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Are You Fretting the Wrong Way? - Bass Fingering Showdown

The right fretting technique is crucial for any bassist, whether you want to shred solos or just lay down a gig’s worth of grooves.

0:00 - Fretting Technique Showdown
0:58 - Meet Your Challengers
2:04 - Round 1: Doing It To Death by James Brown
3:59 - Doing It To Death Play-along
4:53 - Round 2: Time Bomb by Rancid
6:02 - Time Bomb Play-along
6:43 - Round 3: Plush by Stone Temple Pilots
8:31 - Plush Play-along
9:15 - Final Judging + Fretting Myth
10:05 - Pros and Cons of Both Techniques
11:07 - How to Decide Which Technique
12:07 - 2 Principles of Good Fingerings

With all the debate and confusion about “the best bass fretting technique,” it’s time to settle the score.

In this lesson, the Simandl technique, AKA index-middle-pinky, will battle it out with the One Finger Per Fret technique, AKA 1FPF.

Technique #1, One Finger Per Fret means that each finger gets assigned a fret in a position, covering 4 frets total. For example, on frets 5 6 7 and 8 you’d use index middle ring pinky, respectively.

That doesn’t mean you have to hold perfectly static within that position, it just dictates the choice of which finger to use on which fret. You can “microshift” inside a 1FPF position to save energy or accommodate small hands.

Technique #2, the Simandl technique, comes from an upright bass method book by Franz Simandl first published in 1881. As the term is commonly used on electric bass, “Simandl technique” just means fretting with the index, middle, and pinky, 124, which covers a 3 fret span. The ring finger just acts as support for the pinky.

In this lesson, we’ll take both techniques through their paces by battling them out on three popular songs - “Doing It To Death” by James Brown, “Time Bomb” by Rancid, and “Plush” by Stone Temple Pilots.

Each round’s winner will be awarded a point, and by the end we’ll see who emerges victorious. Ready… Fight!

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-Josh Fossgreen



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