Bass Lesson Three - Plucking


Hand Position

Firstly the wrist will need to be fairly straight. Over time bad wrist positioning can even cause injuries. There is no need for tension, allow your plucking hand to be relaxed and loose. This will help form the natural shape of your wrist and cause the least amount of unnecessary strain.

Finger Numbering

The fingers are numbered the same on the fretting hand as the plucking hand

• 1st = index finger
• 2nd = middle finger
• 3rd = ring finger
• 4th = little finger

Plucking the String

It’s best to use at least 2 fingers when playing. It’s good to get in this habit very early on. Using at least 2 fingers will help increase plucking speed and efficiency. Most bassist will use the 1st and 2nd fingers when plucking. You should alternate between the 2 fingers, so 1st 2nd 1st 2nd. Continuously using one finger may seem easier at first but using two will greatly help your playing style as you progress.

When plucking the string the best sound, speed and accuracy will come from a light touch. The finger should role over the top of the string towards the palm. Beginner bassists tend to pull the string too hard and away from the body.

You may find it more comfortable to play if finger nails are kept short. Longer nails may catch the strings.



Attempt to play the notes that are displayed on the tab. These exercises are to help you get used to the plucking motion. Fretting technique is covered in later lessons.

Things to think about:

• The position of your wrist and hand is relaxed
• The correct fingers are used to pluck the strings
• The fingers are plucking the strings in the correct order
• How much force is being used to pluck the strings


Exercise 1


Easy Tab


Standard Tab



Exercise 2


Easy Tab


Standard Tab



Exercise 3


Easy Tab


Standard Tab



Exercise 4


Easy Tab


Standard Tab



What Next?


Keep practicing this week’s exercises focusing on your plucking technique. In next week’s lesson we will be looking at getting a balanced tone from your bass.