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Clicking when 3 Finger Strumming and Bass's Action

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Clicking when 3 Finger Strumming and Bass's Action

Post  zsquad on Mon Sep 26, 2011 2:26 am

I find that I produce a clicking sound when I finger strum using my index, middle, and ring fingers. While I am sure this is partially due to technique (I have been playing bass for 2 years, and haven't been trying to 3 finger strum that long), I have tried 3 finger strumming on basses with tighter strings and the clicking was nearly eliminated. Would altering my current bass's action affect the tightness of my strings and/or the clicking I make when I 3 finger strum? If not, is there a way I could reduce the clicking noises I make?

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Re: Clicking when 3 Finger Strumming and Bass's Action

Post  Some freaky guy on Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:52 am

This could be youhitting the strings so hard they're touching the pickups, which tends to make this little popping sound. Have you tried being lighter on the strings? That should fix it.
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Re: Clicking when 3 Finger Strumming and Bass's Action

Post  zsquad on Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:29 pm

I have tried that, but I find that as I speed up and try to play at speeds that aren't ridiculously fast but still require 3 fingers to play comfortably I naturally begin to play harder with my fingers

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Re: Clicking when 3 Finger Strumming and Bass's Action

Post  Stryfer on Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:37 pm

Therein lies the challange Smile
The clicking is produced when the strings hit the frets. What you want to do is try to strum without hitting the strings downward in the process.
You probably altered your hand position to strum with three fingers hence the lack of clicks when playing with just the two.
Another alternative is reducing the treble or high on your amp. That affects the whole tone though.
The action doesn't really affect the tightness, but it does force you to press the strings harder on the neck, which makes playing harder.

On the other hand, the clicking noise is actually a nice percussive effect if you can learn to control it. There's a lot of songs where I click the strings on purpose and it sounds good, kind of like a pick.

On yet another hand, you don't really need three fingers to play really fast. Two are enough, but you have to reanalyze your technique in order to find and eliminate any unnecessary movements during a single pluck. (one such example is moving your wrist, when it's enough to only move the bit where your finger starts that I don't know the name of)

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Re: Clicking when 3 Finger Strumming and Bass's Action

Post  zsquad on Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:46 pm

Okay, I'll experiment with my technique. Also, what is the benefit of having high/low action? That's just a general question

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Re: Clicking when 3 Finger Strumming and Bass's Action

Post  Stryfer on Thu Sep 29, 2011 2:51 am

Lower action makes it more likely to click for starters Laughing

Seriously though, low action means that the distance between the string and the fret is smaller so it takes less effort to actually fret the string. This makes it easier to play notes fast. Also, lower action helps with slapping or tapping, as again it takes less effort to achieve contact.

High action makes all this harder, but the notes will be a lot clearer or more pure, because there will be less fret artefacts in sound.

I myself prefer lower action Smile

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Re: Clicking when 3 Finger Strumming and Bass's Action

Post  zsquad on Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:12 am

okay, I'm thinking about getting a new 4-string that supposedly has low action and I didn't exactly know what that meant. How could I tighten the strings on a bass in general? I know increasing the string gauge helps, but what are some other ways?

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Re: Clicking when 3 Finger Strumming and Bass's Action

Post  Stryfer on Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:22 pm

I don't really know wether you can tighten strings. I have an Ibanez and a Squire. If I put the same strings on both, they will be significantly tighter on the Squire. No idea why though.

Modifying action is easy though and anyone can do it on any bass, so wether the bass has low or high action is irrelevant.

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Re: Clicking when 3 Finger Strumming and Bass's Action

Post  MetalJacob on Sat Oct 01, 2011 3:42 am

I sure hope there is a way. I use heavy strings for more tightness, but my bass can't take any heavier and I want them tighter. Sad

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Re: Clicking when 3 Finger Strumming and Bass's Action

Post  Stryfer on Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:20 am

I have to admit that I have no idea why anyone would want tighter strings. It's ok for jazzy-precise playing or finger funk, but it really slows you down.

I do use the Squire for funky stuff and slapping sounds better (probably due to the pickups and their placement), but I find that I'm sginificantly faster on the Ibanez. If I play the exact same line on both basses, it's much easier on less tight strings. Even slapping is easier on the Ibanez.

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Re: Clicking when 3 Finger Strumming and Bass's Action

Post  Pippynip on Sat Oct 01, 2011 1:22 pm

+1

I'd sacrifice tone for playability any day. To a certain extent. I generally put 45-100 gauge strings on my bass - light E and A, medium D and G.

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Re: Clicking when 3 Finger Strumming and Bass's Action

Post  Stryfer on Sat Oct 01, 2011 3:03 pm

The tone doesn't really suffer though... From what I've noticed at least, the tighter strings tend to stress each note individually, while the more loose ones kind of blur them together making it seem like all the notes form a whole. It probably depends on style.

Then again both basses have different pick-ups. So that might make the difference.

The Warwick Thumb in the video I posted has nice loose, easy-to-play, strings Smile

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Re: Clicking when 3 Finger Strumming and Bass's Action

Post  MetalJacob on Sat Oct 01, 2011 4:24 pm

I've always found it a bit more difficult to play strings that aren't as tight as I want them. Maybe because I have less control of them or something? I don't know. Plus, I like the sound of tight strings much more. As you said, I think tighter strings enunciate each specific note more.

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