Increasing your technical abilities on your bass guitar is a long process that cannot be accomplished overnight.
Most advanced techniques takes moths to learn, and during those months there is a lot of hard practice, as well as setbacks (stretches of time where, if you have a family or a job, you just can’t get around to playing as much as you want to) and other things that serve to push the goal further back.
But, if you hang tight and put in as much work as realistically possible (let’s face it, you can’t just trash your responsibilities in favor for jamming out on the guitar—it would be nice, but it just isn’t an option for most people), then eventually, you will get there.
In this article, we’ll help you on your way to one of the more difficult of the advanced bass techniques; bass guitar string skipping.
String skipping is, just as the name implies, the act of skipping from string to string, over one or more strings. This may sound simple, but it is a lot more difficult than the name leads on. For instance, playing a fast piece that involves jumping from the low E string to the D string, then the D string to the B string and up to the A string, would take a ton of coordination and a very good amount of precision.
If you are playing a tuplet on each string, then it will be even more difficult than if you were to play just a single note per string. It all depends on the piece.
So what are some things that you can do to increase your bass guitar string skipping precision?
The first thing is simple; watch where you’re picking.
If you pay attention to your picking hand, it will make it slightly easier to find the right string with a little bit less effort involved in the process. If you aren’t watching your picking hand, you are relying on muscle memory to do all of the work, and in this case you are expecting the one technique that you are trying to develop to do everything you need prematurely. This will be very difficult.
Another thing that will help you to develop your string skipping technique is using a metronome to practice. Playing along with a metronome will give you a steady rhythm to follow, this making playing the notes at their proper values and in proper timing much easier.
You may have some mess-ups at first, but that’s okay; slow down and try an easier tempo until you are able to play a bit faster. Developing the timing is much more important than actually playing fast.
In the end, if you want to properly develop your bass guitar string skipping technique, you will have to practice regularly. Set aside a block of time each and every day in which to practice your technique along with a metronome. Pay attention to your timing, and keep your forearms and wrists relaxed. Remember to have fun, and good luck with your string skipping!
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