This week I’ll be looking at how you can use the pivot action of the hand, wrist and arm to make certain tricky lines a lot easier!

Aligning The Hand

Often when playing bass, we tend to keep the hand in line with the neck with the fingers paralell to the strings. Although this is good practice, it is not the most agile position for us to play at a high speed. To reach notes that are a bit of a stretch away, we can angle the hand in that direction to bring the fingers closet to the fret. Try using the following riffs to experiement with hand direction and thumb pivoting. As it is a new technique, you will need to start slowly at first and find the optimum way to play each lick before moving up in tempo.

This first riff uses a C Mixolydian scale and is perfect for practising pivoting and repositioning the fretting hand. Your hand wants to be slightly angled across the neck, with the 4th finger over the E string and the 1st finger over the G. This will limit the amount of movement the riff requires, allowing you to play it much faster.

One way we can alter this riff is by flattening the third to make it reflect the Dorian scale rather than the Mixolydian. The positioning is pretty much the same as you are still playing the same amount of notes on each string.

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