know if there are any good reasons not to play this way that would be apparent to a skilled experienced player and not to a simple minded sprog like me.

Thanks

Nick
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Waltham

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Re: Basses yet again!
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2008, 07:17:22 PM »

No there aren't.  If you can do it then do it. 

If you one day graduate to a box with more basses you'll have to start moving your left hand about. But that's still much easier than going from two to four finger playing.

I'd recommend John Kirkpatrick's DVD.  He uses four fingers on the bass.
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Hello

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Re: Basses yet again!
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2008, 09:02:02 PM »



If you can use 4 fingers then I'm sure it can only be advantageous. However, I don't think it really matters much as long as the sounds that come out are what you want. When you experiment with more complicated vamping, e.g. same chord but different fundamentals, or sustained bass notes, then you can often find it beneficial to use fingers not normally associated with that particular button.

Waltham, in which JK DVD's/tune's does he use 4 fingers?  When I've seen him peform live he mostly seems to use either 2 or 3 fingers on the 8-bass.
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Waltham

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Re: Basses yet again!
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2008, 09:57:38 PM »

You know it's possible I've imagine it, my copy's been on loan for a loooong time.  But I stand by my point, if you can use four then keep it up.
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Andy Cutting

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Re: Basses yet again!
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2008, 06:25:20 PM »

I'd thoroughly reccomend the four fingers. It's quite hard to start with but does get easier with time.
Good luck
Andy
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Play the same but better.

Nick Hudis

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Re: Basses yet again!
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2008, 10:57:23 PM »

I'd thoroughly reccomend the four fingers. It's quite hard to start with but does get easier with time.
Good luck
Andy

That sounds like the go ahead to me, with the proviso of being flexible if a 12 bass comes my way.  Theo has dropped hints about 12 bass conversions in the future.  Until then I continue to be suprised by the harmonic variety you can squeeze out of an 8 bass.

Now the hard work begins of actually learning to play the darned thing properly.

Thanks folks

Nick
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Nick

squeezy

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Re: Basses yet again!
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2008, 10:45:30 PM »

Well I've always used three fingers unless there was no other way to do it than use the little finger.  The reason for this is because my little finger on the left hand was mashed playing basketball at school and it's still so weak and smaller than it should be that it hurts to use it too much.  Consequently you'll always hear me suggesting that using 3 fingers is fine for the main part - however I must agree with Andy that if you can do it and you're early enough in the learning stakes that you haven't gone one way or the other that four fingers has to give you more flexibility in the long run.

I get the impression from taking workshops that some people's hands are built differently to others - especially in the way that the little and ring fingers are linked together.  Most people have some degree of linkage (i.e. they can't make the little finger go down without the ring one following a bit) - but it amazes me that for some people those two fingers might as well be one big fat finger with respect to melodeon playing - and those people should try and get to grips with the three finger model as the frustration of trying something that is physically impossible would probably put them off the instrument in the long run.
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Doug Anderson

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Re: Basses yet again!
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2008, 11:22:57 PM »

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Pushpull

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Re: Basses yet again!
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2008, 11:06:21 AM »

I get the impression from taking workshops that some people's hands are built differently to others - especially in the way that the little and ring fingers are linked together. 
I'm sure it only takes practice and some exercises to improve the independence. If not, where would woodwind players be? Try placing the fingers on a desk and then lifting them one a time - if you're anything like me a huge amount of concentration and gritted teeth will be required initially to get the 3rd finger to operate on its own. It comes eventually. Or else, take up the recorder. Those forked fingerings help a lot. Though it was taking up the oboe that sorted out my fingers.

Not that the effect on my melodeon playing has been dramatic!! I generally only use 4 fingers habitually when in D or Em and on the upper buttons with 3rd and 4th on the lower ones. In G I still tend to revert to 2 or 3.
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Rob2Hook

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Re: Basses yet again!
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2008, 12:37:55 PM »

Quote
I get the impression from taking workshops that some people's hands are built differently to others - especially in the way that the little and ring fingers are linked together.  Most people have some degree of linkage (i.e. they can't make the little finger go down without the ring one following a bit) - but it amazes me that for some people those two fingers might as well be one big fat finger...

On my right hand, I can curl the little finger with some bend to the ring finger - I always thought this was normal.  On the left, though, I can completely curl the little finger whilst holding the ring finger rigid.  This is a direct result of the way I play a G maj chord on the guitar.  The linkage is basically the same, but it depends what else the hand has previously been used to ...!

To anyone who thinks that sounds like a double entendre:  A very good player, friend of mine, playing at a session with light, fast fingering was studied by a gorgeous girl, who then asked "could you do the same for me?" :o
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Tony Gibbons

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Re: Basses yet again!
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2008, 09:50:10 PM »

In over thirty years of playing I have always only used three fingers of the left hand. 1 & 2 for Em/B7 pair and for D/A pair. 2nd and 3rd finger operate C/C & G/D pair. My little finger is used to give stability to the hand which I believe is fundamental to good playing. No doubt if I had a 12 bass box then I would probably consider using little finger as well. But 3 is my recommendation.
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joe

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Re: Basses yet again!
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2008, 10:44:27 AM »

Nowt wrong with using just the two I say!
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Ellie

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Re: Basses yet again!
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2008, 11:53:47 AM »

Funnily enough, since reading this thread I've been trying with 4 fingers, and am finding it much easier than with two! It goes entirely against the grain to play the G basses with my two weakest fingers, but it's working, so I'm not going to complain!

Québécois

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Re: Basses yet again!
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2008, 02:41:18 PM »

It goes entirely against the grain to play the G basses with my two weakest fingers, but it's working, so I'm not going to complain!
With time and practice the "weakest" will gain strength and agility!
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Nick Hudis

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Re: Basses yet again!
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2008, 07:02:11 PM »

Quote
With time and practice the "weakest" will gain strength and agility!

For many years, as part of a martial arts discipline I used to do finger tip press ups.  Thats one way to strengthen the fingers, but try it against a wall rather than on the floor and remember that the composer and pianist Schumann wrecked his career using  a hand strengthening device.  Best to work on control and efficiency rather than strength.

My Club IV has just been given a fantastic makeover by Theo.  The bass action is now very light so playing the F basses with the 3rd and 4th fingers is pretty much effortless.  I have had a fun afternoon (suposedly convalecing from a virus) experimenting with how lightly I can touch the basses and still get a sound.  First discovery was that I had been using about 90% more force than needed, secondly that you can get some interesting effects such as playing a really quiet sustained bass against a normal volume treble by barely touching the bass buttons so only a tiny crack of air seeps through the bass reeds.  Great for drones and slow tunes. I never realised you could get this kind of control out of a box.
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