View Full Version : Alternate Bass

08-29-2016, 11:12 PM
Just wanted to share something I found.
I know it is quite stupid and lot of people will think "hey you've discovered hot water", but anyway... maybe some newbie like me could appreciate.

I was messing around last night with the pattern someone call "modified clawhammer".

Basically, pluck the 3rd string with the thumb, then strum down all strings, then pluck 1st string, then pluck G string.

After some weeks practicing clawhammer, I got curious and tried and I found it nice and funny.

Anyway, I wondered : "how would it sound on Low G" ? Played "Long black veil" of Cash (I play a lot of Cash songs... my little kid loves Cash songs...) and was thrilled.
Some minutes practicing the movement, I found it was the alternated bass typical of many Johnny Cash songs.

Pluck 3rd string with thumb, strum all strings down and up (even if on up I found better to strum only first two strings), pluck 4th string (low -g ) with thumb and strum all string down and up.
And it sound so good.

Yeah I know... got excited for obvious thing.

08-29-2016, 11:27 PM
Hey, you discovered hot water! :p

What you've got there is something akin to a basic Carter-style strum. Instead of doing a full upstrum, try just plucking the 1st string :)

Edit: If you want to get really funky with it, check out Aaron Keim's video...


08-30-2016, 12:11 AM
If the chord is C, the bass (root) note is on the 3rd string. But the chord is G7, it is on the 4th string. If the chord is F, the bass note is even on the 2nd string. In alternating bass, Carter style picking, Travis picking and even arpeggios, we starts bass notes first, when chords changed. If we have 6 strings like guitar, we can do it in bottom 3 strings, but it is very hard to do it in ukulele because we have only 4 strings.

I know it sounds cool and it works, mrStones. But I prefer simple strumming.

08-30-2016, 03:55 AM
Thank you everybody.

@zztush : Yeah it is more complicated (and more interesting and correct) than the rude "3rd-stroke-4th-stroke" I posted. I'm going to study it.

@jollyboy : most obvious things are sometimes the last you see :)
Just pluck 1st on up, huh ? so exactly like "modified clawhammer" just with low-g.
I watched some videos from Aaron but never found this...

Ok, I knew somebody could benefit from this post, ME in this case :)

08-30-2016, 04:05 AM
@jollyboy : most obvious things are sometimes the last you see :)
Just pluck 1st on up, huh ? so exactly like "modified clawhammer" just with low-g.

i didn't know that it was sometimes referred to as 'modified clawhammer', but I can see the comparison. You get that same nice 'bum-ditty' rhythm that sounds just right when playing old school country :)

Croaky Keith
08-30-2016, 05:39 AM
Just to keep you on your toes, & to give you something else to play around with, pick arpeggio style the 4th, the 2nd, the 3rd, & last the 1st. :)